Minister Pervaiz Rashid,

Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch,

National Security Adviser,

Lt. Gen. (R) Nasser Khan Janjua

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Exhibition, “Ancient Pakistan”, is not merely a display of artifacts and antiquities. It is a narration of history of an ancient people who inhabited the meadows, fields, mountains, deserts, hills and valleys of this country. The ingenuity of the people left indelible marks on human civilization in this part of the world.

Pakistan is known as the Gift of Indus whose tributaries have nourished life throughout this region since times immemorial. The life giving waters of Indus bestow on the land an indestructible unity, lasting fertility, endless energy and a reliable communication system. The north-south flow of Indus has also imparted this country an unmistakable profile.

The ancient sources of Pakistan’s culture and civilization have created a cultural empathy between Pakistan and other countries of Central, South, and East Asia. This link has to be strengthened and transformed through greater regional connectivity, speedy resolution of disputes and closer people to people contacts.

People in the ancient settlements of Mehrgarh or the city states of the Indus Valley would run their affairs without any potentates. They knew that security of their states would be gauged by the scale of public welfare. Hence, among the discovered antiquities in Moenjodaro and Harappa, we find neither the crowns nor royal trappings. The most treasured discoveries are sculpture, architecture, granaries, sewerage systems, public baths, water reservoirs and river ports.

Gandhara, nevertheless constitutes yet another landmark where artistic traditions were synthesized. It showcases the willingness of the local artists to absorb new ideas and innovate. It emerged as a major center of art, crafts and sciences in the ancient world.

As mentioned by the Prime Minister in his message for this exhibition, our most significant legacy from our past is the tradition of tolerance, respect for difference and acceptance of plurality which even today is the bedrock of the true Pakistani ethos.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ancient Pakistan is a fascinating study of how diverse cultures, languages, social and belief systems interacted to produce a common identity. This, today, is our national identity.

With this national identity, geography makes Pakistan as much a part of South Asia as Central Asia. Pakistan is prepared to play its role in creating new linkages, strengthening the existing ones and help trigger a movement for sustainable peace and development in the region and beyond.

This, indeed, is the purpose of this exhibition.

I commend the Foreign Secretary, his team and all the participating organizations for their untiring efforts to project Pakistan’s heritage. Initiatives like these bring peoples and states closer.

Thank you very much.

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