Why Preserving Pakistan's Cultural Heritage Should Matter to the United States

January 29, 2015 9:52 PM

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Why Preserving Pakistan's Cultural Heritage Should Matter to the United States

We walked beside the now dusty wash that once contained the mighty but ever shifting Indus River, puzzling out the names of long-deceased members of royal dynasties now barely remembered. I was visiting the necropolis of Makli Hills with Yasmeen Lari, a conservation architect and herself a national treasure of Pakistan. The monuments at Makli chart the history of Islam in Sindh province, one of the cradles of civilization, dominated by the alluvial plain of the Indus, from which Sindh gets its name. I was there to announce that the U.S. Government is helping to conserve two of its most magnificent monuments.

As the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, I live in a country facing political, military, and humanitarian challenges on many fronts. One front that has not received sufficient attention in Western media is the war on cultural heritage and how this matters to the people of Pakistan.

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