MINGORA: The Swat Museum was reopened formally for general public on Wednesday after seven years. The museum was closed in 2007 owing to rise of militancy in the district.
A ceremony was held at the museum wherein Amjid Khan Afridi, adviser to chief minister on archaeology and museums, and Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Adriano Chiodi Cianfarani reopened it for people.
The museum was reconstructed under a project funded by Pakistan- Italian Debt Swap Agreement (FIDSA). The scheme was executed by Archaeology Community- Tourism/Field School Project while the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar extended technical support to it.
Speaking on the occasion, the Italian ambassador said that Swat and Italy had a longstanding relation that would be strengthened further after the reconstruction of the museum.
He said that Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan had been working on different archaeological sites since 1955 that started work under the guidance of Prof Giuseppe Tucci. During the last 60 years, the Italian mission successfully worked on many projects to preserve the archaeological sites in Pakistan, particularly in district Swat, he added.
Mr Adriano said that Swat had rich historical sites, which were recognised at international level. He added that their government had been working since long to preserve the history of the region.
CM adviser vows to promote religious, cultural tourism in KP
Mr Afridi thanked the Italian Archaeological Mission and government of Italy for reconstructing the Swat Museum. He said that it was a big achievement to see the museum open for public. Swat Museum would help in promotion of tourism in the area, he said, adding that provincial government was taking steps to preserve archaeological sites in the province. He said that they believed that economy and tourism could be promoted through development of historical sites.
Mr Afridi said that 30 per cent of the country’ archaeological sites were situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The government was working to promote religious and cultural tourism in the province, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, the director of Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, said that a part of the building of Swat Museum was demolished while another part was rehabilitated and included in the new construction. He said that the new building of the museum was designed according to anti-seismic principles, which made it structurally the most advanced building of its kind in Pakistan.
Usman Ulasyar, chairman of Suvastu Arts and Culture Association, and director archaeology and museums, Dr Abdul Samad Khan told journalists that the museum was an institution where people could learn about their history and cultural heritage.
They said that Swat Museum was one of the best museums in the country that had a large number of collections of Gandhara civilization.
Tourists would visit the scenic valley after reopening of the museum, they added.
Published in Dawn December 11th , 2014