Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat also known as Ziarat Residency, is located in Ziarat, Balochistan, Pakistan. It is where Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent the last two months and ten days of his life. It is the most famous landmark of the city, constructed in 1892 during the British Raj. The building is a wooden structure, originally designed as a sanatorium before being converted into the summer residence of the agent of the Governor General. It is declared a national monument and heritage site and is of great architectural importance.
The history of Ziarat during the British colonial administration is the same as that of the Sibi district of which it was a part until 1986. The area came under British colonial influence by the middle of the last century, and was made a part of British India in 1887 like the rest of the old Sibi district. Two years earlier, in 1885, the British Government had acquired land for construction of a civil station (at the present Ziarat town), on payment of Rs.1,400,000 to the Saidzai sub section of the Sarangzai tribe. Before the creation of Sibi district (in 1903), Ziarat used to be the summer headquarters of Thal and Chutiali District (Duki Sajavi Sub Division). Later when the Sibi District was created in 1903, it became Sibi District’s summer headquarters. It formed a part of Shahrigh Tehsil of Sibi District till 1974 when it was given the status of a sub-Tehsil.
Before Independence, the camp offices of the Agent to the Governor General in Baluchistan; the Revenue Commissioner, Baluchistan; the Civil Surgeon, Baluchistan; the Political Agent and the Colonisation officer, Nasirabad, used to shift to Ziarat during the summer. Following the creation of Sibi Division in 1974, the divisional offices shifted to Ziarat during the summer.
The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, spent his last days at Ziarat Residency which is now a National Monument. The local people believe that the Quaid-e-Azam had in fact breathed his last here in Ziarat, contrary to the official reports that he expired in Karachi on 11 September, 1948, the day he was shifted there from Ziarat. The residency building is a majestic piece of architecture, but people visit it primarily for its association with the Quaid-e-Azam.
A visit to Quetta is incomplete without a trip to Ziarat. Situated 76 miles (3 hours by car) from Quetta, at an altitude of 8400 feet above sea level, Ziarat is a holiday resort amidst one of the largest and oldest Juniper forests in the world. It is said that some of the Juniper trees are as old as 5000 years. The name Ziarat means ‘Shrine’ a local saint, Kharwari Baba, is belived to have rested in the valley and blessed it. After his death he was buried here. People frequently visit the saint’s shrine, which is 10 km by jeep from Ziarat.
Extensive research is being done in the forest nurseries to replace the juniper forest with fast growing trees as the regeneration of the juniper is very slow.
The magic of Ziarat lies in its honey-flowers which attain a large size here, its lush green grass and cool weather even in the hottest months of summer. ‘Shinshoab’ a lavendar-like wild bush, looks lovely in twilights. There are many interesting spots to visit around Ziarat. At first, the Quaid-e-Azam residency which was built in 1882, is a terrific place to visit which still reminds one of the times when the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent the last days of his life. A walk to Chashma is favourite amongst joggers and those who wish to have a pleasant walk. Situated 6 km from Ziarat the ‘Prospect Point’ offers breathtaking view of the valley.
Hundreds of hectares in and around Ziarat are utilized for apple orchards. Apple grown in the orchards, particularly the black and red kulu variety, are simply delicious. A fair amount of black cherry is also grown in Ziarat. The cherry season lasts from the 1st to 15th of June. Tourist season is all year round, particularly form May to October. Ziarat remains quite cool during hot summer and receives enough snowfall during winters. Light woolen clothing for summer and heavy for winters, are recommended. All in all Ziarat offers a nice cool vacation spot for travelers of all ages.