Steps Being Taken To Safeguard Rock Carvings In Northern Areas: Sherry Rehman

2 June 2008
Associated Press of Pakistan

Islamabad: Minister for Culture Ms Sherry Rehman informed the National Assembly on Monday that various steps have been taken for safeguarding rock carvings in various parts of the Northern Areas. Replying to a question from MNA Marvi Memon during the Question Hour, she said that more than 50,000 rock carvings, and over 5000 inscriptions in 39 different languages have been found so far along the Karakoram Highway in the Northern Areas. The research survey is continuing in various parts of the Northern Areas by the Department of Archaeology and Museums in collaboration with Heidelberg Rock Art Project led by Dr Harald Hauptmann. Sherry Rehman said that WAPDA has allocated Rs 31 million for relocation of carvings. She said that it is estimated that 30,907 rock carvings,including 3,290 inscriptions,will be submerged due to the proposed Basha-Diamir Reservoir. She further said that the Culture Ministry has decided to request the Water and Power Ministry to allocate special funds for payment of compensation and for employment of hi-tech equipment for cutting,performing three dimensional scanning,photography and sketches of the impressions and production of replicas which would be saved in museums in Gilgit and Chilas. While replying to a question by Abdul Qadir Patel,MNA she said that the Prime Minister has approved establishment of National Film Academy.The academy would train aspirants who would spearhead the direction and production of quality films at home and abroad. To a question from Palwasha Khan she said that the Department of Archaeology and Museums under the Ministry of Culture is the main custodian of country’s cultural heritage. She said that the department has protected 401 sites and monuments under the Antiques Act 1975 and established 13 museums in the country. To a supplementary she said that provincial governments help has been sought for removal of encroachments from archaeological sites and their preservation. She said that during the current financial year Rs 118.180 million has been allocated in the Annual Development Fund for the 15 ongoing projects prepared by the department for preservation of historic monuments sites. She said out of these schemes,four would be completed during this financial year while the rest would be completed during next fiscal. She called for allocation of more funds for Archaeological department so that historic monuments could be preserved as per international standards.