By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA
Let us thank Mohatarma Sassui Palejo for her resolve to preserve and protect the heritage Sindh in spite of an unholy alliance of enemies of Sindhi heritage. Let us assure her of our full support in her efforts to promote Sindhi culture.
Sassui vows to protect Sindh heritage
Courtesy and Thanks: Daily Dawn, Monday, 13 Oct,2008, 05:55 PM PST
Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism Sassui Palijo has expressed her resolve to strive to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Sindh despite opposition from various circles.
She was speaking at a press conference at the Sindh Museum here on Sunday.
The minister particularly highlighted the ongoing controversy over the functioning of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) on the premises of the Hindu Gymkhana in Karachi. She alleged that Rahat Kazmi, Talat Hussain and Arshad Mehmood had launched a smear campaign against her. ‘If they think that they will be able to pressurise or harass me because I am a woman then they are sadly mistaken because I am not going to sit idle and just observe things,’ the minister declared. She alleged that under a conspiracy a campaign had been launched to malign her in the name of encroachment of the government’s land.
She said that as far as the Hindu Gymkhana was concerned she would protect it and wouldn’t allow any violation of the agreement reached with the culture department in 2005.
The minister vowed to implement the Sindh Heritage Preservation and Protection Act 1994 as far as the Hindu Gymkhana was concerned. This act had been violated twice in the case of Hindu Gymkhana, she said, adding that certain articles of the Sindh Museum and Hindu community put on display there had been removed.
Ms Palijo said that ancient stones were being removed from the Makli necropolis and it was she who had taken notice of it during her visit.
‘A park will be established and named after Doolah Darya Khan there as well,’ she said. The minister said that she was looking into legal battle of Marvi Lawn to get its possession and hoped that the judiciary would do justice with her department because the lawn was to be converted into a children’s park.
She made it clear that her ministry would take notice and all possible action wherever any violation of cultural heritage was reported in Sindh. She said that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of her ministry.
Besides, she said, her ministry was taking care of the rest houses, museum and resorts of the province. In this context she also pointed out the formation of the Gorakh Hill Authority.
She said that not only this but her ministry was establishing Shaheed Benazir Bhutto chairs in Karachi and Sindh universities, which would result in authoring of around 100 books annually on the life of the great leader. She said that a research institute was also being established in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto district.
She said that Rs1 billion cultural heritage fund was being created for the rehabilitation of Meonjodaro and Makli graveyard and a master plan was being prepared in the latter’s case. She added that a committee was also formed for this project.
She said that it was for the first time that a 14-member board had been set up to take care of issues of heritage because until now it was being looked after by the federal government. She said that her department was for the first time taking steps to own its heritage otherwise the job was left to the archaeology department alone.