The National Assembly of Pakistan and the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services hosted a one day Seminar under the theme of “Forging a Sustainable & Peaceful Common Future” to commemorate the Commonwealth day on 13th Match 2023 at PIPS, Islamabad. The Seminar brought together a packed auditorium with galaxy of 150 participants including the High Commissioners of the Commonwealth Countries from UK, Australia, South Africa and Maldives, Members of Parliament, parliamentary officials, faculty members and students from Riphah International University, Ibadat International University, Beacon House School, and Fauji Foundation School., Jauharabad. Hon MNA and SAMP Ms Romina Khurshid Alam chaired a prestigious panel comprising Hon MNA Ms Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, Syed Shamoon Hashmi, Addl. Secy National Assembly and Mr Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, Director General (research) Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services. On behalf of the Parliament of Pakistan, DG Research PIPS Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka welcomed all distinguished ambassadors, participants and students for attending the seminar to commemorate the Commonwealth Day in 2023. He emphasized the need for youth to follow the message and spirit of the life of the father of the nation Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah based on appreciating diversity in democracy by the concept of “we agree to disagree,” and “work, work and work,” selflessly for sustainable future of coming generations to ensure well-being of the people, especially the masses and the vulnerable.
In his message on the occasion read by a Young Parliamentary Associate, the Honourable Raja Pervez Ashraf, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan reiterated that the occasion marks the start of seven decades of collaboration among the 56 member states for Commonwealth Day 2023 that reflects the member states cherish common values of equality, democracy and peace. The Hon Speaker expressed the hope that it is essential that all commonwealth countries and their jurisdictions (provinces) who are all members of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) must continue to cooperate closely to work in unison towards creating a sustainable and peaceful future as we face new challenges in the shape of global climate change, wars and conflicts with shrinking resources and expanding population. Speaking at a seminar on Commonwealth Day, acting British high commissioner Andrew Dalgliesh noted that the British Community would have the pleasure of enjoying the coronation event of King Charles after 70 years when the Queen Elizabeth II first became the Queen. He said that the Commonwealth is a movement of countries that share common values and common goals in what they can do better together as opposed to in the words of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth “rather than do apart. He said that Commonwealth nations share similar ideals. He emphasized that in order to address climate change and other shared concerns, member states must act jointly.
In his remarks at the seminar on Commonwealth Day, the Deputy High Commissioner of Australia stated that the nations of the Commonwealth share common values and aims of democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and sustainable economic and social development. He continued by saying that cooperation is essential for achieving peace, prosperity and stability. He said that for example the recent historic flooding’s in Pakistan we all worked together to mitigate the losses that it incurred similarly, he said the Australian government will also fully support and promote the democracy in Pakistan especially where Pakistan will be going to the general elections this year in 2023. The desire for democracy and tolerance for diversity, according to Additional Secretary (SI) National Assembly of Pakistan, Syed Shamoon Hashmi, is what makes the Commonwealth Association so appealing. He was of the opinion that the key to peace and stability is society’s acceptance of individuals who are different. He further stated that eliminating world hunger is a prerequisite for achieving true peace and stability.
Honourable Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam SAPM/MNA who chaired the session on “The Role of Parliament in Engaging Youth,” added that the Youth are Pakistan’s present and bright future as they are capable of achieving anything with determination and unity. She emphasized the importance of educating the younger generations about the accomplishments of the Parliament. She underlined the need of youth staying aware about the Constitution’s fundamentals and the Parliament’s essential duties. She also gave youth advice about avoiding propaganda and false information. She said that Pakistan’s National Assembly had established the nation’s first-ever Secretariat of Parliamentary Taskforce on the SDGs as well as the YPF, which was created to foster the development of the nation’s future political leadership. She also eulogized the proud teams of National Assembly of Pakistan and PIPS who worked hard to hold the rousingly successful Commonwealth Day on 13th March, 2023.
Discussing on the topic “Commonwealth for Youth,” Dr. Lal Chand Ukrani MPA from the Provincial Assembly of Sindh and Member of CPA executive committee, joining the seminar through Zoom, emphasized that the future of Pakistan is in the hands of the youth. He stressed that the actions of the entire world community may result in sustainability, wealth, and peace. As part of the concluding interactive session in the Seminar, MNA Ms. Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Additional Secretary SI Syed Shamoon Hashmi and Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, Director General (Research) PIPS answered to numerous questions fielded from the audience’s students and teachers from the Ripah International Universities, Beacon House Margalla Campus, NUST, Ibadat University and the Fauji Foudation School Jauharabad. In her closing remarks at the seminar on Commonwealth Day, Honourable Ms. Mehnaz Akber Aziz MNA and Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice expressed the hope that Pakistani youth are vibrant and dynamic and they have responsibility to play a constructive role in the development of Pakistan and commit to work towards peace building in the community. The day- long seminar concluded with the slogan PAKISTAN ZINDABAD amidst group photo of all participants.
The Director General (Research) presented vote of thanks to all participants and acknowledged Ms Tehseen Khalid, Dir (Research), Mr Muhammad Hanif Nasir DD (Research) and Ms. Ayesha Tariq Khan, Assistant Director (Research) PIPS, along with Ms Salma Joveria, DD, National Assembly of Pakistan, who all played an instrumental role in coordination of the event. Engr. Zahid Ashraf, Assistant Director (Information Technology) and Mr. Qasim, Assistant IT Officer, provided IT support while Ms Tehseen Khalid Moderated the event.