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May 17, 2021

‘Friends of China’ to facilitate bilateral mechanisms for cultural collaboration

Islamabad : Speaking at the re-launching of social and cultural network ‘Friends of China’ the experts urged the governments of Pakistan and China to work on the establishment of mechanisms for cultural promotion and social integration.

The cultural experts and practitioners shall lead the collaboration backed and facilitated by the governments. They said both countries are ‘iron friends’ for the last seven decades but the culture of both countries is less known to the people on both sides.

Cultural performances and arts showcasing shall replace fusion of recreation of culture, learning and understanding each other based on the cultural heritage. The pandemic time shall be used for planning and development of the mechanisms to boost cultural ties and social integration based on the learning.

The Friends of China is an initiative of Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) initially launched in 2011 on the national of China under the chairmanship of former senator and ambassador late Muhammad Akram Zaki.

Shahid Mahmood Nadeem said very little is done to explore the cultural ties based on in-depth learning of civilizations and heritage of both countries. “Only cultural performances won’t work in the contemporary work where market mechanisms have made the culture backbone of bilateral political and economic collaborations,” he added.

He suggested a hierarchy under the CPEC comprising experts from the private sector with sector-wise sub-committees for each discipline of arts and culture. He suggested that Devcom and Friends of China can play a networking role in the establishment of mechanisms required to boost bilateral cultural collaborations.

Sheema Kermani said culture brings people together, so it is necessary to have elaborate mechanisms for cultural collaboration backed and supported by both governments. “It should be based on equal terms. Our culture should not be compromised against the rich Chinese culture. Joint cultural products should be the focus instead of only cultural performance. There are many fields of arts and culture where Pakistani youth and practicing artists can learn from. They include puppetry, animation films, cinematography, theatre and film, dance and musical production,” she added.

Hassan Daud Butt highlighted the friendship between the two countries that has a history of understanding each other at equal level. “Leadership at all levels and from both countries have contributed towards fostering Pak-China relationship considering it a responsibility. The strategic relationship is transforming into economic partnership at the moment where people-to-people contact and cultural interaction are key pillars of BRI and CPEC,” he added.

He said tourism and culture were discussed time again at the BRI forums and Pakistan has many features to showcase. “The officials in embassies are willing to contribute however cultural troupe and theatre shows need to be developed around silk route history and importance of the region with central focus on Pakistan. The language is an important aspect and Pakistan Study Centres in China that need to be strengthened to support interaction,” he added.