CANBERRA, Dec 8, (APP): A colossal diplomatic achievement for Pakistan as the government of Australia on Wednesday returned an aniconic stone weight id 3rd millennium BCE, having originated in Balochistan, media reported.
The stone weight was handed over to Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry in a ceremony at Canberra. The said ceremony was attended by senior officials from the Australian Office of the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Border Force, INTERPOL Canberra, and the Australian Federal Police, according to APP.
This is the first time that an object of cultural heritage from Pakistan has been returned by the Government of Australia under the United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention.
The object was clandestinely excavated and illegally smuggled out of Pakistan. It was purchased online by an Australian resident from a seller in the United States and imported into Australia in July 2020, a state-run APP reported.
The object was stopped for inspection by the Australian Border Force (ABF), and upon examination, it was found to be an authentic cultural heritage from Pakistan.
The High Commission for Pakistan had made a restitution request to the Australian Office of the Arts to return the object to its rightful owner under the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property 1970. Both Pakistan and Australia are signatories to the said Convention.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, on occasion appreciated the efforts of the Australian government in intercepting, retrieving and returning Pakistan this precious cultural property from the Bronze Age.
“He underscored the importance of close cooperation among countries against illicit trafficking in cultural property”.
The High Commissioner also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to working with international friends and partners to protect common cultural heritage.