Ziarat is a sleepy little beautiful town near Quetta. I was lucky to visit the town and the landmark it is known for, the Ziarat Residency (also known as the Quaid-e-azam Residency), in 1997. This landmark, a national monument, is dear to the heart of every Pakistani. The Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, spent the last days of his life at the residency and forever immortalized the significance of this building. Today I’m convinced that my love for the Quaid runs deeper than I give myself credit for, since I’m willing to share the pictures from my awkward teenage days.
Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a man of integrity, political brilliance and a unique style of his own. I have always felt in awe of his personality. His fashion sense was always on point as were his words of wisdom.
The Ziarat Residency was built in 1892 during the British Raj and used by Mr. Jinnah in his last days in 1948. In 2013 the Residency was the target of a tragic terrorist attack. The sight of the exterior burning seared through the soul of every Pakistani. Thankfully the Residency has since been restored and I would love to visit it again on a trip to Pakistan. Not just for the historical significance but to have some pictures at the site on a better hair day.
It was the summer of 1997 and one of the last couple of summers all of us siblings lived under the same roof, before college, marriage and life took us all away from the nest. Balochistan was a beautiful location for a memorable family vacation. I still remember the beautiful landscape of a land that was untouched and lovely. The Quetta Serena built in the style of a typical Balochi mud house was pretty memorable too. The drive to Ziarat was a must on the list, to experience the national heritage site of the Ziarat Residency.
We stayed overnight in Ziarat and I remember listening to drums playing in the distance late into the night. When we arrived at the Ziarat Residency it was strange standing in front of a monument I had seen in pictures all my life (and quite memorably on those precious Rs 100 currency notes).
The residency was surrounded by beautiful grounds and the most amazing Juniper trees. It was just as classy as I would have imagined any place associated with the Quaid. We got a tour by the guide/guard who claimed to be the grandson of the guard serving the Quaid in 1948. He had interesting tales and some intriguing conspiracy theories.
The experience of seeing artifacts that had been in the use of the stylish Mr. Jinnah was quite memorable. There was the dinner set he used, the dining table he ate dinner at with his sister Fatima Jinnah, many of his letters, his writing desk, his bed and some amazing pictures.
We posed at the veranda that opened out from Mr. Jinnah’s bedroom on the second floor and took in the views he would have enjoyed.
We tried to copy Ms. Jinnah, Mr. Jinnah and Deena in that famous picture of the three.
And I got to touch the desk that Mr. Jinnah had used.
It was truly a priceless experience. Now I just hope my siblings don’t make me pay the price for sharing these pictures from our rather awkward style days.
Have you visited the Residency ? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
+ Read More: 17 Things to do Before You Travel to Visit Pakistan