Photo by Iftikhar Zaman

SWAT, 15 November: The historic seventh-century statue of Buddha defaced by the Taliban in 2007 in Swat, has been restored after nine years by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The 7th century sculpture carved in rock is considered one of the largest statues of Buddha in South Asia. It was blown up by the Taliban in 2007 when they were in power in the scenic Swat valley and half of its face was destroyed with explosives.

The restoration of the statue has been completed by suing 3-D technology with the assistance of Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan.

Syed Niaz Ali Shah, an official and representative of the Archaeology department told TNN that highly technical and experienced Italian archaeologists worked in the restoration process using 3-D technology.

He hoped that the site would become an attractive spot for international tourists as it was in the past. He further said that the Buddha sculpture would play a vital role in the revival tourism in the area.

According to archaeologists, the sculpture showing Buddha in meditative position was carved in the 7th century and it is considered the biggest such structure in South Asia. Twenty-one feet long and 12 feet wide, the statue is located at Jahan Abad, some eight kilometers towards North from Mingora.