MOENJODARO - Hunderds of people arrived at the ancient ruined city of Moenjodaro Saturday to attend an inaugural festival aimed at commemorating country’s cultural heritage.Spearheaded by the Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the two-week festival is part of a campaign to conserve the heritage of Sindh province.Large wooden and steel scaffolding has been erected over and around the ruin, which Unesco describes as “the most ancient and best-preserved ruin on the Indian subcontinent,” while heavy spotlights and lasers have been installed for a light show.The site has been transformed into a high security facility, with hundreds of police commandos surrounding the ruins and stood atop the stupa, a Buddhist shrine, as workers hammered nails into a stage, an AFP reporter at the site said.“We have done all the work very much to international conservation standards,” Saqib Soomro, a top official at the culture department said.Zardari, clad in a black jacket over an off-white shalwar qameez dress, arrived Saturday in a caravan of four vehicles.A number of foreign visitors, some wearing traditional Sindhi Ajrak outfits, were also among the approximately 1,000 guests.Performers queued up to pass through security gates, with an equally large number of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) top leaders also waiting for entry.Meanwhile, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the historic Sindh Festival is a revolutionary step to the future development of the country.Speaking to a group of media men, Bilawal repeated his famous quote that ‘Marsoon Marsoon Sindh Na Desson’ and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made to make the festival a success. On the occasion, he visited different stalls and seating arrangements at various locations.Sindh Festival 2014 is organised at the archaeological site of Moenjodaro. Familiar local artists, folk singers, journalists and others were refused entry into the event.A large number of officials, diplomats and foreign delegates had been invited to Sindh Festival led by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto. People in huge quantity, MNAs, MPAs and leaders also thronged the ancient site of Indus Valley Civilization to celebrate the event on Saturday night.On the occasion, well-known singer Ashiq Nizamani along with dozens of folk singers and artists were refused entry. At the same time no invitation was extended to local artists, singers, journalists and other people. Later, the folk singers and artists staged a protest demonstration at the main entry point of the archaeological site. During the arrangements of Sindh Festival several walls at Stupa site were damaged, whereas condition of other walls of Moenjodaro site was also vulnerable.The administration had arranged over 500 seats for the dignitaries, including ambassadors and foreigners who reached Moenjodaro through special flights to participate in the festival.Moenjodaro’s surrounding area was cordoned off by 1,000 security forces personnel deployed at different locations of the ancient site, which resulted in the damage of walls and other locations of Indus Valley Civilization, sources said.An official, confirming the damage of walls during making arrangements for the festival, said installation of towers for the light around the area and construction of main gate were some of the reasons behind damage to walls.Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Adviser Sharmila Farooqi, Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro and others were present on the occasion.A platform for propagation of knowledge about Sindh civilisationStaff reporter from Karachi adds: PPPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken significant steps for preservation of Sindh’s ancient civilisation that dates back to 5,000 years through a 15-day Sindh Festival which he inaugurated on Saturday.The Sindh Festival celebrations, started in the whole province, would provide a gigantic platform to make awareness for the youth and people in Pakistan as well as across the world.Sindh Minister for Information Sharjeel Inam Memon expressed these remarks on the occasion of inauguration of Sindh Festival at Moenjodaro on Saturday.The minister said that Sindh was a land of peace and brotherhood promoting Sufis (Saints). Bilawal had a clear vision which revolved around bringing peace, tranquility and brotherhood in Pakistan and the festival was a starting point for that.Memon said the youth of the country and people around the world would find an opportunity to learn about the ancient civilization of Sindh from the platform of Sindh Festival. The festival would open new venues for exploring positive changes in the country.The minister said that only great nations in the history of mankind kept their civilisation record, cultural heritage abreast and the same was done by Bilawal on behalf of Pakistani nation. He said the festival would prove a mean to propagate knowledge about the ancient civilisation of Sindh and Sindhi culture to every nook and corner of the world.He declared Bilawal as an inspiring leader for the youth of the country to guide them through thick and thin and help them reach their destiny of peace and prosperity.But experts warned the festival could put Moenjodaro, a Unesco World Heritage site built around 2600 BC, in danger.The PPP, led by Zardari, suffered a heavy defeat in the 2013 general election and observers say the cultural gala, which has been advertised for weeks on national television, is partly aimed at raising the 25-year-old’s political profile.The ruins, discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Sir John Marshall, are 425 kilometres north of Karachi and are one of the largest settlements of the Indus Valley Civilisation.They are one of Pakistan’s six Unesco World Heritage sites that are deemed places of special cultural significance.But many of the country’s historical sites are endangered by vandalism and urban encroachment, as well as a booming trade in illegally excavated treasures.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. 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