Lahore: Provincial Minister for Health, Population Welfare and Archaeology Departments Mrs. Salima Hashmi has said that Pakistan has unprecedented treasure in the shape of monuments of ancient civilization and historical buildings and local and international tourism can be promoted many times by preservation and conversation of these archaeological heritage.
She expressed these views while presiding over a briefing session of Punjab Archaeology department here today. Director General Archaeology Punjab Dr. Ismat Tahira, Director Dr. Saleem-ul-Haq, Maqsood Ahmed Malik and Curator Lahore Fort Afzal Khan and other officers attended the meeting.
Mrs. Salima Hashmi stressed the need for conservation and preservation of the residence of great writer of Urdu literature Saadat Hassan Munto in Lakshmi building as a special premises so that new generation can realize the outstanding services of Munto for the promotion of Urdu literature and a relation between new generation and national heritage could be maintained. She said that there was a need to establish institutions for study, training and research in the subject of archaeology to train professional archaeologists in Pakistan. She said that outstanding and highly qualified/specialized archaeologists are required for conservation of antiquities and historic buildings as this great work cannot be carried out in its true letter and spirit by the ordinary archaeologists.
DG Archaeology Dr. Ismat Tahira briefed the minister about the departmental activities and steps taken for the conservation/preservation of archaeological sites, historical buildings, monuments and special premises. She informed the minister that due to the crossroad into the Rohtas Fort Jhelum this world class heritage is facing great dangers. She proposed that in order to save this historical place, traffic should be bypassed from the Rohtas Fort. Mrs. Salima Hashmi directed the DG Archaeology to coordinate with the concerned departments for bypassing the traffic from the fort. Salima Hashmi said that she would personally intervene to solve this issue.
DG Archaeology informed that during 2012-13 budget, the department is working on 19 ADPs of preservation/conservation of historical buildings and monuments. She informed that the department has completed 70 conservation projects and won Agha Khan Award for preservation/rehabilitation of tomb of Shah Rukan Alam whereas four heritage museums has also been established in different cities. Moreover, archaeological survey of districts Attock and Chakwal has also been completed. She told that archaeological investigation of Pattan Minara and Sardhi have also been completed.
Dr. Ismat Tahira further informed that the big achievement of the department is to exclude Lahore Fort and Shalamar Garden from the list of World Heritage in Danger 2012 for which department did a lot for the conservation and rehabilitation of both the historical buildings/national heritage.