Phnom Penh, 21 November 2022 (TDI): Pakistan attended the opening ceremony of the 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) as an observer.

The delegation of Pakistan was represented by Salahuddin, a Member National Assembly of Pakistan. Additionally, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Babar Thaheem was also present.

The 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) is underway in Cambodia from 20-25 November.

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This year, the theme of the session is “Advancing Together for Sustainable, Inclusive, and Resilient ASEAN”. The agenda of the assembly aims at investment in peace, sustainable development, and recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Observer status of Pakistan

Back in 2021, Pakistan received Observer Status in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA). This milestone was achieved as a result of effective parliamentary diplomacy and concerted efforts by the Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser.

The 42nd AIPA General Assembly held in Brunei Darussalam approved the accreditation of the National Assembly of Pakistan to the AIPA as an observer. It is to be noted that Pakistan was seeking observer status since 2017.

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However, with the continued attempts of Asad Qaiser, the National Assembly of Pakistan succeeded in achieving the status. It was accomplished by altering the guidelines of AIPA in Pakistan’s favor.

With Pakistan being the observer, the country will benefit from the AIPA by fostering its bilateral and multilateral ties within and beyond the ASEAN region.

What is AIPA?

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) is a regional parliamentary organization. It was initially formed as The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO) by leaders of ASEAN countries in 1977.

The AIPA consists of the parliaments of the 10 ASEAN member countries. The countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Additionally, 16 observer parliaments are part of it including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the European Parliament, and Pakistan among others.

The main aim of AIPA is to encourage understanding, cooperation, and close relations among its member parliaments. Moreover, it observes member parliaments and parliamentary organizations.

It is pertinent to mention that the regular sessions of AIPA are held once a year in compliance with Article 9 of the AIPA Statutes to discuss AIPA objectives and interchange among members.