Gandhara artifact: Bodhisattva statue recovered in Swat

Published: February 2, 2012
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The Bodhisattva statue, which measures 60x27 cm, dates back to the 4-5th century. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The Bodhisattva statue, which measures 60x27 cm, dates back to the 4-5th century. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SWAT: An ancient Gandhara artifact worth millions of rupees has been recovered in Swat, police said on Wednesday.

The Bodhisattva statue, which is made of Black Shift Stone and measures 60×27 cm, dates back to the 4-5th century.

According to police, they received a tip-off regarding an illegal excavation in Amlook Dara Stupa, located in Barikot.

“During our raid, we caught two people red handed and recovered the statue from them,” SHO of the Ghalegey police station Sayed Zaman told reporters.

The accused were identified as Akbar Ali, a resident of Peshawar, and Murad Ali, a resident of Swabi. According to police, they were reportedly planning to smuggle the Gandhara artifact to foreign countries, where it would be sold.

According to different sources, both the accused belong to an international gang involved in the smuggling of precious artifacts. A case has been registered against the gang and a trial is under way in courts.

“They offered a huge bribe to keep the matter discreet but police refused to do so,” a local of Amlook Dara said on condition of anonymity.

“The Bodhisattva statue is state property and we have officially asked to take possession of it, but as it is under trial it is still in police’s custody,” curator of the archaeology department Faizur Rehman told The Express Tribune. “It will be handed to our department as soon as the case is decided,” he added.

Civil Society members have demanded that the investigation into the case be handled seriously as it might lead to other thefts.

“We demand from the government and high authorities to hand the artifact to the Swat Museum as every antiquity found in Swat is the property of the museum,” Svastu Arts and Culture Association Chairman Usman Ulas yar told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.

 

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Reader Comments (17)

  • narayana murthy
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:23AM

    “they were reportedly planning to smuggle the Gandhara artifact to foreign countries, where it would be sold.”

    Perhaps this should be allowed. That way any non-Islamic relic can be ensured safety.

    Don’t we all know what happened to the Bamiyan Buddha?Recommend

  • Iftekhar Ahmed Khan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Very good action by our police, we must appreciate it.Our cultural heritages must be protected/preserved by all of us.

    Recommend

  • leader
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:37AM

    great news !

    Recommend

  • John B
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:41AM

    Nice work, both the police and the statue.

    Recommend

  • Riz
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:45AM

    But the Archaeological department is unable to protect and preserve the already existed artifacts they rather involved in smuggling it

    Recommend

  • Iftekhar Ahmed Khan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:04PM

    @narayana murthy:
    We all know what happened to Bamiyan Buddha.
    But same damages has not been caused to Buddhist sites in Pakistan i.e,Taxila, Swat, Takht-e-Bahi etc.All Buddhist archaeological sites and museums in Pakistan are safe.Non-Islamic relics are safe in Pakistan. Smuggling of Gandhara artifacts to foreign countries must not allowed.

    Recommend

  • JS
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:30PM

    @narayana murthy, your comment was highly disrespectful and ignorant. Firstly the Bamiyan Buddhas were in Afghanistan, not pakistan. Secondly, kudos for the way India “ensured safety” for Islamic relics like the Babri mosque. Also modern day pakistan is the site for the earliest known human settlements (Mehrgarh, Pirak) in the world. Thus we have a lot more history to take care of. Consider that there is proof, remains and evidence of farming, herding, practicing dentistry at Mehrgarh in 7000 BC while the Mahabharata was written in 400BC referring to unsubstantiated events of 3000BC.

    Recommend

  • Udaya Bose
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:33PM

    That is a remarkable find and surprisingly well preserved for its age. Hope it finds its due place in Pakistan’s National Museum.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:04PM

    @JS:

    Also modern day pakistan is the site
    for the earliest known human
    settlements (Mehrgarh, Pirak) in the
    world. Thus we have a lot more history
    to take care of

    It’s a proven fact(by gene analysis) that the earliest human settlements in the Indian Subcontinent are in South India. In fact, it was discovered that an entire village has the genetic markers that trace their ancestry back to the first migrations out of Africa.
    Besides, aren’t you Arabs?

    Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:53PM

    Just goes on to show how much of our cultural treasure is still undiscovered and how useless we are at protecting it.

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  • JS
    Feb 2, 2012 - 5:04PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk;

    Pakistanis have just about the same amount of Arab ancestry as indians have Estonian ancestry (please refer to Salman Rashid’s brilliant piece in this paper titled “Arab Origins”). Also would love to know the name of this village in South India…until then i suggest you read up on Mehrgarh on wikipedia. Lastly, your reasoning based on the theory that modern humans first originated and then migrated from Africa is a theory that belongs in the 1920s. East Africa is no longer considered the “cradle of civilization”…it is one of the cradles…along with the Middle East (ironically, earliest settled human remains found in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel) and Australia (Mungo man)

    Recommend

  • BS.Detecter
    Feb 2, 2012 - 5:27PM

    @narayana murthy:
    I feel sorry how ill-informed and ignorant you guys are. Bamiyan Buddhas were in Afghanistan not Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 2, 2012 - 7:47PM

    @JS:

    Pakistanis have just about the same
    amount of Arab ancestry as indians
    have Estonian ancestry

    I was being sarcastic.
    Thanks for the info though. BTW, about the South Indian village, it was from a recent BBC documentary.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:58PM

    Bamiyan Buddhas stood for more than 1500 years in Afghanistan protected by every Afghan ruler. It was the Taliban that destroyed this ancient monument as if to deny that this land was once Hindu and Buddhist. Recommend

  • Zameer
    Feb 3, 2012 - 10:33AM

    We know how to protect and preserve our heritage,

    Recommend

  • Homa
    Feb 3, 2012 - 8:52PM

    Trying again, my comments are not being posted.
    @JS:
    @Yuri:
    http://www.unknowncountry.com/news/first-human-genes-still-alive-india
    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/lan/en/pi/pitchappanprofile.html
    http://www.raceandhistory.com/cgi-bin/forum/webbbs
    config.pl/noframes/read/1242

    Here is the info you are looking for. I saw the bbc documentary too on pbs here in usa. The earliest genes and civilizations have been traced back to inda. Mehergarh is therefore a peripheral satellite of more ancient indian cultures. Jai Poompuhar. Jai kumarikandam. Jai Hind. Enjoy.
    Recommend

  • Homa
    Feb 3, 2012 - 11:57PM

    Cities 10000 to 40,000 years old found in india, calls for reevluation of history.
    http://www.hermetics.org/cambay.html

    Recommend

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