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Shahid Husain
Thursday, February 10, 2011
From Print Edition
 
 

 

Karachi

 

The responsibility to preserve and maintain the 5,000-year old city of Mohenjodaro has been transferred to the provincial government, the Sindh Minister for Culture, Sassui Palijo told The News on Wednesday.

 

The minister said that this decision is in accordance with the current devolution plan in the country.

 

“Health, education, culture and tourism are being given to the provinces, in accordance with devolution plan, to ensure maximum provincial autonomy,” Palijo said. “The Antiquities Act will also be amended after a long time.”

 

Palijo further said that the Sindh Government has signed an agreement with UNESCO for the preservation of Mohenjodaro, which happens to be one of the largest heritage sites in the world. “The majority of the funding for the preservation of the site will be provided by UNESCO, while the Sindh Government and others will also make contributions,” said the minister.

 

Palijo credited Senator Rabbani for playing a vital role in the devolution plan. She said that work will also begin on ‘frozen projects’ that had been neglected for quite a while due to the lack of funding. Mohenjodaro was one of the greatest civilisations of ancient times and flourished on the banks of the River Indus.

 

“Before the arrival of the Aryans, the people of the Indus had already become a highly developed civilisation that spread over half a million miles. But then the civilsation vanished and all its glory was buried under massive mounds of sand. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harrapa proved the maturity and refinement of the people living in both areas. They used cotton for textiles, built large spacious houses and there were a number facilities for the residents, such as public baths ad well as an excellent drainage system. All these factors indicate that in many ways, the Indus Valley civilsation was more advanced than the Persians, Egyptians and Mesopotamians,” wrote former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and distinguished intellectual, Aitezaz Ahsan in his book called “The Indus Saga and the making of Pakistan”

 

“Goods manufactured by the Indus Valley Civilisation reached the markets of the Tigris (Dajla) and the Euphrates (Farat). It had a rich merchant class, and these trade links were fully exploited and busily pursued, resulting in a fair exchange of cultural and material influence. While it was exporting goods, the Indus Valley Civilisation also imported items such as Sumerian tools used for art and Mesopotamian toiletries. These items were then copied for domestic use by Indus artisans. The discovery of seals and artifacts from the Indus civilisation during excavations in modern day Iraq indicates that there must have been settlements of Indus traders in Mesopotamia.”

 

Many believe that the preservation of heritage sites such as Mohenjodaro would help attract tourists and erase the image that Pakistan is a country full of terrorists.