Militants bomb Jinnah house

(Bangkok Post) – Militants destroyed a historic house associated with Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and shot dead a guard on Saturday.

Police said attackers on motorcycles planted bombs at the 19th century residence in the mountain resort town of Ziarat in Baluchistan province, a hotbed of ethnic nationalism.

Jinnah lived in the house before his death in 1948, a year after he led Pakistan to independence. He is also referred to as Quaid-e-Azam, which means “great leader.”

Three bombs exploded, triggering the blaze that destroyed the building, said enior police officer Asghar Ali Yousufzai.

The attackers also shot dead a police guard outside the residence, which had been turned into a museum about Jinnah.

Police found six unexploded explosive devices hours later after firefighters extinguished the fire, Yousufzai said.

Baluch nationalist groups in tghe area have been demanding greater rights and a share from gas and mineral revenues. The province has also been home to sectarian insurgent groups and Taliban militants.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and expressed his sorrow over the policeman’s death.

The wooden building was constructed in the late 19th century. Pakistan’s founder spent his last two months there, and the building was serving as a museum with Jinnah’s belongings and other historical artifacts on display

There had been no previous threat to the historical monument, the chief secretary of the province said on television.

“This tragedy happened which is a huge national loss,” said Babar Fateh Yaqoo. “The people of Ziarat are protesting over this incident.”

Ziarat is about 120 kilometres north of the provincial capital of Quetta.