Shanghai Expo 2010: The Pakistani Pavilion

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The 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai is the first registered one in a developing country. Officially known as “Expo Shanghai 2010,” it will last 184 days and provide China an opportunity to show off its remarkable economic growth. The expo will also give foreign nations and companies a chance to further develop business partnerships with China and Chinese companies. This is the nineteenth in an ongoing series that will look at the expo from country pavilions to trade development. In this article, we take a look at the Pakistani Pavilion.

By Joe Drury

May 17 – With the theme “Harmony in Diversity,” the Pakistan pavilion promises to attract a crowd with its eye-catching structure during the six-month run of Expo 2010. Although the 2,000 square meter pavilion was constructed using modern technology and materials, it resembles the historical Lahore Fort landmark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pakistan’s second largest city.

Originally built in 1025 A.D., the fort’s current trapezoidal configuration representing classic Mughal architecture was in place by 1566. The pavilion’s representation of a cultural landmark within Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, set it apart as an important mirror into Pakistani society for the mostly Chinese visitors to the Expo.

In an interview posted on the Expo’s website, Pakistan Consul-General in Shanghai Mohammed Zafar Hasan said the pavilion will combine modern and folk aspects of Pakistani culture.

“Taking advantage of the Expo, we will introduce the historical, cultural and folk customs as well as development situations in various areas. Moreover, we will highlight the friendly relationship between Pakistan and China,” said Hasan.

The pavilion houses audio and multimedia presentations depicting the daily lives of urban and rural residents to show how modernity and antiquity mix in today’s Pakistan. Outside of the display areas, visitors can also enjoy Pakistani culture through dance performances and various culinary and shopping delights.

The historic ties to China are also depicted, beginning with early commercial relations through the Silk Road.

In the past 60 years ties grew stronger, and now Pakistan and China enjoy a very close and mutually beneficial relationship.

Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China in the early 1950s. Since then, the binding foundation to cooperation has revolved around each country’s ability to strategically hedge India’s regional power. To this end, China provides Pakistan with major military, economic and technical assistance, including the transfer of nuclear technology.

Pakistan reciprocates largely by supporting Chinese ideological issues, such as territorial and human rights concerns.

Like many other countries in the region, economic trade has recently spurred good will between Pakistan and China. A comprehensive free trade agreement was signed in 2008, and officials from both countries hope bilateral trade will jump from US$7 billion a year to US$15 billion in 2010.

The Expo provides an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to color its economic and military ties to China with the unique cultural message of its pavilion.