Islamabad, Sep 19 (IANS): Pakistan has staked claim to a Buddha statue that was put up for auction by Christie's. The auction has been stopped following the claim.
The starting price for the statue had been set at $4.45 million.
Dawn reported that following Unesco's intervention, the auction was stopped and Pakistan has been asked to prove its claim.
The statue's auction was noticed by a Paris-based Unesco official who raised an alarm, said sources.
An advertisement described the grey schist figure of the emaciated Siddhartha, or 'Fasting Buddha', as the most fascinating 3rd/4th century Gandhara piece in Christie's entire collection.
A private collector who acquired it in Germany in 1981 had given it to Christie.
An official at Pakistan's Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) said the country's cultural property was excavated illegally from Buddhist sites in the Gandhara region and smuggled out in the early 1980s.