Government gets more time to improve Makli monuments -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government gets more time to improve Makli monuments

KARACHI: The World Heritage Committee has given a few more months to the Sindh government and asked it to submit a comprehensive report early next year regarding the status of and the steps taken for the Makli monuments, said the Sindh culture secretary here on Thursday.

In a statement, secretary Aziz Uqaili said the world heritage committee at its 36th session held in St Petersburg in July did not take any adverse decision and sought a comprehensive report by February 2013 as it was satisfied with the recent steps taken by the Sindh government regarding the monuments.

He said the government would further improve the governance and conservation of the site.

Citing some background of the issue, he said the World Heritage Committee at its 33th session in Seville in 2009 had requested the federal government to prepare and provide a master plan and convey progress on its implementation.

He said the same demand was repeated at the 35th session (Unesco 2011) when the site was actually transferred to the Sindh government. During these two years and three decades earlier (since the inscription of Makli as a World Heritage Site in 1981) neither a master plan was executed nor any major development scheme was introduced for Makli by the federal government, said the provincial culture secretary.

Giving some details of the efforts of the Sindh government in relation to the Makli monuments, he said the government, after getting control of the archeological sites a year back, had taken many steps for the protection, preservation and promotion of the archeological heritage of Sindh, particularly the Makli monuments.

He said an endowment fund of Rs200 million had been created for Makli and Banbhore and the process for master plan for Makli had been initiated and actual work on it would begin in September.

Besides, a development scheme on Makli had been included in the provincial ADP and its PC I had been placed for approval, and two memorandums of understanding had been signed by Unesco (December 2010) and Heritage Foundation of Pakistan (February 2012) for capacity building and documentation. The later focused on Makli and was being implemented since April, he added.

He said that after receiving concurrence from the Sindh government, Unesco/ International Council of Sites and Monuments reactive monitoring mission visited Makli from May 5 to 10, and in its report it observed that “with this change (devolution), which took place only last year, major constraints in management of the property occurred.

“The provincial government has tried to meet these challenges by formulating the PC I for Thatta and its approval by the government, by outsourcing specialists to the Heritage Foundation (Karachi) and by establishing the district disaster management authority which has prepared a disaster contingency plan for district Thatta…time should be given to the state party (now the Sindh government) to continue implementation of very recent activities which were observed and are quite promising with concrete indication of success (Heritage Foundation, approval of PC I along with guarantee of finances),” added Mr Uqaily quoting the report of the mission to the committee regarding its visit to Makli.