Islamabad - China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not confined to economic uplift and prosperity only, but it will also further deepen the bilateral cultural cooperation and bond between Pakistan and China, speakers said on Thursday.

International Islamic University (IIU) organized a conference on “Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), CPEC and the Global Media: Rhetoric and reality”, where national and international speakers issues of discussed Islamophobia, China and Muslim world’s relations, fruits of  CPEC and preparation for the corridor in the future.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) International Peace Foundation (IPF) Dr Haiyun MA said that CPEC will shorten the gaps between various regions and will bring opportunities for preparing skilled human resource. He also said that it will be a good initiative for Chinese-Muslim relations through Pakistan. Dr  MasoomYasinzai, IIUI Rector termed CPEC as a “ win win venture” for both nations saying that it will produce best human resource and believed that youth was the guarantee of success  of this project.  He urged that nations must remove the history of hatred and stressed to promote peace. Talking about the Islamophobia he said Islam was misunderstood in most of the regions of the world and emphasized on the importance of media to portray its true image.  “Islam is all about hugging not pushing, it calls for humanity and peace and discourages violence” he continued.  

Dr Masoom maintained that Pakistan will prove to be a window to the Muslim world for China. He also called for bilateral programs of universities to address issues relevant to the society. Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh said in his speech that BRI and CPEC would help connect the east and the west through mutual economic cooperation.  He added that unlike many other development and technological initiatives in the world, BRI and CPEC are two-way in nature, from south (developing world) to north (developed world).  He mentioned that mass media can play an important role in connecting people from east and west through these development projects. He opined that differences in culture and religion are dividing people on earth and resulting in clash of ideologies and civilizations. Media by projecting developmental activities can bridge the gaps in culture and religion. He hoped that the CPEC will also raise the educational standards in the country through literal cooperation.

Dean of the social sciences faculty at IIUI Dr Samina Malik welcomed the guests and highlighted the issue of Islamophobia, while she expressed hope that the conference will produce best recommendations on CPEC’s utilization. Earlier, Chairman Media and Communication Studies, Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal said that media has a pivotal role in both positive social attributes and steering the anti social activities including extremism.

“Media must be activated to overcome the problem of terrorism,” he suggested. He furthered that cultural and ideological differences are not important in the prevailing global situation but it is all about utilizing the sources and resources. “The conference will explore Chinese efforts to turn difference parts of the globe into economic hubs and role of media in furthering this emprise,” said Dr Zafar while speaking on objectives of the conference. He continued that the conference will mainly focus on negative portrayal of BRI and CPEC, use of media for removing trust deficit in terms of CPEC developments, to minimize the impending clash of civilizations and to promote peace and harmony through Islam’s true message of peace. The conference will discuss important topics such as New World Order from Asia, impact of BRI on economy, security and environment, BRI in the global media, understanding Islamophobia: Past and present and BRI and Islam as mediated construct: Image and reality, while it will conclude on Friday.