A Haryana-based Buddhist forum has roped in leading social activists from Pakistani to protect and conserve the ancient Buddhist monuments in the neighboring country.
The forum has been working on highlighting the plight of ancient Buddhist sites in different countries of Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Speaking to The Tribune, Sidhartha Gauri, one of the representatives of the forum, said they had got in touch with some of the leading social activists in the neighboring country who had pledged their support in helping the forum to restore the ancient structures, which at present are in pitiable condition. These include activists like Syed Mumatz Alam Gilani from the Pakistan People Party and a former federal minister of the Human Rights and current Member of Parliament from Bahawalnagar, peace activists of Pakistan Edhi Foundation, Mia Mir Welfare Trust Karamat Au, IA Rahman and Malia Locihi along with Dr Mastoor Fatima Bukhari, Professor at Department of Archaeology, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur Sindh.
He said the forum had collected relevant information about the Buddhist sites in Pakistan, which were unknown to the world community.
He said Pakistan was- known worldwide for its rich Gandhara art and ancient sites in Taxila and Peshawar. Ancient Buddhist had been discovered in four provinces of Pakistan, which are of great importance for the followers of Buddhism the world over. Besides, have a potential to be developed into significant tourism destinations were of great spiritual importance for many.
He said the forum had already updated the pictures of these ancient sites on its website, which had attracted the attention of the world community and international organization, which had already expressed willingness in joining the forum to restore these monuments.
He said the Pakistani activists had assured that they would also be taking up the matter with the Pakistani authorities and a local NGO to improve the status of these sites and develop them to pr9mote international tourism. He said the forum was already assisting the gram panchayat of Topra Kalan village in Radaur segment of the Yamunanagar district to establish the “Asoka Edicts Park” in which replica of King Asoka’s rock edicts located in Manshera and Shahbazgarhi of Pakistan would be showcased to promote these places internationally.