Rare Buddhist sculpture returned to Pakistani government

NEW YORK, April 28 (APP): A precious sculpture of Buddha’s footprints carved in stone that was smuggled into the United States was returned to the government of Pakistan at a simple ceremony in New York on Wednesday.

On behalf of the Pakistani government, the Deputy Chief of Mission at Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, received the 440-pound piece, called a Buddhapada, from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, whose office recovered it in a sting operation after an intensive investigation.

Sheikh thanked Vance and his team, saying that the artifact was “an important element of the rich cultural history of Pakistan” and he was relieved to have it returned.