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Militants DESTROY Jinnah's residence in Pakistan

June 15, 2013 20:02 IST

Militants from the restive province of Balochistan on Saturday attacked a historic 121-year-old building in southwestern Pakistan that was used by the country's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his last days.

The militants of the Balochistan Liberation Army targeted the Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Ziarat, a holiday resort located nearly 120 km from the provincial capital of Quetta, at 1.15 am.

They planted and set off five bombs and then opened fire. The explosions and gunfire triggered a blaze that was extinguished after four hours. A policeman was killed in the shooting, officials said.

In a report presented in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the Residency was attacked by nearly five militants who removed a Pakistani flag and raised the flag of the Balochistan Liberation Army in its place.

TV news channels also reported that the BLA had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The wooden parts of the building, furniture and memorabilia associated with Jinnah were destroyed by the blaze.

Footage on television showed that the roof of the building had collapsed and only its structure made of bricks was left intact.

District police chief Asghar Ali said a bomb disposal squad had defused six more bombs, each containing nearly three kg of explosives. Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation though they were unable to trace the attackers.

The Residency, built in 1892, was originally used as the summer residence of the Agent of the British Governor General.

Jinnah, who suffered from tuberculosis, spent the last days of his life in the building and the structure was later declared a national monument.

Rezaul H Laskar
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