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Baloch Separatists Bomb Historic Residence of Pakistan's Founder

A series of bombs planted by militant nationalists in southwestern Pakistan have destroyed the 19th-century residence of the country's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Jinnah's historic home in Ziarat, Balochistan, where he spent the last days of his life with his sister Fatima Jinnah in 1948 a year after he led Pakistan to independence, was reduced to ashes on June 15, 2013 after bombs ignited the wooden building. It was serving as a museum with Jinnah's belongings on display and was one of the popular tourist sites in Balochistan.

Separatist group Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has taken responsibility.

Pakistan's newly elected parliament condemned the attack. It also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the acts of terrorism in Balochistan, while the government announced the plan to restore Jinnah's residence.

Funkor Childart Center participated in the Children's Literature festival in Quetta. in 2012 and painted the Ziarat Residency of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Funkor Childart Center participated in the Children's Literature festival in Quetta in 2012 and painted the Ziarat Residene of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Used with permission.

Jinnah was the first Governor-General of Pakistan after its independence from British India in 1947 and served in the position for a year before he died. His home was iconic, featuring on the country's 100-rupee note.

Reaction on social media to the attack on his home was strong.

Jamaluddin wrote on his blog in a piece called Jinnah’s burnt Ziarat residency: A piece of Pakistan died today:

June 15, 2013 will be remembered forever. Today, the beautiful building that adorns our hundred rupee notes was burnt and destroyed by militants who flung hand grenades at Jinnah’s residency in Ziarat. All the historical photographs and furniture was destroyed. As always, the militants who committed this despicable act of senseless violence escaped unhurt.

Blogger and columnist Yusra Askari (@YusraSAskari) wrote on Twitter:

@YusraSAskari: Apologies, Mr. Jinnah, we can do no else but hang our head in shame. #Ziarat

Adil Najam (@AdilNajam), blogger and the Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences slammed the bombings:

@AdilNajam: Dastardly. Cowardly. Pathetic. Jinnah Residency in Ziarat attacked. This is attack on an idea. The idea of all of us. The idea of Pakistan.

Freedom fighter and Pashto translator Azad Pashtun (@AzadPashtun) wrote:

@AzadPashtun: Picture of Jinnah's Ziarat residence on the 100 Kaldaar will need updating. pic.twitter.com/YFNl2EIPHs

Journalist & columnist Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) aka NFP, the author of Smoker's Corner, tweeted:

@NadeemfParacha: Maybe BLA fools blew up Jinnah's residency because they feel the state & government are not giving them as much respect as they do to TTP?

Balochistan is Pakistan's biggest but least developed province. It is witnessing the fifth separatist uprising since 1947 and according to The Economist, “this insurgency is stronger than the previous ones.” The attack on the residency shocked many in Pakistan, but not all in Balochistan.

Baloch Hal, Pakistan's first online newspaper from Balochistan, suggested in its editorial “The end of Jinnah?” that the new Pakistani government shouldn't take any actions against Baloch in haste:

The government should instead build a new monument to commemorate the Baloch youths, political activists, journalists and professors who have lost their lives in the conflict. It is meaningless to live in the past and snub the present and the future. If the central government wants to politically address the conflict, it should make sure that the Residency attack is not taken as an opportunity to launch fresh operations in Balochistan or justify the kill and dump operations.

Baloch Hal is blocked in Pakistan. Malik Siraj Akbar, the editor in chief of Baloch Hal like many other Baloch intellectuals lives in the USA.

Pakistani-Canadian writer, broadcaster and a secular Muslim anti-Islamist activist Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) wrote:

@TarekFatah (Tarek Fatah): Baloch guerrillas fighting Pakistan occupation, bomb home of country's founder, MA Jinnah. Before-&-after picture. pic.twitter.com/TMF5oe6OYX

Exiled Pakistani journalist and editor-in-chief of The Baloch Hal Malik Siraj Akbar (@MalikSirajAkbar) noted possible hypocrisy in the reaction to the attack:

@MalikSirajAkbar (Malik Siraj Akbar): Jinnah's biggest portrait was smashed outside Ayub Stadium in Quetta in 2006: no reactions. The Residency wasn't even his house

Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih), Newsweek Pakistan's Editor and first Daniel Pearl Fellow, 2003 wrote:

@therealfasih (Fasih Ahmed): Taliban have killed children, attacked shrines, GHQ. Yet the attack on a house Jinnah stayed at for a few months is the real outrage? #Hello

 

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