A statue of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been destroyed in a bomb attack by the Baloch militants disguised as tourists in the coastal city of Gwadar in the troubled Balochistan province.
The statue, which was installed in June at Marine Drive - considered a safe zone - was blown up by explosives placed beneath the statue on Sunday morning, Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.
The statue was completely destroyed in the blast, it added.
Babgar Baloch, a spokesman for the banned militant organisation Baloch Republican Army, claimed responsibility for the blast on Twitter, BBC Urdu reported.
The matter was being investigated at the highest level, Gwadar Deputy Commissioner Major (retd) Abdul Kabir Khan was quoted as saying by the BBC Urdu.
He said that the militants who destroyed Jinnah's statue by planting explosives entered the area as tourists.
According to him, no arrest has been made so far but the investigation will be completed in a day or two. "We are looking into the matter from all angles and the culprits will be caught soon," he said.
"The demolition of Quaid-e-Azam's statue in #Gwadar is an attack on Ideology of Pakistan. I request authorities to punish the perpetrators in the same way as we did with those behind the attack on Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat," Balochistan's former Home Minister and current Senator Sarfraz Bugti tweeted.
In 2013, Baloch militants blasted a 121-year-old building used by Jinnah at Ziarat and raked it with gunfire, triggering a fire that blazed for four hours, destroying furniture and memorabilia. Jinnah spent the last days of his life there as he suffered from tuberculosis. It was later declared a national monument.
Born on December 25th, 1876, Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's creation on August 14, 1947. He then served as Pakistan's first governor-general until his death in 1948.
Balochistan has been witnessing a spate of low-level violence for years.
Baloch militants consider the elite of majority Punjab province exploiting the mineral resources of Balochistan.
Nationalists blame Punjabi dominated security forces of Pakistan as responsible for highhandedness in the southwestern province, an allegation denied by the armed forces and federal government.
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