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ISLAMABAD: Senate Special Committee for Recommendations of the Committees adopted by the House would physically visit Peshawar Museum with experts to examine precious antique items.

The committee has also sought detailed report from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ministry for Sports, Tourism, Culture, Archive and Youth Affairs about the excavations made so far and the steps taken by the Archaeology Department for protection of antiques and historical valuables.

The Special Committee met with Dilawar Khan in the chair at Parliament House on Tuesday. The committee discussed the issue regarding stolen of precious antique items/historical valuables from Peshawar.

The committee also decided to call the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials from Peshawar to seek update from them on the investigations carried out so far.

NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal (retd) has taken a notice of the arrest of Director Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdus Samad. However, the sources said that he has been arrested on serious charges of his involvement in missing expensive archaeological relics and statues as well as corruption in some projects.

Senator Dilawar Khan, Convener of the Special committee to provide for mechanism for Implementation of Recommendations of Committees Adopted by the House, said that there are reports of irregularities which need to be fixed.

While discussing the issue raised by Senator Sitara Ayaz regarding reports about misplacement of precious antiques from Peshawar Museum, the committee observed that the matter needs to be investigated thoroughly.

Senator Sitara Ayaz said that there were reports circulating in print, electronic and social media about misplacement of precious items from Peshawar Museum. She said that the matter is being investigated by NAB Peshawar and an official of the museum has been arrested. She asked the authorities concerned about the current status of all the precious items.

“Precious items were sent abroad for exhibitions but have not been brought back by the concerned departments,” Senator Sitar Ayaz said. She further said that it is a serious matter and the Parliament would look into the issue to fix the responsibility and streamline affairs.

The secretary Ministry for Sports, Tourism, Culture, Archive and Youth Affairs told the committee that he had written a letter about the missing of antiques items in Peshawar Museum.  He said that according to the report of authority of Peshawar Museum, there is no missing or stolen antique item. All the record and objects of Peshawar Museum are intact and there is nothing missing or stolen from the antiquities, he added.

Senator Dilawar Khan remarked, “Archaeological sites and history tell us about our culture, roots and civilisation and it needs to be protected. If record is intact and nothing is missing, why an official is being investigated by NAB.” He said that the committee will visit the museum very soon.

The committee after detailed discussion directed the department to provide list of excavation, objects discovered and security measures adopted for protection of the valuables items. It also decided to seek update from NAB on the investigations carried out so far.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019