Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing locals during his visit to preserve Al-Beruni's observatory site, at Nandana, Jhelum
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing locals during his visit to preserve Al-Beruni's observatory site, at Nandana, Jhelum

APP DigitalNANDANA FORT, (JHELUM), Feb 28 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said the government was doing all to promote tourism and generate employment opportunities for youth in Pakistan, which was bestowed with abundant natural resources including sea, high mountains, salt ranges, and historical sites.

“Preservation and protection of our historical sites and national heritage is essential for our coming generations,” Imran Khan said after inaugurating the heritage trail at the Al Biruni point (Baghan Wala Village) at the Nandana Fort in district Jhelum.

The project was undertaken as part of the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the promotion of tourism and in line with the National Tourism Strategy 2020-30.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Ahmad Chaudhry, Special Assistant to PM Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and senior officers were also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister said no nation in the world could achieve progress and development without knowing its history which enabled it to have comparison with the current and past achievements.

“We have to protect our historical sites and buildings,” he said and remarked that the historical sites in Pakistan like Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were discovered by the British.

The Prime Minister appreciated the discovery of 40-feet Budha in Haripur by an archeologist and called for more excavations to find historical places in the country.

He said Baghan Wala would be made a modern village along with the development of other facilities like hotels, restaurants etc., for the promotion of tourism as well as for the development of local area.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan said development of heritage trail in the area, which was used by Abu Rehan Al-Biruni for quantification of earth’s circumference in 11th century for the first time, would help develop area and bring it on the world’s map as a tourist and historical site.

He, however, added that as tourists in Switzerland, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Turkey were properly taken care of by the local populace, the people of Baghan Wala would also have to take ownership of the heritage trail for the promotion of tourism in their area.

The Prime Minister while interacting with the local people said the government would provide soft credit to youth of the area for the establishment of hotels, restaurants and other allied facilities for tourists.

He assured the local people that the government would also preserve and protect forests in the area by planting olive trees.

The Prime Minister later shared a picture of the old fort in a tweet and said ”

We have decided to preserve the sight and build infrastructure there so it becomes accessible to tourists.”

Special Assistant to PM (SAPM) Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari briefed the Prime Minister about the heritage trail as well as the significance of this area in history.

He said Abu Rehan Al-Biruni found the radius of the earth at this point in 11th century for having the true direction of Kaaba, whereas the western world did the same in the 16th century.

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“It speaks volumes about the capabilities and mathematic expertise of Muslim scientists,” he remarked.

SAPM Bukhari said PC-1 had been prepared for the development of the area under which, besides the development of parks and other facilities in the area, a 116-kilometer long road would be constructed and a summer campus would also be established for the education of students.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry speaking on the occasion said construction of Lilla-Jhelum road would help address various problems faced by the people of the area.

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar said the provincial government would declare Baghan Wala as a “modern village” and would construct link roads including the one to link GT Road with Motorway.

Punjab Provincial Minister for Tourism Asif Mehmood in his remarks on the occasion said the provincial government was working vigorously for the development of area in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Prime Minister was keen on the preservation and conservation of the Nandana Fort site, and its conversion into an international tourism site.

The site’s archeological significance dates back to 11th century when famous scholar Abu Rehan Al-Biruni during his stay quantified the circumference of the Earth.

Later, he wrote a famous book about the region and mentioned Nandana as a great center of learning.

There are six more historic sites near the Nandana Fort including Nandana temple, Katas temple, salt-mines of Khewra, Malot Fort and Throne of Babur.

These sites will become part of the heritage trail and the tourists will be able to visit these places in one go.