The 4th International Cultural Conference was held from September 14 to 16 at the Public Library, Chitral. The 4th International Hindukush Cultural Conference was an academic and scholarly activity in upholding the first conference held in Moesgaard, Denmark in 1970. The 2nd International Hindukush Cultural Conference was hosted by the Anjuman in Chitral, in August 1990 with Professor Israr-ud-Din as convener and Dr. Karl Jettmar (Yatmar) as general president. The 3rd conference was hosted by the same organization in Chitral in October 1995, with the same convener and Prof Schuyler Jones as General President. The Public Library in Chitral proved to be the best venue for the 4th conference. It is a vast building that has all the facilities to hold any type of international and national conference. The director of said library Zahidullah is a dynamic and intellectual person who and his team helped the organizers in a great way during this conference. I congratulate the President of Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e- Khowar Shahzada Tanveer-ul-Malik, Executive Director of Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) Fakhruddin Akhunzada, for successfully organizing the 4th International Cultural Conference in Chitral. To make this conference successful, the members of the organizing committee of the conference were also present at all times. Among them, Professor Israr-ud-Din, Dr. Inayatullah Faizi, Prof Mumtaz Hussain, Muhammad Irfan Irfan, Professor Augusto Cacopardo, Dr. Eleena Bashir, Dr. Taj-ud-Din Sharar, Ali Akbar Qazi, and Muhammad Afzal Shahzada. Faham Aziz etc.
Apart from this, MIER officials Farid Ahmad Raza, Zahoor-ul- Haq Danish, Javed Iqbal Javed, and Atta Hussain Athar worked hard to make the conference successful. Moreover, it will be unfair if these volunteers are not mentioned among the dozens of Anjuman and FLI members. I would also like to mention some moderators Alamgir Bukhari, Muhammad Jalal-ud-Din, Ehtisham-ur-Rehman, and Fida-ur-Rehman, etc, I have also to mention some great work done by Nisar Ahmad, Ansar Elahi, and Sarwar Suroor, etc as volunteers.
The arrangements of this conference were so excellent that nobody would have faced any kind of inconvenience during the conference. The conference received technical and materials support from various institutions including the district administration of Chitral and AKRSP etc. The only financial support was received from Forum for Languages Initiatives (FLI) for this conference. In this conference, FLI played a pivotal role in bringing international scholars to the conference.
The participants spent three days at this conference with great love and brotherhood. At the conference, the scholars and participants shared new research related to the Hindu Kush region. A total of 65 papers were presented on various topics. This conference was totally different from previous conferences. Because the important thing was that no political leaders were invited. The organizers of the conference gave full encouragement to each scholar. Women were also given strong representation but few of them participated. It is expected that such a conference would be held at least every two years. I strongly requested to Government of Pakistan to implement the resolution presented at the end of the conference.
The participants of the 4th international Hindukush cultural conference held in Chitral, Pakistan on 14- 16 September 2022 have unanimously adopted the following resolutions/recommendations for conservation, preservation, and promotion of the culture of the Hindukush region securing its diversity and scenic beauty. These recommendations are in continuation of the resolutions of the 1990 and 1995 conferences.
- This august gathering of scholars and researchers drawn from around the world records a global concern on the future of indigenous people of the Hindukush Mountain belt. It is recommended that the right of indigenous communities over the natural resources of the region must be acknowledged and secured in the light of UNGA resolutions and ECOSOC conventions to which the government of Pakistan is a signatory. This gathering of intellectuals shows its grave concern for the vulnerable situation of Hindukush valleys and the people living therein, in the face of global warming, climate change, and GLOF situations occurring every now and then. It is recommended that in view of the low land- high land relationship: special measures in terms of capacity building, technical support, and financial grants may be taken without loss of time.
- This conference is of the view that the indigenous culture of the diverse communities in the Hindukush region is endangered due to modernization and thus it is believed that safeguarding this culture is crucial at this stage. We recommend that the indigenous culture of Hindukush may be preserved and promoted through the arts council and cultural complex in each pocket.
- This conference appreciates the initiative of the KP government for developing education curricula in 6 indigenous languages of the province through legislation. We recommend that the proposed scheme of teaching mother tongues to students from grades 1 to 12 should be accelerated and expedited in the coming years.
- This gathering of scholars and intellectuals is pleased to know that MLE/MTB schools have been introduced in this region by language communities through the support of FLI. We recommend that this initiative should be strengthened and expanded by the government and a legislative cover should be given to the MLE system for indigenous communities.
- This conference resolves that cultural artifacts in the Hindukush valleys should be preserved and displayed through a chain of ethnological museums in every pocket of the diverse region.
- This conference recommends that in order to preserve the serene beauty of the Hindukush landscape, all tourism adventures should be linked with nature and ecology to promote ecotourism through the capacity building of all stakeholders.
- This conference expresses its concern over the growing trend of changing indigenous place names by the communities and public functionaries. This is against the intellectual norms and conventions of UNESCO. It is recommended that all place names should be preserved in the indigenous languages in their original form.