France on Tuesday (July 2) handed over to Pakistan nearly 450 ancient relics, with an estimated value of $157,000, some dating as far back as 4,000 BC. The relics were smuggled from Pakistan, and seized by customs at the Paris airport in 2006 and 2007.
France’s Director General of Customs and Indirect Rights Rodolphe Gintz handed over the rare and precious artifacts of Balochistan’s civilization to Pakistan’s Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires Muhammad Amjad Aziz Qazi during a ceremony at the Embassy of Pakistan in Paris. Qazi thanked Paris for their support and concerted efforts for pursuing the repatriation case in French courts.
Among the items on display at the embassy to mark the handover were a series of beautifully-decorated pots, vases and jars, all painstakingly adorned with small, stylized motifs of animals, plants and trees. There were also about 100 tiny ceramic figurines, as well as plates, bowls and goblets, all of which had been illegally shipped out of Pakistan for sale to dealers abroad.
“This is very, very important for us,” said Abbas Sarwar Qureshi, head of chancery at the Pakistani embassy where France s top customs official attended a formal handover ceremony. “Some of the items are 6,000 years old from the Mehrgarh civilisation,” he told AFP, referring to an era that predates the Indus Valley civilisation which flourished around 3,000 BC before mysteriously disappearing.
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