One example of many is the looting of some 395
rare artifacts that had been seized in 2012 as they were underway to
Looting and smuggling is of all times and happens everywhere – unfortunately! We praise ourselves when the police track down the culprits and their precious cargo in order to return it either to its initial finding place or to the nearby museum where, we assume, the unique artifacts will be taken care of.
Sadly, in the present case, such a
straightforward assumption is far from reality as it involves the National
Museum of Karachi. It has
transpired recently that hundreds of artifacts and dozens of archaeological
sites have been seriously neglected by the country’s authorities responsible
for the preservation of antiquities. Among these objects are five sculptures of
Buddha heads, three of them standing four feet tall and two about three feet.
Instead of being carefully studied, cataloged and stored away, they have been
found on top of a pile of garbage at said
This clearly illustrates the incompetence and carelessness of the government officials in place. Lying there in plain sight for many months, exposed to wind and weather, there is no excuse for such negligence! Antiquity robbers and looters are pointed with the finger and highly condemned, whereas government officials are able to get away with such a crime – because it is a crime!
It has been reported by museum employees who want to remain anonymous that rare treasures from the Indus Valley and similar civilizations have also found their way to the museum’s dump site. The director, however, claims that a total 100,000 objects in stone, wood, metal and even paper are carefully checked and stored; adding that every single piece inside and outside the museum building has been carefully recorded. The museum’s most valuable piece is the statue of the King Priest from Mohenjo-daro, and which the Director says is safely stored away. It is rarely on display, although copies may be shown.
Whatever is happening in