LAHORE: Diversity of culture and heritage is the strength of Pakistan and with the help of friends of Pakistan including British Council, European Union and French Embassy in Pakistan the heritage of the land will be highlighted at global level.

Dignitaries from various countries spoke at inaugural ceremony of three-day ‘Heritage Now’ conference organized by British Council Pakistan, Walled City of Lahore Authority, French Embassy in Pakistan, European Union Embassy in Pakistan, UNESCO, Punjab University and Higher Education Commission.

Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana said majority of the participants of this evening are students. He said he belonged to South Punjab the Saraiki belt area where Multan is a place full of heritage sites and 100 miles away there is an ancient city of Uch Sharif.

“We need to promote the national heritage which gives message of peace and harmony. To save our heritage the armed forces and civilians of Pakistan laid their lives in recent years.

“We pledge with our foreign partners that we would do our utmost to save heritage. It is our identity and national heritage. Nations feel pride of their heritage and put efforts to save them,” he concluded.

British Council Country Director Pakistan Rose Marry Hilhorst who has served previously in Africa said she felt privileged to work on the promotion of positive image of Pakistan at global level. “We have engaged 14 British organizations. ‘Heritage Now’ is about partnership as working together is always better. It’s about the past, present & future of this country,” she said.

Rose Marry Hilhorst said British Council celebrated 70 years working in Pakistan and it has been tremendous journey.

“We are bringing together United Kingdom’s best and brightest with Pakistan best minds,” she said.

Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said Pakistan has so many beautiful things and people of this land take pride in their heritage. “Pakistan is home to various religions birth place including Sikhism in Nanakana Sahib, Buddhism in Taxilla. All we need is to showcase these places at global level,” he said.

Dr Mukhtar said image building of Pakistan is the need of the hour.

WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said this heritage conference in coming two days will build and strengthen partnerships. “Pakistan has a beautiful rich and beautiful culture and all we need it to highlight it in the world.

Lashari said irony is projection has been adverse adding that instead of missiles putting in the roundabouts of the country there should be music, arts, sports, culture and tourism as they can build the soft narrative which the world values.

“Heritage knits us together,” he said.

President of the French National Museum on Asia Arta-Gumet Sophie Jensen addressing the gathering said French archaeologists since 19th century are working in Pakistan and recently Head of a French archaeologists’ team Dr Aurore Didier completed excavation at Chanhon jo Daro in Sindh, a centre of the Indus Valley civilisation.

She said Asian museum in France founded in 1889 and had conducted several evacuations mission in Indus valley in Balochistan.

Sophie Jensen requested concerned Pakistani authorities to allow exhibiting of Buddha statue in Lahore Museum as it is mankind’s treasure.

UNESCO Country Director Vibke Jensen Pakistan has unique culture and Mohenjo Daro in Sindh is in vulnerable conditions due to landlords and visitors who failed to understand the importance of heritage. 

“It is possible to safeguard our heritage for future generation to understand values,” she said.

The United Nations in 2015 agreed upon on the 2030 sustainable development agenda that requires interdisciplinary approach.

PU Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Moeen said owing to the importance of the archaeology discipline Punjab University launched discipline of archaeology in 2001 and now we are introducing PhDs also.

EU Ambassador H E Jean Francois Caution talking to The Nation said European Union feels matter of privileged working closely with Pakistan to save the heritage and promote the diverse culture of country at global level.