Italian Archeologists document 400 historical sites in Pakistan

A Conference on the “Italian Archaeology in Pakistan . Past and Present” on Wednesday was organized by the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations (TIAC) Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in collaboration with the Embassy of Italian Republic and IsIAO. The event was a part of celebrations of the 56th anniversary of the Italian Republic and the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification.

In his welcome address QAU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai lauded the active cooperation of Italian archaeologists and relevant departments for restoration, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage of Pakistan.

“The Italian archaeologists have been working in Sindh and Baluchistan for a long time and have discovered a large number of archaeological sites in both provinces. Approximately 400 historical and archaeological sites have till now been documented by the Italians in Pakistan” he added.

He also appreciated the three years project “The Archaeology Community Tourism-Field School Project” approved by a joint Pakistani-Italian committee in September 2010. The project aims at the preservation, protection and promotion of the cultural heritage of Swat. The Vice Chancellor also emphasized the need to strengthen the academic and scientific cooperation between Pakistan and Italy.

Vincenzo Prati, Ambassador of Italy, said that a nation could not think about its future without remembering its past. “The knowledge of past that we get through the archeological sites should project our future,” he added.

He said that Italy want to see Pakistan as a strong country. “We want to see Pakistan as an economically stable country and that is why Italy has invested in many projects in Pakistan,” he added.

Dr. Ashraf Khan, Director Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations (TIAC) while addressing the conference said that the Italian Archaeological Mission.s activities in different parts of Pakistan and especially in the area of Swat have played a very significant role in bringing this area on the map of the known archaeological sites of the world.

“The Italian colleagues have not only succeeded in bringing to fore one of the world.s vibrant culture but they have presented a good image of Pakistan across the world as well. Though various International Archaeological Missions have been engaged in archaeological activities in our country for last many decades but the credit for consistency, dedication and commitment in the business of antiquarian research goes to the Italian Archaeological Mission, a fact well pronounced by their achievements and contributions in Swat archaeology” he added.

Dr. Ashraf said close working relationship between the Italian and Pakistani archaeologists would definitely results in mutual benefits and it will further contribute to the already existing cordial and frank relations based on the formula of reciprocal respect and assistance.

Dr. Luca Maria Olivieri, Director Italian Archaeological Mission to Pakistan, Dr. Valeria Fiorani, Catholic University of Italy, and a large number of faculty members of QAU attended the conference.

KPK Minister for Archeology, culture and sports Mohammad Aqil Shah also attended the event.