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Preservation of cultural heritage

SPEAKING at the International Congress on Islamic History, Culture and Heritage of Kashmir, President Dr Arif Alvi stressed the need for constant preservation of cultural heritage. He said Islamic art and calligraphy was beauty of South Asian region and art could not be separated from the people.
National History and Literary Heritage Division Islamabad (NH&LH), OIC Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) and the Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir deserve appreciation for jointly organizing this important moot aimed at promoting soft image of both Kashmir and Pakistan by highlighting their cultural heritage. The Congress brought together scholars specializing on different aspects of Islamic heritage in the region and would surely go a long way in increasing awareness for its preservation in global public opinion. The move is important as it comes in the wake of immense propaganda campaign unleashed by the Indian Government to malign Kashmiris. It is a fact that the land where Pakistan is situated today had been a seat of world’s leading Civilizations from the time immemorial and these included Indus and Gandhara civilizations. It is rightly believed that no other country of the world can produce the treasure of by gone days as can be found in Pakistan. Similarly, Kashmir too has multi-dimensional culture and special traditions and values, the projection of which could also attract tourists to the region from across the globe. Azad Kashmir President put things in right perspective by emphasizing that Islam arrived in Jammu and Kashmir not through conquests but by words and deeds of mystics and saints, like Bulbul Shah and Shah Hamdan, whose piety and spartan lifestyles impressed the local population of Kashmir to convert to Islam. As we have been lacking in efforts to preserve our cultural heritage, it was heartening to hear from Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood that data has been collected from all Islamic, cultural and historical sites and all such sites will be preserved for the future generation and to attract international tourists. We hope based on recommendations of the congress, practical steps would be taken for realization of this noble objective.