In recognition of his longstanding role on CPEC, Senator Mushahid Hussain was presented with a Special Award during the Media Cooperation Forum on Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) being held in Beijing. The Award Ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 3rd Belt & Road Forum, and the Award was conferred by Li Shulei, Chief of Media, Information & Communication of the Communist Party of China and also member of the Party’s top policymaking Political Bureau. In his acceptance speech, Senator Mushahid Hussain said he was ‘humbled & honoured’ to be given this prestigious first ever ‘Silk Road News Award’, adding ‘this is an honour for not just myself but for Pakistan and it’s people’. Two other Awardees were from Uganda and Russia, and the 3 Award winners were chosen from amongst 4485 participants from 80 countries. Mushahid thanked China for its consistent and enduring support to Pakistan, particularly investment in CPEC projects. Referring to the speech of President Xi Jinping at the Belt & Road Forum, he said ‘BRI is a new platform for international economic cooperation’ terming the BRI as the ‘most significant development and diplomatic initiative in the 21st Century’. He said core of the BRI and, indeed, Pakistan-China relations, is the people-to-people connectivity, especially role of media, think tanks, academia, youth and NGOs to build a more ‘open, inclusive and interconnected world’. Quoting Chairman Mao that ‘an idea becomes a material force when it is grasped by millions and millions of people’, added Senator Mushahid, that ‘BRI is today a material force in the world’, bringing benefits and opportunities globally’. Referring to the international situation, Senator Mushahid Hussain said in the Middle East, ‘we are witnessing a genocide in Gaza, where the West is complicit in Israeli crimes as they are supporting Israel’ and all their talk of human rights and democracy is ‘hypocritical based on double standards’. He termed the Gaza situation as a ‘struggle between the oppressed and oppressors’ and ‘we are with the oppressed & heroic Palestinians’. He termed the BRI as the way forward based on connectivity and cooperation and said ‘CPEC is guarantor for a better tomorrow for Pakistan and people of Pakistan, taking ownership of CPEC, will take CPEC forward towards successful conclusion’. Finally, Senator Mushahid Hussain termed fake news, falsehoods and fiction as the ‘biggest challenge to BRI’ since Information Warfare was being waged against BRI. He urged a collective and cooperative approach of BRI countries on the media front as a ‘collective voice’ will be a force multiplier. Vice Ministers for International Communication from the Publicity and International Departments of the Communist Party of China were present at the ceremony, which was hosted by ‘People’s Daily’ at its headquarters and President and Editor-in-Chief of People’s Daily, party organ of CPC, were present alongside 200 journalists from over 60 countries.

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