Govt making efforts for return of 60-Gandhara artefacts: Khurshid Shah


Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chief-Whip Khursheed Shah on Wednesday apprised the National Assembly that the Ministry of National Heritage and the Foreign Ministry had been asked to make coordinated efforts for the return of smuggled Gandhara artefacts from western countries.

Replying to a calling attention notice of MNAs Dr Nafisa Shah, Shakeela Khanam Rashid, Jamila Gilani and Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani regarding the sale and auction of precious Gandhara artifacts in Western museums, causing grave concern amongst the public, Khurshid said the Ministry of National Heritage had been directed to contact the Foreign Ministry to raise the issue of the return of 60 Gandhara-era antiquities smuggled from Pakistan and auctioned in the United States.

He said under the UNESCO Heritage Convention, each signatory country was bound to return artefacts to the country where they were excavated and smuggled, adding that around 38 stolen artefacts had been returned to Pakistan by the US government in 2007.

Khursheed said the allocation of a proper budget to the Ministry of National Heritage was necessary to check the smuggling of artefacts and illegal excavation, adding that he would personally write a letter to the Finance Ministry to allocate a budget for the preservation of historical sites and culture.