KP govt signs MoU to display Buddha statue in Switzerland exhibition


PESHAWAR: The biggest Buddha statue in Peshawar Museum would be displayed at the Rietberg Museum in Switzerland at an exhibition to promote religious tourism.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the officials of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Tourism and Museums Department and the Switzerland government, the Buddha statue would be transported to Switzerland where it would be showcased at the Rietberg Museum to promote religious tourism.

KP Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museum, Culture and Youth Affairs Secretary Muhammad Tariq and Rietberg Museum Director Albert Lutz signed the MoU. National History and Literary Heritage Division Secretary Aamir Hassan and Islamabad Heritage and Museums Director General Syed Junaid Akhlaq were also present at the MoU signing ceremony.

The MoU was part of an earlier agreement signed between the governments of Pakistan and Switzerland to open new avenues of cooperation in museums sector through capacity-building of museum experts, arranging exchange visits, conducting joint research programmes, publications and to provide scholarships for doctoral and post-doctoral research for professionals and young Pakistani scholars in Switzerland.

After the devolution of power to provinces through the 18th constitutional amendment, the KP government was the first to ink such an agreement in the museums sector with a foreign country.

According to the MoU, the biggest statute of Buddha in the Peshawar Museum would be shifted and displayed at an exhibition at the Rietberg Museum in Switzerland.

The statue would be displayed for a period of three months and 18 days where tourists, religious people and followers of Buddhism could visit and take a look at the relic. The Rietberg Museum would be liable to pay $20 million to the KP government if any damages were caused to the statue during the course of transportation and exhibition.

The display of the statue of religious importance for many people would attract a huge number of foreign tourists to KP in particular and the country in general.

Officials were confident that the agreement would help promote religious tourism in KP and generate revenue for the province.