According to Ghalegay police, they arrested the men who were busy digging an archaeological site at Nawagai village following a tip-off. An FIR has been registered under Section 29 of the Antiquities Act against all six accused, said a police official.
Suvastu Arts and Culture Association Chairman Usman Ulasyar appreciated the police for arresting the plunderers. “If law-enforcement agencies start taking prompt action against illegal excavations in Swat, unlawful activities will be controlled to a great extent,” he told The Express Tribune.
He said the government and archaeology department should protect the sites in Swat by acquiring the lands and carrying out scientific excavation.
Locals complained many groups from different areas illegally excavate in various locations of Barikot tehsil. By doing so they not only take out precious artefacts but also destroy the standing structures.
“Unfortunately, thousands of archaeological sites are crumbling because of neglect of the government and archaeology department,” said cultural activist Abdullah Khan. He added the smugglers and illegal excavators carry out their activities unhindered in far-flung areas.
Barikot tehsil in Swat is full of historical sites of the Budhhist and Hindu Shahi period. Bazira, the ancient city of Alexander the Great, is also located in the tehsil.
“Six major sites of Bazira, Balo Kalay, Tokar-Dara, Abbasahib-Cheena, Kanjar Kotey and Amluk-Dara are the ones recognised at the international level,” said social and cultural activist Sahib Zada of Barikot. “All of them are located on private lands which the government is not interested in acquiring.”
Author: Fazal Khaliq | Source: The Express Tribune [December 25, 2014]