ISLAMABAD - Mian Raza Rabbani yesterday lamented the double standard adopted by the US and Western powers over the blatant violations of human rights in Palestine and Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

In his opening remarks at the meeting of Standing Committee on Economic and Sustainable Development Affairs of Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Islamabad, he regretted the silence of torchbearers of HR i.e. West over the blatant violations of human rights in Palestine and Indian Occupied Kashmir. He admitted that there were issues that need to be resolved in order to achieve equitable development and peace in the region.

Mian Raza Rabbani lamented the double standard adopted by the US and western powers and said that the contemporary upheaval and turmoil in Middle East was due to the western policy of regime change. He said that being a Pakistani he witnessed the western double standards when they politically and economically supported the dictatorial regimes in Pakistan and maintained silence over the unlawful prosecution of political workers

Raza Rabbani said that it is imperative for us to look at things in the right dimension.  He urged the member countries to move forward for achieving the goal of Asian Parliament that is "Asian Integration."

The future of Asia lies in the hands of Asian people, Chairman Senate said adding that the criticism by west that Asian integration was not possible due to cultural, religious and social diversity was not true as "we believe that the strength of Asia is its diversity and with diversity comes the unity".  He expressed these views at two -day meeting of Standing Committee on Economic and Sustainable Development Affairs of Asian Parliamentary Assembly. The Senate of Pakistan is hosting the meeting.

Rabbani proposed establishment of 7-8 regional groups of the Asian countries to chalk out the modalities to achieve the objectives of Asian parliament.  These groups then shall share their reports on the upcoming plenary session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly.

Dr Ali Khorram Deputy to APA Secretary-General highlighted the five main issues in front of APA to resolve i.e. How to develop energy integration system in Asia, the environmental impact of energy consumption now and when Asia becomes the main consumer of energy in the world, the Poverty Eradication including food security, sustainable economic growth and role of APA Parliaments to adopt legislation in supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Senator Chhit Kim Yeat, representative of APA President from Cambodia said in his inaugral remarks said that in order to realize the ultimate goal of Asian Parliamentary Assembly, that is, "Integration in Asia", we have to start from somewhere, possibly from Asian Integrated Energy Market. He further added that the role of parliament is essential in improving economic, social and cultural sectors to improve the human development and promote the Human Development Index as an index for the sustainable development goals.

Speaker National Assemble Ayaz Sadiq welcomed the delegates from various Asian countries and acknowledged and commended Rabbani as well as former Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari for exemplary leadership and efforts to reinvigorate this esteemed forum during their respective tenures as APA President.

While speaking on the occasion the speaker National Assembly said that Asia's rise as the global economic, technological and cultural hub, it has become necessary to promptly address and neutralize these common roadblocks jeopardizing the wellbeing, prosperity and future of teeming millions. What we need is building synergies and forging partnerships to deliver effectively as per the ideals of Asian Century. It is on this front that regional parliamentary forums such as APA can play the role of a lynchpin to come up with joint strategies to effective deal with critical issues of energy, food security, human rights, women empowerment, water and sanitation, growth and environment, which are common to the most of the Asia, he added. He said Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and maintains highest standards of nuclear safety and security. Pakistan does not want to indulge in any nuclear arm race in the region.