THIS is apropos the editorial ‘Stolen relics’ (Nov 5). It is, indeed, an important development that 45 antiquities recovered by the Manhattan district attorney’s office have been returned to Pakistani authorities in New York City.

To make ourselves known to the world as a culturally and historically rich nation, Pakistan should consider certain steps on an official level. For instance, the original and amended versions of the Antiquities Act of 1975 should be enforced in all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the federal capital territory.

Modern museums should be established in federal and provincial capitals on vacant, unutilised state land. Artefacts, paintings, antiquities and archaeological memorabilia should be stored there for the benefit of local and foreign visitors alike. There should be special sections on art and artefacts about Islamic, oriental affairs and minority religions.

All students as well as other citizens should make it a point to visit these museums regularly. A student should not be awarded matriculation, intermediate, or O level qualification until he or she has visited two or more such museums and submitted a short essay narrating their experience during these visits.

Abbas R. Siddiqi

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020


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