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A team of Italian Archaeologists Restores Historic Buddha Statue in Pakistan

The Italian team started restoration work on the Buddha in 2012, employing latest 3D technology

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Representational image. Pixabay

Islamabad, November 14, 2016: An iconic 7th-century Buddha statue in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which was defaced by the Taliban nine years ago has finally been restored to its original form by a team of Italian archaeologists, it was reported on Monday.

The Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, helped along by the locals of Jahanabad in Swat district, was able to undo the damage inflicted by the Taliban militants in September 2007 after four years of hard work, the Geo News reported.

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“It was our professional and moral obligation toward the people and heritage of Swat and Pakistan which forced us to restore the Buddha. It took about five missions of about a month each from 2012-2016 in its complete conservation program,” said head of the Italian Archaeological Mission, Luca Maria Olivieri, adding that international experts worked on the restoration process.

The militants had blown up the iconic statue’s face by inserting explosives and damaged the shoulders and torso by drilling holes into the structure. The act had sparked worldwide ire, especially among the Buddhist community, historians and archaeologists.

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The Italian team started restoration work on the Buddha in 2012, employing latest 3D technology and restoration and 3D experts.

The meditative Buddha statue, dating back to 7th century, is considered to be the biggest such structure carved in stone in South Asia.

Towering at 21 feet long and 12 feet wide, the statue is an icon of the Gandhara art – a style of Buddhist visual art that developed in what is now northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE.

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There are around 20 sites in the Swat valley with ancient historical significance.

The statue at one time drew a large number of tourists to the Valley, including Tibetan pilgrims and archaeology enthusiasts. It is now hoped the restored Buddha statue would once again be able to attract people from all over the world as well as from other parts of Pakistan. (IANS)

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Pashtun activist Farhat Taj exposes dirty nexus between Pakistan army and terrorists

It is no surprise anymore than Pakistan army has been committing genocides in Pashtun and Baloch areas, Farhat Taj, Pashtun human rights activist further exposed how Pakistan army is supporting terrorists in their evil plan

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In a shocking video, Pashtun human rights activist, Farhat Taj, research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo, and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy exposed the dirty nexus between Pakistan army and terrorist organisations such as Taliban.

Pakistan army is time and again accused of committing genocidal crimes against Pashtun and Baloch civilians. Since last few years we have been seeing how Baloch and Pashtun activists became vocal against atrocities committed by Pakistan army on their soil. There are more than 30 million Pashtuns worldwide coming together for a free Pashtunistan. Farhat Taj also confirms in her video about Pakistan state sponsoring extremism, raising terrorists and brainwashing Pashtun children to manufacture “jehadi fighters”.

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Umar Daud Khattak, Mission Commander, Pashtunishtan Liberation Army, said “Unity of Pashtuns across the imposed Durnad Line is an immense need of the time. Pashtuns are oppressed under Pakistani genocidal occupation, they displaced, killed, bombarded, their homes and villages are bulldozed, chemical weapons are used against them. Until now about 2 million Pashtuns are displaced by Pakistan Army and have killed about 200,000. It is mind-boggling numbers. Loy Afghanistan Movement is a good effort for political, diplomatic and social plateform for uniting Pashtuns across the Durand Line and restore the natural geography.”

Pakistan, a fake state fuelling terror for a long time is now getting backlash in home. The world now acknowledges that Pakistan is a failed state, the world now shares the grief of Baloch, Pashtuns and sindh people, its high time for the world to stand together against the manufacturer of terrorism, Pakistan. Pakistan army which is supposed to fight terrorism are actually the one raising terrorist, army person in day shift is a Talib in night shift. This is the state of affairs in Pakistan. I do hope that civil society of Pakistan will come forward and protest against such a failed state and barbaric military which is involved in genocide. Pakistan needs more of Tarek Fateh and Farhat Taj if they want to prosper as a progressive nation rather than an extremist centre of terrorism.

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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‘World’s Oldest’ Buddha Statue Unearthed in Pakistan During Excavations

A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

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Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue is found excavated in Pakistan. Pixabay.

Islamabad, November 17: A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology And Museums Director Abdul Samad told Dawn News: “The 48-feet-long sleeping Buddha statue dates back to the third century, which makes it the world’s oldest sleeping Buddha statue.”

He said that archaeologists found the statue, with its head intact, during excavations near the Bhamala Stupa.

“We have discovered more than 500 Buddha-related objects during excavations, in addition to the 48-feet long ‘sleeping Buddha’,” he said.

The latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila Valley Civilisation.

“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa, which was reserved for Buddha himself,” Samad had said. (IANS)

 

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Taliban Warns Phone Companies to Shut Down Their Coverage in Ghazni

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Taliban Ghazni
Members of the Taliban gather in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. voa

Ghazni, Washington October 11: Taliban militants have ordered mobile phone companies to shut down their networks at dark in central Ghazni province, provincial police authorities told VOA.

In a bid to mitigate risks, the insurgent group has asked telecom operators in Ghazni province to halt operations from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in order to make it difficult for the Afghan forces to get intelligence and tips on militants through mobile phones.

The insurgent group has destroyed several telecom towers in the restive province over the last three days.

“The recent uptick in airstrikes against militants is causing increasing casualties in Taliban ranks. The militants want to destroy telecom towers to disturb communications,” Fahim Amarkhil, a police spokesperson in Ghazni told VOA.

The Taliban has said Afghan and U.S. forces use the network signals to locate the group’s fighters.

In addition to Ghazni, the insurgent group has asked mobile phone companies to halt their networks’ coverage in several other provinces as well, an official of a major cell phone company in Kabul told VOA on the condition of anonymity.

The official added that in many cases, the operators have no option but to comply with what the insurgents want.

The disruption in telecom services have angered customers in Ghazni who rely on mobile phone as their only means of communication. The residents fear that if the government does not address the issue in a timely manner, the telecom companies may end their operation in the province.

“Some time ago, the Taliban had warned the telecom companies to pay taxes to the Taliban, not to the government, and the issue was resolved,” Jamil Weqar, an activist in Ghazni told VOA. “But this time, they destroyed the towers which has created many problems [for customers],” he added.

The telecommunication sector in Afghanistan has made tremendous progress following the fall of the Taliban and the establishment of a new government in the post-2001 era. With little to no access to cell phones and the internet 15 years ago, the country now has more than 20 million mobile phone subscribers, covering more than 85 percent of the population.

New strategy

The communication blackout comes as the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is increasing military pressure on militant groups across the country. The new plan includes a more intensive use of airpower against militants.

The latest official data shows U.S. forces dropped 751 bombs in September against the Taliban and militants linked to the so-called Islamic State terror group in Afghanistan. This is the largest number of bombs dropped on militants in a single month since 2012.

“This increase can be attributed to the president’s strategy to more proactively target extremist groups that threaten the stability and security of the Afghan people,” according to a summary from the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces are trying to regain control of areas and districts lost to the Taliban across the country.

The government has said it controls nearly two-thirds of the country’s 407 districts. Taliban reportedly control 33 districts, less than 10 percent of the national total. Around 116 districts are “contested” areas, according to a recent U.S. military assessment. (voa)