Govt taking steps for the return of precious Gandhara artefacts, NA told

Islamabad: The National Assembly was informed on Tuesday that the government is taking steps for the return of precious Gandhara artefacts that were stolen from the country and auctioned in United States.

Replying to a call attention notice moved by Shakeela Khanum Rashid and others, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said that sixty items were auctioned in a US auction house worth millions of dollars.

He said the government took the stance that under the 1970 UNESCO convention the items must be returned to the home country.

He said negotiations are underway with governments of the concerned countries and UNESCO to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, responding to a point of order, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah told the House that it is a principle policy of the government that no government employee will be forced to leave the job.

He said the government by taking historic steps regularized the services of one hundred and four thousand daily wages and contractual employees.

The Minister said the government increased the salaries of the government employees by one hundred and twenty percent during the last four and a half years.

Syed Khurshid Shah said the government through its prudent policies improved the economy of the country. He said the foreign remittances today are 14 billion dollars which were 5.5 billion dollars in 2008.

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