Quetta – The Quaid-e-Azam Residency – also known as Ziarat Residency – is one of the most widely visited national monuments in Pakistan. It is this residency of Ziaratwherein the ‘Founder of Nation’ Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah retreated from Karachi in June 1948, and spent the last 70 days of his life in the valley of Ziarat . Muhammad Ali Jinnah rushed to the beautiful valley of centuries-old Juniper forests for his recreation when doctors advised him to rest on account of his shrinking health. During this two-month and ten days period in Ziarat , Jinnah did not remain sedentary and continued executing official responsibilities as the first year of the independence was busiest and most anxious.
Historically, the wooden edifice of the residency was constructed by the colonial British rulers in 1862; which is spread over 8000 square feet. The British rulers erected such buildings for the officers’ stay after having been fettered the native people under British subjugation. Initially, the woody architecture of the residency in Ziarat was aimed at to be an infirmary before it was adapted as a summer residence for the Agent of the Governor General. But later on, after the inception of Pakistan, the residency has been declared a national monument and heritage site attaching a great architectural importance with.
Senior Supervisor, Department of Archaeology and Museum, of Quaid-e-Azam Residency Amanullah told The Nation that there was no security prior to militants attack. “We requested Deputy Commissioner and SHO of police many times from 2007 to 2013, but security was not provided,” he said. Nevertheless, up to 50 or 60 security personnel of Frontier Corps and policemen are now jointly guarding the residency who are commanded by high rank Frontier Corps Sobadar Noor Bhatt and Inspector Police Faisal.
No CCTV camera has been installed at Quaid Residency . However, security scanners are operating.
“There is no permission to take photos inside premises of Residency; however, visitors violate rules and make pictures,” Amanullah said. He said residence is allowed in the vicinity of the Residency . DIG Police House is in its North, Chief Minister House is in south side, some farmhouses in the west and an Army House is on east side.
Ahmed Jan Sarengzai, a visitor whom the scribe met at the Residency , said the place needs more attention as it is part of our national heritage.
“Prior to miscreants’ attacks, security arrangements were next to nothing; nevertheless, post-attack security measures of the Residency have been beefed up with all roads leading to it are being monitored by Frontier Corps and police jointly.
“The district Ziarat has never received a package of uplift schemes to make it a ‘Quaid City’. Tourists from Punjab and Sindh have dropped to lowest level after the attack. There has been decline of local business,” he said.
Changez Khan Kakar, another visitor said Quaid preferred to spend his last days in this valley of juniper forests. “This national heritage has never been paid due attention as compare to other historical sites of the country.
“Why Quaid’s city lacks recreational parks, advanced facilities and Cadet College. People live in poverty, do not have basic facilities like health care centre,” Changez lamented.
The nearly 200 kilometres long bow-shape valley of Ziarat lies some 130 km north off the Balochistan’s capital Quetta and is fenced with Juniper (Sanober) forests adding natural splendour of the valley to unfathomable proportion. The Ziarat town locating at altitude of around 2,400 meters is headquarters of the sub-division and has two tehsils Ziarat and Sinjavi; which was established in July, 1986. The Khalifat Hills are the highest peak with height of 3.475 m (11.400 feet) of Ziarat .
Tourists arriving Balochistan pay special visits to Ziarat for Quaid-e-Residency and their visiting period often lasts for hardly three months period, stretches from June to August, when the weather turns pleasant but coldest as compare to rest parts of the Balochistan. Ziarat receives high snowfall in winter season and awaiting juniper trees shrouded with snowfall white sheet let the onlookers’ deaf-mute in winter season and attracts large number of tourists to catch the scene.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a true multi-faceted personality: a distinguished legal achiever, parliamentarian, freedom fighter, courageous Muslim leader and of course, the founder of our great Nation. What many people are not acquainted with is that he was also an immaculate dresser; a fan of classy suits and kurtas.