Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC) of Quaid-i-Azam University in collaboration with Silk Road Centre has decided to take steps for promotion of religious tourism in the country.

This was stated by TIAC Director Dr Ghaniur Rehman recently.

Keeping this aim in view, both organisations will be hosting the first two-day International Conference on Buddhism in Pakistan in October this year.

In this regard, the event`s launching ceremony was held at the institute, which was attended by Sri Lankan High Commissioner Noordeen Mohamed Shaheid, the university`s vice chancellor, Dr. Mohammad Ali, Director General, Department of Archaeology, Dr Abdul Azeem, Silk Road Centre President Dr Fasiha Ijlal, Miangul Adnan Aurangzeb and others. TIAC Director Dr Ghaniur Rehman gave a detailed briefing on bacl(ground of the institute and its role in promoting and preserving archaeological sites in the country.

The speakers shed light on the sacred sites of Buddhists located in Pakistan.

They said the two-day conference will focus on promoting the understanding and value of Buddhist heritage in Pakistan that flourished in the region from 2 BC to the 10 AD.

According to the organisers, the conference will have various programmes lined up, including research presentation, panel discussions, talks and an art festival that will showcase Pakistan`s ancient links with the outside world founded on a shared spiritual heritage.

Pakistan is one of the most sacred places for over 500 million Buddhists around the world, they added.

The Sri Lankan envoy said by opening the Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan has promoted its soft image abroad.

This conference too will send out another positive message of Pakistan, which has sacred Buddhist sites.

Talking to Dawn, TIAC Director Dr Ghaniur Rehman said Pakistan was blessed with many sacred sites, which were highly significant for the Buddhists.

`We even have 2,000-year-old sites in the region, the institute`s director added.

He said the conference would serve as a window for the outside world and promote our heritage sites.

The institute is expecting good attendance from countries with a sizeable Buddhist population, Dr. Rehman said, adding that invitations will also be sent to European and American scholars.

He said the conference will be held from October 12-13.

`Today, it was an introductory event. A designated website for the event has also been launched.

We are thankful to our VC, Silk Road Centre and others for their support and collaboration for the said conference, which will boost religious tourism in the country,` he added.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali extended full support to the institute for the conference and other initiatives.