Pakistan urged to submit potential culture sites for UN Heritage list

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All provinces encourages to submit nominations of natural and cultural sites of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Pakistan) – Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments should increase their efforts to include Cultural and Natural Sites on World Heritage List of UNESCO, experts urged at three-days workshop in Islamabad.

Historian and culture experts gathered at the workshop to prepare and finalize the list of potential Cultural, Natural and Mixed Heritage Sites of Pakistan for inscription on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in collaboration with Directorate of Archaeology and Museum and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, UNESCO Representative to Pakistan highlighted that inscribing Pakistan’s potential culture and natural properties on Tentative and World Heritage List is an important first step. But at the same time, she emphasized that the world heritage status comes with the obligation of the State and other relevant institutions to safeguard and maintain the Outstanding Universal Value of Pakistan cultural and natural heritage and transmit this to the next generation in a good shape.

“The Six World Heritage Sites of Pakistan are great examples of Outstanding Universal Value but I will be pleased to also see Natural sites on Pakistan’s list. Despite the great potential of Natural heritage of Pakistan, there is no single site yet included either on the World Heritage List or the Tentative List.

“I encourage all provinces to submit nominations of natural properties”, Ms. Vibeke Jensen added.

Representatives from relevant institutions including Provincial Department of Culture and Archaeology, Department of Forest, Wildlife, Pakistan Council of Research and Water Resources (PCRWR), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Federal Directorate of Archaeology and Museums will participate in the workshop. The workshop also includes training sessions on World Heritage Protection and Management.

The workshop is reviewing the Tentative List which was revised last time in 2004 comprising 18 properties: the Archaeological site of Harrapa; Mehergarh, Ranigatt in Buner District; Rehman Dheri (near DI Khan); Badshahi Mosque Lahore; Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore; Jhangir Tomb Complex Lahore; Chaukhandi Tombs in Karachi; Hiran Minar and Tank in Sheikhupura; Mansehra Rock Edicts; Port of Banbhore; Rani Kot Fort in Dadu; Shah Jahan Mosque in Thatta; Tomb of Bibi Jawindi; Baha’al-Halim and the Tomb and Mosque of Jalaluddin Bukhari; Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam in Multan and Baltit Fort in Hunza.

Ms. Saba Mohsin Raza, Secretary of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage who was the Chief Guest at the workshop inauguration, extended her gratitude to UNESCO Islamabad, World Heritage Centre (WHC), and UNESCO Paris for organizing the workshop hosted by the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.

Emphasizing on the importance of safeguarding and management of the World Heritage of Pakistan, she said that the World Heritage Committee has listed 1631 Properties in 174 States under a Tentative List that included more than 100 properties spread over eight nations in the South Asian Region. She told that out of 191 State Parties to the UNESCO Convention on “Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage”, 179 countries have submitted a Tentative List to UNESCO.

She said that Pakistan with 6 sites on World Heritage List of UNESCO and 18 on Tentative List is probably lagging behind for having no natural or mixed heritage sites on the List of UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The workshop will pave way for greater cooperation and help in bringing the experts closer for protecting and promoting our rich tangible, cultural and natural heritage”, Ms. Saba said.

Dr. Muhammad Arif, Director General, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums welcomed all the participants and thanked UNESCO for its financial and technical support to organize the three days’ workshop.

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