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December 15, 2016

Pakistan can become centre of attraction for Buddhists

National

December 15, 2016

Islamabad: Pakistan has the tremendous potential for becoming centre of attraction for Buddhists as most of the Budh artefacts and ancient sites are based in the ancient Ghandhara region comprising Taxila, Mardan, Swat and areas in Hazara division, said Yang Soo Kim, President of Interart Channel of South Korea in an exclusive interview with The News.

There are more than five hundred million followers of Budh religion around the world mostly in China, Korea, Japan and other far-eastern countries. These people bears a great reverence for these areas as a monk Maranantha from Chota Lahore near Swabi travelled via silk route to China and Korea in 384 AD and spread Budh religion in far-eastern countries.

Pakistan can receive millions of tourists annually if there may be peace and infrastructure in areas where these ancient sites and relics were located. If Pakistan government take the initiative, it could kick start a massive hospitality industry in the region earning billions of dollars foreign exchange annually.

Yang Soo Kim is the President of “Interart Channel” of South Korea who has been at a signing ceremony between the two countries under which agreement Interart Channel will be organising an exhibition of 68 art objects from Peshawar Museum in the Buddhist central museum that is a headquarter of Jogye the biggest Budh sect in Seoul, South Korea.

The agreement was signed on December 13 between National History and Literary Heritage Division Government of Pakistan and Korean Cultural Association. From Korean side Min Jeong president of said association signed the agreement. The exhibition will be held by the end of March 2017.

The exhibition of the artefacts from Peshawar Museum is an initiative of Interart Channel and Dr Esther Park secretary of Ghandhara art and culture association in Pakistan.

In discussion with Yang Soo Kim and Dr Esthar Park; they told this correspondent about the greatest significance of the ancient Ghandhara region for Budh community. They told that only few Buddhists who could travel to Pakistan and got a chance to visit these sites count themselves among the luckiest people, as this area is the birthplace of Budh religion. “Buddhists give great respect for this region. This region is sacred to Buddhists akin to Muslims who have great reverence for Makkah and Madina. Unfortunately there is no Budh Stupa in functional condition and if there may be a single one, Pakistan would be unable to cater the load of tourists that will hugely benefit the country’s economy.

Yang Soo Kim and Dr Esthar Park suggested that the way Pakistan is building economic corridor with China, similarly it could build a Korea-Pakistan Cultural Highway.