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14 May 2005
Harappa amusement park in Pakistan has been scrapped

A controversial amusement park being developed adjacent to the ruins of the 5,000-year-old Harappa civilisation is being scrapped, even as details are emerging about how it was initiated. Pakistani Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sports Ajmal Khan admitted that officials of his ministry issued the no-objection certificate (NOC) for the Rs.10 million project in Punjab province, about 180 km from Lahore, but said no action was planned against them. What this means is that two key officials, secretary (culture) Jalil Abbas and director of archaeology (Lahore) Salimul Haq, who had given the go-ahead to the project, will be let off the hook. Haq claimed that the project had been approved under political pressure from Hassan Nawaz, administrator of the Sahiwal district where the ruins lie.
     Work on the amusement park was halted after diggings in the area threw up new discoveries of priceless objects like statues of gods and goddesses, toys, wheels, pottery and bangles. Prominent Pakistani historian and archaeologist Ahmed Hasan Dani had first rung the alarm bells over the amusement park project. "Please spare the 5,000-year-old ruins of one of the first cities of the world," he pleaded in a letter to Minister Khan earlier this month. The project would only bring Pakistan a bad name at the international level, Dani contended. The culture minister then ordered a resurvey of the project and Archaeology Department head Fazal Dad Kakar visited the site.

Source: Newz.in, Indo-Asian News Servioce (10 May 2005)

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