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A shock to the people


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Pakistani security personnel look on as firefighters extinguish a blaze which gutted a historical building in Ziarat, 80 kilometres southeast of Quetta, on June 15, 2013. - Photo by AFP
Pakistani security personnel look on as firefighters extinguish a blaze which gutted a historical building in Ziarat, 80 kilometres southeast of Quetta, on June 15, 2013. - Photo by AFP

The virtual destruction of the Ziarat Residency has shocked the Pakistani people: shocked, for it was at the Ziarat Residency that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah passed the last few weeks of his life before flying to Karachi for the final journey. He was working 14 hours a day at age 72, and that killed him, according to Ilahi Bux, his doctor.

Located at a height of 8,050 feet, and built in 1892, the cement-and-wood structure served as a sanatorium because of its healthful climate. Turned later into a summer resort, Ziarat itself is not very green, but the surrounding hills and the juniper forests as far as the eyes can see are breathtakingly verdant. It was here on July 6, 1948, that Jinnah along with his sister Fatima had moved in on his doctor’s advice.

There were two bedrooms on the first floor. Looking from the outside, the one on the right belonged to the Quaid; the one on left was for Miss Jinnah. Downstairs, there was a room for the Quaid’s secretary, besides a visitors’ hall.

The bedroom and the mini-dining hall showed the sophistication of his personality. The dinning table and the cupboard made of teak and mahogany, and a gong for announcing meals, were priceless artefacts and spoke of an age that is no more. On the walls were historical pictures, which have now turned into ashes. The view of the Residency from the outside appeared splendid and sublime, and in winter heavy snow draped the building and the trees in white. But of late, it had fallen victim to neglect, since hardly any Pakistani VIPs used Ziarat for vacation.

Noreen Khalid, Professor at Karachi University’s economics department, was sorry to see the building’s condition on her visit to Ziarat on a study tour a fortnight ago. The trees which had lent beauty to the building had been felled on the provincial government’s orders, the crockery inside the building had gathered dust and some furniture was in a shambles. Yet it was a national heritage, and had a place in the people’s heart.

What was the message the attackers wanted to convey? Will the grenade attack and the resulting arson advance the attackers ‘cause’, if they have one, win them any support from the Pakistani people, and make terrorism a more acceptable tactic? Even some of the most implacable self-declared enemies of the state have not – or perhaps had not till Saturday morning – chosen to target monuments associated with Jinnah and symbolic of Pakistan nationalism.

The Ziarat Residency was more than a building, because the people have a sentimental attachment to it, just as they have to everything that reminds them of the leader and man that Jinnah was -- Jinnah House on Malabar Hills in Mumbai, 10 Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi, the London apartment on Russell Road, and in Karachi the Flagstaff House, Wazir Mansion and, of course, the marble structure in the heart of the city where he was born and where he sleeps eternally.

Those who planned and carried out the crime against the Pakistani nation chose their target carefully, for it was an attack on all that Jinnah symbolised and stood for, including and especially Pakistan’s oneness. As Sharif Al Mujahid, an authority on the Quaid-i-Azam said, “This represents a dastardly attack on our nation’s heritage, like Wazir Mansion, the Flagstaff House and above all the mausoleum – all of which symbolise the birth of the Pakistani nation and the resplendent rise of Pakistan”.

For the new government, the sacrilege at Ziarat should be more than water off its back. They should rebuild the Residency and the museum, seek out the criminals and bring them to justice. This is the Pakistani people’s unanimous demand.

The writer is a staff member

Comments (47) Closed

BH Jun 16, 2013 07:13pm

SInce Zia'a days, there is nothing left in Pakistan that symbolizes Jinnah's secular Pakistan or his ideology. Priceless Idols and rare artifacts, older than Pakistan or Jinnah's ideology are being looted and sold to outsides. Non islamic monuments are either completely destroyed or in dilapidated state. So why care about one of his houses being burnt when the whole pakistan is bent upon covering it into a theological islamic state?

Vijay Jun 16, 2013 08:28pm

For once, it would seem that India has shown that it never accepted the separation of Pakistan from India, by destroying something associated with Jinnah. I bet it was Indian infiltrators who did this job.

Asim Iqbal Jun 16, 2013 08:53pm

The attack on Quaid's residence shows Baloch people's frustration for being neglected of their rights. Beside condemning this attack we as a nation must also address their grievances.

Seemab Roy Jun 16, 2013 09:07pm

Sorry Quaid..............we fail to protect your country...........that was also your house..............

feo Jun 16, 2013 10:40pm

Of course the killing of innocent girls hasn't affected us as much.

amir Jun 16, 2013 11:15pm

the only man who could deal with these insurgents was musharaf . there is no reason of bringing these terrorists to negotiating table

Zabar Jun 16, 2013 11:45pm

It seems pakistan is falling in the HAnds of terrorists day by day. The government and the military should act shiftly. Also, over population is the main eason for chidlren not getting proper education and hence joining madrasas and getting religious eductaion. Family plannimng should be strictly implemented.

bulx Jun 17, 2013 04:21am

you can hate your leaders, but not your country.

Adil Jadoon Jun 17, 2013 06:10am

Shame on those responsible but give nthe fact hey have been murdering innocent civillians for years what else can one expect from them.

Nadeem Jun 17, 2013 07:14am

Its a shame as a nation what we did to our founders home,,,,, SHAME SHAME

Syed Ahmed Jun 17, 2013 08:44am

People who destroyed the historical building in Ziarat have proved that they are inhumane . They are worst than animals.

Syed Ahmed Jun 17, 2013 08:46am

People who destroyed the historical building in Ziarat have proved that they are inhumane . They are worst than animals.

Umair Jun 17, 2013 12:05pm

Cruel tactics by so called 'independent' media. No one is calling for action against BLA/ BLF. everyone is asking not to launch operation against BLA/ BLF. Had this been performed by TTP, whole media universe would have unanimously called for the strictest action.

Mirza Hammad Baig Jun 17, 2013 12:43pm

So sad to see no comments on this article. I felt rage uncontrollable and primal after a long time. It's triggered by the arson but fueled by the self indulgence and the deplorable condition of us as a nation. If Altaf Bhai, Bibi or Mr. Sharif were insulted, people should be killed and all their party hardliners become foaming at the mouth beasts out for blood, with total disregard to whose. But here there is nothing............. we have turned just into that nothing.

Syed Hussain Akbari Jun 17, 2013 01:34pm

To catch the criminals and bring them to justice. Nothing will happen except continuous dates of next hearings and finally the criminals will be released giving the usual lame argument that there were no reliable witnesses. Such criminals when caught ( specially when they announce their responsibility of carrying out the crime) should be shot down immediately. A fully equipped authority with most reliable and patriotic persons having the authority of shooting at site needs to be made to deal with all such criminals. Such authority should be free from all political and bureaucratic influence. It is no doubt tricky but so many developing and developed countries have done this with success. Of course in the beginning some non guilty persons will also be effected; but to do a great right do a little wrong. The proposed authority may also deal with the general crimes faced by the common man. Our present police is useless and completely helpless as they are very poorly equipped and are strongly under political influence. May God protect Pakistan from all agonies and traitors! May God bless the soul of its founder Quaid e Azam !

Guest63 Jun 17, 2013 01:45pm

Two steps taken by the Never forgiving nation , That is how , we the pures of the land Pay tributes to the Maseeha like leaders .

  • A Quarter centuray after the Creation of his beloved country called Pakistan , we reduced it less than half by defying to the very principle of democratic norms of his life long struggle to help give us that piece of land and are still Proud and consider ourselves indebted to the Leader .!

  • If that was not enough , We have Destroyed now , his very own personal belongings and his last living space ,,, Yet We are proud Pakistanis !

shahzad Jun 17, 2013 03:29pm

Ziarat residency acted as the Baloch symbol in the federation of Pakistan...Baloch separatists purposefully destroyed it to propagate their cause....
I fear for the things ahead.....

shahzad Jun 17, 2013 03:30pm

@amir: The very man who caused the Balochistan problem.....

Nadeem Jun 17, 2013 04:35pm

Burning down this historic landmark sends an open message to the Federal Govt. that the Baluchi's want to part ways with Pakistan. The one province which sustained the country with its natural resources yet remained poor with no signs of economic development is now at a cross roads. When does one learn from history? With East Pakistan not too far in the rear view mirror, what have we learnt as a nation?

Nadeem Jun 17, 2013 04:33pm

@Vijay: Thanks for trolling ; )

slim Jun 17, 2013 04:41pm

Hang all the BLA terrorists by doing this heinous crime they have crossed all limits. If they want to talk in language of guns and bullets then so be it.

Ahmed Jun 17, 2013 08:01pm

The attack must be done by the Indian Agents

debater Jun 17, 2013 08:04pm

We need to learn from history. Even though the English killed Tipu Sultan they still have all his possession treasured in the Museum with praises for his gallant fight. In west they treasure magnanimous enemy and we on other hand not only bomb history but proudly kill our existence.

M Jun 17, 2013 08:34pm

@Syed Ahmed: I'm not sure why people use the phrase "worse than animals" to express their distaste for terrible things. I do not know of any animal (other than humans and especially Pakistanis) who would do or allow such acts. Perhaps "worse than humans" or "worse than Pakistanis" would be a better expression.

DrBashir Jun 17, 2013 09:35pm

@slim: It is justified for us to be angry. But we must control our reaction and show a response after careful consideration. A very clear example of such hasty action (by US) is evident in our next door neighbor.

Sometimes one needs to swallow anger for a better future. We're on the right track (after the 18th amendment), just need to control and stop security forces abuses and be patient.

We will rebuild the residency AND bring our Baluch brothers and sisters back in the fold of the nation with justice and peace for all. Hang in there.

Khawaja Jun 17, 2013 09:39pm

When the Taliban destroyed Afghan heritage, Budah's Statues. I was very angry and now that these terrorists are destroying Jinah's house I am once again very angry. I strongly believe that we have to get united and defeat terrorists who are against humanity and civilization. As far as Taliban do exist on the border of Afghanistan/Pakistan our people will not be safe. For the Taliban every human being is a target.

Khalid Jun 17, 2013 09:47pm

" A totally despicable act" By this very action those who committed this "crime against" the patriots of Pakistan, who are " Christians, Hindus, Sikhs,Parsees, Shia, Sunni,Ahmedi's and belong to other sects, are all "Pakistani first" then anything else. They reside in Pakistan and are " more of human beings that you'll ever be. The most "basic " problem with these "criminal" is " severe lack of education and a total disregard for their actions.

Indian Jun 17, 2013 10:40pm

Unfortunate but true Pakistan is with war with itself.Everyone is fighting the other.

Ahmer Jun 17, 2013 11:37pm

"They should rebuild the Residency and the museum, seek out the criminals and bring them to justice."

The place of Qaid-e-Azam is in the heart of his countrymen, not in a cement and wood structure at a place where the local population does not appear too eager to defend it to say the least.

The option of seeking out the criminals has been tried multiple times in that province since the creation of Pakistan including its current variation where young men just disappear into thin air without a trace till they they reappear mysteriously as mutilated bodies at secluded spots. Such tactics had not worked in East Pakistan and I doubt if they will work in Balochistan.

Guest Jun 18, 2013 01:12am

Shame on us as a NATION for both tragedies covering the Ziarat destruction and killing of innocent girls. The so called "extremist", who think are the guradian of our religon and nation must be very proud of their actions. I wonder which voda or wine or maybe cheap beer they must be drinking to celebrate this.

Ali Jun 18, 2013 01:30am

Hear Hear. Bring the attackers to justice. Use this to wipe out the insurgency.

Jay Shah Jun 18, 2013 02:16am

@Jay: I 2nd slim. Talks with Politian and Guns with Terrorist.

Akil AKhtar Jun 18, 2013 04:19am

@Nadeem : No! Not the Baluchis as they have just voted for a new govt in the democratic system, it is just a few sardars who are dancing to foriegn tunes and their handful of trained militants hiding in Afghanistan. Other nations such as India like to play down such activities but on the other hand we like to exaggerate them as if we harbour some grudge against Pakistan.

Akil AKhtar Jun 18, 2013 04:24am

@Guest63: Stop saying we, it was a few terrorist not the Pakistani nation. We should be different to the enemies who like to blame all Pakistanis for the act of a few dozen.

Ali Jun 18, 2013 04:37am

This was a national monument associated with our great "liberal" Quaid (the only one in Balochistan) which was destroyed. What is next Mazar-e-Quaid or Minar-e-Pakistan?

Irfan Kazim Jun 18, 2013 06:27am

@Nadeem :

300-400 BLA militants don't speak for Baluchistan, if you want to be hijacked by them, be my guest!

shah jamal Jun 18, 2013 07:21am

@Nadeem :Balouch r no more in majority in most of the province so if they want some independent estate for them self than they r better of moving to Iranian side of balouch province

Yawar Jun 18, 2013 07:36am

The best form of revenge is to do something constructive. Germany and Japan took revenge from the allied forces by becoming economic powerhouses. Unfortunately, for many Pakistanis, taking revenge and venting anger always takes the form of extreme destruction and havoc.

Siddiqui Jun 18, 2013 07:38am

Why this symbol of great importance was left unguarded?

Mustafa Jun 18, 2013 11:57am

It should be throughly investigated and permanent security at vital state bulidings and public property should be ensured to create peace..beware of troublemakers and trouble promoters!

Zahid Hussain Jun 18, 2013 02:13pm

@Nadeem : what do you mean by (Baluchi's want to part ways with Pakistan).Pls dont atrribute this criminal act to All balochi's.Terrorists remained on the fringes while the majority of Baloch nation displayed more rationality and never demanded separation.Pls think before comenting.

Pak Patriot Jun 17, 2013 11:35am
One should ask the govt of Pak to produce stats on terror related incidents in the country. Number of incidents, number of individuals apprehended and charged. Most importantly, number of individuals convicted. You will then know how committed the govt is. Lastly Pakistanis, to protect their "quality of life ", may want to adopt street justice.
Ahsan Jun 16, 2013 09:49am
Impose curfew in entire Pakistan and start the Major CLEAN UP OPERATON !! is it that difficult ?
MOHAMMAD Jun 16, 2013 11:09am
sherafgan Jun 16, 2013 11:19am
drone attacks is the only recommended option.
MOHAMMAD Jun 16, 2013 11:34am
GOVT should rebuild the Residency and the museum. They seek out the criminals and bring them to book. This is the Pakistani people
ayesha Jun 16, 2013 12:42pm
if they have the will they can even do it without curfew..