A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Tynwald and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly (KPA) of Pakistan during a visit from its Speaker, Hon. Asad Qaiser, on Monday 14th November 2016.
Mr Qaiser met the President, Speaker, Chief Minister and Education Minister during his visit to the Isle of Man. He said: ‘Tynwald is a 1,000-year-old parliament. Our party is for the first time in Government and we want to learn something from you.’
The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on behalf of Tynwald by the President of Tynwald, Hon. Steve Rodan MLC and the Speaker of the House of Keys, Hon. Juan Watterson SHK, solidifies the agreement that by the end of next year Tynwald will have welcomed all 124 KPA Members, in groups of approximately 10, as part of a British Council-sponsored project which also involves the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Watterson said: ‘It was a privilege to welcome Speaker Qaiser to the Isle of Man to explore the similarities and differences of our parliaments and the way we operate. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between our two assemblies will allow for further co-operation on parliamentary practice. We are pleased that the British Council has been willing to fund the visit of all of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa legislators to the Isle of Man over the next 18 months.’
Mr Qaiser, whose background is in education and who has facilitated the establishment of many schools and colleges in his province, including those especially for women, explained: ‘I am keen to build the capacity of our MPs. Most of them – almost 90% – are in the Assembly for the first time, so I put the idea onto the table to bring them all together to the rest of the world, to the developed democracy, so they can practically see what the developed economies and democracies are doing, in parliamentary business as well as government business.’
Mr Qaiser’s visit comes just a week after the second delegation of KPA Members arrived for the two-day programme hosted by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. He said: ‘The groups have learned a lot here so far, so I wanted to come myself and particularly to sign the Memorandum of Understanding. We have so many similarities on so many aspects. We are traditional people, we are history rich people, as you are, and we are looking forward to your assistance.’
With almost 20 years in the provincial parliament, Mr Qaiser is the most senior Member of the governing party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is led centrally by former cricket star Imran Khan.
Accompanied by Secretary Waqar Shah, he also enjoyed a tour of the Island’s three Chambers. He said: ‘It was actually a very unique experience because in our province we just have one Branch in parliament. It is something very refreshing. We have seen the building and are very impressed. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1901 was the year that parliament was established as Commissioner states were declared in the British era. We have one old hall and then the new hall was only built in 2006, so it is quite unique for us to see your building. It is a really fantastic place to be.’
He concluded: ‘I am deeply touched by your hospitality. I decided I did not want to come by plane so we came by ferry from Lancaster and it was a unique experience again. Actually the ship was comfortable for us and we had a cabin. Once we entered into the territory of the Isle of Man at around 6am I said a big “Wow!” and I thought this was some kind of paradise on earth. I would love to bring my children over here for a stay. At first sight I was astonished!’
As part of future delegations, Mr Qaiser plans to send his Chief Minister and Ministers, especially for Education and Local Government, to the Island in the new year. ‘This is a dream of mine,’ he said, ‘ – to get close connections and relations with the people of the Isle of Man, the parliament and the Government.’
The Speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Hon. Asad Qaiser, sits between the Speaker of the House of Keys, Hon. Juan Watterson SHK, and the President of Tynwald, Hon. Steve Rodan, as they sign the Memorandum of Understanding. They are joined by Roger Phillips, the Clerk of Tynwald, and Waqar Shah, a Secretary of KPA. Photo: Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal.
For further information contact:
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Tel: 01624 686303