Pakistan to host first Buddhist summit in April – KP tourism minister

Pakistan to host first Buddhist summit in April – KP tourism minister
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Statues are seen after being discovered and unveiled to the public, during a ceremony at the Buddhist-period archeological site near Haripur, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, Pakistan, November 15, 2017. (REUTERS/File photo)
Pakistan to host first Buddhist summit in April – KP tourism minister
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Remains of Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bhai are seen in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Dec. 8, 2019. (AN photo)
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Updated 08 January 2020
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Pakistan to host first Buddhist summit in April – KP tourism minister

Pakistan to host first Buddhist summit in April – KP tourism minister
  • KP has invited Buddhist countries to participate in the conference that will showcase the province’s heritage
  • The province is also establishing a special tourism police force

ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province is finalizing preparations for a Buddhist conference in April to showcase the province’s religious tourism potential, a minister told Arab News on Tuesday.

“We are going to hold the Buddhist countries’ conference in the first week of April to project the KP’s Buddhist heritage. We are creating a separate tourism police force dedicated fully to facilitate tourists in scenic spots,” KP Tourism Minister Atif Khan told Arab News in an exclusive interview.




KP Tourism Minister Atif Khan (right) listens to a briefing on KP tourism in Islamabad on Jan. 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy: KP Tourism Corporation)

Preparations for the planned conference have been underway for the last three months, he said.  

“The tourism police force will be under the KP Tourism Authority and will be given extra equipment and uniforms to serve tourists in the best possible way. Tourists will enjoy international standard facilities such as sports grounds, jeep tracks, and hotels,” Khan said. 

During a press conference earlier on the day, he declared 2020 the year of tourism in Pakistan. 

KP Tourism Corporation spokesman Nisar Muhammad said they have been in touch with the ambassadors of Buddhist countries in Pakistan and their governments.

“Representatives and monks from all Buddhist countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, will attend the conference,” he said, adding that Rs500 million has been earmarked for the creation of the KP tourism police.

The province has more than 1,000 sites of historical and religious importance.

The 1st-century Buddhist monastic complex of Takht-i-Bahi (Throne of Origins) in Mardan district is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.