Hosted by the Pakistan-China Institute in cooperation with the Broad-Link Cultural Creative Group of China and the Tsinghua University, the exhibition brought to Islamabad an array of animated Confucius statues. The day kicked off with a stimulating roundtable discussion on ‘China-Pakistan Relations: Corridors, Culture and Connectivity’. The panel, moderated by Dr. Dushka H. Saiyid, Editor Youlin Magazine, discussed in great detail the importance of preserving cultural heritage along the Economic Corridor.
Professor Li Xiguang, Director of Tsinghua International Communications Center at the Tsinghua University, and one of the key discussants at the roundtable, headed a delegation of students and professionals from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan via road. Describing his fascinating journey from Kashgar to Hunza, Professor Li highlighted how the presence of Chinese inscriptions in Hunza bore witness to the longstanding relations between the two countries. Also featured on the panel was Mr. Salman Beg, CEO Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan, who delineated the efforts being undertaken by AKCSP to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage in the area. He laid great emphasis on the possible challenges the region could face with the influx of tourists from China. Given the small population of Hunza, the preservation activities have borne fruit; however, with a considerable increase in the number of tourists, ensuring the safety of cultural heritage and historical sites could become an uphill task.
The launching ceremony of the Salaam-Confucius Exhibition took place later in the evening, which was attended by foreign dignitaries, parliamentarians, academicians, students, as well as the general public. Federal minister for Culture, Information, Broadcasting and Heritage, Senator Pervez Rashid was the Chief Guest at the ceremony, while President Broad-Link Cultural Creative Group Mr. Lin Youwu, H.E. Acting Ambassador for China Mr. Zhao Lijian, and Professor Li Xiguang from the Tsinghua University were also present on the occasion.
In his welcome note at the opening ceremony, Senator Mushahid Hussain expressed that the teachings of the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, hold relevance for various cultures and countries till this day. He remarked that cultural exchanges constitute the biggest antidote to any and all forms of extremism. Other speakers followed the same theme as their messages echoed a similar stance of spreading the idea of love and harmony through cultural exchanges.
The session was followed by an elaborate flying lantern ceremony and an exhilarating performance by the Peshawar-based band, Khumariyaan. The musical concert was a treat for the audience comprising of diplomats, Chinese delegations, local university students and families.
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