QUETTA - Ghosia Aalia shrine was partially damaged in a fire lit by some unknown persons in Machh area of Balochistan, officials said Friday.

According to police, two rooms were completely damaged in the incident while all religious books turned into ashes.

The shrine, located about 50 km in the southeast of Quetta, was built in 1984 in the memory of Pir Tahirul Ghani-al-Baghdadi, who had migrated from Baghdad. Police conducted raids on several places to arrest the culprits; however, no arrest was made so far.

The custodian of the shrine said the armed men thrashed a person Din Muhammad on his resistance to stop them from burning the shrine. The followers of Pir Tahir reached the shrine after receiving information of the incident and managed to extinguish the fire and saved the shrine from complete destruction. The Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan condemned the incident and staged protests in Machh and Quetta.

Meanwhile, militants blew up a 16-inch gas pipeline in Dera Bugti district on Friday morning. Security officials said that militants had planted improvised explosive materials close to the pipeline.

Security officials said that the explosive went off with a loud bang, blowing up the 16-inch gas pipeline that was pumping gas from Wells 1, 16 and 17 to the plant.  

Police and Frontier Corps personnel reached the area to start an investigation into the incident and provide security to team sent for the repair of the pipeline.