Balochistan Profile

Balochistan, province of Pakistan is by far the largest in size and the smallest in population. The province covers 34.7 million hectares, almost 44% of the country’s land area, with a population of about 8 million people (12 persons per sq. km.). The province is located in South-Western (220N to 320N, 660E to 700 E) Pakistan. About 80% of the area can be classified as inter-mountainous. The remaining 20% consists of flood plains and co astal plains. The important mountain ranges are Sulaiman, Toba-Kakar, Central Brahui, Kirthar, Chagai, Raskoh and central Makran and Makran coast. The climate of Balochistan is continental semi- arid Mediterranean, with annual precipitation varying from 200 to 350 mm and a variable proportion of this total fall as moisture of snow and rain in the mid winter period or as intense showers in summer. The uniform aridity (nowhere exceeding 400 mm on average annually, but in many parts as low as 50 mm annually) makes un-irrigated agriculture impossible. The province is sparsely populated and least developed as compared to the other three provinces in the country. The Baloch form the majority in the south and east of the province, while the Pashtuns are the majority in the north. Quetta, the capital of the province, has a Pashtun majority with Baloch, Hazara, and Punjabi minorities. Near the Kalat region and other parts of the province there are significant numbers of Brahui speakers. Along the coast various Makrani Baloch are predominant. Persian-speaking Dehwars also live in the Kalat region and further west towards the border with Iran. In addition, 769,000 Afghan refugees can be found in the province including Pashtu ns, Tajiks, and Hazaras. Many Sindhi farmers have also moved to the more arable lands in the east of the province. The economy of the province is largely based upon livestock, agriculture, fisheries and production of natural gas, coal, and minerals. Outside Quetta, the infrastructure of the province is gradually developing but still lags far behind other parts of Pakistan. Limited farming in the east as well as fishing along the Arabian sea coastline are other forms of income and sustenance for the local populations. The construction of a ne w deep sea port at the strategically important town of Gwadar is adding to economic growth in the province. Further west is the Mirani dam multipurpose project, on the River Dasht, 50 kilometres west of Turbat in the Makran Division. There is also mining activity of copper, gold, and other minerals. The rest of the rural economy and livelihoods is agro-pastoral derived from the ranges which provide a diversity of uses, including forage for livestock, wildlife habitat, medicinal plants, watershed, fuel wood, and recreational activity. The Province is divided into 30 districts. The districts are headed by the District Coordination Officer. There are 11000 primary schools, 800 middle schools, 400 high schools, 73 colleges and 5 universities in Balochistan province. The literacy rate is 26.6% with the ratio of 36.5% male and 15.0% female respectively. The districts in the province are: 1. Awaran 9. Harnai 17. Lasbella 25. Quetta 2. Bolan 10. Killa Abdullah 18. Loralai 26. Sibi 3. Barkan 11. Killa Saifullah 19. Mastung 27. Sherani 4. Chagai 12. Kohlu 20. Musa Khail 28. Washuk 5. Dera-Bugti 13. Kharan 21. Nushki 29. Ziarat 6. Gwadar 14. Kalat 22. Nasirabad 30. Zhob 7. Jaffarabad 15. Khuzdar 23. Punjgoor 8. Jhal Magsi 16. Kech 24. Pishin The provincial road network and connectivity is poorest in the country. Areas well served with roads are those of farm-tomarkets. The length of the national highways in the province has remained largely constant at 2,300 km. Balochistan has still, however, the lowest density of roads among the four provinces of Pakistan. Poor connectivity and access continue to be a major problem, which particularly affect the poor, who live mostly in the rural areas. Several sections of existing roads and highways are too narrow with respect to the traffic carried, and in poor condition, the conditions cause high vehicle operating cost and compromise road safety. The main towns and cities in the province are served with communication network of mobile and landline telephone links as well as radio and TV stations. Most of the urban settlements are constructed using concrete. A few informal settlements where the majority of the urban poor reside are constructed of mud, concrete mix and makeshift sheeting. Many of the rural structures are made of mud. There are about 9,000 rural settlements sparsely spread (about 30 miles) across the province. The urban growth rate is about 4.5% per annum. The migration from the rural areas is causing a negative effect on the rural economy while causing pressure on the urban infrastructure and services. The main towns are supplied with water, gas and electricity that file in keeping up with the increasing demand.