Book launch: The power of soft power

'Chinese Soft Power Launch' is about the means through which nations benefit from intangible assets

Our Correspondent July 29, 2015

KARACHI: "A huge event is bypassing us with respect to world politics and the Pakistan-China relationship and no one is noticing it. I felt it my obligation to society and wrote this book," said Syed Hasan Javed, Pakistan's ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany at his book launching ceremony at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) on Wednesday.

In his book titled 'Chinese Soft Power Code', Javed has laid emphasis on soft power as a means through which nations benefit from intangible and non-material assets to not only empower the nation, but also play an effective role in world politics. Speaking at the ceremony, Javed said the world knows China through their enormous export figures, GDP and data on investments, but what is ignored are the attributes and qualities that have brought them to what they are today. "Transformation in China occurs once in a century and we are passing through this era right now," he said.

Speaking about his own struggle as a resident of Karachi, when he used to study under the streetlight on the footpath, he said these are the types of success stories that represent the spirit of Karachi and are a soft power for the people.

The head of the department of policy studies and international relations at IoBM, Talat Wizarat, said that soft power is a relatively new concept that talks about values and philosophy in political systems, as opposed to the much talked about hard power. "China has had numerous ancient civilizations eclipsed in the modern world. It has loads of soft power," she said. Sharing her thoughts on the book, Wizarat said that the author has portrayed how soft power can bring nations together, as in the case of Pakistan and China.

"The book is highly recommended for those who want to understand interstate relations in their totality," she said, further elaborating on how China and Pakistan's relationship has progressed despite changes in world politics. "It is because of their mutual respect for sovereignty and their similar perception about the future. The outcome of this mutual cooperation is the economic corridor," she said.

Speaking on the China-Pakistan economic corridor, the former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Majyd Aziz, said that this cooperation is also extending towards a maritime corridor. "This corridor will be linking the Karachi Port to Gwadar," he said. He highlighted a number of key areas around that Pakistan could learn lessons from China. "The Chinese are a hard working lot. You visit an industrial area of Karachi and would find only 20 per cent of the people working while the rest would be found roaming on the roads," he claimed. He also emphasised the need for Pakistan to establish its own markets in China and go for an export-based economy like China.

Chief guest at the event, Sindh information minister Nisar Khuhro seemed to have no idea what the book was about. "This is a book," he gestured towards the copy, as the audience erupted into laughter. "All I know is it's a written word and a written, printed book has a lot of value in society," he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2015. 


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