The meeting commenced with briefing on the organisation, functions and performance of Ministry of National Heritage and Culture (NH&C) and its allied departments. Abdul Sattar Sr.Joint Secretary for NH&C division told the senate body that the major function of division is to preserve the archaeological sites and promote art and culture in the country. There are a total of fourteen departments working under the umbrella of NH&C division and 1036 persons are employed in NH&C division and its allied departments, 424 posts are vacant in the division and it's concerned departments including the post of Secretary of National Heritage and Culture Division and Executive Directors of other allied departments, he apprised. The Budget and PSDP Allocation for the year 2022-23 for NH&C and its attached departments are Rs.2,438.353 Million and Rs.550 Million respectively,he further added. Senator Dr. Afnan Ullah Khan suggested that the vacant posts should be filled so that the Division and its concerned departments could work effectively.
While discussing the role of NH&C Division in encourging and promoting the artists of the country. Sr.Joint Secretary for NH&C division told the committee that the Division gives 15000 per month as stipend to deserving artists.The Chair maintained that 15000 is not enough and directed the division to increase the stipend from 15000 to 25000 per month.
Moreover, the Senate Panel was also informed on the ongoing projects of NH&C division and its allied departments. Abdul Sattar apprised the committee that the ministry is working on an "App" which will contain mapping of all historical and religious sites of the country and which will be completed by the June of 2023. Besides, ministry is also undertaking restoration and preservation of different archaeological sites which includes Rewat Fort Islamabad,Allama Iqbal's Old Residence Lahore,Pharwala Fort Islamabad,Mai Qamro Mosque and Muqarab Khan Tomb Islamabad,Shah Allah Ditta Caves Islamabad and upgradation of an auditorium at Pakistan National Council of the Arts and National Library of Pakistan,he briefed. He further told that majority of the projects will be completed by June 2023. Senator Dr.Afnan Ullah Khan suggested the NH&C division to disseminate knowledge among the masses regarding these historical sites to attract people around the globe towards Pakistan and help in boasting tourism in the country.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Senate Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi,Senator Khalida Ateeb,Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed,Senator Keshoo Bai,Senator Falak Naz,Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan,Senator Fawzia Arshad,Senator Irfan-ul-Siddiqui,Abdul Sattar Sr.Joint Secretary for Ministry of National Heritage and Culture Division,Dr.Yousuf Khushk Chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters,Dr.Rauf Parekh DG for National Language Promotion Department,Abdul Azeem DG for Department of Archaeology and Museums and other concerned officers were also in attendance.