Beijing: The opening ceremony of the joint China-Pakistan art exhibition titled “Gandhara Heritage along the Silk Road” was held at the prestigious Palace Museum in Beijing on 15 March 2023. The 3-month long exhibition jointly organized by the Palace Museum and Department of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan, supported by the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing, is showcasing more than 170 Gandhara artefacts from different museums of Pakistan. The exhibition is also one of the major events being held to celebrate 2023 as the Year of China-Pakistan Tourism Exchanges.
Mr. Hu Heping, China’s Minister for Culture and Tourism was the Chief Guest for the occasion. Ms. Fareena Mazhar, Secretary of the National Heritage and Culture Division, Islamabad led the Pakistan delegation to the event. The opening ceremony had wide participation from senior Chinese government officials, including Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan; Dr. Wang Xudong, Director of the Palace Museum; members of the diplomatic corps; academia; tourist and cultural organizations; media; and Pakistani community.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Moin ul Haque commended the efforts of all the institutions involved in successfully planning, organizing and executing the exhibition. Highlighting the significance of Pakistan as the seat of Gandhara for many centuries, he acknowledged the role of Gandhara civilization in the establishment of early linkages between China and Pakistan. The Ambassador stated that this exhibition was a joint effort of the two countries to celebrate our shared heritage; promote heritage tourism; and take inspiration from the past to build a glorious future. He invited the Chinese audience to visit Pakistan and explore the diverse landscapes and cultural traditions of Pakistan, including Gandhara sites.
Ms. Fareena Mazhar spoke at length about the strong ties between China and Pakistan, which are deep-rooted in history. Underlining the centrality of this exhibition as a landmark event in cultural cooperation between the two countries, she expressed the hope that the event would prove to be beneficial not only for general visitors but also for Chinese professionals and scholars to understand Pakistan. Later China’s Minister of Culture officially declared the opening of the exhibition and took a tour with other guests of the exhibition.