ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will push for Unesco to include another eight sites, that are of universal value, in its lost of world heritage sites.
“These sites are of national and cultural universal importance, and will attract tourists from across borders – that will help Pakistan generate income and improve its soft image,” Ministry of Heritage Joint Secretary Mirza Mashood Ahmed said at the closely ceremony of a workshop on the Tentative List of Cultural, Natural and Mixed Heritage Sites in Pakistan, suitable for inscription of the world heritage list of Unesco.
The three-day workshop brought together archaeologists and cultural experts from all the provinces, to learn how to select important sites and monuments that could be added to the world heritage list.
The eight new sites recommended by experts are: Central Karakoram National Park, the Juniper Forest in Ziarat, Deosai National Park, Karez System, the ancient city of Bhambhore in Sindh, Hingol National Park – the largest national park in the country, Kallar Kahar’s Salt Range and Nagar Parkar in Sindh.
Pakistan has been pushing Unesco to include 18 sites of universal significance for over a decade now. However, these recommendations were rejected because the proposed sites did not meet Unesco’s criteria for world heritage sites.
“The recommended sites and monuments were both, not well managed or maintained by the state, and were missing public facilities and infrastructure, such as roads, museums and information centres,” archaeologist Dr Ayesha Pamela Rogers said. She said another significant reason for failure was the Department of Archaeology and Museums’ (DOAM) lack of resources, which were needed to prepare impressive dossiers for the proposed sites.
“Dossiers are massive documents, and a dedicated team of experts backed by the state is needed to prepare them for consideration by Unesco,” Dr Rogers said. She said she was optimistic about the eight recommendations, which fit Unesco’s criteria. “I would be surprised if they are not considered world heritage,” she said.
Dr Rogers explained that pushing Unesco to enlist sites is an arduous and time consuming task. She said the first step is the submission of dossiers to be included in the tentative list. Six sites in Pakistan have already been marked as world heritage sites.
These are Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, Rohtas Fort, the ruins at Mohenjodaro, Taxila, the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi, and the historical monuments at Makli.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2015