NGO ventures to revive Buddhist sites in Pakistan

DHNS, Feb 8, 2013

Chandigarh, Pakistan -- Buddhist sites left to ruin in Pakistan could get a fresh lease of life as a Haryana-based NGO -The Buddhist Forum (TBF) - ventures on an ambitious mission to save and highlight the lost glory of the age-old monuments.

The proposal is to preserve, restore and emphasize on the significance of these ancient Buddhist sites in Pakistan, and provide a lasting self-sustainable tourism plan that would generate revenue and reveal its impact and importance.

The organization is on track to draw out plans and coordinate with several prominent NGOs, citizen groups and individuals who could help save the antique treasures. Noted Indian columnist Kuldip Nayar is also taking keen interest in the exercise to promote and save these Buddhist sites from further ruin.

Texila -an ancient site and centre of learning - also existed in Pakistan. In four provinces of Pakistan, several ancient Buddhist sites were discovered. President TBF, Sidhartha Gauri, said various prominent NGOs in Pakistan including Edhi Foundation and Mia Mir Welfare Trust have extended all possible support to save the Buddhist sites. Gauri said a peace activist Karamat Ali, Magsaysay award winner I a Rahman and former ambassador Malia Lodhi have also expressed their willingness to support the cause.

The TBF had recently highlighted ancient Buddhist sites in the Sindh province of Pakistan, many of which were unheard of to a larger population across the globe. Mastoor Fatima Bukhari, a professor with the Department of Archaeology, Shah Abdul Latif University, Pakistan assisted TBF in digging out essential information about the ancient sites in Sindh. Efforts to rope in some Buddhist organizations worldwide with a plan to highlight these sites in Pakistan to a much wider audience globally are also underway.

Sidhartha said, “The people in India and Pakistan believe that the restoration of these ancient monuments will contribute to the peace process and create harmony among Asian nations.

The Buddhist sites in Pakistan were not protected so far”. The TBF has been working on highlighting the plight of ancient Buddhist sites in different countries in Asia, including some in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.