By Khalid Hussain —
The first international conference on Buddhism in Pakistan will be held by the Taxila Institute of Ancient Civilizations (TIAC) in collaboration with the Silk Road Centre (SRC) in October later this year, Vice Chancellor Professor Muhammad Ali of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) has publically announced.
The announcement was made at A press launch event held at TIAC where a website for the international conference was also announced. The online portal can be accessed online at www.buddhisminpakistan by anyone for information, updates and facilitation.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner Noordeen Mohamed Shaheid was chief guest at the press launch event held at the conference secretariat at TIAC in QAU Islamabad. Director TIAC Dr.Ghani ur Rahman gave the welcome address while Director Gandhara Study Centre of the Islamia College University Peshawar M. Nasim Khan expounded the Buddhist history of the region. Prince of Swat Miangul Adnan Aurangzeb also addressed the congregation extending full support to the international conference formally titled “Rediscovering a Shared spiritual heritage: First International Conference on Buddhism in Pakistan”. Director CPEC Centre Brigadier (R) Safdar also addressed the event extending full support and cooperation to the planned international conference.
The conference will be held in Islamabad in October 2020 and is designed to promote the understanding and value of Pakistan’s Buddhist heritage that flourished here from the 2nd century BC to the 10th century of the common era. The conference will provide a platform to revive Pakistan’s ancient links with the outside world founded on a shared spiritual heritage and will help promote tourism in the country. Conference themes will explore Buddhist history, philosphy, art and architecture that flourished in today’s Pakistan and were transmitted among the nations on the famed Silk Road. Boosting Buddhist tourism potential is another key conference objective.
Pakistan is one of the most sacred lands for over 500 million Buddhists around the world. It has remained a great learning centre for the Mahayana Buddhism. Pakistan is home to some of the most sacred Buddhist stupas, oldest surviving religious scriptures and rock inscriptions. he Gandhara region not only fostered the Mahayana Buddhism but it also became the cradle of the celebrated Buddhist culture, art and learning.
The conference in Islamabad will bring together local and internaitonal scholars, experts, artists, and pracitioners to explore Buddhist history, philosophy, art and architecture, SRC Trustee Dr. Ijlal Hussain informed the audience. There will be research presentations, panel discussions and talks, President SRC Dr. Fasiha Ijlal told TLTP. “The conference will also feature an art festival covering a vast array of the Buddhist art forms that flourished in the area forming today’s Pakistan and the celebrated Silk Road”, she told.