Lahore—President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Faisal Afridi said that Pakistan has the potential to become the safest place of investment enjoying collaboration of China in all fields of trade and industry. He said that no relationship between two sovereign states is as unique and durable as that between Pakistan and China. Pak-China cultural street should be established in different cities of Pakistan to promote cultural harmony between China and Pakistan, Shah Faisal Afridi said.
Afridi said that the lack of cultural contacts between the two countries was one of the key challenges for a durable economic relationship between Pakistan and China. He was of the view that at a time when Pakistan is entering into major economic relations with foreign countries in the region as well as globally, it is imperative to pay attention to the cultural dimensions of international relations by extending the scope of public diplomacy.
He said that the interactions between citizens of neighboring countries, if based on an informed understanding of diverse cultural practices and aesthetic traditions, can engender a process of acculturation, which can help evolve transnational identities based on geo-cultural heritage of the region. In view of the shared cultural histories of China and Pakistan, Faisal Afridi suggested to establish Pak-China Cultural streets embracing everything within the cultural dimension of China.
He observed that the Cultural Street will also serve as a fascinating entertainment place for citizens of Pakistan. Faisal Afridi said that the Cultural street can include Chinese cuisine, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese Literature, kungfu and martial arts, Chinese movies and theatre, Chinese dresses, moreover Traditional Chinese festival such as Spring festivals, Mid-Autumn Day, etc. can also be celebrated in those streets of Pakistan, along with Pakistani local festivals, such as Shindoor Mela, Mela Chiraghan, and Jashn-e-Baharaan.
Faisal Afridi further explicated that the cultural links should extend beyond the traditional modes of inter-state contacts, it may include student and faculty exchange programs between universities, academic conferences and professional associations of Chinese and Pakistani experts, and civil society collaborations. He asserted that the interactions between Pakistani and Chinese media should also be encouraged along with joint ventures in creative arts like cinema, theatre and music, led by inter-governmental collaborations.
According to Faisal Afridi, a sustained relationship between Pakistan and China requires a mutual understanding of cultures, traditions and language, which can take place only through a robust people-to-people contact. “A holistic state policy towards culture which could guide the national cultural development as well as fill in the ranks for the cultural diplomacy through foreign cultural relations is yet to take shape, added Afridi. It is notable that mere media management will not soften up Pakistan’s image, as the world is not only watching our news footage, but also screening our creative endeavors.
It is only through further strengthening the people-to-people contacts that actually we would be transforming CPEC from a governmental project to an economic venture espousing grass-root affinities at much deeper level, Faisal Afridi added and assured of his fullest efforts and cooperation to fill in the cultural gaps while knitting the trade and investment relations between Pakistan and China.