Seized artefacts belonged to pre-historic era, say officials

A close examination of baggage at Karachi airport yielded artefacts, including jewellry, statues and stone leaves

Our Correspondent December 23, 2015
Artefacts seized from passengers at Karachi Airport by custom authorities on display. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: The Pakistan Customs claims that the antiques seized at the Karachi airport a few days ago belonged to the ‘pre-historic era’ and were worth millions of dollars.

Acting on intelligence information, the Customs staff intercepted four passengers at the International Departure of the Jinnah International Airport on December 17 after their baggage, comprising 11 packages, was scanned by the Airport Security Force. A close examination of their baggage yielded artefacts, including jewellry, statues and stone leaves, etc.

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Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Customs Collector (Enforcement) Zahid Khokhar and Director Archaeology Qasim Ali Qasim identified the four men as Raheel Shakeel, Muhammad Javed, Irfan Ahmed and Faisal Jamal. “After foiling the smuggling bid, the two wooden boxes containing the artefacts were sent for analysis to the Archaeological Department of Sindh,” Khokhar said.

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A team of three experts examined the seized antiques on December 18. And in a report submitted by the superintendent of the culture department, National Museum of Pakistan, it was confirmed that the artefacts belonged to the pre-historic era and could fetch up to $10 million in the international market. Khokhar called it the biggest-ever seizure from the airport. The accused smugglers have been arrested and an FIR lodged against them. Customs officials said a mafia was involved in stealing artefacts from Gandhara and Moin Jo Daro and smuggling them to foreign countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2015.


Suryawardhan | 7 years ago | Reply When did Mohenjo Daro become 'Moin' Jo Daro? Another attempt at robbing history of its already established truth and resorting to religious manipulation?
Muslim First | 7 years ago | Reply Is it better to sale than to destroy? Nope that is against Islam, they should be destroyed
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