Dr. Abdus Samad, Director Archeology and Museums KPK, moderated the discussion. The other panelists included, Adil Zareef (Convener, Sarhad Conservation Network), Zubaida Yusuf (Lecturer and assistant curator at Institute of Archeology) and Fazl-I-Khaliq (Activist and reporter at Express Tribune).
The discussion aimed at highlighting the importance of preservationas it advocated that preserving the built environment is crucial to preserving the cultural heritage and identity. The panelists enlightened the audience by narrating aspects of Pukhtun history and brought to light, the cultural treasure of Pukhtun lands. Marked by several invasions and the rule of powerful dynasties, these areas hold magnificent monuments, mosques, forts and gardens. While archeologists are keen to uncover the buried history of Pukhtun areas, the conservation architects are working tirelessly to preserve the existing heritage sites.
Dr. Abdus Samad, through his presentation, gave glimpses of KPK cultural heritage that has been preserved in museums and the relevant activities that have been conducted in the province. He also detailed the hurdles they have faced in the process of preservation and conservation of important heritage sites. The second panelist of the evening, Adil Zareef, outlined the rich cultural legacy of the Gandhara Civilization in KPK and expressed his concerns regarding the destruction of similar heritage sites in countries such as Syria and Iraq. He laid great emphasis on raising awareness regarding the preservation of sites that give us an insight into our past. Zubaida Yusuf then shared her research on the ‘Kaftaan’ (a type of clothing) and explained how the dress was introduced in the region and talked about its evolution.To conclude the discussion, Mr. Fazl-I-Khaliq gave a short presentation on Buddhist Archeological Treasures of Swat that became a victim of intolerance.
The panelists discussed, in great detail, the major civilizations that occupied these regions and their relics while also bringing to focus the importance of preserving our rich, cultural heritage. The audience listened to presentations with great enthusiasm; however, due to a shortage of time, the panelists could not take questions from them.
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