MINGORA, Sept 29: Militants in Swat made another attempt to destroy a rock engraved with a large image of Buddha at Buthgarh Jehandabad by blowing it up on early Saturday morning.
Local people told Dawn that the blast did no harm to the image of the Gandhara period.
However, police were not sure about the fate of the rock and the image. “Due to the precarious law and order situation in the area we are confined to the police station and could not go to the place,” said an official of the Charbagh police station. He confirmed that the blast had taken place.
People living in the foothills of the hill told Dawn that some militants had asked them to vacate the area saying they were planning to destroy the “un-Islamic idol”.
On Sept 10, it may be mentioned, militants had exploded two devices which partially damaged the rock but the image remained safe.
After that attack, archaeologists had asked both the federal and provincial governments to protect the historical site, but no step has been taken so far. The scenic Swat Valley has been virtually taken over by the militants who have been destroying CD and video shops, salons and internet cafes.
The historical site is situated in the hills along the main road connecting Mingora with the tourist resort of Malam Jabba. It is about 20km from Mingora. A walking track takes visitors to the image.