A judge in New York has announced the return of 45 antiquities valued at approximately $250,000 to the people of Pakistan. The repatriation ceremony was attended by Pakistani Consul-General Ayesha Ali and US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge Erik Rosenblatt. “Many people believe the looting and theft of antiquities are injustices that only occurred in the past, but these crimes of culture are still being committed all over the world every day,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. “I strongly encourage all collectors and gallery owners to conduct due diligence and ensure all pieces they purchase were lawfully acquired. I am honored to return these 45 beautiful artifacts to the people of Pakistan,” he said. Consul General Ayesha Ali expressed gratitude to the Office of the District Attorney, New York County, and the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts in retrieving the stolen cultural treasures of Pakistan. She called it an important manifestation of the Pakistan-US friendship. “Many people believe the looting and theft of antiquities are injustices that only occurred in the past, but these crimes of culture are still being committed all over the world every day,” District Attorney Vance said. “I strongly encourage all collectors and gallery owners to conduct due diligence and ensure all pieces they purchase were lawfully acquired. I am honoured to return these 45 beautiful artefacts to the people of Pakistan..” In the spring of 2015, the DA’s Office and HSI New York executed multiple search warrants and seized close to 100 antiquities from Nayef Homsi, a known trafficker involved in the illegal looting, exportation, and sale of ancient art from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and other nations, the official statement issued by US authorities. Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI New York, noted that the high profit illegal business of smuggling and trafficking antiquities encouraged some people to indulge in trafficking these valuables. He emphasised the need for cooperation and urged all communities to work together to discourage this trade. He added, “HSI recognises the importance of both international and local partnerships in locating pilfered antiquities and cultural property, and it is through these repatriations that new generations are able to experience a part of their nation’s story”. The items that were returned include a Gandharan frieze featuring seven figures of Buddha beside a Bodhisattva Maitreya (a friendly Buddha), a Gandharan box of religious relics and a gray schist relief of Panchika and his consort Hariti Panchika. Moreover, a Hariti Stele, a gray schist head of Buddha below a bodhi, the tree of awakening, and a Gandharan head of Buddha under the bodhi tree, all dating back to the 2nd Century CE, were also included in those relics.