Gandhara era antiques restored in Pakistan's Buddhist Museum

PTI, Jul 17, 2011

Islamabad, Pakistan -- Over 2,700 antiquities of the Gandhara era were today returned to the Buddhist Museum in the Swat valley of northwest Pakistan, which was shutdown following an attack by militants three years ago.

The Buddhist Museum in the valley was closed after a bomb blast in February 2008 and its treasures were shifted to a vault in the famed Taxila Museum for safety and security.

Officials of the Taxila Museum today handed over the antiquities to their counterparts from the Department of Archaeology of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province for the rehabilitation of the Buddhist museum.

The team headed by Amanullah Khan, the Assistant Curator of the Buddhist Museum, took custody of the antiquities. Khan said the collection includes 250 stone sculptures, 100 statues of Buddha, 1,200 coins, 50 stucco sculptures, pots, burial pottery and life stories of Buddha from birth to death.

"The archaeological treasures of the Gandhara civilisation were shifted to the Taxila Museum due to the law and order situation in Khyber-Pukthunkhwa and threats from militants," Khan added.

The Pakistani Taliban had set up a parallel administration in most parts of Swat valley, located just 160 km from Islamabad, when the army launched an operation in 2009 to flush out the militants. Peace has now been restored in most parts of the valley.