Bamiyan declared SAARC Cultural Capital 2015

The declaration would provide Bamiyan an opportunity to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits


Tahir Khan June 05, 2015
An Afghan man rids his bicycle in front of the empty seat of the Buddha destroyed by the Taliban. PHOTO: AFP

Afghanistan’s ancient city of Bamiyan on Friday was officially declared as the cultural capital of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for 2015, the spokesperson for Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan Akhtar Munir told The Express Tribune.

Munir and another diplomat Khurshid Marwat represented Pakistan at the ceremony held at the historic city of Bamiyan.

Bamiyan Valley is located some 264 km west of Kabul within the high mountains of the Hindu Kush.

The declaration would provide an opportunity for Bamiyan to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and could also abet urban regeneration, Afghan officials said.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Culture the decision to announce Bamiyan as the SAARC Cultural Capital was taken at the SAARC delegation’s visit to the city in June 2014.

Deputy Afghan President Sarwar Danish deputy inaugurated the ceremony. He was joined by Second Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohammad Muhaqqiq and Information Minister Abdul Bari Jahani.

Delegates of SAARC member states as well as the Kabul-based diplomats were present at the occasion.

During the two-day celebrations, exhibitions, seminars, musical shows and recitals, arts and crafts workshops, literary festivals, food shows, screening of films and documentaries will also be held.

Afghan officials said that the ceremony included tours to Buddha’s destroyed statues.

Taliban had destroyed the two standing Buddha statues in March 2001 just few months before the United States strikes dislodged their government.

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