ISLAMABAD, Feb 10 (APP): Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said Pakistan was a land of enchanting valleys, beautiful high mountains, besides having rich cultural and historical sites, enough to attract domestic and foreign tourists.
He expressed these views as a chief guest during a book launching ceremony titled ” From Landi Kotal to Wagah: Cultural Heritage Along the Grand Trunk Road’ organized by European Union (EU) at Pakistan National Council of Arts here on Wednesday.
He said the geographical location of Pakistan was a blend of wonderful landscapes, plains, deserts, forests and beautiful high mountains.
It is also called the land of agriculture where 75 percent of its people were associated with this sector.
He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was spending a huge amount with a focus to preserve and develop all the cultural sites and offering lucrative facilities at these tourists resorts for promoting country’s tourism.
Talking to APP after the event, European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said “culture is at the heart of the EU international relations”.
Particularly, She said the EU strategy for international cultural relations was aimed at supporting culture as an engine for social and economic development, promoting intercultural dialogue and the role of culture for peaceful inter-community relations.
Replying to a question about the Grand Trunk Road, she said over the centuries, the GT road became a vital link in the trade routes across Central and South Asia and ensured mobility across continents.
The strategic value of this grand highway had become more significant by the presence of forts, fortified towns, caravanserai, milestones and stepped walls all along the route.
She said, these wonderful landscape and sights had been described in the book by demonstrating the importance for economies to trade with neighbouring countries and how trade facilitated and better connectivity .
Many of the anecdotes present in the book can serve as source of inspiration for strengthening ties among the neighbours of our times, she remarked.
To another query about the role of the Grand Trunk Road in promotion of country tourism, she said the Road had not only facilitated the transportation of goods but also helpef exchange of cultures, ideas, religions and languages .
She said ” the Greeks, Mauryans, Scythians, Parthians, Sassanians, Turks Mughal and British all left their mark on the history of Pakistan.”
The envoy appreciated the policy of Pakistan for promotion of tourism as an economic tool for growth, adding the Cultural heritage was an important manifestation of cultural diversity that needs to be protected and promoted, especially for its key role in attracting tourism and boost economic growth.
Replying to another question, she said the presence of much non-Muslim religious sights is an example of interfaith harmony which testify the peaceful coexistence of different religions and faiths across Pakistan.
Last week, the EU Delegation joined the UN’s “Interfaith Harmony Week” to celebrate Pakistan’s diversity and multiple faiths, which should be cherished and supported as it was more imperative for a better and prosperous society.
The event was attended by EU envoys and head of different dignitaries including Ms. Patricia McPhillips, Director of UNESCO Islamabad, H.E. Mr. Benedict de Cerjat, Ambassador of Switzerland and Ms. Maha Ahmed, from the World Bank.