Government orders protection of archaeological sites
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has issued order to protect 44 out of 91 archaeological sites that were handed over to the province under the 18th Amendment.
Archaeology and Museums Director Prof Shah Nazar Khan said that the protection order was issued under the Protection Order and Antiquity Act 1997 about the sites that were handed over to the province after devolution of the department.
He said that the sites about which the protection order was issued included Butkara-1, Parn, Saidu Stupa, Najigram, Nimogram, Amlukdara Stupa, Dangram Stupa, Shingardara Stupa, Shnasha Stupa, Gogdara rock carving, Udegram Castle, Butkara-III and Cumbatuna in Barikot, Swat district.
Mr Khan said that World Heritage Site Takht Bhai and Jamal Garhi, Sehri Behlol, Tareli, Chanaka Dheri, Asoka rock edicts, Kashmir Smast cave and Charguli Dheri in Mardan and Hisar Dheri in Charsadda would also be protected.
In Peshawar, he said, Gorkhattree, Kotala Mohsin Khan, Mohallah Sethian, Dilazak Tomb and the tomb and mosque of Sheikh Imamuddin would be protected under the order.
The official said that Shithial rock carvings in Kohistan, Ranighat site in Buner, tomb of Syed Ahmad Shaheed, tomb of Ismail Shaheed, Ashoka rock edicts and Zaro Dheri in Mansehra while Tofikian Mound, Jandial, Sirsukh, Piplan, Badalpur, Garian (Lal Chack Stupa), Bhamala Buddhist site in Haripur and Asota Megaliths and Hund Fort in Swabi district would be protected under the newly-issued order.
Mr Khan said that those sites were transferred in the revenue record to the province and the record was being checked for the rest of 47 archaeological sites, which would also be handed over to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Protection order for the remaining sites would also be issued once they were handed over to the province through legal documents, the official said. Along with the preservation and protection of the archaeological sites, the Archaeology and Museums Directorate started research work on the 1900-year-old Aziz Dheri in Swabi district, he said.
The archaeologists and students of University of Peshawar and Hazara University under the supervision of Prof Mohammad Naeem Qazi and Arshad Mughal would undertake the research project.
According to Mr Khan, this historic site is a treasure of archaeological wealth. He said that excavation and research work were underway at Aziz Dheri since 1993.
The official said that some 400 statues of Buddha and around 2,000 coins of Kushan and Greek period were found in the archaeological site. He said that the research team of archaeologists of both the universities expected to find more archaeological wealth under the new endeavour.