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Return of Pakistani antiquities sheds light on criminal art trade

Very existence of a market for ancient artworks is deeply troubling to many

Gray schist Gandharan Frieze featuring seven figures of Buddha beside a Bodhisattva Maitreya. Measuring 20 centimeters tall by 63 centimeters wide, it has been dated to between the 2nd and 3rd century C.E. The frieze was one of 45 ancient artworks repatriated to Pakistan earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Manhattan District Attorney's Office)

NEW YORK -- Two days after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr announced on Nov. 2 that 45 ancient artworks worth $250,000 from the inventory of Upper East Side art dealer Nayef Homsi would be repatriated to Pakistan, the country's New York Consul General Ayesha Ali marked the occasion with a repatriation ceremony.

"We are very grateful to you," Ali told the U.S. agents who had worked on the case. "We are also very confident that you and your officers will continue to pursue the criminals involved in the theft and bring them to justice."

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