Director archaeology Dr Abdul Samad and director general of State Museum Moscow Aleksandr V. Sedov sign an MoU in Peshawar on Monday. — APP
Director archaeology Dr Abdul Samad and director general of State Museum Moscow Aleksandr V. Sedov sign an MoU in Peshawar on Monday. — APP

PESHAWAR: Peshawar Museum on behalf of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the State Museum of Oriental Art of Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation to promote and conserve archaeological heritage and promote religious tourism.

In this connection, a ceremony was held at Peshawar Museum that was attended by Provincial Senior Minister Atif Khan; Dr Sergi A Baranov, the counselor of the Embassy of Russian Federation in Islamabad; Alexander Yasyrov, the attaché at the embassy; Aleksandr V. Sedov, the director general of State Museum Moscow; and Dr Abdul Samad, the KP director of archaeology.

Honorary consul general in Peshawar Arsala Khan and Dr Evgeniya Karlova, the head of the department of Middle Eastern Central Asian and South Asian Art, were also present during the signing of the MoU that would pave the way for further agreements and engagement between Pakistan and Russian governments for formal collaboration in conservation projects in KP, promotion of heritage and pilgrimage tourism.

“The MoU is a first step to pave way for collaboration in heritage promotion and conservation but there is need for establishing a research council between Peshawar Museum and State Museum of Oriental Art to further research on Kushan Dynasty,” said Dr Abdul Samad.

MoU signed during a ceremony at Peshawar Museum

He said that Kushan Dynasty spread from Central Asia and Russian researchers had done a lot of research on it. He said that so far research was not conducted in Pakistan on the topic and it was a missing link.

The Kushan Empire formed by Yuezhi in the early 1st century spread to encompass much of Afghanistan and then the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan Emperor Kanishka, who was a great patron of Buddhism. He played an important role in promoting Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent and its spread to Central Asia and China.

Senior Minister Atif Khan said that such initiatives would encourage research collaboration with other countries and also improve image of the province due to its heritage.

“The general agreement is that we will promote special project and we will talk about what we could do practically. I love Gandhara Art and this museum collection is fantastic,” said Aleksandr V. Sedov while talking to journalists after signing the MoU.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019

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