The ancient heritage site of Mohenjodaro has been damaged and vandalized since long time. The most recent blow came from the organizers of Sindh Festival. They held the inauguration ceremony of the festival right on the excavations of the Mohenjodaro. After launching of the Save Mohenjodaro campaign and signing of this petition (original text blow), the organizers did take some precautionary actions and the place where the stage for the inauguration concert was to be held was shifted to a different location, but still within the excavated premises of the heritage site. Beside this, organizers were more cautious and number of visitors was reduced to 500. All this can be considered as partial success of the campaigners. However, there is still a lot to be done and done urgently.
1. We demand impartial inquiry to assess the impact of this event on the ruins and the extent of the damage done to the excavations
2. We demand the authorities must take urgent action to save Mohenjodaro from changing weather, soil erosion, water-logging, salinity and other climatic effects
3. It has recently transpired that local authorities now periodically allow small scale festivals and exhibitionist to put up stalls, circuses, etc. in the Mohenjodaro premises and motorcyclists are allowed to go into the preserved area. These motorcyclists often go off the pavements and cause irreparable damage to the preserved site. We demand to stop such practices in future
4. Any tours must be guided tours and under the supervision of trained person who monitors and ensures that the visitors do not cause any damage to any part of the heritage site or its structure
5. We also demand transparency in funds received and spent on the preservation projects in future and accountability of such spendings in the past
6. International archeologists of repute should be appointed to plan the preservation of the heritage site without further delay
We will keep this campaign live in order to ensure Mohenjodaro and other ancient sites in Sindh are protected and preserved for posterity and research.
Original First Campaign Petition:
You kind office must be knowing the fact that archaeological ruins of Mohenjo-Daro are declared as one of the greatest and precious cultural heritage of human civilization. The site by inspected by UNESCO team in 1980 and later was declared as the greatest heritage site to be preserved and protected.
The discovery of the colonial officials from the Archaeological Survey of India in 1924 when they excavated a hill on the banks of the Indus River is now known as the identity of a highly civilized, integrated, well-planned urban landscape Sindhi society.
The amazing intact large houses on grid-system roads, with their own bathrooms and drainage and sewage systems exposed the modernization of Sindhi society at this time. The recovery of a ceremonial public bath, a civic center, grain stores, a debating hall and artifacts which indicated a system of taxation, weights and measures as well as jewellery, toys and chess-like pieces which highlighted its regard for beauty and recreation further expand the existing of a great urban Sindhi society.
The tragedy is that the governments at national and provincial level have been so insensitive to preserve and respect their glorious past culture, heritage and archaeological sites. Same happened to this greatest site and it has been neglected till now. The site's clay brick walls, layer of mud, continuous salt crystals from rain and river water and other factors are destroying the bricks.
Couple of days back Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the young Pakistan People's Party leader, son of Benazir Bhutto, the late Pakistan prime minister, and former president Asif Zardari and Bhutto dynasty scion, has announced to lead an international campaign to save Mohenjo-Daro, the crumbling ruins of the world's last surviving Bronze Age city.
We appreciate his ray of hope to bring Mohenjo-Daro and Makli back to life through cultural coup and his resolve to fight against terrorism with the peaceful weapon of tourism and culture.
We would like to bring this matter to his kind notice that under the slogan of cultural coup, the organizers of the events are damaging archaeological assets, history, culture and art of Sindh province where his party's government is ruling for the last seven years. We welcome his speech to protect the secular civilization fabric of Sindhi society but unfortunately the way the show is going to happen, it is going to further destroy the already weaken ruins and structures of the site.
We are of the view that even Mr. Bilawal was not aware of the fact that what is happening to this glorious UNESCO declared, World Heritage Site of Mohenjo-Daro in the name of 'Sindh Festival'? We want to tell him that this is not promotion or celebration of culture. This is destruction. Madness. It must stop forthwith. So we, the signatories of this letter to UNESCO and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari show our concern on the ongoing engineering work in preparation of cultural show and appeal to your good office to talk to the government of Sindh to stop further digging of the site by non-technical and non-expert labor and staff.
The eye witness account suggests that the site is continuously decaying for the last two decades, raising the questions regarding the use of funds generated to save Mohenjo-Daro. Both the federal government, the previous caretaker of the site and the Sindh government, the current caretaker of the site, have also failed in the promotion of the site as a tourist spot. On the other hand a huge sum of $23 million was generated through “Save Mohenjo-Daro” international campaign jointly run by federal government and Unesco but very little is known about the usage of that money.
We a group of archaeologists, historians, academia, civil society leaders, writers and intellectuals resolved that there is an urgent need of UNESCO intervention to save the site from further destruction and disaster. Your prestigious organization with the support of international experts try to develop an intensive conservation plan to save the site and promote awareness of the amazing wonder of the ancient world that seems to have been forgotten.
We appeal you to use your good office to stop erection of stage for inauguration ceremony and ask the authorities to shift the inauguration site to some nearby ground to protect the sanctity of the site. We also appeal you to save Mohenjo-Daro and refrain from all such activities in future that can harm the precious historic site.