— Dawn
— Dawn

HARIPUR: The archaeology department officials claimed to have seized a 2,000-year-old statue of Buddha from the possession of a man from a Khanpur village here on Wednesday.

Mr Nawazuddin, sub-regional officer archaeology department, Hazara, told Dawn that field officer Gul Nabi and site supervisor Raja Adnan raided the house of Masroor Shah in Sultan Pur village on a tip-off, and recovered the Buddha’s statue from his possession. The statue and the accused were handed over to Khanpur police, where a case under sections 52 (1) and (2) of KP Antiquities Act, 2016, was registered against him.

Mr Nawazuddin said the statue was 1x1 feet in its genuine condition, which the accused had stolen during illegal digging in some area of Khanpur bordering Taxila valley, and wanted to smuggle it to Punjab for onward transportation to some foreign country for better market value.

He said the historical analysis of the statue showed that the Buddha was in a meditating position and its period ranged between 1,800 to 2,000 years old.

The official said the statue would remain with the Khanpur police till completion of the prosecution process, and would later be shifted to either Peshawar or Abbottabad museum.

To a question about checking illegal digging of archaeological sites, he said there were only 3,000 known archaeological sites in the province, while the historians and the department believed that there were 6,000 other sites that were yet to be discovered. He said watchmen had been posted at almost all the discovered sites of Haripur.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

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