2000-year-old Buddha statue from Peshawar to be exhibited in Switzerland

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The giant statue of Buddha in Peshawar Museum.
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Outer view of the museum building, which was constructed as Victoria Hall in memory of Queen Victoria. (AN photo)
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Entrance to the museum, established in 1907. (AN photo)
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Outer view of the museum building, which was constructed as Victoria Hall in memory of Queen Victoria. (AN photo)
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KP Archaeology and Tourism Minister Muhammad Tariq (left) and Rietberg Museum Director Albert Lutz (right) sign an agreement to display the statue at an exhibition in Switzerland. (Photo courtesy: KP’s Department of Archaeology)
Updated 16 March 2018
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2000-year-old Buddha statue from Peshawar to be exhibited in Switzerland

PESHAWAR: A uniquely large Buddha statue that has been in Peshawar Museum for more than a century will soon be displayed at an exhibition in Switzerland, officials at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Department of Archaeology said on Friday.
The department’s director, Abdul Samad, said KP’s Archaeology and Tourism Minister Muhammad Tariq signed an agreement to this effect with Rietberg Museum Director Albert Lutz on Tuesday in Zurich.
The exhibition will begin in December this year and last for three months and 18 days, Tariq said.

“The statue has been insured for $20 million,” he told Arab News. “In case of any damage to it, the money will be paid to Peshawar Museum.”
This is the first time the statue will be taken to an international exhibition. “Every exhibition has a central attraction,” Samad told Arab News. “This sculpture will play that role in Switzerland.”
The KP administration is promoting religious tourism, he said, adding that the province was not only home to the popular Gandhara civilization but is also sacred to Hindus and Sikhs.
“Last year, we did an exhibition about Buddhism in South Korea and displayed 42 objects for three months,” Samad said.
“Young people who’ve been brought up in Buddhist lands after the 9/11 attacks don’t know much about Pakistan, especially KP, and its significance to their religion. We want to raise awareness about it throughout the world.”
Tourists from around the world visit Switzerland and its museums, and their encounter with the Buddha statue will help promote a positive image of Pakistan, Samad said.
The statue is 2,000 years old, said one of the department’s research officers, Nawaz-ud-Din, adding: “It was discovered during British rule in Seri Bahlol in Mardan in 1909, and handed over to Peshawar Museum in 1911.”
Seri Bahlol is a world heritage site located about 70 km northwest of KP’s provincial capital Peshawar.
Nawaz-ud-Din said the statue is 365 cm high and 46.42 cm wide, and the museum has 4,147 other objects related to Buddhism.
Peshawar Museum was established in 1907. Its previous name was Victoria Hall, as it was established in Queen Victoria’s memory during British rule.


Jadhav case: Pakistan, India to face off in ICJ on Monday

Updated 16 February 2019
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Jadhav case: Pakistan, India to face off in ICJ on Monday

  • Pakistani delegation to argue case in UN court left for The Hague on Friday 
  • ‘Will except the final decision of the ICJ,’ Pakistan says

ISLAMABAD: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will resume on February 18 public hearing in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case that was initiated by New Delhi against Islamabad in order to get consular access to its incarcerated citizen.
India claims that Jadhav was apprehended on trumped up charges.
The Pakistani delegation that will argue the case in the UN court, left for The Hague on Friday. 
According to the court’s schedule, the public hearings in the case will commence from February 18 till 21 in The Hague. Attorney General Anwar Man­soor will lead Pakistani delegation while Harish Salve represents New Delhi in the world court.
Salve is expected to argue first on February 18 followed by English Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi making submissions on February 19 from Islamabad’s side.
An Indian naval official, Commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016 from the impoverished and rebel-infested Baluchistan province during a counter-intelligence operation. 
Islamabad claims he confessed to his involvement in subversive activities and espionage against Pakistan working for India’s premier intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Placed on trial by a military court in Pakistan, Jadhav was found guilty and sentenced to death a month later.
India, however approached the world court in May 2016, invoking the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Subsequently, the court passed an order directing Pakistan to stay the execution, pending a final decision.
Islamabad has made Jadhav’s statements public, but New Delhi has countered that the officer is retired, that he was kidnapped from Iran, and that he had been made to confess under duress to fabricated charges. 
“We will accept the final decision of the ICJ,” a senior foreign office official said, adding “there are more charges of terrorism and sabotage that he will be charged with after the court’s judgment.”
It may be recalled that Pakistan gave access to Jhadav’s family on humanitarian grounds in December 2017. Officials say Islamabad would be willing to entertain a request in future if his family submits an application to meet the ill-fated spy.
“There are specific instances (of terrorism) that he has confessed to and those cases against him are pending” but India needs to answer six key points of Pakistan against its demand to ICJ to order for the return of Jadhav, the official explained to Arab News.
In a special handout given to Arab News, Pakistan argues that India failed to provide evidence that Jadhav was kidnapped. It also failed to explain why and when the officer retired and why he was in possession of an authentic Indian passport under a false cover Muslim name. Why is India demanding his return pending an international court decision, another question Islamabad raised? Consular access cannot be granted to a person implicated in national security matters under the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access between both sides, argues Pakistan. 
India will scheduled to respond to submissions from Pakistan’s side before the ICJ on February 20 and the closing argument by Pakistan will be presented the day after. Islamabad expects the ICJ may deliver its final decision by summers this year.