Karoonjhar Hills declared National Heritage site by Senate resolution, ensuring preservation of cultural legacy

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The resolution presented by PPP Senator Krishana Kumari Kolhi from Tharparkar, requesting the Upper House to help her get the Karoonjhar Hills declared as a National Heritage Site, has been passed. Ms. Kolhi, hailing from the remote village of Dhanagam in the Parkar region, which is surrounded by the small hills of Karoonjhar, presented her resolution on Wednesday. She sought to declare the hills a National Heritage Site to preserve their religious, historical, natural, and cultural significance in Pakistan. The resolution was unanimously passed by senators from different parties.

In her resolution, Ms. Kolhi stated that Karoonjhar Hills hold religious, historical, and cultural importance for Pakistan and should be designated as a National Heritage Site to protect their beauty. She added that the hills were the site of the last battle between the British and local people. Rooplo Kolhi, a prominent freedom fighter and son of the soil, was arrested from Karoonjhar hills while fighting the invading forces and was subsequently hanged on the foothills. Karoonjhar is a symbol of existence for local indigenous communities, housing their cultural rituals, customs, traditions, folklore, songs, and tales that have endured for thousands of years. Ms. Kolhi emphasized that Karoonjhar holds significance for Hindus similar to the Ganga or Indus Rivers, and millions of Hindus from across Pakistan visit the Sardharo Dham Temple situated at the foothills annually. She also highlighted that the hills are a source of income for locals during the monsoon season, with the Sindh government constructing small dams to store rainwater, revolutionizing the agriculture sector in the region.

Senator Kolhi expressed concern over the severe threat posed to the Karoonjhar hills due to corporate greed. Corporations are using both legal and illegal methods to extract precious granite stones and are rapidly selling them. She demanded that the hills be declared a World Heritage Site to preserve their ancient culture and ensure the survival of local life for current and future generations. She argued that labeling Karoonjhar as a National Heritage Site and National Park for wildlife is necessary to halt attempts at granite extraction, which jeopardize the environment and ecology of the entire region.

The House, having passed the resolution, issued a statement acknowledging that the Karoonjhar Hills in Tharparkar symbolize civilization and existence for local communities, along with their cultural traditions, folklores, tales, songs, and millennia of religious harmony. It noted the sacred status of the Karoonjhar hills for Hindus. The House expressed deep concern over the cutting of granite stones by certain individuals and groups. Consequently, it recommended that the Government take necessary measures to declare Karoonjhar a World Heritage Site, ensuring the preservation of its cultural heritage for future generations.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at hanifsamoon@gmail.com


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