Treasure hunters dig up graves, steal artefacts

Locals say incident occurred a few days ago in Ghazi region

Yawar Hayat May 20, 2024
Shrines are in a shambles due to government’s neglect.


Thieves in the Hazara region have shifted their focus from mountains to ancient shrines and graves searching for hidden treasures.

A few days ago, in the Ghazi region, thieves dug up several graves and shrines in a single night and got away with valuable artefacts buried underground. Residents said that the old shrine of the famous Shaheed Baba in Jalo village, situated on the banks of the Indus River, was targeted. Under the cover of darkness, thieves took precious antiques and gold worth millions of rupees from these historical shrines.

Residents said that the hilly area of Ghazi holds significant historical importance because several shrines, dargahs, and hermitages existed there even before Pakistan's independence and devotees from across Pakistan and abroad visit these sites.

Due to the shrines' mountainous locations, general movement is limited, making it easier for thieves to operate. On the last night, thieves committed a unique act of theft in Ghazi, excavating historical shrines and graves in search of treasure and making off with valuable artefacts and gold. These excavations have resulted in the theft of valuable artefacts, turning this illicit activity into a burgeoning business.

The Department of Archaeology faces a significant challenge in preventing the theft of precious antiquities and gold buried by Hindus before Pakistan's creation. Several incidents of similar thefts have surfaced in Hazara, with unknown thieves stealing valuable antiques worth millions of rupees. Despite these repeated crimes, the perpetrators have yet to be arrested.

Locals have called for the valuable antiquities, gold, and other looted items to be recovered from those who desecrated the historical shrines and graves of Hazara. They urged the department officials to adopt special measures to prevent such incidents in future.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2024.


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