By:Usman Aziz Malik
Over 3,000 priceless and rare antiquities at danger as the Taxila Museum entire campus is without electricity from last two days as the WAPDA authorities have chopped off power connection due to nonpayment of electricity bill.
The Taxila Museum which is treasure house of the thousand of centuries old rare and price less antiquities especially statues of Great Buddha of BC era is at mercy of thieves as there is no alternative electricity system for the Museum building to provide security and ensure safety of the Museum building and spare storage house which also harbors thousands of antiquities discovered by the Pakistani archeologists since 1947 during excavations at various sites of Taxila and adjacent areas. Official sources told this reporter that official from Islamabad Electricity Company limited (IESCO) have suspended the electricity supply to this tourist destination on Wednesday as the officials of department of archaeology and museums have failed to deposit the bill for the previous month. Due to this state of affair, the centuries old archeological treasure especially lord Buddha huge statues faced complete black out from last two days as the due to this state of affairs tourists and visitors especially foreigners and researchers came to see the archaeological treasure, master pieces of Gandhara art, life stories of Buddha faced great deal of difficulties. As there is humidity in the weather, stay in dark make it impossible to visit the galleries and show cases as the Museum building is packed from all sides. The scores of students of schools and colleges who came various parts of the country in connection to study tour also face disappointment as they could not able to see anything in the show cases as there is complete darkness in the museum building due to non availability of electricity. It worth mentioning here that the situation is also alarming for the safety and security of the Museum especially at night as there no back up for the power supply system. It may be mentioned here that despite the lapse of 13 years, law enforcement agencies and department of archeology and Museum are still clueless about the 81 priceless and rare antiquities including the priceless statues of Greek god and goddess mysteriously "stolen" from Taxila Museum. Recently Karachi Police also foiled a bid to smuggle around 300 priceless Gandhara civilizations which proof of the fact that a strong mafia of treasure hunters and Gandhara artifacts smugglers persists and it is feared that such like incident would again repeat if the electricity to the Museum not restored on war footing bases.
Moreover, international tourists and domestic visitors suffers due to non availability of electricity in the Museum and they returned back without visiting the Museum which is earning bad name for the country and denting to already fragile tourism sector.
While in case of high profile visit to the Museum there is no alternative to install walk trough gates and scanners which is major security lapse. It has also learnt that all type of official communication between head office, various ministries and across the globe with international organizations and museums across the globe has cut off as the fax system and internet system is not working in the museum administration block due to suspension of power supply.
Moreover, dozens of officials and their families resending in residential complex located within the premises are also suffering due to non availability of the electricity as their houses power supply connected to connection of the museum.
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