Pakistan, US sign agreement on cultural property protection

Published January 31, 2024
UCH SHARIF: Tourists visit the tomb of Bibi Jawindi in this Punjab town. The monument, dating back to the 15th century, is included in the tentative list of Unesco World Heritage Sites.—APP
UCH SHARIF: Tourists visit the tomb of Bibi Jawindi in this Punjab town. The monument, dating back to the 15th century, is included in the tentative list of Unesco World Heritage Sites.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakis­tan and the United States (US) have signed an agre­ement on cultural property protection, which establishes import restrictions on certain types of archaeological and ethnological materials originating from Pakistan and entering the US.

The US Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, and Secretary National Heritage and Culture, Humaira Ahmed, signed an agreement at a ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. The new bilateral cultural agreement highlights the diversity of the Pakistani nation and sets the stage for further bilateral cooperation.

The agreement facilitates the return of these cultural objects to the people of Pakistan. The cultural property agreement demonstrates the strong US and Pakistani commitment to disrupt the theft and trafficking of cultural objects and our shared goal of protecting Pakistan’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

This agreement commits both parties to work together to counter looting and trafficking of objects, promote a clean market for Pakistani art and antiquities in the US, and increase opportunities for US museums and the American public to learn about and experience Pakistan’s history and culture.

“This agreement protects unique and historically significant artefacts for future generations. It also demonstrates US support for the principles of tolerance and respect for diversity — principles by which the people of this region have lived for centuries,” said Mr Blome.

Today’s signing underscores the US global commitment to cultural heritage protection and preservation. The US has been unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to restrict trafficking in cultural property, which may be used to fund terrorist and criminal networks.

To date, the US has returned over 175 cultural objects to Pakistan, and this agreement simplifies the process.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2024

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