by Misbah Saba Malik
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- As Pakistan and China earlier this month signed an agreement aiming at consolidating their cultural relations and promoting people-to-people contacts, Pakistani artists hailed the further cooperation between the two brotherly countries, believing it could open a new chapter for the two sides' cultural exchanges.
Jamal Shah, managing director of Pakistan National Council of Arts, said that China has a very rich cultural infrastructure so Pakistan has a great chance to learn from it, adding that the bilateral cultural pact is important to strengthen the already strong relations between the two countries.
"There are many possibilities of exchange in various areas of culture including archeology, history, cinema and theater, music, dance, etc. The cultural pact will open up avenues for both countries," he said.
The bilateral agreement was signed between Chinese Minister of Culture Luo Shugang and Pakistan's Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb, covering the fields like movie, tourism and cultural heritage protection.
Veteran Pakistani filmmaker Syed Noor, who has 48 films at his credit, said that the agreement would open a new chapter of cultural exchange between the two countries.
Noor said that Pakistani film industry is in its revival phase and in this hour of need only a friend can come for its rescue. "China has once again proved that it is Pakistan's friend in need."
"I am very excited that China and Pakistan will work together in cultural fields. China has a huge film industry, they use modern technology for filmmaking and I hope during the cultural cooperation program our people will get a chance to learn from Chinese," Noor told Xinhua.
He said he will be very happy watching Chinese films screening at Pakistani cinemas and vice versa, adding that for him it is like a dream come true.
Some artists believe that with the initiation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) it was inevitable to make cultural cooperation agreement because it will help the people of both countries to understand each other better.
"Cultural exchanges are helping people from both countries to understand each other, so in a way the corridor has enhanced these cultural exchanges and these cultural exchanges will strengthen the project and will further cement bilateral ties," Aurangzeb told Chinese media earlier.
Rehan Sheikh, a famous local actor and filmmaker whose recently released film "Azad" is being lauded by the viewers and critics alike, said that China is making a huge investment in Pakistan in the form of CPEC so it is the right time for the people of both countries to know each other better so that the brotherly relationship which is being strengthened by economic cooperation becomes more cordial.
"This cultural agreement was much needed, now both countries will have a better understanding of each other when we will watch each others movies and other art works we will have a better understanding of each other," he said.
People from theater also expressed pleasure over the agreement and said that the move will give a chance to theater actors to learn from Chinese artists.
Waqar Azeem, theater actor-director told Xinhua that theater is a neglected form of art in Pakistan and he is hopeful that the recently signed agreement will help improve it as people will get attracted to theater when they will come to know that Chinese theater troupe is performing in Pakistan.
Pakistani public has also high hopes from the agreement, as it will provide more entertainment opportunities to them.
Attiya Saleem, an educationist in Islamabad, said that Pakistanis are fond of watching Indian TV dramas and movies, which sometimes are anti-Pakistan, so entry of Chinese movies and dramas into Pakistani cultural scene is a good move as by this way people will get to know the culture of a brotherly country.