Pakistan Travel and Culture

UNWTO and UNESCO to organize first World Conference on Tourism and Culture

December 17, 2014 – 4:26 pm

The First World Conference on Tourism and Culture will bring together, for the first time, Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Culture from around the world, experts and stakeholders from both sectors to explore new models of partnership between tourism and culture (Siem Reap, Cambodia, 4-6 February 2015).

Cultural tourism can contribute to inclusive economic growth, social development and cultural preservation. The first UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture will provide an unprecedented global platform for policymakers, experts and practitioners in tourism and culture to meet and identify the key challenges and opportunities for stronger cooperation between these highly interlinked areas.

Over the course of two days, participants will explore different roles and mandates on five key topics – governance and partnership models, cultural preservation, living cultures and creative industries, cultural routes and urban regeneration through cultural tourism.

Confirmed speakers include King Simeon II, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, John Delaney, Senior Vice President of Seabourn, and Elizabeth Becker, award-winning author and former correspondent for the New York Times.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said “This milestone event will provide a unique opportunity for tourism and culture stakeholders from all regions to discuss how to further harness the power of tourism and culture to alleviate poverty, create jobs, protect heritage and promote international understanding, contributing to the post-2015 development agenda”.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General: “Culture shapes our identity and is a means to foster respect and tolerance among people. It is also a way to create millions of jobs and improve people’s lives, a path to strengthen mutual understanding. Safeguarding cultural heritage must move forward with sustainable tourism, which is the core message of this Conference. This vision guides our efforts to promote culture as a driver and as an enabler of sustainable development, and is especially important at this time of change, when countries are shaping a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.”

Hosted by the Kingdom of Cambodia in Siem Reap, home of UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, the Conference will count on the presence of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, and Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Rawalpindi’s dilapidated Shamshan Ghat

December 15, 2014 – 1:41 am

ccording to Hindu religious practice, a Shamshan Ghat (cremation ground) is built near rivers or fresh streams so that ashes can be disposed of after cremation. One such old Shamshan Ghat is located at Tipu Road near Nullah Leh in Rawalpindi. In the past, the Leh Nullah used to be a fresh stream and the ashes of a cremated body were disposed in its waters. This Shamshan Ghat is still the only place of cremation for the Hindu community living in the city and nearby areas. Besides the cremation place on the premises of the Shamshan Ghat, there is an old building which is considered as the Dhannshala-cum-temple by the Hindu community.


Here, religious rituals were performed before and after cremating a body. According to the marble plaque erected at the Shamshan Ghat, it was built in 1923 by the sons and wife of Lala Tansukh Rai Sahib Syal, the Rais-i-Azam of Rawalpindi. After the partition when most of the Hindu and Sikh population migrated to India, this place remained abandoned for a couple of years. In 1949, it was handed over to the Hindu community to perform their religious rights. The Pakistan Hindu-Sikh Social Welfare Association president, Jagmohan Kumar Arora, told Dawn: “In July 2010, the temple building was given on lease to a media group which started digging and demolishing it. The Hindu and Sikh communities protested against it after which the demolition process was stopped.” Mr Arora said the original area of the Shamshan Ghat was 277 kanals. He said 10 kanals and 13 marlas were given to the Hindu community in 1949.


“The present area of Shamshan Ghat and the temple attached to it is merely two to three kanals,” he said. In 2012, the cremation area was restored and a new building constructed but the temple near the cremation place remained abandoned. Mohanlal Kashyap, a member of the Hindu community, said: “This is the only place of cremation for the Hindu community in Rawalpindi.” The Hindu community demands the reconstruction of the temple on the premises of Shamshan Ghat. “We don’t want anything from the government, just give us our right to die peacefully,” Mr Arora said.

Italian Envoy Reaffirms Commitment To Dev Swat Archaeological Tourism

December 11, 2014 – 2:11 pm

Swat Museum renovated with Italian Govt assistance, opens after six years

Thursday, December 11, 2014 – Swat—Swat Museum that was razed to ground six years ago by the militants opened here Wednesday after due renovation and repairs. Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Khyber Pakhtunkhwa expects that opening of the museum would help revive the archaeological tourism in Swat valley.


Situated in Saidu Sharif, Swat Museum has been renovated with assistance of Italian Government under its Archaeological mission ‘Archeological Community Tourism (ACT-Field School Project)-an enormous support in the Archaeology and Tourism sector of Swat valley.


The newly renovated Museum was formally opened by Italian Ambassador, Andriano Chiodi Cianfarani in a ceremony organized by Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in collaboration with Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at local hotel in Swat. Advisor to Chief Minister for Tourism, Archaeology, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Amjad Khan Afridi was also attended the ceremony.

The inaugural ceremony was also attended by Director Archaeology and Museum Dr Abdul Samad, Additional Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs, Arshad Khan, Direc-tor Italian Archeological Mission.

Speaking on the occasion, the director of Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, said that a part of the building of Swat Museum was demolished while another part was rehabilitated and included in the new construction. He said that the new building of the museum was designed according to anti-seismic principles, which made it structurally the most advanced building of its kind in Pakistan.

Usman Ulasyar, chairman of Suvastu Arts and Culture Association, and director archaeology and museums, Dr Abdul Samad Khan told journalists that the museum was an institution where people could learn about their history and cultural heritage.

They said that Swat Museum was one of the best museums in the country that had a large number of collections of Gandhara civilization.

Tourists would visit the scenic valley after reopening of the museum, they added.

Islamabad Metro to begin operation January end

December 10, 2014 – 12:28 pm

RAWALPINDI: The Government will not wait for the completion of Kashmir Highway interchange and open the metro bus service by the end of January.

Apparently disturbed by the criticism of political parties as well as road users, the government wants to start the service within the stipulated time.

Opposition parties, especially Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), said the government had launched the project to gain political mileage.

At the start of the project, the government increased the cost by Rs6.17 billion to Rs44.21 billion, which will be spent on Peshawar Mor Interchange.

However, the pace of work by the National Logistic Cell (NLC) on the Peshawar Mor interchange and 9th Avenue remained slow.

A senior official of Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) told Dawn that the provincial government had ignored completion of Peshawar Mor Interchange and Parade Avenue.

“NLC’s slow pace of work at Peshawar Mor Interchange will further delay the project and it was likely to be completed in May or June,” he said, adding that work on Parade Avenue will continue till March end.

Commissioner Rawalpindi and Metro Bus Project Director Zahid Saeed told Dawn that the government had set March 23 deadline for completion of Peshawar Mor Interchange and January 25 for the metro bus route.

“The NLC had been given two more months to complete the project. The corridor for metro bus service is likely to be completed by Jan 25,” he said.

“Peshawar Mor Interchange is already a separate component of the project as it will provide signal-free roads for Kashmir Highway users, and for this purpose the federal government is spending Rs6.17 billion. Four underpasses will provide free way to metro bus from Rawalpindi to Pakistan Secretariat,” he said.

The metro bus project monitoring and implementation committee chairman, Hanif Abbasi, told Dawn that the government was determined to start the bus service by the given deadline to provide travelling facilities to the citizens of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif want to start the service within the set deadline,” he said.

He said the metro bus service would be inaugurated by the prime minister and the chief minister on January 30.

Mr Abbasi said people were also facing problems due to the construction work.

TAAP Appeal to the Prime minister

November 19, 2014 – 5:47 pm

His Excellency Shah Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Honourable President of Pakistan Mr. Mamnoon Hussain Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Nasir-ul-Mulk


TAAP appreciates His Excellency Shah Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, The Khadim-e-Harmain Sharefain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the steps taken to develop and extend the capacity of Harmain Sharefain for the purpose of Muslim Ummah to perform Umrah and Hajj in large numbers. For this the people of Islamic Republic of Pakistan extend their high tribute to His Excellency Khadim-e-Harmain Sharefain. Moreover the officials of Saudi Embassy at Islamabad and Consulate General at Karachi also deserve appreciation for their day and night hardworking and granting large numbers of Umrah Visa by cooperating TAAP and make it possible for large number of pilgrims to perform Umrah.

Approximately over 8 lac people from Pakistan perform Umrah every year, and most of them belongs to lower and middle class families. Due to the introduction of biometric system, not only the financial expenses of Umrah pilgrims will increase but also increase their difficulties. More over the people from all Provinces, Districts, Tehsils and Villages have to appear for Fingerprints at the centers away from their destination. Due to this system the purpose of Kingdom’s for facilitation to the Umrah and Hajj pilgrim may damage the cause and as such a large number of Umrah pilgrims will not be able to proceed to Kingdom for performing Umrah.

Out of 80% of 20 crore population of Pakistan belongs to the far flung areas from Karachi to Kashmir where most of the people are illiterate and wish to perform Umrah by their hard earned savings.

Therefore, the Umrah and Hajj Operators of Pakistan humbly and fervently request and appeal to HIS EXCELLENCY KHADIM-E-HARMAIN SHAREFAIN KING ABDULLAH BIN ABDUL AZIZ, Honorable President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Islamic Republic of Pakistan that the implementation of condition of the Biometric system for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims who are the guests of Allah may be withdrawn, the visa policy for Umrah Pilgrims may be made easy and in view of the sensitivity of matter ths condition of fingerprints under Etimad (Pvt.) Ltd. may please be waived for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims.

Travel Agents’ Association of Pakistan
Room No. 115, 1st Floor, Central Hotel Building, Merewether Road, Karachi-75530, Pakistan. Ph : 35682748, 35656022 Fax : 92-21-35214614 E-mail: Website:

Hussain Agahi – A neglected shrine of Multan

August 17, 2014 – 8:05 pm

hussain-agahi-shrineMULTAN: Thanks to encroachments, the shrine of Hazrat Syed Husain Shah  Bukhari, commonly known as Husain Agahi, has gone out of sight if not mind.

The shrine is located at the famous ten Husain Agahi Bazaar – the biggest in the Walled City -to the southwest of the old Multan Fort (Qila Kunha Qasim Bagh). Hie market was named after the saint due to his fabled spiritual prowess that could help any of his devotees to start a successful business.

Dr Muhammad Shafiq of the Bahauddin Zakariya University’s History Department says there is hardly any dependable information about the saint but it is believed that people would invoke his blessings before launching any business. And that he would even indicate the location where the shop was to be established

He was recognised by the name of Husain Agahi after many began to believe in his foresightedness.

Syed Ghulam Dastagir, the caretaker of the shrine, says the saint is famous as “jalali” (wrathful) and his shrine has been constructed and reconstructed many times.

He says the saint was the caretaker of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya’s horse. There has been no Urs of the saint for more


than a decade, he adds, Sagheer Abbas, a devotee, says encroachments have made the shrine invisible and people seem to have forgotthe saint. — SHAKEEL AHMAD Courtesy Daily Dawn

The majestic Rawat Fort

August 17, 2014 – 7:49 pm

Among the many forgotten relics spread across the dry and arid land of Potohar Plateau is the Rawat Fort, which lies about 18km east of Rawalpindi on G.T. Road. The etymology of the word ‘Rawat’ is said to trace back to the Arabic word ‘reboot’ which mean ‘sarai’ in Urdu – a roadside inn for travellers. Contemporary historians have also concluded that the building’s design resembles a sarai rather than a fort.



Historically, many of these roadside inns lined the G.T. Road and were used by invaders from Central Asia and Afghanistan. According to traditions, Rawat Fort was built by the Ghakkar tribe in 16th century. The region is also said to have been the battleground between the Ghakkar chief Sultan Sarang Khan and Sher Shah Suri in 1546 AD.

rawat-fort-2 rawat-fort3


The central courtyard of the fort contains mined graves, that supposedly belong to the tribal chief and his two sons, who died fighting Sher Shah Suri. The two main entrances open to the east and the west. The walls of the fort are lined with small rooms, perhaps rented out to travellers. A quadrangular building, resembling a baradari, can also be found within the fort, along with a mosque. However, the original shape of the fort has been modified several times as it has gone under renovation and maintenance.




Inqlab March – Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Demands

August 16, 2014 – 9:01 pm

After marching from Lahore to Islamabad in 3 hours Tahir-ul-Qadri has put forth his demands for the sit-down and has announced that he and his supporters will remain in Islamabad until the following demands are met.

List of his demands-

1. Prime-minister Nawaz Sharief and his ministers must resign and be arrested and investigated.

2.  Current assemblies are un-constitutional and must be dissolved as most of the members are tax evaders.

3. After the dissolution of the Assemblies a national government must made which should cunduct national reforms.

4. Every one who is involved in corruption in the country must be strictly investigated

5. National government must provide rights to the poor people of the country and homeless people should be provided homes and a 25 years interest free loan must be given.

6. Every person must be given bread, clothing, and house.

7. Anyone who does not have money for healthcare government should provide him the necessary healthcare.

8. To eradicate illiteracy from the country all children should be given free education and programs for Adult Education must also be started.

9. Those who do not have resources must be given utilities at half price and low income households must be exampt of tax on electricity and gas bills.

10. Women should be provided with home-based (Cottage) Industries.

11. Difference in the salaries of different scales must be rationalized so that social differences may be eradicated.

12. Terrorism must be abolished constitution should be amended to include a clause that no faction of religion should declare other faction a “Kafir” non-believer. Peace centers must be established and textbooks should contain “Peace & Tollerance” as a subject.

13. Minorities must be given equal rights.

14 In comparison to other countries more provinces must be created Including Hazara & Gilgit Baltistan.

15. Local bodies District governments should be created so that citizens problems can be solved at their doorsteps.

16. He said that only 5 people make decisions of all the people of Pakistan which are the Prime minister, and 4 chief ministers, he said thru National government 1 million people will be Included.

17. No corrupt man should be seated on any government job, here the people in power do not get punishment and poors have to suffer the Jails.

18. Villages must be given development in line witht he urban areas.

19. All government offices must be made non-political and balanced and all departments must be non-political.