Gandhāran statues at a police station in Karachi. Authorities seized dozens of precious artefacts belonged to the 2,000 year-old Gandhāran civilization, illegally removed from Pakistan’s terrorist-torn north-west region. Image credit AFP

Jaffer Rizvi, writing for BBC News Asia, reports on the 6 July that –

An attempt to smuggle ancient artefacts, possibly worth millions of dollars, out of the Pakistani port city of Karachi has been foiled, police say. A top archaeologist has said the goods are at least 2,000 years old and were illegally excavated. Police have called in experts to help assess their value.

Two men caught trying to ship the items have been arrested, police say. Karachi is often used by smugglers who can get criminal support to take valuable antiquities out of the country. Customs officers in 2005 foiled a similar attempt to smuggle nearly 1,500 artefacts worth more than $10m (£6.4m) out of Pakistan.

Gandhāran painting and sculpture displays a strong Greco-Roman influence, with its beginnings dated to around 75-50 bce when links between Rome and the Indo-Parthian kingdoms existed. “There is archaeological evidence that building techniques were transmitted between the two realms. Christian records claim that around AD 40 Thomas the Apostle visited India and encountered the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares.” (Source Wikipedia).

Full article here.