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March 26, 2008

NWFP, NAs to have chain of museums to preserve relics


March 26, 2008

PESHAWAR: A chain of museums being set up in different parts of the NWFP and Hunza (Northern Areas) is aimed at preserving the historic monuments, antiques and relics found in different parts of the province.

“Of the 11 museums, work on seven of them has been completed while the rest are still under construction,” sources in the Directorate of Archives said here Tuesday. The museums include Gor Ghatri Museum in Peshawar, Pushkalavati Museum at Ghani Dheri, Hund Museum at Swabi, Chitral Museum, Bomboret Museum in Kalash Valley, Mardan Museum and Bannu Museum whereas museums at Abbottabad, Hazara University, Chakdarra and Havelian are under construction.

Meanwhile, Dr Ihsan Ali, an archaeologist and vice chancellor of Hazara University, said that when he was the archives director he felt the need for constructing a chain of museums across the NWFP and in Hunza to protect the relics found these areas. “Certainly, some work had been done in this regard earlier,” he said, adding he worked hard to ensure the establishment of other museums as well.

The 55-year-old archaeologist lamented that NWFP had been the centre of several ancient civilisations but due to paucity of resources and lack of awareness we lost great old monuments and relics.

The former director lauded the efforts of former NWFP governor Iftikhar Hussain Shah (now Pak ambassador to Turkey) and Shakeel Durrani (presently serving as WAPDA chairman) both of whom ensured the availability of funds for the establishment of the museums.

“A museum has been established at the Bomboret in the Kalash Valley in collaboration with Greece, where the cultural heritage of the area and relics found will be preserved,” he explained, adding that would also attract the foreigners to the area in a larger number.

He said establishment of the largest museum of the country at Havelian near Abbottabad had also been planned. “It will be a unique museum,” Ihsan said, adding

he had also set up Department for Culture and Heritage at the Hazara University.

The land of NWFP has remained centre of several ancient civilisations like Gandhara, Indus, Buddhist and Greek. He said Buddhism was a major religion of present day NWFP in the ancient times.

The followers of Buddhism visit NWFP every year to pay homage to the Stupa of Buddha at Ghani Dheri in Charsadda district, which they believe Lord Buddha also known as Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhist religion, visited spiritually.

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