France returns looted relics to Pakistan


PARIS -- France Tuesday (July 2) handed over to Pakistan nearly 450 ancient relics, some dating as far back as 4,000 BCE, seized by French customs agents over a decade ago.

Customs agents at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport in 2006 intercepted a parcel from Pakistan containing 17 terracotta pots addressed to a museum in the city. The information with the pots said only that they were more than 100 years old.

But a scholar who examined them concluded they were artefacts dating back to the second or third millennium BCE, which had likely been stolen from burial sites in Balochistan Province.

Following an extensive investigation, investigators found a total of 445 items, some dating as far back as 4,000 BCE, with an estimated value of €139,000 (Rs. 25 million).

The looting and sale of cultural artefacts have been a money-maker for terrorist groups like "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

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