Balochistan: Geography and History

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If you consider size, then Baluchistan snatches the title of being largest Province of Pakistan. Spread over a land area of 347190 square kilometers, it makes up 43.65% of Pakistan total land mass. Location wise, it holds great importance as it is attached to Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Iran and Afghanistan. It has an 832 kilometers long border line running between itself and Iran and enjoys the coastal lands at its south thanks to the Arabian Sea.

If we turn the pages of history, we will see that Balochistan has been occupied since the Stone Ages and archaeological discoveries made all over the province prove that. Before the arrival of Alexander the Great over this region, the province fell under the power of Iran and was dubbed as ‘Maka’ back in those times.

In 325 AD, when Alexander the Great was marching towards ‘Babul’ for his military campaign, he crossed the desert terrain of Makran. During the formation of Pakistan, this province did not fall under the British Rule like other provinces such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Eastern Bengal. However, English Delegates were deployed to overlook affairs every now and then.

Out of the aforementioned states, Qalat happened to be the largest one in size and had Khan Qalat Meer Ahmed Yar Khan as its ruling head. Two days prior to the independence, he announced complete freedom in his ruling state and made a special offer upon any discussion concerning ties. The other Balochi Rulers were very supportive of his decision and emphasized about maintaining the individuality of the province.

Unfortunately, the government of Pakistan considered this step of Khan Qalat of traitorous nature and started immediate proceedings against him. In the year 1948, he admitted defeat and agreed to become a part of Pakistan, however, his brother Shahzad Abdul Kareem along with some of his supporters were not very compliant about this turn of events. They initiated propaganda against Khan Qalat but due to lack of political standing, they surrendered and fled to Afghanistan.

Till the year 1973, Baluchistan was under the complete control of the Governor General. According to the Constitution of 1956, it was made a part of West Pakistan and it wasn’t until the elections of 1970 that it gained the full status of being a province. The National Awami Party swept the elections in great numbers and in 1972 Baluchistan was provided with a proper structured government. It comprises of 30 districts including Lasbela, Gwadar, Kharaan, and Bolan and so on. The province is blessed with abundance of natural resources and the city of Quetta hold the office of its Provincial Headquarters. In comparison to other provinces, Baluchistan enjoys a very cold weather and has a population ranging from 9 to 10 million.

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