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KARACHI, Aug 20: One of the most popular galleries in the National Museum, the Quran Gallery, has remained closed for over a couple of years due to termite attack and it is not yet known when it would be reopened, it is learnt here reliably.

According to highly placed sources, the restoration cost of the Quran Gallery would only cost around a couple of million rupees, but nobody from the museum has bothered to even ask the government to provide funding so that the gallery could be reopened and the masses could have continued to see rare manuscripts of the holy book.

The National Museum has more than 300 copies of the Holy Quran, out of which around 52 rare manuscripts are on display in the gallery. The gallery is established in a large hall and termites have attacked almost half of the hall from where the Holy Qurans, which were on display, had been relocated to the reserve collection in a safe.

The sources said the National Museum had organised the Quran Gallery with the technical as well as financial assistance from the Sumitomo Corporation of Japan in 1985 under which special metallic showcases to keep the Holy Quran safe were also provided in almost half of the gallery.

They said that the other half of the gallery had wooden display panels and showcases which had been attacked by termites and due to which the entire gallery has been closed.

The sources said the entire premises of the National Museum had been under termite attack for long and the gallery in question had become the target of the termite a few years back also. Though at that time treatment to eradicate termites was carried out by the museum, the problem had reemerged in less than a couple of years as probably the mother termite had not been destroyed.

The sources said that as the museum premises, including even the newly constructed auditorium, were infested, a comprehensive termite eradication treatment should be carried out immediately so that other rare objects and artifacts on display at the museum were not harmed.

Besides the Quran Gallery, the museum also have other galleries displaying pre-historic, proto historic, Harappan, Ghandhara, Hindu, Islamic, Numismatic, freedom movement, ethnology objects and artifacts.

Recently over 70,000 publications, books and other reading material of the archeology and museums department had also been shifted to the National Museum as the department has shifted its head office from the city to the federal capital. This reading material is also exposed to termites and could be lost if some precautionary steps were not taken.

They said that while the government wasted billions of rupees on worthless projects and spent billions of rupees on non-developmental sectors, the museum was probably once again hoping that some foreign donor would come forward to provide assistance so that the rare manuscripts of the Holy Quran and other artifacts displayed at the National Museum could be saved for the posterity.