News & events > Pakistan-China use culture to fight forces of intolerance
12 Dec 2010

Pakistan-China use culture to fight forces of intolerance

[caption id="attachment_7294" align="alignright" width="271" caption="Shanghai Co-operation Organisation"][/caption]

Federal Minister for Culture (Pakistan) Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani said on 25th November 2010 that the government of Pakistan Peoples Party attaches highest importance to the development of culture and performing arts in Pakistan. “One of the important factors driving cultural policy in Pakistan is the fact that culture is a very useful instrument in fighting the forces of intolerance, violence and terrorism in the society”, said the federal minister while addressing the SCO Nanjing Forum on Cultural Industry Cooperation on 25th November 2010. “We believe that our fundamental ethos that is based on tolerance, inclusiveness and harmony-in-diversity, is our strongest weapon in the war against extremism”, the minister told the august gathering of delegates from SCO countries.

He said that his government, while formulating the culture policies, is also making efforts to focus on the cultural industries. “For a Pakistani, being in China is just like being in ones own home”, said the minister adding that China offers new avenues of economic and cultural cooperation to the world but to Pakistan it also offers the warmth of an age-old friend combined with the trust of a good neighbour.

He said the relationship between Pakistan and China is unique as the two countries are not only good neighbours and friends but also trusted partners. The minister pointed out that China has a rich cultural heritage spanning over thousands of years. The China of today, the minister stated, possesses the wisdom of centuries and promises a better and brighter tomorrow.

He said SCO represents nearly half of humanity and Pakistan is its natural member, not only because of its strong historical and cultural ties with the countries of the region but also because it forms the vital lynchpin that connects South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Western China. The minister said SCO is giving momentum to the reopening and strengthening of the trans-Eurasian land routes that were frozen by the political atmosphere of the 20th century. It is set to act as a catalyst for peace, security and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region. To tap the natural cultural affinity among the countries of the SCO region we need to focus on greater people-to-people contact among our nations, the minister emphasised.  

He suggested that this may include the exchange of youth delegations, tourism cooperation as well as greater exchanges in the field of performing arts. The SCO countries, he said must try to work out a joint long-term framework for cultural cooperation that weaves together these various elements.  This may include practical measures for protection, conservation and maintenance of cultural sites; preservation of traditional skills and crafts, development of archaeology and music; encouragement of contemporary arts and culture; and engaging the corporate sector and non-government organizations in cultural activities.

The minister told the Forum that Pakistan is proud to have been associated with SCO as an observer since 2005. “We have been actively participating in the activities of the organization in this capacity. We wish to see this relationship further strengthened by becoming its full member. Our aspiration for the SCO membership is based on our strong commonality of interest and purpose with this organization”, the Culture minister said. The minister while expressing thanks to the organizers said that the Forum has offered participants a valuable opportunity to discuss cultural cooperation within the region and to share their experiences. Later, while speaking at the farewell banquet, Pir Aftab Shah Jilani thanked the Chinese leadership for hosting this event.  He also said that strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and China are a factor of stability in region.

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