ISLAMABAD: The ministry of cultural affairs has signed an agreement with the new US ambassador to Pakistan to work on the restoration of the 400-year-old Sheikhupura Fort.
Under the agreement, the US embassy will provide a grant of $850,000 for the restoration work. The Pakistani government will contribute $190,000 to the project. The renovation work of the Fort, which is currently closed for visitors, will be completed in three years time. The agreement was signed by Culture Minister, Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani, and the US ambassador, Cameron Munter, on Wednesday during a ceremony that took place at the Pakistani National Council of the Arts.
Federal Secretary of Culture Moinul Islam Bukhari and Ambassador Munter’s wife, Ms Marilyn Wyatt, were also present at the ceremony.
Munter said that Sheikhupura Fort was a symbol of both the Mughal and the Sikh culture. The project, he said, was aimed at protecting one of Pakistan’s most important historical buildings. It would strengthen the academic and cultural ties between the two countries, he said. Besides the preservation of the fort, the grant will provide funds for historical research and joint scholarship programmes for US and Pakistani academics in the field. Once the renovation is complete, the Fort will be equipped with state-of-the-art tourist facilities.
The project will be funded out of the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, a world-wide initiative to promote cultural heritage. The U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation has previously funded 17 such projects in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2010.
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