Quetta, 25 January 2024(TDI): US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, in collaboration with Caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan Ali Mardan Khan Domki, inaugurated the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), marking its maiden venture in Balochistan.
The initiative includes a significant $320,000 grant for the safeguarding and enhancement of Mehrgarh Museum, a repository of Balochistan’s historical and cultural heritage.
The official launch ceremony took place at Mehrgarh Museum in Quetta, where Ambassador Donald Blome and Caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki unveiled the province’s first-ever Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Project.
The grant is a testament to the United States’ commitment to preserving and promoting cultural heritage in Balochistan.
Preserving Mehrgarh: South Asia’s Earliest Agricultural Civilization
Balochistan’s Ministry of Culture and Sindh Adventure and Exploration Society will utilize the grant to fortify the preservation efforts for artifacts from Mehrgarh, representing South Asia’s earliest known agricultural civilization.
The Mehrgarh Museum plays a pivotal role in showcasing the pre and early history of the region, with artifacts globally recognized and displayed in prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée Guimet in Paris.
Ambassador Donald Blome emphasized the United States’ commitment to cultural heritage, stating, “This effort reflects that the United States values the cultural heritage of Balochistan.”
Under the AFCP, the US is actively supporting the restoration of 33 historic sites across Pakistan, dating back 2,000 years.
Moreover, this comprehensive approach encompasses Mosques, Buddhist monasteries, Hindu monuments, Sufi shrines, and relics from the Mughal Empire, showcasing the rich historical tapestry of the region.
Dedicated Heritage Channel
In a parallel initiative, Caretaker Minister for Culture and Heritage Jamal Shah announced plans for a dedicated heritage channel during the ‘Hum Jugnu Taaray Dharti Ke’ conference at the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Islamabad.
This channel aims to promote regional literature, offering translated versions of diverse genres, including parables, adages, poetry, and music.
Moreover, Minister Jamal Shah envisions creating a platform where the youth, regardless of language spoken, can connect with the diverse cultural wisdom of Pakistan.
The $320,000 grant for Mehrgarh Museum will significantly contribute to the preservation of Neolithic and other archaeological artifacts, as well as the improvement of duration practices.
Ambassador Blome highlighted, “This endeavor underscores the importance the United States places on the cultural legacy of Balochistan and our commitment to fostering a deeper appreciation of its history.”
Global recognition of Mehrgarh Museum
Established in September 2022, the Mehrgarh Museum has already gained global recognition for its displays.
The funding from the US grant will further enhance the museum’s existing exhibits, strengthen community outreach initiatives, and provide professional development training for the Balochistan Directorate of Archaeology’s staff.
Additionally, the museum displays the early history of the region, and artifacts from Mehrgarh enjoy global recognition, being exhibited in museums in New York and Paris.
Furthermore, the AFCP project, implemented in collaboration with the Balochistan Culture Department and SEAS, aims to support endeavors that contribute to the preservation of Balochistan’s rich cultural landscape.