Workshop on Gandharan cultural heritage begins
ISLAMABAD, December 1, 2010: A three-day workshop on the ‘Gandharan Cultural Heritage’ kicked off at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) here on Wednesday.
The workshop is being organised by the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC), in collaboration with the Centre for Documentation and Conservation, Aachen University, Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities, Germany, Ministry of Culture, Peshawar University, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Unesco.
The objective of the workshop is to provide an opportunity of learning and networking to participants and exchange of views on recent researches conducted on Buddhist heritage of Gandhara.
Addressing the opening session, Federal Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani said that it is our prime duty to protect, preserve and promote this glorious heritage of our nation and we are fully alive to it.
“We are going to make Gandhra a tourist spot as part of our policy of cultural tourism. Our two projects with a total cost of Rs300 million are in progress since 2002 in Taxila and Swat, while a third project in Swat amounting two million Euro to be financed by the government of Italy will be commenced soon,” he said.
Earlier welcoming the gathering, QAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Masoom Yasinzai said that the Buddhist heritage of Gandhara, which is spread over the vast region of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and northern Punjab, is the pride and real treasure of our country.
He said that the Buddhist holy sites like Taxila, Peshawar, Swat, Mansehra, Shahbaz Garhi, Takht-e-Bahi reveal the evidence of a rich Buddhist heritage from its origin during the days of King Ashoka down to the Kushan Dynasty. He further said the workshop will emphasise on the appropriateness of further research and to work out and design projects for research, preservation and development of this magnificent cultural heritage of mankind.
The vice chancellor said that the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations since its creation under the able patronage of late Professor Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani is involved in serious research on different aspects of the cultural heritage of Pakistan.
“During the archaeological survey of Rawalpindi, Gujar Khan and Islamabad Capital Territory, the TIAC survey team has recently explored and documented 300 archaeological sites and monuments. “Our future programme is to establish a museum of Asian civilisations and conservation laboratory at the Quaid-i-Azam University. The TIAC is also going to begin MSc classes in Archaeology and M. Phil in Asian Civilisations,” he added.
Professor Dr. M Ashraf Khan, director of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC), highlighted the efforts of institute in the field of research. He said that work done by the institute on rock carvings along Karakorum Highway, survey and documentation of the prehistoric sites in Soan Valley and Salt Range are its remarkable achievements.
Scientists, researchers and scholars from different countries are participating in this three-day international workshop. Among the speakers were Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar; Professor Dr. Michael Jansen, RWTH Aachen Centre of Documentation and Conservation, Aachen University, Germany; Professor Dr. Harald Hauptmann, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Heidelberg University; Dr. Fazal Dad Kakar, Director General of the Department of Archaeology and Museums; Stephan Rokin, Deputy Chief of Mission, German Embassy; Walter Douglas, Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs, US Embassy; Dr. Warren Mellor, Director UNESCO, Islamabad; and Professor Dr. Naveed-i-Rahat, Dean Social Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.