LAHORE: Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has called for developing an ‘information silk road’ for having maximum benefits out of economic corridor to be constructed by China in the Asia-Pacific region.
PCJCCI President Shah Faisal Afridi said here that roads and railways were easy enough to build, but it was hard to cultivate mental harmony among people that holds more importance in regional connectivity. Information has become a core resource and is crucial to international cooperation.
“The next leap for regional connectivity is to create Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway,” he said, adding that infrastructure development was progressing steadily for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, but parallel with a communication and infrastructure network connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa, there was a dire need to break the barriers of information among the connecting nations.
Afridi elaborated that people-to-people bond provides the public support for implementing strategic initiatives. “We should carry forward the spirit of friendly cooperation of the Silk Road by promoting extensive cultural, academic, personnel exchanges and cooperation among media, youth and volunteers so as to win public support for deepening bilateral and multilateral harmony,” he said.
The PCJCCI suggested various strategies to promote a well synchronized intellectual and business environment among the silk route countries.
He said, “We should expand the scope and scale of bilateral currency swap and settlement with other countries along the Belt and Road apart from opening and developing the bond market in Asia and making joint efforts to establish the joint financial institutions like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and BRICS New Development Bank, which will pave way for carrying out multilateral financial cooperation in the form of syndicated loans and bank credits in the region through China-ASEAN Interbank Association and SCO Interbank Association,” he maintained.
Afridi pointed out that Pakistan had a vast role to play for bridging the gap between political parties and the parliaments of the nations situated alongside the Silk Road.
He proposed to develop a concrete agenda to initiate an effective communication process among the states being connected through Pak-China economic belt as well as the Silk Road. The agenda should specially include friendly exchanges of the respective legislative bodies and political parties.
He expressed confidence that present government of Pakistan was quite capable of taking successful initiatives in this regard. He hoped that such initiatives would emerge Pakistan as a leader of the region, which would make us able to supersede the so called influence of India in the neighboring countries. He assured of his fullest cooperation on behalf of the Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry in this move, which would also have the fullest support of all Chinese Companies operating in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Wang Zihai Chairman Association of all Chinese companies working in Pakistan has also appreciated the idea of the PCJCCI for developing an information super highway in the Asia-pacific region. To materialize this idea, he has proposed to hold culture years, arts festivals, film festivals, TV weeks and book fairs in each other countries.