Pakistan said on Tuesday that France has returned about 500 stolen artifacts, including ancient busts, vases, urns and goblets, some dating to the second and third millennia B.C.
The Foreign Office said that some 512 artifacts stolen and smuggled from Pakistan were seized by French Customs at Paris Airport during 2006-2007.
"After verification of their origin and completion of tedious and protracted legal and administrative formalities, 486 archaeological artifacts were handed over by the French government to the Embassy of Pakistan, Paris on 2 July," the FO said.
It said that Pakistan is home to some of the oldest civilizations including Gandhara, Indus and Mehrgarh, and has a large repository of ancient artifacts.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had instructed the Ministry and its Missions in respective countries to engage with the host governments for the repatriation of the stolen and seized artifacts of Pakistan.
Rodolphe Gintz, Director General of Customs and Indirect Rights, French Ministry of Action and Public Accounts, handed over the rare and precious artifacts to the Pakistan Embassy in France in a simple ceremony, which was attended by French officials from concerned Ministries and Representatives from several French cultural and archaeological institutes and museums.