Portal:Balochistan, Pakistan

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Balochistan (Balochi, Urdu: بلوچستان‎, Brahui: Balocistán) is the largest province (by area) of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 census, Balochistan had a population of roughly 6.6 million.

Forming most of the Balochistan region, the province is neighbored by Iran to the west; Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the north; and Punjab and Sindh to the east. To the south lies the Arabian Sea. The main languages in the province are Balochi, Brahui, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu.The provincial capital is Quetta and Gwadar is the developing port city .Balochistan is rich in mineral resources; it is the second major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan. Forming the eastern portion of the Iranian Plateau, the area of Balochistan is the site of the earliest known farming settlements in the pre-Indus Valley Civilization era, the earliest of which was Mehrgarh dated at 6500 BCE. Balochistan, like Pakhtunkhwa to its north, was always an Iranic country. Known in history as the "seed of Zoroastrianism", Balochistan, then famous for its lakes, was one of the first places Zoroaster traveled south to, from Bactria in order to seek converts to his religion. And it was here that some of the first proselytes of his religion lived before its spread into western portions of the Iranian plateau. Balochistan in Pashto is known as 'Godar which was hellenized by the Greeks in to Gedrosia due to the fact that the Greeks derived the names of these Iranian lands from the Bactrian language.

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A relief map of Pakistan showing Mehrgarh.

Mehrgarh (Brahui: Mehrgaŕh, Urdu: مہرگڑھ), one of the most important Neolithic (7000 BCE to c. 2500 BCE) sites in archaeology, lies on what is now the "Kachi plain" of today's Balochistan, Pakistan. It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in South Asia.Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the present-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi. The site was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige, and was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986, and again from 1997 to 2000. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh—in the northeast corner of the 495-acre (2.00 km2) site—was a small farming village dated between 7000 BCE to 5500 BCE and the whole area covers a number of successive settlements. Archaeological material has been found in six mounds.

Early Mehrgarh residents lived in mud brick houses, stored their grain in granaries, fashioned tools with local copper ore, and lined their large basket containers with bitumen. They cultivated six-row barley, einkorn and emmer wheat, jujubes and dates, and herded sheep, goats and cattle. Residents of the later period (5500 BCE to 2600 BCE) put much effort into crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metal working. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BCE.

In April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal Nature that the oldest (and first early Neolithic) evidence in human history for the drilling of teeth in vivo (i.e. in a living person) was found in Mehrgarh.Mehrgarh is now seen as a precursor to the Indus Valley Civilization. "Discoveries at Mehrgarh changed the entire concept of the Indus civilization," according to Ahmad Hasan Dani, professor emeritus of archaeology at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, "There we have the whole sequence, right from the beginning of settled village life." (More...)

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Khanak-Chitrali Wooden palate.JPG
Credit: Rehmat Aziz Chitrali
The oldest wooden plate of Chitral, Pakistan

Selected biography

Mir Gul Khan Nasir.jpg

Mir Gul Khan Nasir (Urdu: میر گل خان نصیر‎) was a prominent Pakistani politician, poet, historian, and journalist from the province of Balochistan. Born on 14 May 1914 in Noshki, he was most active between 1935 to 1980 and is regarded as a leading cultural figure and national poet in Balochistan. His father’s name was Mir Habib Khan and he belonged to the Paindzai family of the Zagar Mengal sub branch of the Mengal tribe. Mir Gul Khan’s mother “Bibi Hooran” belonged to the Rakhshani branch of the Bolazai Badini. Mir Habib Khan had five sons and three daughters. Nasir was number seven among his eight siblings and was the fourth amongst his brothers (i.e.) Mir Samand Khan, Mir Lawang Khan, Mir Lal Bux, Mir Gul Khan and Col. Sultan Mohammad Khan. Mir Gul Khan Nasir studied until Fourth Grade in his village. For further studies he was sent to Quetta where he got admission in Government Sandeman High School. After passing his matriculation examination from this school, he went to Lahore in order to pursue a higher education in Islamia College Lahore. During his second year in Islamia College, a piece of coal went into Mir Gul Khan’s eye due to which he had to discontinue his education and return to Quetta.

Lahore, at that time, was the hub of knowledge and political and social activities. The political, cultural, social and literary movements in Lahore made quite an impression on Mir Gul Khan Nasir. When he returned to Quetta, Balochistan was split into several parts namely the Chief Commissioner's Province and the Balochistani princely states. The province of Balochistan was under direct British rule while the Balochistani States were indirectly controlled by the British through the Tribal Chiefs (sardars) and rulers, whom they had bought. (More...)

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Districts of Balochistan, Pakistan

Balochistan

Map Sr. No. District Headquarters Area (km²) Population (1998) Density (people/km²)
Balochistan Districts.svg
1 Awaran Awaran 29,510 118,173 4
2 Barkhan Barkhan 3,514 103,545 29
3 Bolan Dhadar 7,499 288,056 38
4 ChagaiNo figures available yet - Nushki was part of Chagai district Chagai 44,748 300,000 7
5 Dera Bugti Dera Bugti 10,160 181,310 18
6 Gwadar Gwadar 12,637 185,498 15
7 Harnai 4,096 140,000 19
8 Jafarabad Jafarabad 2,445 432,817 177
9 Jhal Magsi Jhal Magsi 3,615 109,941 30
10 Kalat Kalat 6,622 237,834 36
11 Kech (Turbat) Kech 22,539 413,204 18
12 Kharan Kharan 8958 132,500 4
13 Kohlu Kohlu 7,610 99,846 13
14 Khuzdar Khuzdar 35,380 417,466 12
15 Killa Abdullah Chaman 3,293 370,269 112
16 Killa Saifullah Killa Saifullah 6,831 193,553 28
17 Lasbela Bela 15,153 312,695 21
18 Loralai Loralai 9,830 295,555 30
19 Mastung Mastung 5,896 179,784 30
20 Musakhel Musa Khel Bazar 5,728 134,056 23
21 Nasirabad Nasirabad 3,387 245,894 73
22 Nushki Nushki 5,797 137,500 23
23 Panjgur Panjgur 16,891 234,051 14
24 Pishin Pishin 7,819 367,183 47
25 Quetta Quetta 2,653 744,802 281
26 Sherani Sherani
27 Sibi Sibi 7,796 180,398 23
28 Washuk Washuk 29,510 118,171 4.0
29 Zhob Zhob 20,297 275,142 14
30 Ziarat Ziarat 1,489 33,340 22

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Sajji Cooking in Balochistan Pakistan

Sajji is the traditional dish of Balochistan, Pakistan

Photo credit: Khalid Mahmood

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