PARIS: A large number of smuggled archaeological artefacts from the ancient civilisation of Balochistan, which were seized by the French customs at the Paris airport during the years 2006-07, were handed over to Pakistan.
Rodolphe Gintz, Director General of Customs and Indirect Rights, Ministry of Action and Public Accounts of France, handed over these rare and precious artefacts to Muhammad Amjad Aziz Qazi, Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires, at a simple restitution ceremony held at the Embassy of Pakistan to France, in Paris.
Mr Qazi in his remarks thanked the Government of France and the French Custom Department for their support and concerted efforts for pursuing the repatriation case in the French courts and in completing the tedious and complicated legal formalities required for repatriation of these artefacts.
Mr Gintz, giving the background of the case, noted that these artefacts were seized by the French Customs in pursuance of French obligations arising from UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and transport of Ownership of Cultural property, to which both Pakistan and France are signatories.
Later, the Director General Customs formally handed over the Pakistani artifacts to the Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Pakistan to France