Minister for literary heritage informed: Gifts, artworks, souvenirs disappear from PAC

September 20, 2020

LAHORE: The National Artists Association of Pakistan Saturday wrote to Federal Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood to invite his attention to disappearance of gifts,...

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LAHORE: The National Artists Association of Pakistan (NAAP) Saturday wrote to Federal Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood to invite his attention to disappearance of gifts, artworks and souvenirs worth tens of millions of rupees from the Pakistan Arts Council (PAC).

The association, in its letter, explained that gifts, souvenirs and artefacts received by the government are kept in permanent collections at the Pakistan Arts Council. However, since 2016, no solid action had been taken by the Arts Council to prevent the theft of invaluable art pieces from that collection.

About 10 artworks made by renowned artist Anwar Jalal Shemza (also known as A.J Shemza) are currently missing from Pakistan Arts Council, the letter revealed, mentioning that the artist’s wife has demanded the return of those artworks from the institute.

A.J Shemza's wife had donated 10 works of his art to the permanent collections of the Pakistan Arts Council in 1985, the letter highlighted.

Demanding the protection of Pakistan's cultural heritage, the Artists' Association said that the heads and staff members of the Pakistan Arts Council be thoroughly interrogated and those responsible be held accountable for the disappearance of priceless artefacts.

This is not the first instance of artwork theft in Pakistan. Earlier, in March 2017, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had launched an inquiry into disappearance and theft of artworks and precious paintings from the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad.

According to the FIA, 134 pieces of art, worth millions of rupees in total, had either disappeared or been stolen from the PNCA over several years.



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