Experts fear Makli necropolis may lose World Heritage Site status after 'renovation'.

Byline: Ghulam Hussain Khawaja

THATTA -- Archaeologists and conservationists have expressed fear that Unesco may withdraw international heritage status of Makli necropolis, particularly magnificent mausoleum of Isa Khan Turkhan-II, governor of Thatta (1627-1644), after 'renovation' of historical sites by non-professionals, which have left the sites disfigured and stripped them of their antiquity.

They called upon authorities concerned to immediately stop the so-called renovation and rehabilitation work at the heritage sites being carried out by novices and non-professionals and help maintain original shape and status of the sites.

Masood Lohar, well-known archaeologist and former national coordinator of UNDP GEF SGP said: 'There is no concept of renovation in archaeology. It is only conservation that is applied to keep the heritage sites in their actual shape and status so as to make history explorable by all future generations'.

He said that incompetence and corruption in the culture and archaeology department had exposed Sindh's heritage to danger as monuments were being developed in a way that left them disfigured and stripped of their antiquity. If immediate action was not taken to stop this Sindh would lose all its gems, he warned.

He praised former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for his farsightedness and great achievement to have Moenjodaro and Makli necropolis listed on endangered sites list of Unesco. He introduced all heritage sites of Pakistan to international audience, he said.

'Non-professionals have disfigured heritage sites, stripped them of their antiquity'

Kazi Ayaz Mahesar, former coordinator of Unesco Sindh, said that after devolution of subjects under the 18th Amendment and handing over of historical sites to provinces, Sindh government allocated Rs4 billion out of ADP and regular budget schemes as grant in aid for the conservation of heritage sites but unfortunately this huge amount was ruthlessly wasted and usurped by non-professional officers of the directorate of antiquities and archaeology in collusion with vested interests.

He said the heritage sites were a reflection of a nation's past and any attempt to tamper with history must not go unpunished irrespective of socio-political status of those who committed this crime.

He said that it was no secret that two...

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