The Ziarat district was established in 1986 by upgrading the Ziarat sub-Tehsil of Sibi district, to the present level. It is one of the four districts of the Sibi division; the other three are: Sibi, Kohlu and Dera Bugti. Population-wise, it is the smallest district of Sibi Division.
The district derives its name from Ziarat (shrine) of Baba Kharwari, a highly esteemed saint of the area who lived here in the early eighteenth century. The shrine is located about nine km south of Ziarat town.
Ziarat district is bordered on the north by the districts of Pishin, Loralai and Killa Saifullah, on the south by Sibi district, on the east by Loralai, and to the west by Pishin and Sibi district.
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.
Important places / buildings
The entire area in the upper parts of Ziarat district is worth visiting for its natural beauty, its enchanting juniper forests, mountain peaks, the lush green valleys, springs and streams. The popular sights are Ziarat town and surroundings the Qaid’s Residency, the shrine of Baba Kharwari, Zizri valley, Prospect point, Mana valley, Sandeman Tangi, Karvi Kach and Khilafat peak. These are briefly described below.
Ziarat is the holiday resort of the province and no visit to Quetta is complete without a trip to Ziarat. The district is famous for its ancient and magnificent juniper forest which spreads over 126,000 acres, and is the second largest in the world. Some of the trees are almost 4,000 years old.
The most famous landmark is, of course, the Residency. It was here that the Father of the nation spent his last days. The building, constructed in 1892, was originally meant to serve as a sanatorium but was later converted into the summer residence of the Agent to the Governor General (AGG). It has now been declared a national monument.
Shrine of Baba Kharwari
The shrine (Ziarat) of Baba Kharwari (whose real name was Mula Tahir) is one of the most well known places in the district. Baba Kharwari rendered great services to the cause of Islam in the early 18th century. His shrine is situated about 9 km from the town and a large number of people who visit Ziarat go to the Mazar to offer Fateha.
Zizri valley, situated on the southern edge of the district, possesses a breathtaking beauty. The road leading to the valley is kacha, rough, and tractable mainly by four wheel drive vehicles.
Six km from the town, this place offers a spectacular view of the Koshki valley. There is a local government resthouse on this spot and a wide open space for picnic/camping.
This lush green valley with its apple orchards and scintillating blue lake is a popular tourist site.
Within easy reach of the town, this narrow gorge between lofty mountains culminates in a perennial spring. This is another major tourist attraction.
This is the second highest peak in the province – 3,488 m high. For climbers it presents a real challenge.
The district is blessed with an overall natural beauty. There are many more places of interest than those mentioned above. In the summer season, thousands of tourists visit the area.