Situated in the lovely hill station of Ziarat in Balochistan is a beautiful building where the founder of Pakistan spent his last days of life. The building was declared a national monument in 1975 and it has appeared on the reverse side of the Rs.100 note used in Pakistan since 2006. It is the most famous landmark of the city, constructed in 1862 during the British colonial rule. It was initially built to be used as a sanatorium due to its clean and unpolluted air but then it became the residence of the Agent to the British Governor General based in Balochistan.
The Quaid suffered from disease of the lungs and moved to Ziarat from the oppressing heat of the plains and stayed in this building for two months and ten days before moving back to the then capital of the country, Karachi, where he passed away soon after. The nearly 200 kilometres long bow-shape valley of Ziarat lies some 130 km north off Balochistan’s capital Quetta and is fenced with Juniper (Sanober) forests adding natural splendour of the valley to unfathomable proportion. The Ziarat town located at the altitude of around 2,400 meters is headquarters of the sub-division and has two tehsils Ziarat and Sinjavi. The Khalifat Hills are the highest peak with a height of 3,475 m (11,400 feet) of Ziarat.
The building is a wooden structure spread over 8,000 square feet and consists of bedrooms, a dining room and a lounge. It is a double story building surrounded by enchanting lawns and tall chinar trees. The furniture in the residency is preserved the same way when Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah used it. His clothes, three piece suits still hang as was during his lifetime.
The residency unfortunately became a target of militant extremists in 2013 damaging most wooden parts of the building but the concrete structure remained intact and no harm came to artifacts and photographs. Pakistan’s famous architect Nayyer Ali Dada was given the task to repair it which he did and the residency was re-opened for public view in 2014. TW