NEW YORK: The US has finally returned an ancient Buddhist stone sculpture to Pakistan, from where it was stolen in early 80’s.
Depicting Buddha’s footprints alongside religious symbols is a 2nd Century piece, that was stolen from the Swat Valley and eventually smuggled into the United States.
A Japanese antiques dealer who brought it to the US from Tokyo pleaded guilty to possessing stolen property in April, BBC news reported.
The sculpture was expected to reach one million US dollar at auction, but the sale was intercepted by The New York authorities.
Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Rizwan Saeed Sheikh received the sculpture from News York prosecutors at a ceremony on Wednesday.
Speaking at occasion, Mr Sheikh said it was “an important element of the cultural history of Pakistan”, and would likely be kept in New York for the short term and possibly put on display.