France returns smuggled archaeological artifacts of Pakistan

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PARIS: A large number of smuggled archaeological artefacts of Balochistan, Pakistan, which were seized by the French Customs at the Paris Airport during the years 2006-2007, came to closure with their formal handing over to Pakistan, says a press release received from Paris here today.

Rodolphe GINTZ, Director General of Customs and Indirect Rights, Ministry of Action and Public Accounts of France handed over these rare and precious artefacts, from Balochistan civilization to the Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Muhammad Amjad Aziz Qazi in a simple restitution ceremony held at the Embassy of Pakistan to France, in Paris.

Present on the occasion were the Director of Culture, Education, Research and Network at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and the Head of the Department of International Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and media person.

Amjad Aziz Qazi in his remarks thanked the Government of France and the French Custom Department for their support and concerted efforts for pursuing the repatriation case in the French courts and in completing the tedious and complicated legal formalities required for repatriation of these artefacts.

Rodolphe GINTZ, Director General of French Customs while speaking at the ceremony gave a background of the case noting that the artefacts were seized by the French Customs in pursuance of French obligations arising from UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and transport of Ownership of Cultural property, to which both Pakistan and France are signatories.

Later, the Director General Customs formally handed over the Pakistani artifacts to the Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of Pakistan to France.

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