Terrorist attacks kill 12 in Pakistan | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 15.06.2013
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Terrorist attacks kill 12 in Pakistan

Militants have destroyed a historic building in southwest Pakistan. Also in the Baluchistan province, several university students were killed and more than a dozen wounded when their bus was bombed.

Armed with automatic weapons, the attackers killed a guard before entering the 19th-century wooden Ziarat Residency after midnight on Saturday and planting several bombs.

Police official Asghar Ali told the news agency AFP that the attackers then detonated the bombs by remote control and the ensuing fire took five hours to put out as the town of Ziarat has no fire brigade.

"The Ziarat Residency - which had its balcony, floor and front made of wood - has been totally gutted," Ali said.

Officials had yet to make any arrests by Saturday afternoon. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has promised to bring to justice those responsible.

'Colossal destruction'

Built in 1892, the two-story structure 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta, had once accommodated officials from India's British colonial rule.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan, spent his last days in the building. The Ziarat Residency was declared a national monument following Jinnah's death, one year after Pakistan's independence in 1947. Officials said the fire also destroyed the furniture used by Jinnah and kept at the residence as national heritage since his death in September 1948.

Provincial Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob told reporters that the "people involved in the colossal destruction of our national monument will not be spared."

"The government has ordered immediate steps to rebuild the Ziarat Residency in its original form," Yaqoob said. "It was an undisputed structure," he added. "It had never received any threat in the past. Local people had special love for this site because it had been attracting local and foreign tourists."

On Saturday afternoon, a bomb planted on a university bus in the province killed 11 women. Seventeen others were wounded in the ensuing blaze.

"The dead were all women students," Zubair Mahmood, chief of the city police, told the news agency AFP. "We are investigating if it was a remote-controlled bomb," he added.

mkg/slk (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)