PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is making efforts to get back the rare artifacts and sculptures from the Gandhara civilisation seized in Karachi about two weeks ago.
Following the seizure of a huge number of artifacts, the provincial government made contacts with the relevant Sindh government department in Karachi to get back the antiques. A four-member committee was constituted to collect details of the origin of the antiques and market value as well as the people involved in the smuggling.
The committee members visited Karachi to examine the sculptures and other items and identify the originality or otherwise of the seized items. The archaeologists Prof Nidaullah Sehrai, curator Peshawar Museum, Dr Abdus Samad from Hazara University, Farid Khan, Faizur Rahman and Fawad Khan who had gone to Karachi have returned and are now finalising the report to be submitted to the government.
Some of the seized antiques are original and others fake, but further study is needed to ascertain its worth and further details, Prof Sehrai told The News. He said the final report would be submitted to the government within a week.
Talking to The News, Minister for Tourism, Museums, Archaeology, Sports and Youth Affairs, Syed Aqil Shah, said the seized items belonged to Gandhara region and historically its source had been Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or some areas of Afghanistan. He said the director of Archaeology Department of Sindh had also admitted that the artifacts were of Gandhara origin.
The minister said soon after the seizure, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti called his counterpart in Sindh and took up the issue with him.”We have submitted our claim and will employ all legal ways and means to get back the artifacts,” he added.
Aqil Shah said the seized items were worth millions of rupees and that was the reason that noted archeologists were assigned the task to find the origin of the antiques. The minister said the seated figure of the Buddha was second only to the one found in Bamiyan in Afghanistan and it would be of great value if found to be original.