Grant for Uch Sharif shrine

Published October 20, 2007

BAHAWALPUR, Oct 19: US Consulate’s Principal Officer Bryan Hunt announced on Friday a $50,000 grant for conservation of Hazrat Jalaluddin Surkhposh Bokhari’s shrine at Uch Sharif, about 70 kilometres from here.

Visiting the shrine, the US diplomat said it was high time this 15th century shrine was conserved as part of cultural preservation plan for which America had granted a total of $3 million.

These projects included Sirkap Site and Jinnanwali Dehri in Taxila, Masjid Mahabat Khan, Gore Khuttre in Peshawar, Pushto manuscripts’ preservation at the University of Peshawar, Maansingh Haveli, Rohtas Fort in Jhelum and the bazaar of Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore.

He said conservation of these monuments was essential for the devotees as well as for the future generations. Earlier, the grant papers were signed by both US and Pakistani officials.

Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Pir Syed Saeedul Hassan Gillani said the government intended to set up an institute of religious and science education, estimated to cost about Rs20 million, adjacent to each shrine in the province.

Speaking to media, Bryan condemned the attack on the procession of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi. He said the US condemned the acts of terrorism and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in the attack.

Later addressing a select gathering arranged by Bahawalpur District Bar Association President Yahyah Khan, the US diplomat denied the US role in the Musharraf-Benazir deal. He said it was up to the people of Pakistan to decide as to who should be their leader.

During the question-answer session, Bryan attempted to clarify his country’s position by repeatedly claiming that “America doesn’t interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs”. He said Pakistan was an ally of America in war on terror and its people and the government were highly respected in the US.

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