To prepare and finalise the list of potential cultural, natural and mixed heritage sites of Pakistan for inscription on the World Heritage List of Unesco; Unesco, Islamabad, in collaboration with Directorate of Archaeology and Museum and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage organised a three-day workshop here.
Representatives from relevant institutions including provincial departments of culture and archaeology, department of forest, wildlife, Pakistan Council of Research and Water Resources (PCRWR), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Federal Directorate of Archaeology and Museums will participated in the workshop. The workshop also includes training sessions on World Heritage Protection and Management.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Unesco representative to Pakistan, highlighted that inscribing Pakistan’s potential culture and natural properties on tentative and world heritage list is an important first step. But at the same time, she emphasised that the world heritage status comes with the obligation of the state and other relevant institutions to safeguard and maintain the Outstanding Universal Value of Pakistan cultural and natural heritage and transmit this to the next generation in a good shape.
“The six world heritage sites of Pakistan are great examples of Outstanding Universal Value but I will be pleased to also see natural sites on Pakistan's list. Despite the great potential of natural heritage of Pakistan, there is no single site yet included either on the world heritage list or the tentative list.
“I encourage all provinces to submit nominations of natural properties”, Ms. Vibeke Jensen added.
The workshop is reviewing the tentative list which was revised last time in 2004 comprising 18 properties: the archaeological sites of Harrapa; Mehergarh, Ranigatt in Buner District; Rehman Dheri (near DI Khan); Badshahi Mosque, Lahore; Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore; Jhangir Tomb Complex, Lahore; Chaukhandi Tombs in Karachi; Hiran Minar and Tank in Sheikhupura; Mansehra Rock Edicts; Port of Banbhore; Rani Kot Fort in Dadu; Shah Jahan Mosque in Thatta; Tomb of Bibi Jawindi; Baha'al-Halim and the Tomb and Mosque of Jalaluddin Bukhari; Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam in Multan and Baltit Fort in Hunza.
Ms. Saba Mohsin Raza, secretary of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage who was the chief guest at the workshop inauguration, extended her gratitude to Unesco, Islamabad, World Heritage Centre (WHC), and Unesco, Paris for organising the workshop hosted by the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage. She emphasised the importance of safeguarding and management of the World Heritage of Pakistan. She mentioned that the World Heritage Committee has listed 1,631 properties in 174 states under a tentative list that included more than 100 properties spread over eight nations in the South Asian region. She told that out of 191 state parties to the Unesco Convention on “Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage”, 179 countries have submitted a Tentative List to Unesco. She said that Pakistan with six sites on World Heritage list of Unesco and 18 on Tentative List is probably lagging behind for having no natural or mixed heritage sites on the List of Unesco World Heritage list.
“The workshop will pave way for greater cooperation and help in bringing the experts closer for protecting and promoting our rich tangible, cultural and natural heritage”, Ms. Saba said.
Dr. Muhammad Arif, director general, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, welcomed all the participants and thanked Unesco for its financial and technical support to organise the three days’ workshop.