ICAPP elects Mushahid Hussain as Co-Chairman

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Mushahid says ‘Asian hands to shape Asian destiny in Asian Century’, 70 political parties from 33 countries participate

DNA

ISLAMABAD, NOV 20: The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), Asia’s oldest and largest organisation of political parties, unanimously elected Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed as the ICAPP Co-Chairman at its biennial  conference here in the historic Turkish city, with 200 representatives and leaders of 70 political parties from 33 countries participating. Mushahid’s name for Co-Chairman was proposed by Thailand and Iran, and supported by China, Cambodia, Russia, Lebanon, Turkiye and Indonesia, before being put to a vote.

Former Foreign Minister of South Korea, Chung Euiyong, was re-elected Chairman of ICAPP.

The ICAPP Conference, held once every two years, also issued the ‘Istanbul Declaration’ which expressed solidarity with victims of the ‘recent devastating floods in Pakistan of epic proportions’ and urged  ‘alleviating hardships of people through climate finance and climate justice’.

Senator Mushahid Hussain thanked the participants for reposing confidence in him and termed his election as a ‘humbling experience for me personally and a great honour for Pakistan’ to be so recognised at an important global forum, which represents public opinion and political parties of the world’s largest continent, Asia.

Mushahid Hussain termed the current epoch as historic transformation for Asia as the ‘balance of economic and political power is shifting from West to East’ marking the ‘dawn of the ‘Asian Century’, which he noted the great visionary Poet of the East, Dr Allama Iqbal, had predicted 90 years back, when he wrote: ‘see, the Sun rising in the East’! He said ‘ICAPP is continuation of the Bandung Spirit, which started in 1955 with the first Afro-Asian Summit hosted by the great Indonesian leader, Dr Soekarno, at the Indonesian city of Bandung’. Senator Mushahid Hussain said the ‘time has come that Asian hands must shape Asian destiny and the future of Asia’. He recounted his own early exposure to Asia, when he was a student studying at a school in Jakarta while his father served as Pakistan’s first Defence Attaché to Indonesia, and later his travels to China, Vietnam, Korea and Cambodia and other Asian countries.

Mushahid also referred to Pakistan’s close connections to Asia, when Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah supported the cause of Indonesian Independence in 1945, the Palestine issue in 1940 and admired the leadership of Turkey’s Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. He said formation of Indian National Army (INA) in Singapore in 1942 served as a catalyst for the freedom struggle in the South Asian subcontinent. Pakistanis also joined in solidarity with the Vietnamese people, while refusing to join the Korean War, although Pakistan participated in the 1955 Bandung Conference.

Senator Mushahid Hussain also quoted from three different world leaders to underline that the ‘current global scenario is unpredictable, volatile and unstable’, noting that President Biden calls it ‘the decisive decade’, President Putin says ‘this is the most dangerous decade after World War II’, while President Xi Jinping talks of ‘once in a century transformative change in the world’. In this context, Mushahid urged Asians to ‘avoid Bloc politics and reject any New Cold War’. He also praised Turkish President Erdogan’s role as a ‘bold voice for Asian rights’. A Media Forum, Business Council and a Tourism Conference were also held on the sidelines of the main ICAPP conference.

Earlier, ICAPP leaders, Chairman Chung Euiyong and Co-Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain, accompanied by former Interior Minister and Deputy Chairman of Turkey ruling Justice & Development Party, Efkan Ala, visited the site in Istanbul’s Istaqlal Street where a terrorist bomb had killed and injured Turkish children, women and men, and they laid a floral wreath at the site, expressing solidarity with the victims families and condolences with the Turkish nation on this heinous crime against humanity. Mushahid also offered Fateha for the victims.

The next ICAPP Conference will convene in Cambodia in 2024.