K-P wants its 3,000 artefacts repatriated

Committee formed to liaison with provinces, summary to be sent to federal govt

Ahtesham Bashir September 04, 2019
The seized artifacts include statues of British royal family members, muskets, badges, teacups and teapots, daggers, two Indian British passports and books on the history of Bahawalpur state. PHOTO: KASHIF ZAFAR / EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: As the provincial government works to improve its tourism potential, it has decided to bring back more than 3,000 artefacts that are owned by the provincial government but are on display in various museums across the country.

For this purpose, a special ‘Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee’ has been formed.

This was decided during a high-level meeting of the Archeology Department which met in Peshawar on Tuesday with Senior Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Tourism Minister Atif Khan.  The meeting was attended by senior officials of the ministry.

It was decided that all artefacts of the province currently either stationed or on display in other parts of the country will be brought back to the province. A special committee will coordinate with other provinces for this purpose.

Once they are back, these 3,000 artefacts will be accommodated in existing museums of the province.

K-P to enhance jobs quota for religious minorities

After it emerged that Punjab had on several occasions turned down K-P’s demands for the return of its artefacts, the meeting decided that a summary for the repatriations of artefacts from Taxila will soon be shared with the federal government as previously the Punjab government has declined several times.

The meeting observed that under the 18th constitutional amendment, it had been decided that artefacts should be repatriated to the areas from where it had been dug out or discovered from.

K-P had made multiple demands to the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan governments to repatriate its archaeological items.

The meeting was told that the World Bank will provide Rs500 million for the development of eight new archaeological sites in the province. Work on five new sites is expected to start soon.

Atif directed officers to expedite works on 12 existing archaeological sites apart from ensuring their preservation. He added that the provincial government has allocated Rs500 million for these sites.

He also asked the provincial archaeological department to made video logs about artefacts and share them with various embassies for showcasing the site on international forums.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2019.

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