Acknowledging vital role of 300,000 Pakistanis in the Canadian society, the Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Thursday, said that remittances sent by them were important contribution to Pakistani economy.
Both leaders were of the view that Pakistan and Canada enjoyed close and historical relations. They also shared the desire to further promote and strengthen the relationship particularly through developing trade ties between the two countries.
The Canadian speaker said that the people from Pakistan were the pioneers in building and developing modern Canada. He said that professors from Pakistan, who were working in 90 Canadian universities, had played a critical role in the scientific achievements in Canada.
Bokhari also highlighted the challenges which Pakistan was facing, as a front state, in the war against terrorism. He said that Pakistan had suffered the most in the war as it lost more than 40,000 people. He said that international community must assist Pakistan in overcoming this challenge and it was possible only if all players worked in cohesion.
The Canadian Speaker expressed his sympathies with Pakistan on the loss of lives. He appreciated the role and resolve of Pakistan in fighting terrorism. He said that economic development was a tool to enable youth to divert and spend its energies. He added that lack of economic growth frustrates the young people and they were tempted to do wrong things.
The Canadian Speaker said that the politicians bore the responsibility to be creative and helpful to governments in formulating effective economic policies. The Chairman Senate, while agreeing to his counterpart’s views, said that the parliaments must play their due role and therefore parliamentary exchanges would provide opportunities to learn from each other’s experience.
The Canadian Speaker said that Pakistan was also facing challenges on its Northern front. He observed that at times reports did not reflect the ground realities. The Chairman Senate responded that it was important to see things first hand.
In this context, he extended an invitation to the Canadian Speaker to visit Pakistan along with members of Canada-Pakistan Friendship Group in the Canadian Senate. He said that the visit would enable the Canadian Senators to understand Pakistan’s security challenges and compulsions.
Nayyar Bokhari while talking to Speaker of the Indian Lok Sabha (Parliament) Meira Kumar, while reciprocating the desire for good neighbourly relations with India, said that dialogue was the only way to address issues between the two countries. He also said that both countries were facing similar problems like poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, etc. Therefore, both countries could learn from each other’s experience and thus address the issues more effectively
Both leaders agreed on the importance of frequent parliamentary exchanges as a tool to strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
They also shared the view that the parliamentarians from both sides had played vital role in the rapprochement between Pakistan and India. They expressed their commitment to continue to play this role in promoting dialogue and resolving bilateral issues.
The Indian Speaker, while recalling her visit to Pakistan early this year, said that she found the Pakistani people very open, forthcoming and hospitable. She also said that her visit was the first ever bilateral visit by any Indian Speaker and that she would be visiting Pakistan again in early November to attend the SAARC Speakers Conference.
The Indian Speaker said that 42 political parties had representation in the Indian Parliament and each party had its own position on a range of issues. She added that all parties in the Parliament, which was the voice of the people of India, were of unified on promoting relations with Pakistan.
Chairman Senate said that the Parliament of Pakistan would look forward to her second visit to Pakistan in November 2012. He said that the Parliament represents views and desires of people therefore it would be useful to enhance parliamentary interaction between the two countries.
The Indian Speaker endorsed the views of the Chairman Senate. The Indian Speaker said that the visa agreement signed during the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister to Pakistan in September would fulfill the popular demand from both sides to relax the visa regime.
The Chairman Senate said that the new visa agreement was another positive indicator of growing bilateral relations. He said that the parliamentarians, as responsible representatives, should take initiatives to address the issues being faced by the people of two countries and come up with practical solutions.