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MCC anti-smuggling force seizes rare Buddha statue

MCC anti-smuggling force seizes rare Buddha statue

LAHORE: Anti smuggling wing of Lahore Model Customs Collectorate MCC has seized a statue of Buddha at the Allama Iqbal Lahore.

According to details the statue was being smuggled to Karachi from Lahore. Sources said that the statue of mahatma Budha was purchased from Taxila and was being smuggled to Karachi for sending abroad.

The sources said that Customs anti-smuggling unit under the surveillance of Customs Inspector Nasir Saeed conducted a raid immediately after receiving the information and confiscated the statue at the airport. The weight of the statue is 62 kg & its height is 3 feet. The statue is made of a mixed medium, Taxila clay fortified with gray stone.

Official sources said that Antique Department’s experts have examined the statue thoroughly and would report whether it is original or counterfeit.

The sources said that in both cases the statue which is an artistic creation, would be confiscated and deposited with the government

Experts say that smuggling of the antiquities has become a global issue and the major affectees are poor nations like Pakistan which have a rich heritage but have limited resources to protect it.

Sources say that that the looting of Pakistan’s historical treasures is going on unchecked and beautiful l sculptures of important historical personalities of past are being smuggled out of the country.

A report said early last year a large container filled with nearly 400 artifacts in the southern port city of Karachi in July was being trucked north to be smuggled out of the country. About 40 percent of the statues, sculptures and other material were found to be genuine, including nearly 100 Buddhist sculptures up to 1,800-years-old worth millions of dollars.

The report further said that police arrested several people connected to the seizure in Karachi in July, but they have yet to be formally charged.

Two men who were arrested last October for excavating a statue of Buddha from a site in Swat were only fined about $50 each, far less than the maximum punishment of a year in prison and a fine of more than $800 they could have received, the report said.

The report also disclosed that some Pakistanis are making replicas that they often try to pass off as the genuine stuff.

They suggested that in order to preserve the important cultural heritage exemplary punishments should be awarded to the smugglers who are depriving the nation of its valuable assets.