25th Nov 2008 The minister for culture and tourism Sindh province, Sassui Palejo has said that historical places and archaeological sites in Sindh had been declared as protected heritage under the Antiquities Act 1975 and responsibilities for their upkeep and maintenance lay with the Archaeological department, the government of Pakistan.
She said 130 sites in Sindh had been declared as cultural heritage by the federal government. She said the Sindh government had approached the federal government for the transfer of these sites for their proper care.
Ms Palejo told the house that the Sindh government had created an endowment fund with Rs1 billion during the fiscal 2008-09 for the upkeep of cultural heritage.
She said a committee had also been formed for proper and transparent utilisation of funds. Headed by Jehangir Siddiqi, the committee includes Hameed Akhund, Hameed Haroon, Shaukat Tareen, Nafisa Shah, Neelofar Shaikh, the secretaries for finance, education and culture, Mazhar Siddiqi, Inayat Shah, and herself.
Replying to a question by Shamim Ara Panhwar, the minister said a cultural complex would be built in Mithi at a cost of Rs75 million and similar complexes would also be constructed in Nawabshah, Sukkur and Jacobabad.
Sassui Palejo said a small museum was established in Islamkot by the town committee in a three-room building. It had been managed by the town committee till 2002 and now it was closed. Reportedly, she said, there were 500 coins and artefacts which now had been ?kept? in a store.
She said the culture department was establishing a cultural complex at Mithi with a museum as one of its components. The scheme would be completed by June 2009 and efforts made for the transfer of artefacts from Islamkot to the Mithi museum.
Answering another question by the same member, the minister said the Makli necropolis was protected under Antiquity Act 1975 and declared as world heritage site by Unesco. She said its administrative control was with the federal government department of archaeology and museums.
She said the director-general of archaeology (South) had reported that no incident of theft had occurred here during the last three years and for the protection of monuments at Makli, the archaeology department had posted two officers and 28 staff members.
However, she said, it had been noticed that preservation, upkeep and maintenance of the Makli monuments was not being done properly and its conservation was far from being of international standards while there had been complaints of removing richly carved stones from tombs of Makli.
The minister said she visited Makli on July 31 and held a detailed meeting with the director of archaeology, the DCO of Thatta and other relevant officers about the conservation of the Makli monuments and told them to prepare shortand long-term schemes for prop er preservation of the monuments.
It was also decided that the reported cases about theft be investigated and action taken against the persons involved.
On the recommendation of the culture department of Sindh, the federal ministry of culture was preparing a master plan for the preservation of the Makli monuments.
Sachal?s poetry The government had republished Mian Sachal jo Risalo at a cost of Rs430,000 to mark the 187th death anniversary of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast in September.
This was also the first literary work on the saint after one done in 1902, said Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism Sassui Palejo while replying to a question by Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto.
She said popular kalam (poetry) of the sufi poet sung by renowned singers recorded on CDs in Urdu had also been released by the department.
She told the house that the culture department had constituted a committee comprising scholars and academics to conduct in-depth research on the life and works of Sachal Sarmast.