Islamabad: Militants on Saturday attacked a historic 121-year-old building in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, where the nation’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah used to reside. The incident left a policeman dead and caused extensive damage to the structure.
    
The militants targeted Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Ziarat - a holiday resort located around 120 km away from the provincial capital of Quetta, at 1:15 am.
    
The militants reportedly planted and set off four bombs and then opened fire. The explosions and gunfire triggered a huge blaze, which took four hours to douse.
    
A policeman was killed in the shooting, police officials said. The wooden parts of the building, furniture and memorabilia associated with Jinnah got destroyed in the incident.
    
Television footage showed building’s roof has collapsed and only the structure constructed of bricks is still intact.
    
District police chief Asghar Ali said, a bomb disposal squad detected and eventually defused six more bombs, each containing around three kilograms of explosives.
    
He said it took longer than expected for the fire to be controlled as there are no fire tenders in Ziarat. A fire tender, sent from Quetta was pressed into service to extinguish the blaze.
    
Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation though they have been unable to trace the attackers yet.
    
The Residency, built in 1892, was originally used as the summer residence of the Agent of British Governor General.
    
Jinnah spent the last days of his life in the building while suffering from tuberculosis and the structure was later declared a national monument.

(Agencies)

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