At its biennial conference in Turkey on Sunday, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) overwhelmingly elected Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed as the ICAPP co-chairman.
With 200 representatives and leaders from 70 political parties from 33 countries, the conference is the largest and oldest organisation of political parties in Asia.
Before the voting, Syed’s name for co-chairman was put out by Thailand and Iran with the support of China, Cambodia, Russia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Indonesia.
Chung Euiyong, a former foreign minister of South Korea, was also re-elected as the organization’s chairman.
The Istanbul Declaration, which was also released by the ICAPP meeting, called for “alleviating people’s hardships via climate finance and climate justice” and expressed sympathy with those affected by the “recent terrible floods in Pakistan of epic proportions.”
Senator Syed expressed his gratitude to the participants of the conference for their vote of confidence in him and described his election as a “humbling experience” and “a great honour for Pakistan” to have been given such recognition at a significant international forum that included political parties and the public’s opinion of the world’s largest continent.
As the “balance of economic and political power is moving from West to East,” Syed described the current period as a “historic change” for Asia and the “dawn of the Asian Century.”
He said that Dr Allama Iqbal, a great poet of the East known for his visionary writings, had predicted this 90 years prior in his poem “See, the Sun Rising in the East.”
The ICAPP meeting, according to Syed, is a continuation of the Bandung Spirit, which began in 1955 with the first Afro-Asian Summit hosted by Indonesian leader Dr Soekarno in the Indonesian city of Bandung.
The senator claimed that “Asian hands must mould Asian destiny and the future of Asia” at this point.
While a student at a Jakarta school and his father was Pakistan’s first defence attaché to Indonesia, he described his own early experiences in Asia. Later, he visited China, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, and other Asian countries.
Syed also mentioned Pakistan’s deep ties to Asia, namely how Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah supported the independence movements for Indonesia and Palestine in the 1940s and appreciated Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s leadership in Turkey.
An earlier visit to Istanbul’s Istiklal Street, where a terrorist bomb had killed and injured Turkish children, women, and men, was made by ICAPP leaders Chairman Chung Euiyong and Co-Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain, together with former Interior Minister and Deputy Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice & Development Party Efkan Ala.
To show their support for the relatives of the dead and to offer their condolences to the Turkish people for this heinous crime against humanity, the officials placed a floral wreath at the scene. Syed prayed for the victims as well.
Cambodia will host the next ICAPP Conference in 2024.