'Mother goddess' found in New York returning home to Pakistan.

WASHINGTON -- More than 5,000 years' old figurines of the mother goddess from Mehrgarh were rescued from the basement of a New York art dealer. So was a relic showing Gautama Buddha meditating under the tree of awakening.

The two are among 341 artefacts that US officials have recovered and handed over to Pakistani officials in New York since November 2020.

On Nov 1, a trial court in India, sentenced 71-year-old art dealer Subhash Kapoor and five of his accomplices to 10 years in prison for theft and illegal export of 19 antique religious idols from a temple in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Kapoor, who led a smuggling ring, was charged in 2019 with trafficking over 2,600 individual objects worth over $143 million from India, Pakistan, and other places.

The Pakistani artefacts were recovered in New York by a joint team of the Homeland Security (DHS) and the Manhattan District Attorney's (DA) office. Pakistan received the first batch of 45 artefacts in 2020, another of 104 in 2021 and then of 192 artefacts earlier this week. Besides those of the Mehrgarh and GandAhara civilisations, the recovered item also includes a beautiful Multani vase, about 250 years old.

'Subhash Kapoor and others engaged in the theft and smuggling of valuable cultural heritage are being pursued and prosecuted,' said Pakistan's Consul GenAeral Ayesha Ali who receAived the objects from US officials.

The total worth...

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