Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have arrested four people for destroying a historic Buddha statue discovered during excavations in Takht Bhai Tehsil, Mardan District.
Earlier, videos on social media showed a man smashing a Buddha statue, which had not yet been completely removed from the ground.
After the videos came to light, the Department of Archeology and Museum Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took immediate action.
At the request of the department, Mardan police arrested four people involved in the incident and registered a case against them under the 2016 Provincial Antiquities Act.
Dr Abdul Samad, director of the Archeology and Museum of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, condemned the demolition of the statue, saying “insulting any religion is intolerable.”
He said the statue was part of the Gandhara civilization and was about 1,700 years old.
He said that the police and the department have sealed off the area and started an investigation.
“It appears that the accused broke the statue due to ignorance but we are told that they broke it on the instructions of a local religious leader, but the police are investigating the matter,” Dr Abdul Samad said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police tweeted that fragments of a broken statue were also recovered during the arrest.
Police said those arrested included Qamar Zaman, Amjad, Aleem and Suleiman.
مردان پولیس نے واقعہ کی ایریا اور ملزمان کو ٹریس کرلیا ہے۔ پولیس نے واقعہ میں ملوث ملزمان کو ٹریس اور مجسمے کے ٹکڑے بھی برآمد کرلئے ہیں۔
گرفتار ملزمان میں ٹھیکدار قمر زمان سکنہ گلی باغ، امجدسکنہ پاتے کلے، علیم سکنہ سازودین کلے اور سلیمان سکنہ شیخ ملتون شامل ہیں۔
@DrZahid_Jan https://t.co/qJTb9teh3q pic.twitter.com/M0jNcA8BB9
— KP Police (@KP_Police1) July 18, 2020