Heart-wrenching neglect of Mohenjo-Daro.


Byline: Khalil Ahmed

World Heritage List of UNESCO about Pakistan comprises Archaeological Ruins at Mohenjo-daro, Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-BahlolTaxila, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta and Rohtas Fort. Around 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites across the world are popular tourist destinations. It is believed that some of the popular of sites receive whopping 10 million visitors each year adding to the economic growth of the respective country besides addressing unemployment and beefing up the image of the country.

Even if a country attracts one million tourists and in case one tourist spends paltry one thousand US dollars, the country gets one billion US dollars. This could alter the economic landscape of a country and in fact there are myriad of instances in this regard. A deluge of countries have focused on tourist attractions thereby turning around the economy. The Forbidden City in Beijing China, a palace complex that was in use from the Ming Dynasty in 1420 to the end of Qing Dynasty in 1912, is the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world attracting over 16 million visitors.

There are similarities in the heritage sites of Egypt and Mohenjo-daro. The foreign tourist visits to Mohenjo-daro have decelerated dramatically over the period of last three decades, to be precise. The number of foreign tourists are more or less zero today whereas millions of tourists visit Egypt for Pyramids of Giza, Luxor's Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Siwa Oasis, St. Catherine's Monastery, Abydos Temple and Saqqara.

Though Mohenjo-daro or 'mound of the dead' was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, the heritage site is subject to erosion and improper restoration exhibiting the performance of the culture department of Sindh. No concrete measures have ever been taken to promote the site to attract the tourists.

A deluge of German, Japanese, Chinese etc. researchers have visited Mohenjo-daro and have rated the site as first-rate tourist destination. However, the despicable neglect on the part of the relevant authorities, this ancient pearl with 5000-year-old civilization has almost gone into abyss. It is heart wrenching that no one has ever been held accountable for this loss rather tall claims are made every year for the restoration and promotion. It is flabbergasting that there is no attention given to the infrastructure such...

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