Relics Endangered in Pakistani Police Raid

Posted on September 11, 2012

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Last July, police in the Pakistani coastal village of Ibrahim Haideri confiscated a container holding tons of Buddha statues and other artifacts. After making the initial confiscation, a police raid at the Korangi turned up more relics, in total 395. Although the artifacts were removed from a fate of illicit export and trade, a recent article indicates that they were still not in good hands.

The police officers were slow to act, and damaged some of the artifacts in transit. The objects that were to heavy to be moved manually were left at the Korangi for days before removal. While at the police station, the relics lay open and unguarded. Reports indicate that at least three pieces were removed from the police station. The court took another 21 days to turn the artifacts over to the culture department.

Artifacts are stolen and smuggled out of Pakistan on a regular basis, in acts sometimes facilitated by local police. One smuggler who admitted to illicitly exporting relics from Pakistan stated that once he finds a site, he pays the police to let him dig there. Said the smuggler, “At a minimum I have sold 20 big Buddha statues for around $20,000 a piece.” The smuggler reports he is a millionaire.

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