KARACHI – Under the chairmanship of Pakistan Hindu Council chief Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the first official PHC Managing Committee meeting of the year was held at PHC House Karachi, during which various issues came under discussion. While expressing satisfaction over the recently held successful annual mass marriages for 16 consecutive years, the members also reviewed the progress of the ongoing ‘All Pakistan Minorities Heritage Photo Contest’. On the occasion, General Secretary Prashotam Ramani, Advisor Raja Asarmal Mangalani, Joint Secretary Paman Lal, Roop Mala, MPA Mangala Sharma, Bharat Kumar Mangalani, Vikram Rathi, Roshan Lal and other members were also present.
In his opening remarks, Dr Ramesh Vankwani said that the nationwide photography competition in association with the Press Network of Pakistan (PNP) aims to explore, honor and highlight various sacred ancient religious sites across the country. “The message of interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence is conveyed through the active participation of Pakistani citizens, especially university students and people of different faiths,” he said.
Chief Coordinator Kirshan Sagar in his comprehensive briefing under agenda item number one related to All Pakistan Minorities Heritage Photo Competition said that a nationwide photo competition was launched last December to identify non-Muslim holy places across the country. “Within a short period of one month, there has been an amazing positive response from the citizens of Pakistan,” he said, pointing out that more than five hundred photographs of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Parsi and other non-Muslim religious sites have been submitted in the photo contest so far.
He further informed that 167 photographs were shortlisted, according to which 43% of the photographs received were from places of worship of Hindu heritage, 10% from Christian heritage, 5% from Buddhist heritage, 28% from Sikh heritage, 10% from Jainism and other faiths. Statistics show that about 24% of the contestants are women. Based on the submissions to the photo contest, 60% of the sacred sites of the non-Muslim minority community are in their original state, 13% are not in use, 7% of the sites have been converted into educational institutions, 10% of these sites are used for residential and commercial purposes, and 1.2% of the sites have been converted into government offices.
Ramesh Vankwani, while lauding the efforts for smooth handling of the photography competition, said that the land of present day Pakistan has thousands of years of ancient history. Our beautiful country is full of hidden architectural wonders and unique places that form part of our rich heritage. According to him, the promotion of religious tourism has a huge potential not only to free Pakistan from external debt but also to strengthen our national economy. “Awareness was the first step to protect sacred places across the country,” he said, adding that “I am glad that the Pakistan Hindu Council has taken the first step in the right direction.
The committee members also appreciated the efforts of the participants who provided the best photos for the photo contest. According to them, further steps will be taken in future including online Dharmik quizzes to give a positive image of the country to the international community.
The last date to participate in the photography competition organized with the technical support of the Press Network of Pakistan is 31st January 2023. Contestants who submit excellent photographs will be awarded with winning prizes worth Rs. 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 in addition to special prizes and certificates of appreciation. Pakistan Hindu Council has requested every citizen of Pakistan, especially journalists and students studying in educational institutions to actively participate in this photo competition through the link. https://t.ly/TUV6