Balochistan Province of Pakistan: Facts on its Geography and Economy
Balochistan Province is in the news due to atrocities on the Baloch people by the Pakistan military. Out of 12.34 million total population of Balochistan, around 52% population is Baloch and 36% is Pashtuns while remaining 12% comprises smaller communities; Brahuis, Hazaras, Sindhis, Punjabis, Uzbeks, and Turkmens.
Balochistan's capital is Quetta which is its largest city as well. Balochistan Province is underdeveloped and its economy is dominated by natural resources, especially its natural gas fields.
Statistics on Balochistan Province
Population: 12.34 million (2017 census data)
Area: 134,051 mi²
Ethnic Groups: Baloch, Brahui, and Pashtuns
Language: Balochi, Urdu, Pashto and Brahui
Religion: Sikhism, Hinduism, Parseeism, Islam
The geographical location of the Balochistan Province;
Balochistan is presently situated between the three nations; Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. It is located in southwest Pakistan, south to Afghanistan and east of Iran.
Balochistan province has been divided into six divisions – Quetta, Kalat, Nasirabad, Makran, Sibi, and Zhob. These six divisions are further subdivided into 34 districts.
The area of Balochistan is around 40% of the total area of the PAK. Pakistan is heavily dependent on the natural resources available in the Balochistan region.
Its natural gas fields estimated to have sufficient capacity to fulfill Pakistan's demands over the medium to long term.
The climate of the Balochistan Province
The overall climate of the Balochistan province is extreme. The plains areas of the region are also very hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 50 °C (122 °F). The record highest temperature, 53 °C (127 °F), was recorded in Sibi on 26 May 2010. The climate of the upper areas has very cold winters and hot summers.
The economy of the Balochistan Province
The economy of Balochistan is mainly based upon the production of natural gas, coal and other minerals like gold, copper, etc.
Agricultural development could not take place due to the absence of power, water, and adequate transportation facilities.
Wheat, rice, Jowar are the major food crops, and fruits are the principal cash crops. In addition to this great majority of the population is involved in sheep grazing.
The sheep provide high-quality wool, a part of which is exported. Small scale industries are confined to cotton and woolen manufacturing, carpet making, textile, leather embroidery, and food processing.
Due to hilly areas; transportation facilities are not much developed. Quetta is a centre of the railway network, and its airport offers domestic service.
Despite being rich in natural resources the people of this region are living in extremely poor conditions. Much of the population is illiterate, malnourished living without electricity or clean drinking water.
Education in the Balochistan Province:
The literacy level is very pathetic in the Balochistan province because only 27 out of a hundred adults are literate and the adult literacy rate is male 38% and female 13% in the province (source:http://thebalochistanpoint.com).
Pakistan failed to provide basic facilities to the people of Balochistan province, including educating children. The situation of girl education is very dismal because nine out of every ten girls are out of school in rural Balochistan. It means the young girls are dropping out of school at an alarming rate.
So the above data proves that the Balochistan province of Pakistan is in very pathetic condition. Perhaps this is the reason that the Baloch people are protesting to become an independent nation.