I. Background Information

Most heritage sites in Sindh are in a highly degraded and endangered state. It has become essential to task all relevant organizations to ensure heritage safeguarding, preservation and public outreach activities in order to foster pride, stake in and ownership of Sindh’s ancient and diverse heritage dating back to the Bronze Age.

I.0 Types of Heritage Sites

The existing heritage of Sindh can be divided into the following groups:

    1. World Heritage Sites

These are of global significance and need to be kept off the endangered list by following the requirements of UNESCO World Heritage and ICOMOS missions that provide periodic reporting. 

    1. Sites of National, Provincial and Local importance

These sites were originally included in the list under the Antiquities Act 1973, and many more were identified by the Federal Department of Archaeology. Although they are protected by law, the majority of them are not provided maintenance or preservation. 

    1. Urban Heritage Sites

These sites have been identified and provided protection under the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994. Many structures are under the custodianship of various government agencies, while others are under private ownership. A few have been restored but the vast majority are awaiting action. 

  2.0 Status of Legal Framework

2.1 As a result of the 18the Constitutional Amendment, the Sindh Culture 
Department is custodian of all heritage sites in Sindh. In the absence of a unified law at the moment both the Antiquities Act, 1973, and the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act, 1994, are applicable.

          3.0 Heritage Public Institutions

Government institutions that are engaged in heritage safeguarding are as follows:

          3.1 Sindh Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee

Headed by the Sindh Chief Secretary, the committee acts under the 1994 Act and controls the changes or de-notification of notified structures in urban areas.

3.2 Sindh Culture Department

There are several hundred notified sites spread over all districts. The Heritage Foundation of Pakistan has developed an electronic databank for Sindh Heritage, which has made the current condition available of over 1100 heritage sites in Sindh. For all heritage sites, the Sindh Directorate of Archaeology is the relevant directorate, but suffers from lack of trained and other personnel in order to undertake work according to international charters and guidelines.

3.3 Government Agencies

All municipal authorities and other government agencies have several historic structures under their custody. For example in Karachi, KMC owns Frere Hall etc., while the Education Department owns the BVS School and several other schools; in other districts many historic structures are under the custody of deputy commissioners and departments such as Education and Revenue. Urban heritage structures are also owned by cantonment boards.

3.4 Endowment Fund Trust for the Preservation of Sindh Heritage (EFT)

The EFT was established in August 2008 by the Sindh Government with a capital of 100 crores as an autonomous non-profit organisation. It is to be governed by a board of trustees consisting of 13 trustees (10 from the private sector and 3 from public sector). It has Jahangir Siddiqui as chairman, Hameed Haroon as managing trustee, and Abdul Hamid Akhund as secretary of the board.

3.5 Museums

Museums operate under the Sindh Culture Department. The National Museum carries a remarkable collection. Although it is open to the general public, far greater effort is required to familiarize the public with the wealth of collection it houses.

3.6 Mohatta Palace Museum

The Government of Sindh purchased this in 1995. The Governor of Sindh created the Mohatta Palace Gallery Trust on 14the September 1995, with the governor as chairman of the Board of Trustees consisting of not less than six or more than 15 to be appointed for a 5-year term of office. The managing trustee was appointed for three years from 4 March 1997. The Mohatta Palace Museum was formally opened in 1999. Mr. Hameed Haroon is managing trustee, and Abdul Hamid Akhund is secretary of the board.

II. Urgency of Action

Heritage Sites Requirements & Related Imperatives

Sindh heritage sites are in a highly endangered state. Unless action is taken urgently, most sites will succumb to degradation, pilferage and encroachments, which are occurring on a daily basis.

1.0 MOHENJO-DARO World Heritage Site

It is the largest Bronze Age city in the world of the Third Millennium, which is parallel to Egypt and its pyramids, and to Mesopotamia in significance.

Compared to Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Indus Civilization represented by the urban layout of Mohenjo-Daro, provides the world with the first proto- democratic forms. Built with burnt bricks, this is the only 3rd. millennium site in the world of that is still surviving.

Among the main requirements spelt out by experts are the following:

* Dry Core Drilling

* Laboratory Improvements 

* Sufficient workforce for regular maintenance


2.0  MAKLI NECROPOLIS, THATTA World Heritage Site

The largest Muslim necropolis in the world that is protected by the world community. The extraordinary history of Sindh over the last 500 years is reflected in its spectacular architecture, with the sepulchres of Sufis and rulers alike.

Some of the requirements of the UNESCO/ICOMOS Missions of 2006, WHC Session 33 and 2010 Emergency Mission were fulfilled by the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan prior to the arrival of the 2013 World Heritage Mission, which consists of the following:

* Mapping and Detailed Registration: A map of Makli divided into Core Zone and Buffer Zone was prepared by the Heritage Foundation. The registration of all monuments, platforms and graves has also been completed by the foundation.

* Soil Investigation, Foundations, Stabilization of Tomb of Jam Nizam Al Din: Soil investigation and a detailed condition survey were prepared by the Heritage Foundation. (However, stabilization of the tomb is still to be taken up by the relevant authorities).

 * Condition Reports and Detailed Documentation: Photo documentation 
and preliminary evaluation has been initiated by the Heritage Foundation. (A comprehensive effort in this direction is required to be taken up by the relevant authorities). 

* Prioritize Emergency Intervention, Emergency Shoring & Maintenance: Lari-Emergency Preventive Intervention has been initiated by the foundation. (However, the large-scale effort has still to be taken up by relevant authorities). 

* Monitoring Program & Management Plan: Not implemented so far.

The following steps are considered essential to be undertaken immediately in order to keep the Makli site from being placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Endangered List: 

  • Demarcation of the Core Zone and the Buffer Zone by the Revenue Department according to the site map prepared by the Heritage Foundation and approved by the Sindh Culture Department. 

  • Stabilization of the famous tomb of Jam Nizam al-Din.
  • Detailed documentation, damage assessment of all monuments, platforms and graves. 

  • Systematic stabilization of all 75 standing structures and 402 platforms (identified by the Heritage Foundation).
  • Halting of all encroachments, removal of unauthorized construction and removal of unauthorized electric line by the District Administration.
  • Construction of boundary fencing to stop encroachments and pilferage.
  • Coordination mechanism between relevant government departments for effective management of the site.
  • Sufficient workforce for regular maintenance and guarding.
  • Training.


Many of these sites are in far off areas and most are in a highly degraded state. There are cases of encroachments and pilferage with hardly any maintenance. The following actions are essential to save them from further decay:

  1. Determination of boundaries by the local revenue department and fencing to deter encroachments. 

  2. Guarding the sites from vandalism. 

  3.              Damage assessment of sites for developing remedial measures and emergency assistance.
  4. Annual maintenance, conservation plans and funding allocation for heritage sites, including trained staff for preservation and patrolling.
  5. Punitive action against encroachers, pilferage or misuse of sites.


a.  Structures under the ownership of various government departments (to be taken up by each department or agency):

* Reports on the present state of preservation, and proposals for conservation of each site. 

* Year wise plans and allocation of funds for ensuring heritage safeguarding for all sites under their custody. 

* Annual monitoring reports to assess actions taken. 

  1. Listed Heritage Structures under private ownership, (can be helped by EFT or Culture Department): 

• Reports on the present state of preservation and proposals for conservation of each site. 

• Providing technical conservation assistance and co-funding for preservation. 

• Annual monitoring reports to assess actions taken. 


5.1  Sindh Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee

* Reports on annual performance and on actions taken. 
          *Frequency of meetings and approval process. 

*Review of committee membership – length of tenure of each member and whether it is according to the rules. 

*Procedure for inducting new committee members. 

*No. of de-notifications each year. 

*No. of notified buildings that have been demolished.

Sindh Culture Department

a. Heritage Training and Capacity Building Programs

To be carried out for all levels of heritage personnel in order that all sites are cared for according to international standards: 

Heritage guards. 

Heritage maintenance crew including artisans. 

Architects and engineers for supervision and site works recording. Heritage monitoring teams. 

b. Performance management

* Annual programs for ensuring equitable distribution of resources to all districts 
Punitive action against encroachers, pilferage or misuse of heritage sites.

* Annual reports to ensure that the objectives have been fulfilled.

* Assessment of performance with professional standards and compliance with international guidelines. 

* Report on inter-sectoral coordination e.g. with other departments, i.e. Auqaf Department, revenue departments, district governments etc.

* Signage/information boards and visitors’ outreach mechanisms.

5.3 Endowment Fund Trust

* Review of annual performance – how many sites preserved annually since inception, and method of evaluation for completed works.

* Procedure for selection of projects and allocation of funds. 

* Method of monitoring – how many works carried out departmentally by EFT itself and those outsourced, arrangement for supervision and methodology for approvals of budget, and expenses incurred for each project.

* Reports on annual programs: milestones, performance audits and actions taken. 

* Review of committee membership – selection of members and tenures.  

*Transparency in actions taken for purchase and personnel appointments etc.

*Report on Financial Audits.

5.4  Heritage under Various Government Departments/Agencies

* List of heritage buildings under each department/agency.

* Report on state of preservation of each heritage structure.

* Annual plans for rehabilitation / preservation of each structure.

* Availability of trained heritage personnel for preservation and maintenance.

* Monitoring and evaluation of site works.

5.5  Museums

a. Culture Department Museums

*  List of all museums operating under the care of Culture Department.

* Composition of members who provide direction and oversight to functioning. 

*  Catalogue and assessment of all objects in each museum on display and in storage. 

* List of regular outreach programs for general public and students. Annual review mechanism.

*Annual Review mechanism.

b. Mohatta Palace Museum

* Reports on annual programs: milestones, performance audit and actions taken. 

* Review of committee membership – selection of members and tenures.

*Transparency in actions taken for purchase and personnel appointments etc.

*List of regular outreach programs for general public and students.

*Financial Audit.


According to studies, the third largest source of income in Bahrain 2013 is tourism.

In Pakistan too income should be generated through cultural tourism, for which the maintenance and protection of cultural property are essential.


Adequate expertise is not available to meet the challenge of heritage management and there is insufficient capacity in the public and private sectors for safeguarding heritage.

There is an urgent need to establish a training centre at Makli, to provide fast capacity building according to international level training courses developed by the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan / UNESCO. Training procedures for young professionals and artisans can be taken up through a 3-month training program to fulfill the requirements not only of the Makli Necropolis but also of other heritage sites in Sindh.

Bilali Chatri
Jami Masjid