The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has agreed to include eight more Pakistani sites to its list of World Heritage Sites.
The proposal that contains a tentative list prepared by the Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) and which has been accepted by the UNESCO as properties of universal value includes the Derawar Fort in Cholistan, Hingol Cultural Landscape in Balochistan, Nagarparkar Cultural Landscape in Sindh, Central Karakoram National Park and Deosai National Park in Gilgit-Baltistan, Ziarat Juniper Forest and Karez System Cultural Landscape in Balochistan and the Khewra Salt Range in Punjab.
Deputy Director from DOAM Tahir Saeed said that the first major step would be to convince UNESCO of the importance of these sites before they can be known as World Heritage Sites.
?Once UNESCO has approved, the next arduous task is to develop dossiers of all these sites ? that could take up to two to three years for each site. Through the dossiers, Pakistan will prove to UNESCO its intended plans for how to best protect and manage these heritage sites, preservation and conservation programmes and ease of access and facilities for visitors from around the world. These are only some of the many other conditions set by UNESCO that will have to be met before the sites are added to the world heritage list,? the Dawn quoted Saeed as saying.
The proposal comes as a surprise, as most of the sites and monuments of historical significance have been neglected and threatened by vandalism and encroachment.
Recently, five sites of historical significance in Lahore were threatened because they stood in the way of the ongoing Orange Line project.
The UNESCO had removed the Shalimar Gardens from its World Heritage Site list in 1995-96 and declared it to be threatened as the then PML-N ruling government had destroyed a water pump system that fed over 400 fountains in the almost 450 years old gardens.