New ministry left high and dry by govt

Published: January 1, 2012
Heritage ministry does not even have an office to work in Ghurki is running the ministry’s affairs from her home.

Heritage ministry does not even have an office to work in Ghurki is running the ministry’s affairs from her home. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD SADAQAT/ FILE


Recently established with the aim of promoting and preserving the culture of Pakistan, the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration has been unable to even get an office for itself.

In 2010, Member National Assembly Pir Aftab Shah Jilani was given the charge of the Ministry of Culture. Under his leadership, the ministry completed various projects to promote and preserve the culture of Pakistan. However, the ministry was dissolved in March this year under the 18th Amendment, leading to abolition of some agreements signed with the international community.

In October, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani created the heritage ministry and appointed Samina Khalid Ghurki as the minister.

Yet, the lack of office space available in the Secretariat has left the ministry without any workspace. What little work the ministry can accomplish is being done by Ghurki at her residence in the Ministers’ Colony. According to sources, these include the operations of Iqbal Academy in Lahore, National Language Authority, Lok Virsa, Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Sialkot Museum.

Ghurki’s principal secretary confirmed that she was managing the ministry’s affairs from her residence. He added that the government is planning to establish the ministry’s office in the Evacuee Property Trust building “soon”.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Jan 1, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Vienna,January 1,20012
    Good sign the sole ideology is culture of heritage.Where is room for
    all stone ruins? The Prophet´s,MPBUH residence in Makkah was not
    preserved as well.Almighty god is the sole ideology and cultural heritage
    of the world worth retaining.The heritage is on daily display five times
    a day by all the faithful individually.Besides, the Ministry should hide
    itself from suicide attacks.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • Jan 3, 2012 - 10:45PM

    DESPITE the ill-effects of the devolution of the functions of the Federal Department of Archaeology and Museums to the provinces, in term of the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, as expressed in some news reports on April 25, the government has not taken any steps to avert the demise of such an important department.

    The unfortunate part of the episode is that certain functions of the department devolved to the provinces are still the concern of the federal government, as per the federal legislative list of the Constitution.

    For instance, in terms of item No. 15 of the federal legislative list, maintenance of libraries, museums and similar institutions, controlled or financed by the federation, is the responsibility of the federal government. But even museums associated with our national heroes like the Quaid-i-Azam House Museum (Flag Staff House), Karachi; Museum at Quaid-i-Azam’s birthplace, Karachi; Museum at the birthplace of Allama Iqbal, Sialkot, and Museum at the Allama Iqbal House, Lahore, have been transferred to provincial governments. The National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi, which serves as a showcase of our national
    heritage, has also not been spared. It has been transferred to the government of Sindh.

    The other most important function of the department was to conduct researches on various aspects of ‘archaeology’. This function very much falls within the purview of the federal government, in term of item No. 16 of the federal legislative list, which deals with the promotion of special studies and researches. The department used to carry out this function with the aid of the Explanation and Excavation Branch, Karachi, and Pakistan Institute of Archaeological Research and Training, Lahore.

    Both these organs of the department have been transferred to the government of Sindh and the government of Punjab, respectively. In view of the above, the existence of the Department of Archaeology and Museums at the federal level is fully supported by constitutional provisions. Even otherwise, there is a need to have a central body at the federal level, which could have a constant liaison with international cultural organisations like Unesco, ICOM, ICOMOS, Isesco, etc.

    The prime minister is requested to look into the matter and take appropriate steps to restore the department at the federal level, devolving upon it full constitutional responsibilities in terms of items No. 15 and 16 of the federal legislative list in the larger national interest.


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