Pakistan’s largest province Balochistan with an
area of 3,42,505 square kilometres is perhaps
also the most striking. Mostly desert with
rugged hills and rocky mountains, the province
also has fertile valleys having rich orchards
and prosperous farms growing apples, grapes,
peaches and apricots in abundance. Baluchistan
also has a fairly well-developed poultry and
Baluchis, as the people inhabiting this land are
called, are proud, robust and fiercely
independent. They harbour no domination and the
British who came here in the late nineteenth
century learned to respect and honour.
Balochistan is said to have a large reservoir of
mineral wealth. Coal and gas produced here are
used by the rest of hte country.
Given the promising mineral potential that this
province has, Balochistan despite its vast
deserts and present wilderness may well prove to
be a reserve bank for the future development of
Pakistan. Fishing is the principal occupation
and source of income for the coastal towns of
Gwadar, Turbat and Pasni all of which are
already well linked by frequent and scheduled
Quetta, the provincial Capital is the only city
having a fairly dominant urban population. Until
the British arrived in 1877, Quetta was little
more than a fort and a small training post. The
British army led by Sir Robert Sandman was
charged with the responsibility of keeping the
road link between the then India and Afghanistan
via Balochistan open. Equally important was the
responsibility to keep open the Bolan Pass
connecting Balochistan with Sind. The British
army, therefore, made Quetta a military centre
from where to operate against the Balochis
unwilling to accept foreign subjugation.
Quetta, is located 5,550 feet above sea level
enjoying a healthy climate. The temperature
drops a few degrees below the freezing point in
winter following a typical autumn when the
leaves turn golden and then a wild red.
Very few places can compete with Quetta valley
in having wide range of tasteful fruits,
exported to all parts of the country as well as
abroad. There you can find plums, peaches,
pomegranates, apricots, apples, olives,
different types of melon, water-melon, cherries,
pistachios, almonds and other dry fruits.
Saffron and tulip are also grown and cultivated
on a commercial scale. The fruits heaven is Urak,
called SAMARISTAN meaning the land of fruits in
Excavations in the Quetta valley have proved
that the pre-historic humans used to live there.
Mehergarh is a unique site revealing a
continuous sequence of cultures in the Province.
The archeological sites are considered to have
been flourished between 7000 B.C & 800 B.C.
Modern day Quetta is a real growing centre of
excellence. It is rapidly progressing in various
walks of life.
A visit to this province will however, be
incomplete without a trip to Ziarat, a hill town
8000 feet above sea-level Airconditioned coach
and taxis take anything between an hour or two
from Quetta an ideal and relaxing summer retreat
with rows of juniper trees and ever green
The word Ziarat means holy place to be visited
and the valley is known by that name because of
a shrine of a holy saint, Tahir Baba Khirwari.
There are other graves as well. However, the
world knows it more because of the oldest and
tallest juniper jungle, which needs to be looked
after properly for future survival.
Extremely delicious species of apple, black
cherry and almond trees are abundant in Ziarat,
covering about 4416 acres in the lap of
While Ziarat abounds in tall chinar trees and
juniper grows wild as does walnut and a variety
of other trees, the area west of this hill
station leading up to the Afghan border is rocky
and barren. The drive through this unfriendly
terrain provides one the grim reminder of the
fierce tribes who roamed free in the region and
kept the British weary and fearful. The border
village of Chaman is also a major trading centre
for a variety of fruit, a large quantity of
which is still brought in from Afghanistan.
Chashma means spring in Urdu and Persian.
Chashma Walk is located in Ziarat, between the
lofty mountains and deep gorges, leading to the
spring which provides water for the town.
Lying at a height of 2713 meters above sea
level and 6 km from Ziarat, the beautiful place
provides fantastic view.
If you have a passion for smelling history
through places, you must visit the Bolan Pass,
where several armies from Central Asia and north
intruded into the lands of un-divided India
through centuries. The picturesque hilly road
welcomes you with cool breeze.
This Pass will lead you directly to the
Chaman Border of Afghanistan, 153 km from Quetta.
The scenic beauty is simply enthralling. The
border journey is to be materialized through
Khojak Sheela, a 4 km long tunnel, at an
elevation of more than 1945 meters above sea
While cruising through the hilly tract
between Quetta and Kalat, you would come to see
the route to Zahidan, Iran. Koh-e-Taftan and
Saindak copper mines are en-route.
Being the most arid province, the
Balochistan receives very low rain fall. Natural
springs, used for supplying water to other
places have been very common. But for now, most
of the springs are artificially made by boring
holes into rocks. They are called ‘KAREZ’. There
are more than a dozen gorges (Tangi in local
language) around Ziarat, formed by Karez water.
Hazarganji Chiltan National Park
Spread over 38,429 acres at a height of 221
to 3264 meters above sea level, the Park is 20
km form Quetta, in southwest direction. There
you can see a variety of wildlife. The most
distinctive is Markhor, erroneously considered
as Ibex by the locals, because of its
There are 225 species of plants in Hazarganji
Chiltan National Park, including wild almond,
juniper, pistachio, wild olive and various
Driving through wild roses and fruit
orchards, you may reach the Urak Valley at a
distance of 21 km. The abundance of delicious
fruits make it a real fruit land or SAMARISTAN.
If you wish to enjoy excursion just near the
city, you must go to Hanna Lake, 10 km from
Quetta and very close to the Urak. The turquoise
water of lake is a real contrast to the brownish
green hills that surround the area.
Filled with numerous fruit orchards, the
Pishin Valley is 50 km away from Quetta. These
orchards are irrigated by ‘karez’. There is yet
another attraction of cool waters, i.e. man-made
lake with Bund Khushdil Khan. A wide range of
ducks provides enticing beauty during winters.
The festivities include a colourful programme of
folk dancing by thousands of participants from
different regions. Horse jumping, trick horse
riding, trick motor cycle riding, dare-devil
motor car driving and a dog & hare race are
among the highlights of the festival. The
principal attraction of the show, however,
remains the impressive display of the best
available specimens of Pakistani livestock.
As the sun sets over the impressive Fortress
Stadium, the venue of the show, fireworks
display, military tattoos and brass band
pageants enliven the evenings and enthrall the
Mehergarh- the newest discovery of ancient
During recent decades, a lot has been done to
explore the culture and civilization of ancient
people. The most distinguishing one is Mehergarh,
which experts say remained the centre of high
development some 9,900 years ago. Researchers
claim that this was a civilized society of 7000
B.C that is even older than Moenjodaro and
Balochistan shares the major part of
Pakistan’s coastline, extending over 750 km from
Hub near Karachi, to the Gwadar sea-port near
Pakistan-Iran border. The variety of marine
life, assure blue sea-water and sunny beaches
provide breath-taking environment. Coastal towns
of Pasni, Jiwani and Gwadar are now the centre
of attraction for foreign and local investors.
All are linked by air with Karachi. The people
have a very colourful culture, displaying
themselves briskly through their multi-colour
dresses and ornaments.