Pakistan to host world Budhist assembly next year, says minister

International News Network, Sept 27, 2006

TOKYO, Japan -- Pakistan's Federal Tourism Minister Nilofer Bakhtiar has said that her country would host a World Buddhist Assembly next year and hoped that large number of Japanese tourists would also visit Pakistan on this occasion.

She stated this while talking to Chief Priest of the eight hundred years old temple Kenchoji, Rev. Roshi Shodo Yoshida on the occasion of Iftar Dinner hosted in the honour of the Minister for Tourism, Nilofer Bakhtiar and her delegation here the other day.

The Minister thanked the chief priest for observing the sanctity of ‘Ramadhan’ and hoped that such gestures would help in promoting inter-faith harmony in the world. She reiterated the invitation to Reverend Yoshida to visit Pakistan.

The ancient temple is located in a picturesque suburbs of Tokyo. A replica of the famous Fasting Buddha statue was presented to the temple in October last year.

The decision for the donation of this unique sacred gift was made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz during his visit to Japan.

The Minister apprised the chief priest that Buddhist religious sites were well preserved in Pakistan. She said that Pakistan had been a cradle of many ancient civilizations. She described ‘Gandhara Civilization’, which flourished in the north of Pakistan two millennia ago and made its fascinating journey to Japan, was one of the most significant motifs in Pakistan’s historical mosaic.

Nilofer Bakhtiar stated that Pakistan would host a World Buddhist Assembly next year. Leader of the Assembly had recently visited Pakistan to tie up arrangements in this regard.

The chief priest thanked the government and people of Pakistan for gifting the rare sculpture to the temple.