Three Chinese marriages took place on Khunjerab Pass this Friday. Local and international tourists, and border security personnel from both sides joined in the ceremonies. It represented how we are able to be a part of other’s happiness and celebrate the diversity of life. All the parties performed traditional dances with the couples.

Would the same have happened if these couples were Ahmadi, or Shia? Our hate and prejudices have been active for too long, it is a simple switch to make – to accept people as they are, and rejoice in their joy. If we can welcome outsiders, we can welcome our own people.

Pakistani society has also seen various progressions in history. The era before the 70s witnessed a Pakistan that was inherently open and pluralistic. The influx of tourists generated a handsome amount of revenue. The generation growing up in the major cities of Pakistan remembers streets being absolutely safe for both genders. The presence of a foreign tourist in the streets of Pakistan was a very common sight, and the area accommodated all sorts of perspectives, beliefs, and opinions.

The 70s experienced a paradigm shift that has created a generation, which is closed off and has not experienced much of this world. This is also partly because of the streak of terrorists that entered this region. The society started accommodating only a specific brand of people and a specific brand of ideology.

However, the one thing that might just push these rigid perspectives to the side is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The number of Chinese people in the region will increase, eventually forcing the people to accept different outlooks towards life, and creating space for different lifestyles.

If we keep on treading on the same path, exchanges on such levels can have a great impact on society. It can also help in improving narratives about each other, and increase the level of tolerance people have for one another.