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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 05:30 GMT
Pakistan rescues ancient Buddhist statues
Officials in Pakistan say that ancient statues, worth millions of dollars, have been seized as they were being smuggled abroad.

A Customs Intelligence spokesman said that a steel box containing eighteen statues of Buddha was recovered in a raid on Peshawar airport, close to the Afghan border.

He said the statues may have been stolen from nearby archaeological sites and were apparently due to be flown to Dubai.

A Professor of Archaeology at Peshawar University ,Dr Farooq Swati, said the statues could be traced back to the second century AD.

Correspondents say there has been a series of reports about ancient art - including Buddhist relics - disappearing from museums.

Some valuable Moghul paintings disappeared last year from a popular museum in Lahore - its curator Dr.

Anjum Rehmani was suspended several months ago and an inquiry begun.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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