PESHAWAR, Nov 13: Preservation of archaeological sites and monuments could bring economic prosperity to the region, said speakers at the inaugural session of a three-day international conference here on Tuesday.
“We treasure the belongings of our grandparents but do not care to preserve cultural heritage of our ancestors,” said Dr Nasim Khan, director of Institute of Archaeology and Social Anthropology. He said that common man should know that it was important to preserve the archaeological wealth of the region.
The conference titled ‘Latest archaeological investigations in Pakistan’ has been organised by the Institute of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Peshawar in collaboration with Higher Education Commission and Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to mark the 50th anniversary of establishment of archaeology department at Peshawar varsity.
Around 100 delegates from Pakistan, Malaysia and Central Asia are participating in the conference.
Malaysian High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr Hasrul Sani Mujtabar was chief guest at the inaugural session of the conference.“Pakistan is endowed with rich archaeological and cultural heritage, which, if explored and utilised to its optimum potential, can change the fortune of this country,” he said.
Dr Mujtabar said that he held several meetings with the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government the other day and his sole interest was investment in the education sector of Pakistan. He said that education was more important than trade for development of a country.
Citing the example of his country, Dr Mujtabar said that Malaysia brought enormous reforms in the education sector and the instant results were visible to all.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director Archaeology and Museums Dr Shah Nazar Khan said that ministry of tourism was expediting work on the concept of composite tourism. He said that after passage of 18th Amendment preservation and promotion of cultural heritage was devolved to provinces.“Presently we have identified 91 archaeological sites for excavation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The government is also working for promoting adventure and religious tourism,” he said.
Addressing the ceremony, UoP vice-chancellor Dr Qibla Ayaz said that University of Peshawar was offering full cooperation to the students of Malaysia as it wanted to enroll maximum number of them in various departments. He hoped that collaboration and students exchange programmes with Malaysian universities would remain continued in future.
On the occasion, life time achievement awards were given to Dr Farzand Ali Durrani (late), Prof Fidaullah Sehrai, Dr Taj Ali and Prof Hamid Ali, who served at the archaeology department of UoP and worked for promotion of archaeology and research in the field.
Special tributes were paid to Dr Ahmed Hassan Dani (late) at the inaugural session.