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President Highlights Pakistan’s Gateway to Gandhara Civilization

July 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD, President Dr. Arif Alvi stated that Pakistan provided the world with a unique window into ancient Gandhara civilization by preserving both its rich historical heritage and the Buddhist teachings of peace and compassion.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day Gandhara Symposium 2023, he remarked, “In today’s world where hatred is on the rise and increasing polarization is fueling conflicts, it is time to rediscover the role of cultural diplomacy to promote dialogue among civilizations.”

Culture Diplomacy: Revitalizing Gandhara Civilization and Buddhist Heritage in Pakistan was the topic of a recent symposium hosted by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

Pakistan’s rich Buddhist past was the impetus for this gathering, which brought together monks and interfaith experts from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, China, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam to discuss how to best promote Gandhara tourism in Pakistan.

According to President Alvi, the Buddhist tenet to not harm other sentient beings and to take care of the natural world is one way that Buddha’s mission renews the human capacity for introspection.

He emphasized that the Gandhara culture, which flourished in Pakistan many years ago, may be a useful resource for tourists interested in learning about and seeing stunning Buddhist sites from all over the world.

He advocated group work to educate people about how the Gandhara civilization welcomed and celebrated people of different backgrounds.

The president was happy to have the Buddhist monks visit the country because he believed their presence would spread a message of peace and tolerance.

According to Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Minister of State and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Gandhara Tourism, the Gandhara civilization continues to mesmerize from all over the world. He also stressed the importance of preserving and reviving the ancient Buddhist relics.

Confident that the symposium will serve as a useful forum for promoting Pakistan’s heritage, he said cultural diplomacy helped develop understanding and tradition among civilizations.

In his opening remarks, ISSI Director General Sohail Mahmood noted that ancient Gandhara was a cultural melting pot due to its location at a major intersection of historic trade routes. He emphasized the critical need of protecting and promoting Pakistan’s Buddhist Gandhara heritage.

Educating attendees about Gandhara and encouraging a respect for Pakistan’s cultural history are two of the primary goals of the conference. It also emphasizes the need of promoting tourism, especially religious tourism, and is open to new ideas that do so.

The Gandhara civilization is primarily notable for its extraordinary creative output. Paintings, sculptures, coinage, ceramics, and the culture’s connection to Buddhism are just some of the artifacts that have been unearthed from Gandhara’s long-lost cities.

Read More: Educating the Public and Enhancing Efforts for Gandhara Heritage

Read More: Gandhara Tourism Spearheading Pakistan’s Positive Perception

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