Heritage fund for preservation of cultural sites on the cards: minister

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mehmood says the federal government plans to establish a heritage fund for the upkeep and preservation of cultural sites across the country.

Mehmood,  who also holds the portfolio of Federal Education and Professional Training, was chairing a meeting of the Coordination Committee on Heritage Sites of Pakistan in Islamabad on Tuesday.

“Pakistan has a rich and diverse cultural heritage which can be promoted to attract maximum tourists, he said, stressing the need for complete mapping and categorisation of cultural sites including those of religious in order to ensure their preservation.

Mehmood said the federal government will extend all possible support to the provinces on the matter.

The meeting discussed in detail ways and means to promote the country’s cultural heritage at the international level. The provincial officials informed the coordination committee about the documentation of heritage sites and steps being taken for their maintenance and rehabilitation.

The committee was informed that 6,000 archeological sites have been mapped in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 100 in Azad Kashmir and 200 in Gilgit Baltistan.

The coordination committee was informed that ten religious sites were being developed in Punjab besides a project had been launched for mapping of cultural sites located along the GT road from Landi Kotel to Wagah border.

Joint Secretary National History and Literary Heritage Nazir Ahmad informed the committee that the country’s six cultural heritage sites were registered with the UNESCO whilst a list of another twenty six sites has been prepared to get them registered with the world body.

He said an international conference on Islamic history, culture and heritage of Kashmir will also be held in April this year with an aim to raise awareness about the region’s cultural diversity.

A UNESCO Representative said Pakistan has a great potential in cultural tourism and her organization will work hand in hand with Pakistani government for preservation and protection of cultural sites.

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