Cultural diversity can open gates for development
ISLAMABAD cultural diversity is a valuable resource through which the country can open up ways for economic development. This was consented by antiquarians, historians and archaeologists on Friday at an event marking World Day for Cultural Diversity at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU)Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC).The “Annual Heritage Forum 2016” was organised by Silk Road Centre in collaboration with TIAC and Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies. The forum was organised to highlight the historical and cultural significance of Buddhist heritage of Pakistan.
Speakers were of the view that there was no doubt that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was significant for millions of people, but noted that there were many other routes which could be converted into economic corridors.
Foreign Ministry Special Secretary Muhammad Waheedul Hasan said there was a large gap between national development policy and cultural heritage of the country which needed to be bridged to achieve economic goals.
American archaeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, a noted expert on the Indus Valley Civilisation, stated that there were hundreds of heritage sites in Taxila needing urgent excavation and preservation.
Dr Muhammad Ashraf of TIAC said that Taxila had been crucial in terms of its diverse cultural history, adding that the historic sites were rediscovered in the 19th century. A large number of historians and archaeologists were attracted to the buried heritage of Buddhism and a plethora of literature on it was available today because of their hard work, he said.
QAU National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research In charge Dr Sajid Mahmood Awan asked why we are so apologetic about our cultural heritage. “For archaeologists, we are resistant people, for sociologists, we are pluralistic, and for social scientists, we are dynamic,” he added.
Frontier Works Organisation Public Relations Manager Husain Qazi said Pakistan will have to work hard towards preserving heritage sites which can play an important role in improving our GDP through heritage tourism. He said six of the country’s heritage sites were included in the UNESCO world heritage site list. Thousands of rock carvings in the Chilas valley rank among world’s largest “living heritage museums” and should be preserved, he added.