Derawar Fort, Ziarat Juniper Forest, Deosai National Park and Khewra Salt Range are among the eight Pakistani sites included in World Heritage Sites.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has accepted Pakistan’s recommendation to include eight Pakistani sites in its list of World Heritage Sites.
These eight sites are a tentative list proposed by the Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) and approved by UNESCO as properties of universal value.
- The Derawar Fort in Cholistan
- Nagarparkar Cultural Landscape in Sindh
- Hingol Cultural Landscape in Balochistan
- Central Karakoram National Park in Gilgit Baltistan
- Deosai National Park in Gilgit Baltistan
- Ziarat Juniper Forest in Balochistan
- Karez System Cultural Landscape In Balochistan
- Khewra Salt Range in Punjab
The proposal to include more sites to the world heritage list comes as a surprise, since most of Pakistan`s sites and monuments of historical significance, particularly the relics protected by the 1975 Antiquities Act, have been neglected and threatened by vandalism and encroachment.
Recently, five sites in Lahore, the Shalimar Gardens, Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Buddhu`s Tomb, Chauburji and the Zebunnisa Tomb were threatened by modern development schemes, because they stand in the way of the ongoing Orange Line project.
Around two years ago, the entrance to the World Heritage Site Dharmarajika, in Taxila, was blocked off by a serving military official, restricting access to Buddha`s possible birthplace.
In 2004, UNESCO accepted seven sites Harappa, Baltit Fort, Rehman Dheri, Mehrgarh and the Rock Edicts in Mansehra and Shahbazgarhi to be included in its World Heritage Sites. However, Pakistan failed to submit the necessary dossiers on the sites.
Convincing UNESCO of the importance of these sites is the first major step before they can be known as World Heritage Sites, Deputy Director DOAM, Tahir Saeed said.
Tahir Saeed, deputy director at DOAM, said, “Once UNESCO has approved, the next arduous task is to develop dossiers of all these sites, that could take up to two to three years for each site”.
“Through the dossiers, Pakistan will prove to UNESCO its intended plans for how to best protect and manage these heritage sites, preservation and conservation programmes and ease of access and facilities for visitors from around the world. [These] are only some of the many other conditions set by UNESCO that will have to be met before the sites are added to the World Heritage list,” he added.