MIRPUR (AJK)  -   AJK President Sardar Masood Khan on Friday emphasized the need for interfacing the Archaeology and Tourism sectors digitally to attract and apprise the world of the rich potential of tourism and archaeology in Azad Jammu Kashmir.

He expressed these views while inaugurating 1st Kashmir conference on Archaeology here on Friday. The conference will last for three days aimed at exploring preserve and rehabilitate the ancient pieces of centuries old cultural heritages in various parts of the AJK besides promoting the tourism industry in the scenic liberated territory.

Secretary Tourism, Archaeology, Information and Information Technology Ms. Midhat Shehzad, in her address of welcome, highlighted salient features of the objective of the grand moot on archaeology, first of its own kind held in Azad Jammu Kashmir, inviting the intending entrepreneur to move for invest in the tourism and archaeological sectors under the joint ventures private-public-partnership (PPP) for the promotion of tourism industry across AJK. Experts from various parts of the country including AJK are participating in the grand moot.

Our Correspondent Altaf Hamid Rao reports from Mirpur that the inaugural session was also addressed among others by Director General Tourism and Archaeology Peerzada Ershad Mahmood, Vice Chancellor Mirpur University of Science & Technology Prof Dr Habibur Rehman, Ambassador (r) Arif Kamal, seasoned Kashmiri archaeologist Prof Ms Rukhasana Said Hassan Khan and others who highlighted the need for exploring and preserving the cultural heritage of thousands of year-old history of the Jammu & Kashmir.

The AJK president continued that since the state of Jammu Kashmir is extremely rich in its geographical history, conscious efforts would have to be made to capture and preserve the ancient past of this part (AJK) of the history, he urged. He underlined that like other parts of the entire Jammu Kashmir state, the ancient history of Azad Jammu Kashmir is blessed and enriched with the mystic poet scholars, thinkers, saints and the preachers of Islam. He referred to the arrival of Shah Hamdan in the state who, he added, masked our ancient history. He also referred to the shrines of the preachers of Islam and saints including Shaadi Shaheed, Saien Sahaili Sarkar, Baba Peera Shah Ghazi and similar other high great personalities, whose legacy still stands with high respect because of their high character intellect and pen.

The AJK president said, “We must preserve history of the Kashmir freedom struggle through the preservation of archaeological sites to attract external world of the importance of early success of the Kashmiris indigenous struggle for right to self determination till it reach to its logical end. He also called for enhancing connectivity with rest of the world for the promotion of tourism at the picturesque sites of Azad Jammu Kashmir.

Masood Khan said that since the people of Azad Jammu Kashmir started the freedom struggle in 1947 and got this part of the state liberated from the manacles of the dogra rule, this history of AJK’s people must also be preserved, he added. The president called for working together with focus on generate and mobilize resources for speedy socioeconomic progress and prosperity of the liberated territory through the promotion and progress of tourism and archaeological sectors. He expressed the hope that this conference will give solid recommendations for the promotion of tourism and archaeological sectors through apprising the external world of the bright future of investment through utilization of rich natural and ancient potential tourism and ancient cultural heritage of the liberated area. To achieve the task, there would have to be private-public partnership to explore and preserve the huge potential of both tourism and archaeological sectors in the region, he urged. He also called for involving the universities of AJK besides to establish museums in various parts of AJK for the achievement of the above gigantic tasks through mutual cooperation and coordination among the stake holders.

The AJK President said that the upcoming arrival of CPEC in AJK and establishment of 9th special economic zone in Mirpur under the gigantic project will open new vistas of socioeconomic progress, prosperity and overall development and uplift of AJK.