Remand of accused in relics smuggling case extended -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Remand of accused in relics smuggling case extended

By: Zaib Azkar Husain

Karachi: Judicial Magistrate (East) Haleem Ahmed on Monday extended the physical remand of three men facing charges of trying to smuggle priceless Gandhara civilization relics out of the country.

The presiding officer allowed the investigation officer (IO) in the case to keep the three detainees —, Zafar, Asif Majeed and Tahir — at the Awami Colony police station till the completion of investigations and produce them before the court after four days.

Zafar and Majeed were arrested when police intercepted a trailer-mounted container and seized hundreds of priceless relics on July 6. Police later arrested another suspect, Tahir, for allegedly trying to smuggle the 2,000-year-old artefacts by land.

The owners of the trailer, Atif Butt and Asif Butt, have already obtained pre-arrest bail from Judicial Magistrate Hafeeza Usman against a surety of Rs50,000 each on the grounds that the police could arrest and torture them.

Appearing before the magistrate last week, they insisted that they were innocent and law-abiding citizens and there was no legal fault on their part and it was unfair to victimise them. The court, considering their arguments, granted them bail before arrest and directed them to fight their legal case before the trial court.

Zafar and Majeed were transporting the artefacts, including statues and coins, to Sialkot.

The artefacts, which have been kept at the Awami Colony police remit, include statues of Gautama Buddha, coins and utensils. Their documentation has been completed.

Police said the suspects kept the relics in a warehouse in Ibrahim Haidery before trying to transport them to Sialkot.

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