Local police have recovered a haul of British-era artifacts – including statues, weapons and utensils – which were stolen from a palace of the Nawab of Bahawalpur.
“The artifacts worth billions of rupees were stolen from the Sadiqgarh Palace by Constable Muhammad Abbas who was deputed to guard them,” Sohail Habib Tajik, the district police officer (DPO) told The Express Tribune on Monday.
Built in 1882, the Sadiqgarh Palace belonged to Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan (IV). The palace is located in Ahmedpur tehsil, on the edge of Bahawalpur city. It is one of several architectural gems built by the Nawab family, which ruled the Bahawalpur principality till the 1947 partition.
The seized artifacts include statues of the British royal family members, muskets, badges, teacups and teapots, daggers, two Indian British passports and books on the history of Bahawalpur state.
Constable Abbas had stolen the artifacts over a period of time and hid them in his house.
“On a tip-off from Muhammad Nazir, who is a driver at the palace, the Dera Nawab Sahab police raided the house and recovered the artifacts,” DPO Tajik said. Police took Constable Abbas into custody and registered a case.
“Due to infighting in the Nawab family, a host of claimants to the artifacts have come up,” DPO Tajik told The Express Tribune. “Since we are not sure about the real heirs, we have sent the case to the court of law,” he added.
He called upon the government to take necessary steps for the security of the seized artifacts.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.
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