Sindh Culture Minister’s praiseworthy efforts; Makli is no more ‘endangered’ site

By: Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti

Recently Sindh Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah was warmly welcomed when he returned from Poland after attending Unesco World Heritage Committee’s 41st session at Krakow. He was also praise a lot by the nation and no doubt he did a marvelous job in the meeting. what actually he did, he made efforts and convinced the meeting to withdraw  its warning about putting the Makli necropolis, a world heritage site, on its list of ‘endangered’ sites.

The Makli graveyard  was likely to be declared ‘endangered’ by UNESCO  with reports about the historical necropolis crumbling fast. The original February deadline, however, was extended after active efforts to protect the site by the provincial government. Syed Sardar  Shah presented a master plan to the participants to assure them that all their fears about the site had been taken care of in the arrangement.The story began last year when in  the Unesco’s conference , the poor maintenance of the site was discussed and it was decided that the site would be put on its list of ‘endangered’ sites.

In the current conference Syed Sardar Shah in his presentation at the session said three weather stations had been established at the site for weather updates. He also told the conference that crack monitors had been installed there so that any harm to the necropolis was promptly signalled.

Further more guards had been deployed across the necropolis, spread over 10 square kilometres, while its geophysical survey had been duly completed. The four-volume master plan contained all details and maps of every grave and tomb in the site. According to the reports the world heritage committee had expressed its satisfaction over the Sindh minister’s briefing, praised the provincial government and withdrew its warning to put Makli on the endangered sites list.

The world heritage committee had expected from the provincial government to check encroachment of the site’s land and theft of its properties, ensure proper maintenance and preservation, protect the site by raising a boundary wall around it and take appropriate measures to stop monuments from decaying. The Sindh culture authorities claimed all such requirements had been met, or were being taken care of.