ISLAMABAD: Regarding a bid to smuggle 1,050 antiquities abroad by sea in February 2013, Ministry of National Heritage has asked customs officials to confiscate the artefacts declared as antiquities and hand them over to the Department of Archaeology and Museums for custody, preservation and protection under the Antiquities Act 1975.
A senior official in the Ministry of National Heritage has said that it could have been one of the biggest attempts to smuggle genuine artefacts out of Pakistan which was foiled by the customs office.
This consignment was then confiscated by Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation in Sukkur. The owners of these items declared them as decoration pieces commonly made and sold in Taxila.
A team of archaeologists from Islamabad later examined 1,155 confiscated artefacts. The archaeologists declared 1,050 artefacts as antiquities while the remaining 105 were forged.
The confiscated artefacts ranged from the prehistoric ages dating back to 2000 BCE to the 7th century CE. But a lot of work needs to be done to determine the exact dates since it is not known where these artefacts were found and in what condition.