The turmoil in Pakistan has
scholars worried about the country's artistic and
archaeological heritage. Relatively peaceful until recently, Swat was a
tourist Mecca. The flowering of Gandhahan art in the area in the centuries after Alexander the Great reflects is place as a crossroads of the ancient Silk Route, where Hellenistic , Roman and Buddhist styles of art and worship converged. As Rome declined, Tte Gandhara region became part of the
Sasanian Empire (224-642), which preceded Islamic rule, and the regional style a consequently influenced Persia's artistic
Political instability in the North West Frontier province has left literally iconoclastic Talibani militants unchecked and gravely endangered the cultural heritage of three millennia. On Monday, October 8, dynamiters obliterated the face of the 23-foot-high seventh-century seated Buddha carved into a rock face near the Swat Valley village of Jehanabad, finishing what began early last fall, when militants detonated explosives above and below the Buddha, but only damaged the surrounding rock.
Police chief Mohammad Iqbal says it's the work of local militants who condemn the carvings as un-Islamic invitations to idolatry, but views it as" a symbolic attack to embarrass the government internationally." The Jehanabadis say an armed group entered their village on a Monday afternoon and announced their intention to destroy the Buddha. According to provincial archaeology official Aqleem Khan, the militants drilled holes into the rock and filled them with dynamite.
They waited until the next day to set off the explosion . It was September 11.