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US Returns Stolen Antiques To Pakistan

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The United States has returned 45 Ghandara-period stolen antique pieces worth $250,000 to Pakistan.

According to the authorities, the antique pieces were recovered in 2015 by Manhattan Police from “Nayef Homsi, a known trafficker involved in the illegal looting, exportation and sale of ancient art from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and other nations”

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. announced the return of 45 Pakistani antiquities, valued at approximately $250,000, during a repatriation ceremony. The ceremony was attended by Pakistan’s Consul General Ayesha Ali and Erik Rosenblatt, a special agent of the HSI office.“Many people believe the looting and theft of antiquities are injustices that only occurred in the past, but these crimes of culture are still being committed all over the world every day,” said District Attorney Vance. “I strongly encourage all collectors and gallery owners to conduct due diligence and ensure all pieces they purchase were lawfully acquired.” he added.

Ayesha Ali the Consul General praised the authorities of US for “retrieving stolen cultural treasures of Pakistan”. She said that the office of Consul General had been vigorously following the case.

Peter C Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI New York emphasized the need to discourage the practice of smuggling the antique pieces. “HSI recognises the importance of both international and local partnerships in locating pilfered antiquities and cultural property, and it is through these repatriations that new generations are able to experience a part of their nation’s story,” he said.

The repatriated items include a Gandharan frieze featuring seven figures of Buddha beside a Bodhisattva Maitreya (a friendly Buddha), a Gandharan box of religious relics and a gray schist relief of Panchika and his consort Hariti Panchika. The relics also include a Hariti Stele, a gray schist head of Buddha below a bodhi, the tree of awakening, and a Gandharan head of Buddha under the bodhi tree — all dating back to the 2nd Century CE.

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