On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan shared images of a Takht-i-Bhai Buddhist temple, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The images have gained popularity on social media.
Taking to Twitter, he uploaded the images of historic temples, possibly in a bid to promote the area.
“The ancient ruins of a Buddhist temple in Takhtbhai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are part of the rich Pakistani heritage of Gandhara,” the prime minister tweeted.
The ancient ruins of a Buddhist temple at Takhtbhai, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa – part of the rich Pakistani heritage of Gandhara. pic.twitter.com/J23ZZS9Htf
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 26, 2021
As a result, Twitteratis responded with praise for the place as it showcases Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage.
More importantly, Takht-i-Bhai, also known as the Thrones of Origins, is inscribed on the World Heritage List. Moreover, architects consider it as the best structured Buddhist monastery in Gandhara district.
Perched about 500 feet on top of a small hill and known to be the heart of Gandhara civilization, the temples attract tourists, historians, archaeologists and Buddhists from all over the world. Moreover, the site is a symbol of architectural complexity.
Read more: Pakistan Tourism Summit: Fawad urges media to play a positive role
KP Government Committed to Preserve Historic Sites
Earlier this year, former SAPM Zulfiqar Bukhari said the government was improving the infrastructure of religious tourist sites across Pakistan.
He spoke to reporters after having an informal chat with the delegation of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks at Takht-i-Bahi, KP.
Similarly, SAPM said the government is developing infrastructure in cooperation with the World Bank as part of the government’s religious tourism policy.
He said that in line with Prime Minister Khan’s vision, the government is currently working to establish a sacred Buddhist path. The trail will include the most revered Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan.
Read more: Prime Minister Khan to inaugurate heritage trail at 11th-century Fort Nandana
Attacks on Pakistan’s Buddhist Heritage
While Prime Minister Khan’s government is committed to preserving these historic sites, many Pakistanis do not share the same sentiments.
Calling Buddhism “un-Islamic”, locals frequently destroy Buddhist statues. To clarify, in July, construction workers vandalized an ancient Buddhist statue found in Pakistan’s Takht-i-Bhai area in Mardan district.
Calling the idol “un-Islamic”, the men smashed the statue into pieces. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media, showing construction workers smashing the idol with a hammer and expressing their resentment towards it.
The same ruins that your countrymen madarasa chhap ruined again by destroying the Buddha statue as it was considered un-Islamic. pic.twitter.com/uNtaMLthmC
— INFERNO (@TheAngryLord) September 26, 2021
However, after that, authorities arrested the men involved in the incident.