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Legacy of ancient Silk Road highlighted

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a cultural forum here on Friday highlighted the legacy of ancient Silk Road that served as a lifeline for civilizations, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering interactions between diverse cultures.

They were speaking at the Silk Road Cultural Forum’s ”Exhibition of CPEC achievements over the decade,” organized by Pakistan-China Institute in collaboration with China Study Center of COMSATS University.

Three documentaries were also screened on Chinese culture, Chinese and Pakistani cultural dances and Gilgit-Baltistan’s sword dance.

Director China Study Centre COMSATS University Dr Tahir Mumtaz Awan spoke about the significance of the forum and how it would pave the way for enhancing cultural exchanges.

He said Silk Road Forum stood as a testament to the enduring legacy of the ancient Silk Road, which served as a lifeline for civilizations, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering interactions between diverse cultures.

Highlighting the historical background, he said the revival and revitalization of the Silk Road through the modern Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) held the promise of unlocking boundless opportunities for mutual understanding, collaboration, and the preservation of shared heritage.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch praised the Chinese and Pakistani students for their captivating cultural performances on stage, emphasizing the significance of the Silk Road’s history.

Spanning from 138 B.C. to the present, she highlighted these enduring networks that facilitated trade, cultural exchange, and collaboration among communities.

Beyond the exchange of goods, she noted that the Silk Roads also enabled the transmission of ideas and beliefs, exemplified by the diffusion of Buddhism from the Kushan kingdom to China.

She said Buddhist monks, accompanied by merchant caravans, embarked on transformative journeys from India to Central Asia and China, spreading the teachings of this new religion.

She added that cities along the Silk Road bore witness to the presence of Buddhist monuments, underscoring the profound impact of this historic trade route on both the material and spiritual realms.

Former ambassador Masood Khalid discussed the captivating Gandhara civilization and the historic Silk Road, emphasizing their significance to Pakistan.

He highlighted the remarkable cultural exchanges that flourished between Pakistan and China over the past 70 years, particularly after the inception of the CPEC.

Director CPEC Cultural Communication Center of Jiangsu Province Li Wenyu emphasized the vital role of a creative marketing strategy in projecting Pakistan’s rich and diverse culture globally.

By harnessing the power of storytelling, visual aesthetics, and immersive experiences, the director said Pakistan could captivate international audiences and foster a deeper understanding of its traditions and customs.

“Integrating modern technology and digital platforms, collaborating with local and international stakeholders, and investing in innovative approaches are a key to amplifying the reach and impact of Pakistan’s cultural promotion efforts. Through this comprehensive endeavour, Pakistan can position itself as a must-visit destination, bridge cultural gaps, and contribute to the global tapestry of diversity,” Li Wenyu remarked.

Chair Economic Security at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) Dr Aneel Salman emphasized the vital role of culture in economic modernization at the Silk Road Forum. He highlighted the influence of cultural dynamics on economic progress and the need to leverage cultural heritage for innovation and sustainable development.

Drawing from the historical significance of the Silk Road, he showcased how cultural exchange drove economic growth throughout history.

Dr Salman advocated for nurturing a vibrant cultural ecosystem and implementing inclusive policies for accessibility and equitable distribution of benefits.

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