KYODO NEWS By Takuya Hatakeyama, KYODO NEWS – Jun 5, 2017 – 10:12 | Arts, World, All
A Buddha carved on a rock in the Swat district of Pakistan’s northwest has been restored after militants attempted to destroy it in 2007, spurring hopes that tourists will come back to see a sculpture that has watched over the scenic valley for over 1,000 years.
Once disfigured by drilling and a blast, the face of the 6-meter-tall sculpture in Jahanabad, known as the “Jahanabad Buddha,” has now been patched up, the result of repair work that began in 2012 and continued until last fall as part of a project financed through a Pakistani-Italian debt swap agreement.
In September 2007, the militant group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan partially destroyed the rock-carving with explosives, claiming that Buddhist structures go against Islamic teaching that bans worshiping idols.
At that time, the militant group was expanding its area of control from the neighboring Tribal Area, a semi-autonomous area near the border with Afghanistan. After the Pakistani army ended a major offensive against the group in July 2009, many of the more than 2 million people who were displaced have returned. Continue reading