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May 20, 2016

Inquiry report points out irregularities in Peshawar Museum

Precious pre-partition coins replaced with replicas

PESHAWAR: Serious irregularities and misconduct including replacement of fake antiquities have been unearthed in the Peshawar Museum in an inquiry conducted by the National Museum of Pakistan recently.

The inquiry report stated that many precious coins that were acquired before Pakistan’s independence have been replaced with replicas over the time but the persons tasked with the job could not clearly mention when the replacement took place.

It said, “The officer of Peshawar Museum does not possess any single paper of handing and taking over of the record.” Besides, the original list of transfer of antiquities was also found missing, the report revealed.

The report added that the corruption in Peshawar Museum was mainly committed in the confiscated material seized by the customs and police departments. It added that the Peshawar Museum did not hold a single documented proof of any of the confiscated antiquities received from the customs’ authorities and police stations.

The report explained that the confiscated material usually comes to the custodian department of archeology from customs and police authorities seized during “general search.” It added that some of the materials were also acquired after the courts had declared these as “confiscated material.”

The report noted irregularities in appointment of candidates with no proper background of archeology and mentioned it as one of the main reasons for the missing record. The rules clearly mention that all antiques should be properly managed and documented by an archeologist, said the report.

The report also noted that replacement of original antiques with replicas might have taken place during the transfer of consignments from the police stations to the custodian officer.

The inquiry, which was conducted by Dr Makin Khan, a former director of the National Museum of Pakistan, concluded that the process of replacing original antiques with replicas was supported by bogus documentation.

The report said: “During examination of coins reserve collection it was noted that in Tray No. 51, coins no. 1, 5, 7,10,11,12,14,18,19, 20, 25 and 26 are shown fake in the register. The register has not mentioned any date for declaring the said coins fake.”

Similarly, in Tray no. 53, coins no. 23, 24 and 26 were also found fake, said the report. It added that in Tray No. 54, many coins of Indo-Cythian period were also replicas.The report noted that these coins were mostly purchased in pre-Partition time. It said that one coin in Tray no. 51 was of King Plato and valued at 50,000 dollars in the international market.

According to the inquiry report, during examination of coins’ reserve collection it was observed that coins purchased during pre-Partition time probably have been replaced at a later stage because the concept of manufacturing fake coins was almost impossible at the time.

“Moreover, the competent British archeologists were fully devoted and knowledgeable. It is proposed that coin collection needs to be further investigated by the police to bring to light the actual position,” it added.