Museum Security Network

Islamabad – Ministry awaits return of 290 stolen artefacts.

The Ministry of Culture is endeavouring for return of over 290 stolen artefacts from Italy and UK that were recovered two years back.

Official sources in the ministry told APP that some 198 priceless objects were recovered from the UK and these 4,000 years old pottery items were handed over to the British Museum which identified these belonging to Pakistan origin.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Ministry of Culture to arrange transportation for bringing these artefacts back to home.

While some 96 stolen artefacts recovered from Italy were also waiting to be handed over to Pakistan government from the past two years.

The ancient treasures, which were smuggled out of Pakistan, mostly include pottery from the Nal village in Central Baluchistan, 4,000BC – 2,000BC.

Experts from the National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome had established that some of the 100 or so pieces came from South Baluchistan and others from the Indus Valley region, were discovered at a 2005 antiques fair in Italy, the sources said.

These pieces were handed over to Pakistan embassy in Rome, Italy.

“It cannot be said when and how these precious objects left the country. But it is a huge accomplishment that the international community, under the umbrella of UNESCO, is fighting illegal antiquities market and returning stolen artefacts to country of origin,” sources said.

Financial constraints were among the major reasons that caused delayed in the return of these items, the official said. Recently, the Ministry of Culture in the National Assembly, informed that the customs authorities have detained 500 ancient coins and 30 pieces of pottery at the Islamabad International Airport.

The case of these artefacts was under trial in the Customs Court, Rawalpindi and was expected to be handed over to the Department of Archaeology soon.

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