Tuesday July 23, 2024

‘Joint efforts needed to save Gandhara civilisation’

By Mehtab Haider
January 24, 2023

Islamabad:In order to preserve Gandhara civilisation, culture and arts, all segments of the society including governments of all tiers, academia and civil society will have to join hands to achieve the common objectives.

‘Without forging unity, the love of the Gandhara civilisation will not preserve at all.’ It was the crux of the speeches and discussions during the first-ever Gandhara Citrus Festival 2023 organised by the Gandhara Resource Centre in colla­boration with Agri Tourism, NRSP, SA Group, and others here at Wakefield Gardens Pind Ghakhra at Khanpur adjacent to historical Taxila city on Sunday.

Over 400 participants belonging to the local community as well as from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi participated in the festival. On the occasion, 20 stalls were displayed to show oranges, olive, honey, stone artisans and handicrafts in this event.

The renowned speakers include former Special Assistant to PM on Health Zafar Mirza, the man behind the whole show Ayaz Kiani, Nadeem Omar Tarar, Zaildar Syed Zaheer Hussain Shah, former bureaucrat Rizwan Mehboob, NRSP’s representative Tariq and Sara Mehmood emphasised upon the need to promote Gandhara civilisation at international level in order to fetch foreign exchange earnings for the country.

Nadeem Omar Tarar, founder member of Gandhara Resource Centre said that Taxila is an open-air museum and its proper branding and marketing is the need of the hour. He said that this historical city is an internationally recognised seven sites of the international heritage of our country. He said that branding local fruits apparently such as varieties of citrus growth in Khanpur can ensure food security, help boosts exports as well as promote agri-tourism of the Gandhara. Dr Zafar Mirza said that Gandhara is a historical and cultural heritage that needs to be preserved. He said that citrus production is a natural mystery. The oranges produced here in this land possessed wonderful taste, he added.

Ayaz Kiani, who owns the beautiful residence where the Gandhara Citrus Festival 2023 was organised, said that it was a first-ever event and it would be held on a per-annum basis. This event will be arranged on a larger scale and participants from different cities will be invited. He said that the yield of the orange production was shrinking because the area under cultivation was on the decrease in the wake of rampant utilization of land for the construction of housing societies.

In collaboration with Agri-Tourism Development Cooperation, Gandhara Resource Centre organised First Annual Citrus Festival at the Wakefield Gardens in Khanpur. The objectives of the Festival is to create an awareness of the economic potential of the local products and promote citrus varieties of Khanpur widely known for their flavour and stone arts of Taxila inspired from the glorious traditions of Gandhara civilisation. To achieve its objectives, the Festival is designed to bring together all the major stakeholders for the promotion of citrus and stone arts.

It includes the scientists, and academia, industrialists and exporters, growers and farmers, and consumers and agri-tourists. A large number of food, fruit and arts and crafts stalls were set up, serving food varieties to the guests.

The festival was attended by a large number of visitors, including women, and children from Taxila, Khanpur, Haripur, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. A group of agri-tourism enthusiasts came all the way from Lahore to join the Festival. The visitors were welcomed by veteran agri-tourism and horticulture experts including Tariq Tanveer, Malk Fateh Mohammad Khan, Amena Hassan, Amir Sohail (DFO Rawal­pindi). Talib Ansari moderated the discussion.

Dr Zafar Mirza, Zaheer Shah Zaildar, Rizwan Mahboob and Malik Taimur Masood Akbar spoke on the event. Malik Taimur highlighted the role of Dr Zafar Mirza applauded the efforts of the Gandhara Resource Centre in promoting heritage as well as agricultural tourism

Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar and Ayyaz Kiani of Gandhara Resource Centre thanked all the speakers and the participants and vowed to make this event to be an annual affair. They also thanked Sara Hussain and Tariq Tanvir of Agri-Tourism Corporation of Pakistan for their support and collaboration to hold the event and hoped that this collaboration will continue in the future to promote centuries old civilisation and culture.