Excluding western route is out of question: Sun Weidong
Islamabad—Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid has said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) holds potential to transform cultural ties and deepen people to people contacts between Pakistan and China. He said this while speaking to the participants of Ningxia Car Rally and artists who have come all the way to Pakistan after travelling 7000 kilometres in 22 days from Chinese region of Ningxia. A large number of dignitaries, ministers, friends of China and Pakistan attended the ceremony. Governor of People government of Ningxia Hui, Autonomous region of China and Ambassador of China in Pakistan Sun Weidong were also among the guests. The information minister said at a time when Pakistan has joined China in its initiative of “One Belt One Road” (OBOR), both countries also intend to work closely to revive the ancient Silk Road. The road focuses on infrastructure which constitutes the strategic framework of bilateral cooperation between the two countries under the ambit of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a network of roads, railways and pipelines, he added. He said given the enormity of CPEC’s cultural potential, it is imperative for both countries to pay attention to the cultural dimensions by extending scope of public diplomacy. The minister said it is only through further strengthening of people to people contacts that CPEC can be transformed from a governmental project to grassroots affinities at a much deeper level. The minister particularly mentioned and thanked Governor of Ningxia Hui calling him the moving spirit behind the rally. His presence along with the participants of the car rally indicated the importance China attaches to promotion of cultural relations between the two countries, said the minister. Ambassador Sun Weidong in his brief address dismissed the rumours that western route was not part of the CPEC. “The passage going through western part of Pakistan to Gwadar is definitely part of China Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he made it clear.
“As we see it, all the routes lead to development and prosperity. Under the Belt and Road Initiatives, CPEC will make its contribution to reviving the Silk Road Spirit,” he added. He said in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiatives reviving the great Silk Road Spirit. Sun Weidong said as the major and pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative, China Pakistan Economic Corridor has entered into full implementation with remarkable progress. “Sixteen early harvest projects are under consideration, with total investment of 13.6 billion USD and tens of thousands of new jobs have been created for local people.” He said connectivity is made for facilitating people to people exchange. He said since more than 2000 years ago, China and Pakistan have been connected through the great Silk Road. Along this road, businessmen and envoys travelled through mountains and deserts, trading specialties and learning exotic cultures. One of the most prominent travellers was Xuanzang who lived in the 7th century. From Xian, then capital of China, he travelled 80,000 kilometers to South Asia, he told. The envoy said Xuanzang lived in Taxila for three years, studied language and classics and brought precious Buddhist scriptures back from there. The Silk Road has brought well being and prosperity for the people along the route, he said adding by promoting exchanges among ethic groups, cultures and religions, the Silk Road advanced civilizations, and cultivated the Silk Road spirit.