‘Buddha of Swat’ smiles nearly 11 yrs after Taliban militants blew up statue

Peshawar: The iconic Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the 7th century, has been restored to its almost original form with Italian assistance in the troubled northwestern Pakistan, nearly 11 years after it was dynamited by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan during their control over the area, reports said on Thursday.

Buddha seated in a meditative posture, which is considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants, who blew up half the statue’s face by drilling holes into the face and shoulders and inserting explosives, triggering a worldwide anger. In 2007, the Taliban militants also destroyed 400 schools.

Damage to remain visible

An archaeologist, who oversaw the restoration of the Buddha of Swat, said the reconstruction is not identical, but that is deliberate, as ‘the idea of damage should remain visible’.

(With agency inputs)