Dam to submerge historical rock Carvings

Weekly bang-e-sahar Saturday, April 26—May 02, 2008
ISLAMABAD: The elected representatives and officials of Northern Areas and the federal government here on Wednesday reviewed the impact on rock/archaeological carvings to be caused by the construction of proposed Basha Dam.
Reportedly, thousands of rock carvings have been discovered so far in Chilas, Hodar, Thaplan, etc., during the last three decades by German scholars in collaboration with the Federal Department of Archaeology, said a press release issued here.
The survey is still under process to document these rock carvings spread in different areas of Northern Areas.
More than 50,000 petroglyphs and over 5000 inscriptions in 39 different scripts and languages have been recorded so far along the Karakoram Highway.
These rock carvings, which are cultural assets of the mankind, are threatened and endangered due to the proposed construction of the dam. The planned Basha-Diamer reservoir will endanger these very important archaeological remains of the Northern Areas.
It is estimated that about 30,907 out of 32,405 rock carvings will be submerged by the dam including 3,290 inscriptions, which would be a tragedy for the cultural history of the region.
As the Basha-Diamer reservoir is a project of vital national importance; therefore, the meeting was arranged to discuss various issues for safeguarding the endangered rock carvings.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Shahid Rafi, Secretary Ministry of Culture, and attended by Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, Chief Secretary Northern Areas; Abdul Hamid, Adviser Culture and Tourism; Sanaullah, Secretary Tourism Northern Areas, and Dr Fazal Dad Kakar, Director General of Archaeology and Museums.
The meeting unanimously decided that the unique petroglyphs would be uplifted (which is possible) from the location of the reservoir and preserved in museums to be established at Gilgit and Chilas by the Federal Department of Archaeology and Museums.
All other important petroglyphs will be copied through 3-D digitiser scanner and their replicas will be displayed in the proposed museums.
The members of the local administration of Northern Areas agreed to provide suitable piece of land free of charge for the construction museums at Gilgit and Chilas.


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