Islamabad: Delegations from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Afghanistan and Bhutan arrived in the Pakistani capital on Sunday to attend the sixth conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians that will focus on issues like meaningful participatory democracy and food security in South Asia.
President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate the three-day meet, the main objective of which is to strengthen people-to-people contacts to foster mutual understanding, trust and friendship in the region.
The Indian delegation is being led by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who had made a considerable impact on Pakistani politicians during a bilateral visit to Islamabad in February.
Faisal Karim Kundi, the Deputy Speaker of Pakistan`s National Assembly or lower house of Parliament, said in a statement that the conference will promote a positive image of Pakistan and the participants will be informed about the Parliament`s performance over the past four years.
Speakers and Parliamentarians of the region will discuss a host of issues related to regional cooperation, promotion of democratic values and good governance.
The conference will also focus on meaningful participatory democracy in South Asia, food security in the region and Parliament`s role in accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals.
It is also a forum for exchanging ideas and information on Parliamentary practices and procedures.
The conference supports the work of SAARC and promotes knowledge of its principles and activities among parliamentarians of South Asia.
The first conference of the SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians was held in New Delhi in 1995.
The current conference is being hosted by National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, who led the Pakistani delegation to the last meet held in New Delhi in July 2011.