Police, agencies foil antiquities smuggling bid

The antiquities were going to be smuggled to an undisclosed location in Europe.


Web Desk July 05, 2012

KARACHI: Intelligence agencies and police foiled an attempt to smuggle valuable antiquities out of the country to destinations in Europe, Express News reported early Friday morning.

The antiquities, including ancient idols, statues and various utensils, were recovered when authorities intercepted and searched a container in Awami Colony, Korangi area of Karachi.

Intelligence agencies, acting upon a tip-off, along with police conducted confiscated. They arrested the driver and a cleaner from the flatbed which was transporting the container. Those arrested were identified as Zafar and Asim, respectively.

The antiquities, included 10 idols, a number small statues and various utensils, hidden underneath cleaning items, bales of straw and other miscellaneous items such as furniture, slippers and water coolers.

Intelligence officials said that most of the antiquities had been stolen from various museums across the country, including from the Swat museum.  Some of the items were believed to have been smuggled from Afghanistan.

Army operation against militants in Swat has wreaked havoc in the area, giving ample opportunities to smugglers and looters to steal valuable items from the area.

The centuries old antiquities are said to be remnants of old Budhist civilizations from across South Asia, including Afghanistan.

The worth of the antiquities could not be ascertained but agencies said that they were invaluable, and would fetch a lot of money in the international market.

Police has initiated an investigation to unearth the elements behind the racket, conducting raids in two undisclosed locations.

During initial questioning, the driver claimed he was travelling to Rawalpindi after picking up his cargo from the Bin Qasim port. However, officials recovered a delivery order from his possession which stated that the container had been issued from Karachi to be transported to Sialkot.

Agents claimed they had been pursuing the container for the past 20 days.

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