Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police on Saturday arrested four men for shattering an ancient Buddha statue found during construction work in the province's Takhtbhai area of Mardan.
Earlier today, videos surfaced on social media showing a man breaking with a hammer a life-sized statue of Buddha, parts of which were still embedded underground. Other men can be seen looking on as the statue is being destroyed while a couple of people were making videos.
Dr Abdul Samad, KP director archaeology and museums, termed the destruction of the statue a "crime" and said "disrespecting any religion is intolerable".
KP police later tweeted that the suspects had been traced and arrested while pieces of the broken statue were also recovered. According to the police, those arrested include Qamar Zaman, Amjad, Aleem and Suleman.
A first information report (FIR) has been registered against them under the Antiquities Act 2016, according to officials. Dr Samad expressed appreciation on the police's "prompt action" in arresting the suspects.
The director said that the statue belonged to the Gandhara civilisation and was approximately 1,700 years old. He added that the police had cordoned off the area.