Balochistan

The province of Balochistan lies to the southwest of Pakistan with the largest area of 347,190 square kilometres.

Beach Mountains, Kund Malir, Balochistan
Beach Mountains, Kund Malir, Balochistan

Iran hedges it in the west. Afghanistan borders it to the northwest. Provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are its neighbour in its east and northeast respectively. Balochistan finds Sindh in its southeast. The Arabian Sea hedges it in the south. Sharp mountains and stony deserts feature its geography.

Winter in Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan
Winter in Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan

Its capital is Quetta, a border city. Baloch, Pashtun, and Afghan refugees make up its local population. This town has its character, which is quite different from the rest of the country. It is because; it is an isolated place. Ziarat and Chiltan National Park are worth mentioning tourist attractions of this province. At the same time, it houses the hottest city of Pakistan, Sibi.

Fishing Boat at Beach, Balochistan
Fishing Boat at Beach, Balochistan

This province had been a home to the human population since the Stone Age. Cultivation of barley, wheat and dates were a norm in 6,000 BC here. It was trading with Babylon via Iran before the start of AD period. Alexander made it part of his empire after pillaging it. The 8th century introduced Islam to this region. It became a home to Baloch tribes only after 14th century AD. Sardar Mir Chakkar Rind United Baloch tribes and even ruled the parts of Afghanistan, Sindh, and Punjab in the 15th century. Union Jack started fluttering in Balochistan by the 19th century. After the partition of 1947, it eventually became a part of Pakistan. Balochistan had the status of a province by 1970.

Aerial View Gwadar, Balochistan
Aerial View Gwadar, Balochistan

Despite its large area, it is sparsely inhabited. Some natural resources are buried in it. These are yet to be utilized. When compared with other provinces, it appears the poorest. However, access to the Arabian Sea and Afghanistan gives it a lot of strategic importance.

Balochis along with Pashtuns or Pathans make up the two most dominant ethnicities of Balochistan of today. Sindhis are also a prominent part of the province’s population. This province speaks more than one language. These are Balochi, Brahui, Pashto, and Sindhi.

West Bay, Gwadar Beach, Balochistan
West Bay, Gwadar Beach, Balochistan

From topography point of view, Balochistan can be split into four principal regions. Two mountain ranges demarcate upper highlands of the northeastern and central Balochistan. Suleiman and Toba Kakar Ranges bind these two areas to east and northwest. The eastern foothills of the Suleiman range constitute the lower highlands. Chagai, Kharan, and Makran ranges binds these two regions in the west. Kirthar and Pab range guard the areas above in the southeast. Nomad herdsmen live in these highlands. The Indus River drains the upper highlands while the Arabia Sea does the lower highlands. The arid desert area lies to the northwest of Balochistan. It is made up of Makran, Chagai and Kharan deserts. The swamps of Mashkel and Lora are also a part of this desert region. The flat areas are located along with the coast to the north.

These areas are inaccessible for Monsoon. Extreme summers and winter feature the climate. This province has an agrarian economy, but it is not well developed due to the inadequate water. However, the valley of Quetta is regarded the fruit basket of Pakistan. Wheat, rice, and fruits enjoy the status of cash crops. Sheep raising is the profession of the majority of the populace. The industry is also present, yet on a quite limited scale.

The average rainfall varies from two to 20 inches, depending on the area. Turban is part and parcel of the male dress code. Similarly, the big scarf is an essential component of the women’s dresses. Their shirt bear embroidery featuring small pieces of glasses. Buzkashi is the sport of wealthy tribesmen here.