Statues are seen after being discovered and unveiled to the public, during a ceremony at the Buddhist-period archeological site near Haripur, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, Pakistan, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Saad Sayeed

HARIPUR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan unveiled the remains of a 1,700-year-old sleeping Buddha image on Wednesday, part of an initiative to encourage tourism and project religious harmony in a region roiled by Islamist militancy.
A reflection of the diverse history and culture of the South Asian country, the ancient Buddhist site in Bhamala province was first discovered in 1929. Eighty-eight years on, excavations resumed and the 14-metre-(48-foot)-high Kanjur stone Buddha image was unearthed, and opposition leader Imran Kahn presided over Wednesday’s presentation.
“This is from the 3rd century AD, making it the world’s oldest sleeping Buddha remains,” Abdul Samad, director of Bhamla’s archaeology and museums department, told Reuters.
“We have discovered over 500 Buddha objects and this 48-foot-long sleeping Buddha remains,” he added.
Khan said: “It’s a question of preserving these heritage sites which are an asset for our …
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