TOKYO: Federal Tourism Minister Nilofer Bakhtiar has said that Pakistan would host a World Buddhist Assembly next year and hoped that large number of Japanese tourists would also visit Pakistan on this occasion.
She stated this while talking to Chief Priest of the eight hundred years old temple Kenchoji, Rev. Roshi Shodo Yoshida on the occasion of Iftar Dinner hosted in the honour of the Minister for Tourism, Nilofer Bakhtiar and her delegation here the other day.
The Minister thanked the chief priest for observing the sanctity of ?Ramadhan? and hoped that such gestures would help in promoting inter-faith harmony in the world. She reiterated the invitation to Reverend Yoshida to visit Pakistan.
The ancient temple is located in a picturesque suburbs of Tokyo. A replica of the famous Fasting Buddha statue was presented to the temple in October last year.
The decision for the donation of this unique sacred gift was made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz during his visit to Japan.
The Minister apprised the chief priest that Buddhist religious sites were well preserved in Pakistan. She said that Pakistan had been a cradle of many ancient civilizations. She described ?Gandhara Civilization?, which flourished in the north of Pakistan two millennia ago and made its fascinating journey to Japan, was one of the most significant motifs in Pakistan?s historical mosaic.
Nilofer Bakhtiar stated that Pakistan would host a World Buddhist Assembly next year. Leader of the Assembly had recently visited Pakistan to tie up arrangements in this regard.
The chief priest thanked the government and people of Pakistan for gifting the rare sculpture to the temple.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Tourism Nilofer Bakhtiar held a meeting with the Chairman of Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), Koji Shinmachi at Tokyo.
The chairman agreed to send a team of JATA experts in the near future to Pakistan to make on ground evaluation of tourism facilities and potential.
Tourism Minister reiterated that ?Pakistan is a peaceful country and its people are very hospitable?.
She added that ?not a single tourist has ever been attacked in Pakistan.? She informed the chairman that Pakistan would host a World Buddhist Assembly next year. She said that the Government of Pakistan had declared 2007 as ?Year of Tourism?.
Baluchistan Tourism Minister, Syed Sher Jan Baloch, Ambassador Kamran Niaz, Secretary Culture, Mr. Jalil Abbas, president of JATA, Harumi Umeda, Secretary General of JATA, Jun Ishiyama, MD PTDC, and senior Pakistani officials attended the meetings.
Nilofer Bakhtiar said that the present government in Pakistan had worked out a comprehensive Tourism Policy to tap the tourism potential of the country.
“Growth in tourism would contribute towards socio-economic development particularly in the far-flung and under-developed areas”, she maintained.
The Minister added that duties on imports of hotel equipment and special concessions for the hotel industry would attract foreign investment in this sector.
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