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BEIJING: The media persons, lawmakers, academics and intellectuals from China and Pakistan Friday called for joint efforts to highlight cooperation between the all-weather friends and counter negative propaganda against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The multi-billion dollar flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative launched by China will remain a distant reality unless concreted steps are taken to project its true perspective.

This was the overall impression exuded by the Chinese and Pakistani speakers at the day-long CPEC Media Forum organized by China Economic Net and Pakistan-China Institute here.

In his opening remarks, Pakistan China Institute and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the CPEC has become a success story within a period of five years.

He said the work is progressing well on the building of Gwadar Port, Thar Coal Power and Mining Project and other infrastructure development projects and asked the media to focus the development process and counter negative propaganda being generated by vested interests.

He said the two all-weather friends are linked through rivers and mountains and both countries will overcome all the difficulties and ensure better tomorrow of the two people.

In his keynote speech, Senator Pervaiz Rashid observed that Chinese investment under CPEC is a remarkable initiative and said the flagship project will revive old Silk Road.

Both the countries share a common history and are working jointly to safeguard and enhance common interests, he added.

He said the CPEC has entered a new phase of industrialization and media cooperation has to play a vital role to quell disinformation in the current circumstances.

He pointed out that both the countries have ensured fair allocations of funds for the different projects in all parts of the country and proposed to set up a joint forum of experts to hinder the propaganda against the CPEC as well as the deep-rooted friendship between two countries.

In his remarks, Ambassador of Pakistan, Masood Khalid appreciated the forum for serving as a platform for Pakistani and Chinese scholars and journalists to exchange views on media collaboration and enhancing people to people contacts.

He said the CPEC has elevated the already close friendship between Pakistan and China to “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partnership”.

The ambassador said in the changing media environment, the media of both countries need to work proactively to give a positive projection by showing stories of human interest.

He also termed the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China as a beacon of a new era of friendship between the two countries.

Executive Secretary, All-China Journalists Association, Wang Dongmei called for a dialogue between media of two countries to enhance cooperation and counter negative campaign against the CPEC.

She said the forum has provided a platform to get together and discuss ways and means to take friendship between the all-weather friends to new heights.

She stressed a need of enhancing the role of media to promote people to people bonds and accurate and timely projection of consensus and cooperation aimed at creating a just environment.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Economic Daily, Ding Shi observed the CPEC has driven Pakistan’s economic growth and created employment opportunities for the local people.

He pointed out that in the joint declaration after the Prime Minister Imran Khan visit, the two sides agreed to expedite the CPEC.

He said the media should play a role and need to highlight positive image about the flagship project and developments projects.

Deputy Director of International News Department, Xinhua News Agency, Guan Xinguo said media has contributed to promoting Pak-China all-weather friendship.

Media need to ensure a joint voice and enhance cooperation against the elements who are deliberately distorting the image of CPEC, he added.

He urged the media from both countries to spread true stories of CPEC and expedite efforts to promote the exchange of experts and media persons.

Former MNA, Dr Shazra Kamran stressed to project role of women in the building of CPEC and pointed out that a number of women are working on Thar Coal project.

She said the Pakistani students learning Chinese will enhance people to people contact between the two countries while the CPEC is also a corridor for cultural connectivity.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Guangming Daily, Shen Weixing opined that the media as a bridge should ensure the objective reporting the economic cooperation between two countries.

He asked the media of the two countries to monitor the progress of CPEC and apprise the two people and the world about the true image.

He said media play a key role and it needs to conduct timely and accurate reporting on the outcome of CPEC.

Pakistan Stock Exchange Former Chairman Muneer Kamal pointed out that with the development of the CPEC, there was a lot of news report against this pilot project.

Pakistan has made remarkable success against terrorism and Karachi is now a safe city and a center of business activities in Pakistan.

He remarked that China decided to invest in Pakistan at a time when no other country was ready to come and invest. The media should project the cooperation and contribute news reports for the better understanding of the CPEC and its benefits.

Deputy Director of News Center, CGTN, Jiang Heping said media should work closely and shoulder to shoulder for projecting the CPEC and counter the negative propaganda of the western media.

He cautioned that there will be more challenges for CPEC in its new phase and said there is a need for more projection of the stable economic environment in Pakistan.

Some elements are accusing CPEC as debt trap through fake news and media should remove this misconception through concerted efforts.

Planning and Development Gwadar Port Authority Director General Munir Ahmed Jan said the Gwadar port is an important component of CPEC and a misconception is being spread by some elements.

It is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to be responsive and open to media helping them to reflect true perspective and development of projects, he added.

Earlier “CPEC Communication Award” for the CPEC best investigative story of the year was awarded to Pakistani and Chinese journalists.

The media forum was attended well by parliamentarians, journalists, think-tanks representatives, analysts and academicians from Pakistan and China.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018