Restored Heritage

WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MAHMOOD

As we mentioned earlier also that the basic principle underlying the worldwide elevation of Tourism to its policy status of Visitor Economy is that local assets – whether physical or abstract – should be activated to sustain community pride and to generate income and thereby ensure its socio economic wellbeing.

Other countries, which were part of the Mughal and British Raj like ours, have glorified even the smallest physical evidence of that part of their history; not only palaces but even roadside monuments and animal feed-troughs of that period are taken care of and added to their Tourism assets. But in our country there are several major heritage sites suffering negligence and decay.

Last week the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain added 37th Indian heritage site in the list of world heritage site. In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. A country like similar to us heritage wise stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.

Thank God our matchless heritage asset, a powerful symbol of love, peace and tolerance, a seventh century the holy figure caved at a cliff , the Buddha of Swat, once destroyed my enemy of our peace , security and heritage is restored again .

A wanton act of vandalism that struck at the heart of the area´s unique history and identity badly damaged both the Buddha and the image of Pakistan in international community as a tolerant country.

We are thankful to Italian government, who is helping to preserve hundreds of archaeological sites, working with local authorities who hope to turn it into a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists of the World once more

The population of Swat has not always been as it is today. Instead, it was for centuries a pilgrimage site for the Buddhist faithful, especially from the Himalayas. The Vajrayana School even considers it a “holy land”, from where their faith originated.

Rehabilitation of the sites destroyed by the TTP is not an easy task.The reconstruction of the face of the Buddha itself was first prepared virtually in the laboratory, in 3D, using laser surveys and old photos and after hectic struggle the last phase of restoration ended in 2016. The fact of the matter is that the reconstruction is not identical-But that is deliberate, as “the idea of damage should remain visible”.

Holiday weekly hopes that the recovered smile of the Buddha and its iconic status will help Pakistan to boost religious tourism from places such as China, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Some people in Swat also see the Buddha as a tool for promoting religious tolerance.

We are sure that the threat to cultural heritage has been “minimised” through education and the use of social networks to spread a “soft, good” image. After all our National Heritage is for more important for us; much important then people &Project which poses a grave threat to Pakistani people`s historical and cultural heritage. Nothing should be & would be tolerated at the cost of National Heritage of Whole Pakistan.

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