Islamabad: A Pakistani lawyer has filed a petition to ask the government to claim a 5,000-year-old bronze statue called 'Dancing Girl' from India.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffrey filed the petition in the Lahore High Court on Monday.
The 10.5-centimetre-high statue, dating back to around 2500 BC, was discovered in 1926 from Mohenjodaro - the ancient city of the Indus Valley Civilisation in Sindh.
The petitioner claimed that the statue is the property of the Lahore Museum.
"It was taken to India around 60 years ago at the request of the National Arts Council, Delhi, and was never brought back," a report in Pakistani newspaper Dawn claimed.
Jamal Shah, director general of the Pakistan National Museum of Arts, in a statement said that a letter would be written to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to bring the statue back.
"This is important if we want to protect our heritage," Mr Shah said.
Mr Jaffrey says the statue has the same historic importance as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa in Europe. He calls it a marker of Pakistan's cultural heritage which needs to be protected.
Some of the most famous archaeologists in the world have described it as one of the most captivating pieces of art from the Indus Valley site.
The tiny bronze statue of a young woman is suggestive of two breakthroughs - that Indus artists knew metal blending and casting and that the well developed Indus society had innovated dance and other performing arts, India's National Museum said in its description of the Dancing Girl.