PESHAWAR, May 2: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) plans to computerise data of statues and other artefacts belonging to the Gandhara civilisation era in the entire country, official sources said.

American experts will be hired for technical assistance in computerisation of the data. The federal government has 2800 statues of Gandhara civilisation era on display in museums and 1200 in its stores. The NWFP government has 4500 such artefacts but only 912 of them are on display in museums.

The compilation of Gandhara artefacts will help in their identification and location. Besides, it will also help in locating them when they are moved from one place to another, legally or illegally, and in knowing their current status.

“It will help us differentiate between genuine and the fake statues and check illegal movement of genuine ones within or out of the country,” Director Museums and Archaeology Dr Ihsan Ali said.

The database will include picture of an artefact, its number, location, physical description, material it is made of and its current status and it would be easy to trace it even if it is lying in an International museum, officials said.

There has been no incident of theft of artefacts from the Peshawar Museum but some people are involved in illegal excavation at historic sites and smuggling of relics out of the country, Dr Ihsan Ali said.

“If funds are available the project could be extended to compile data of the artefacts owned by private individuals as well,” officials in the provincial archaeology department said.

The idea to compile the data was taken up last year by Unesco but its materialisation was delayed due to various reasons, official sources said adding that Unesco officials entrusted with the task of monitoring the project had cancelled their visit a number of times due to ‘uncertain situation’ in the country.

Provincial and federal departments of archaeology are ready, but Unesco has not so far appointed a national coordinator for the project, an official said. However another official said that both the governments did not agree on modalities of the project and it was main reason of delay.

He confirmed that a few months ago visit of a Unesco official was cancelled due to protests against publication of blasphemous cartoons.

Opinion

Editorial

ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...
More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...