A second century C.E. Buddhist sculpture is displayed during a news conference in the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, in New York, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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An ancient stone sculpture of Buddha's footprints that was smuggled into the United States and had been expected to sell for more than $1 million was returned to the government of Pakistan Wednesday.The piece, called a Buddhapada, was taken from a Pakistani region rich in Buddhist history decades ago. He said he shipped the 2nd-century Buddhapada from Tokyo to New York to sell it at a gallery, where it was expected to fetch $1.1 million.He said he knew it had been excavated and removed from the Swat River valley, a mountainous region of northern Pakistan, in 1982 . During the time the Buddhapada was stolen, there were no major threats to any archaeological sites, said Muhammad Zahir, an assistant professor at Hazara University in Pakistan who works in the Swat valley.
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