Thousands of rare artefacts at risk of ruining

Islamabad - Thousands of rare ancient artefacts discovered from various historical places in the country are at risk of ruining for not having proper facility in the federal capital to protect them.
The artefacts retrieved from different historical places and recoveries made by the Customs were housed at the floors and almirahs in different small rooms of the Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) due to lack of space at Sir Syed Memorial Museum Hall, said Director General DOAM Dr Muhammad Arif while talking to APP. The architectural design of proposed `National Museum of Pakistan’ was finalized through a competition soon after 8.33 acres land acquisition at Shakarparian from Capital Development Authority (CDA) in 2009.
The PC-I for Rs 13,569.589 million was submitted to the authorities in 2008 but the project was suspended for 2-3 years by the then Secretary Culture due to financial constraints. DOAM again submitted PC-I of Rs 55.577 mln in the September 2015 to the relevant ministry and the approval was still awaited.
Dr Arif said thousands of artifacts, being smuggled to other countries, recovered through Customs authorities were placed on the floors and closets in different small rooms of the department due to shortage of the space. These antiquities, he said, included unique sculptures of Buddhist era, clay utensils, guns of British era, oil lamps, jewellery boxes, mother goddess sculptures, lantern, handwritten Holy Quran scripts and many others.
Similarly the artifacts recovered from other countries were also placed in godowns of the museums including Sir Syed Memorial Hall Museum and Taxila Museum due to shortage of space, he added. He said these antiquities must be properly housed to preserve them for future generations. For the purpose, he said, a proper museum should be set up in the capital.
The DOAM Director General said the nations, who loved their cultural heritage, always made progress and urged the government to pay special attention to this neglected area. After independence, the national museum was established in the then capital of Karachi, which was supposed to be shifted to Islamabad after becoming the federal capital, he remarked.
A nucleus of the National Museum of Pakistan was established in a private house of E-7 Sector in 1994 but the project was rolled back in 1998 with shifting of the artifacts stored there to Taxila Museum. Again in 2002, the Nucleus of National Museum was established in a small hall of Sir Syed Memorial Building in Islamabad where only 145 selected artifacts of the previous museum could be housed while the remaining were stored in Taxila Museum.

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