Lahore: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Wednesday stressed the need for the creation of a South Asian Parliament (SAP) to strengthen coordination among regional governments in various sectors.
Addressing the delegates of the 8th South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) annual meeting at a local hotel here, he said the creation of SAP would help form South Asian Free
Trade Area (SAFTA), South Asian currency, South Asian collective security and South Asian Union (SAU) on the pattern of the European Union.
Giving out his vision of a vibrant South Asia, Kaira said such steps would help coordination in water, energy, communication, information, tourism and economic sectors among the member countries. South Asian economies could be integrated through development of transnational infrastructure and monetary cooperation involving greater coordination among the governments and the central banks.
Kaira said that the declaration of the 14th SAARC Summit should be implemented for greater connectivity and opening of routes as well as borders among the member states. “A choice has to be made by opening minds: Whether we will continue to be held back behind the barbed wires of anti- routes’ ideologies, approaches and structures”, he said.
He said cooperation in the information, communication and transport sectors as well as envisaging an integrated trans- regional infrastructure would allow uninterrupted flow of information, people, goods, skills, capital and service across and beyond the region.
Kaira said the distribution and management of water resources, though quite a divisive issue among the upper and lower riparian regions, needs to be undertaken amicably in the spirit of riparian rights without depriving the lower riparian regions of their due rights.
Regarding energy sector, he called for evolving a South Asian energy grid with integrated electricity and gas systems. The gas and oil pipelines, electricity transmission lines along with highways and railways can run from Central Asia and Iran, through Pakistan and Afghanistan to whole of the South Asia and ending to the South East Asia.