The Senate Chairman laid the groundwork for a dream which may not be so far away. Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani called for taking solid and practical steps to create an Asian Parliament by stressing the need for introducing a visa-free regime among Asian countries. He introduced this idea in front of parliamentary delegations of Turkey, Bahrain, East Timor, France, Iran and Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) in meetings of Asian Parliamentarian Assembly (APA).

Improving relation and building communication channels with Asian countries has always been a goal of Pakistan, yet what makes this instance particularly exciting is that now we have a very realistic channel to communicate- Gwadar, which is currently where the sessions of the APA are being held, and which because of CPEC, can very well serve as a medium for Asian cooperation and investment. The Chairman focused mostly on more open communication with two Asian countries- Turkey and Iran. Sanjrani called upon Turkish investors to invest in different sectors in Gwadar, and stressed the huge potential that Iran-Pakistan cooperation could play in APA.

A future of strong Asian unity, which leads to the path of a visa-free regime between Asian countries, seems a distant vision today. However, world relations today, with Trump’s USA and its unpredictable trading habits, do make conditions more conducive for Asian unity than before. Pakistan is in a better position now than ever to lead the Asian effort, which if successful, could lead to massive economic and touristic benefits for all parties.

Certainly, a visa free regime sounds like a dream for Pakistanis, who have to endure inconvenient difficulty for securing visas. These initiatives by Sanjrani are commendable but with extremism still prevalent in Pakistan, it is not likely that this dream will be a reality any time soon. Much still needs to be done, but these first few steps are hopeful.