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Notices issued on plea for retrieval of ‘Dancing Girl’ from India

By our correspondents
November 11, 2016

The Sindh High Court on Thursday issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers on the petition of a lawyer who moved the court for retrieving the famous 'Dancing Girl’ bronze statuette, which had been found in the ruins of Mohenjodaro, from the national museum in New Delhi, India.

The petitioner, Abdul Wahab Baloch, had submitted that the priceless bronze statuette, which dates back to 2500 BC, was dug out from Mohenjodaro in 1926 along with the fascinating artefact “King Priest” during excavation by archaeologist Earnest Mackey.

He submitted that these two relics were taken by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, a British archaeologist, to India in 1946 prior to the Partition for display at an exhibition. He submitted that king priest and other relics were retrieved by Pakistani officials but the dancing girl still remained at the national museum in New Delhi, India.

The lawyer submitted that the dancing girl was universally acknowledged as one of most celebrated artefact of all times. He said the dancing girl belonged to Sindh and it was learnt that the provincial government was sending request to the federal government for retrieving the statuette from the Indian government, however, no practical steps were being taken by the provincial government.

He said archaeologists were of the view that under the UNESCO Convention of 1972, the original owner of any artefact was the country where the relic was found. He said the provincial government not taking any step to retrieve the dancing girl from India violated the provisions of Article 9, 24, 28 and 30 of the Constitution.

Citing the federal ministry of information, broadcasting and national heritage, the provincial archaeology department and others as respondents, the court was requested to declare that the dancing girl statuette belonged to Sindh and direct the respondents to take steps for retrieving the statuette from the Indian government directly or through UNESCO.

The court after preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to the federal and the provincial law officers and also directed the petitioner to argue over the maintainability of the petition.