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Event Title: Pakistan Delegation Led by Senator Saifullah Abro Is attending Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Standing Committee on Budget and Planning at Tehran, Iran

Event Date: 2023-07-11

Senator Saifullah Abro Advocates for collective actions Against Desecration of Holy Symbols at APA Meeting

During his speech at the meeting of the APA Standing Committee on Budget and Planning in Tehran, Senator Saifullah Abro emphasized the need for international legislation to criminalize the desecration of holy symbols and advocated for a sustainable funding mechanism for the APA.

Abro in his speech drew the attention of the attendees to the recent incident of the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, a matter of great concern. Senator Abro strongly condemned the heinous act and stressed that the incitement to discrimination, hatred, and violence cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of expression. He highlighted that the Parliament of Pakistan unanimously passed a resolution on July 6th, 2023, condemning this vicious act.

The senator urged the members of the APA to send a strong message to both the international community and national governments, calling for legislation to criminalize the desecration of holy symbols across all religions. This would include holy books, personalities, places of worship, and followers. Senator Abro proposed the development of a collective strategy within the APA to promote interfaith harmony and prevent incidents of xenophobia and Islamophobia.

Shifting focus to the funding of the APA, Senator Abro expressed concern over the lack of consensus and progress in this area over the past decade. He reminded the audience of the unanimously adopted model for payment of assessed contributions during the 11th APA Plenary Session in 2018. According to this model, each member parliament was expected to contribute $20,000 per year, with additional budget allocations based on GDP.

To strengthen the APA and align it with other regional parliamentary forums, Senator Abro emphasized the need for an effective and structured funding mechanism agreed upon by all member countries. He suggested that any proposed model should be based on the principle of equality, taking into consideration the economic challenges faced by several member countries.

He concluded by proposing specific measures to address the issue, including the engagement of experts to formulate a comprehensive funding mechanism and the presentation of the finalized plan at the next plenary session for approval.

The Senator expressed hope that the meeting would lead to a consensus and the establishment of a sustainable mechanism for APA budgeting and funding.