ISLAMABAD -  The heads of the parliaments from six regional countries at the First Speakers’ Conference on Sunday called for establishing a joint mechanism to cope with the challenges of terrorism and security besides promoting the inter-region connectivity.

The conference adopted 29-point “Islamabad Declaration” of partnership for regional peace, development and connectivity.

Hosted by the National Assembly of Pakistan, the three-day conference commenced here with an objective to focus the parliamentary cooperation for peace, connectivity and prosperity in the region. The theme of conference is “the challenges of terrorism and inter-regional connectivity”.

Besides, Pakistan’s National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Speaker of the Wolisi Jirga of Afghanistan Abdul Rauf Ibraheemi, Speaker of the Shoora-e-Islami of Iran Dr. Ali Larejani, Chairman of the State Duma of Federal Assembly of Russia Volodin Vyacheslav Viktorovich, Speaker of Grand Turkish Assembly Ismail Kehrman and Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Ping, addressed the inaugural session of the international event.

The guests appreciated Ayaz Sadiq for convening the conference to discuss the important issue, presently confronting the whole world.

China’s Zhang Ping in his address said “no country alone can address the challenges, being faced by the mankind and therefore, we will have to work together to tackle them.”

He said the six countries of the region have gathered here to discuss the important challenges of the humanity. “We should commit to secure peace and stability through collective efforts”. He said that China is working with the international community to combat terrorism and stressed the need for joint efforts to defeat this menace.

“China wants peaceful settlement of issues confronting the international community” he added. He said that China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project to connect the whole world will be beneficial for all.

Iranian Speaker Dr Ali Ardeshir Larijani said Islam is the religion of peace and those, misusing the name of religion for terrorist activities are doing no service to Islam.

He said occupation of other countries, poverty and under-development are some of the causes of extremism and terrorism and these must be addressed to overcome the problem. “We have to see the root-causes of the terrorism while fighting with it” he added.

Afghanistan’s Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi said “addressing the challenge of terrorism should be our priority as our progress, peace and prosperity are deeply linked to it.” He said the problem is assuming new dimensions as terrorist groups have modern weapons and ammunition. The terrorists are targeting the civilians, women and children in the name of religion.

The Afghan parliament chief said, “Islam does not allow anyone to kill people as it is against the humanity, killing one people means killing of whole humanity.” Afghanistan is fighting against terrorism as a front line state, he added. He said “without joint efforts fight against terrorism cannot be won.”

Russian Duma Chairman Vyacheslav V Volodin said “we can defeat terrorism through collective efforts.” He called for choking funding for terrorism and strengthening legislative measures in this regard. “We can only effectively fight against terrorism jointly,” he added. Turkish assembly speaker Ismail Kahraman said the conference is going to yield positive results and therefore, it needs to be made permanent feature. He said Turkey has also remained a victim of terrorism.

He said that for last many years, Turkey has been facing terrorism. He also endorsed the idea of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of establishing a permanent secretariat of the speakers’ conference.

The conference in its declaration recognised that peace was a prerequisite for achieving development and promoting connectivity among the countries and respective regions, agreeing on the need for more engagement and dialogue among the Parliaments, government and the people.

They noted with concern the increasing links between drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organised crime and terrorism.

The moot desired to maintain the momentum of high level exchanges and consultations, providing impetus for deepening of ties among the countries.

The speakers stressed that cooperation among the states contributed to the strengthening of peace, prosperity and stability for the peoples living in the region, expressing satisfaction on multilateral cordial and close cooperation at regional and multilateral fora.

They agreed to further strengthen collaboration within the framework of the United Nations, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other regional and international organization, reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity among the conference participating states.

The conference endorsed that connective was a key priority area of cooperation, together with other agreed priority areas, besides it recognised that enhancing intra-regional connectivity would benefit all participating countries through enhanced trade, investment, infrastructure, tourism, people-to-people linkages and cultural exchanges.