Balochistan (Pakistan)

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Emblem and flag
Emblem of the Pakistani province of Balochistan
Flag of the Pakistani Province of Balochistan
Basic data
Capital : Quetta
Status: province
Area : 347,190 km²
Residents : 12,344,408 (2017)
Population density : 35.6 inhabitants / km² (2017)
ISO 3166-2 : PK-BA
Sindh Belutschistan Hauptstadtterritorium Islamabad Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Punjab (Pakistan) Gilgit-Baltistan (de-facto Pakistan - von Indien beansprucht) Siachen-Gletscher: de-facto unter Kontrolle der indischen Streitkräfte (von Pakistan als Teil von Gilgit-Baltistan beansprucht) Asad Jammu und Kaschmir (de-facto Pakistan - von Indien beansprucht) de-facto Indien (von Pakistan beansprucht und als "von Indien verwaltetes Jammu und Kaschmir" bezeichnet) de-facto China (von Indien beansprucht) de-facto China (von Indien beansprucht) Iran Turkmenistan Usbekistan Afghanistan Tadschikistan Indien Nepal ChinaBalochistan in Pakistan
About this picture

The Pakistani province of Balochistan forms the eastern part of the Balochistan region . The western part belongs to Iran . The capital of the province is Quetta .

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with an area of ​​347,190 km². This area roughly corresponds to the area of ​​Germany. However, Balochistan, with around 12.3 million inhabitants (2017), is also the country's least populated province. Large parts of the province consist of deserts.


Balochistan borders the federally administered tribal areas , the provinces of Punjab and Sindh , as well as the Arabian Sea , Iran and Afghanistan (clockwise, starting in the northeast).

The province can be divided into three natural large areas: in the west it has a share in the inner-Iranian basin landscape without any drainage, the central area is characterized by the mountain fan, which extends from the Virgation (separation of mountain folds) of the Ararat to the Pamirs , in the east and The lowland bays of the industrial lowlands with extensive alluvial plains connect to the southeast .

The desert basins are characterized by wide salt-filled end lakes and extensive fields of drifting sand and dunes. Mineralized and clayey soils with little groundwater are predominant . Climatically, this area is practically frost-free, the annual mean temperatures have their minimum in January (11 ° C) and their maximum in July (35.9 ° C).

The highlands have a significantly cooler climate. In the central part of the area there can be snowfalls and numerous days of frost between November and February . Most of the highlands, however, have little rainfall. Only in the northeastern part can the monsoons lead to higher summer precipitation. There the temperature fluctuations are relatively moderate. The southern part, on the other hand, is characterized by significantly higher temperatures. There are some oases in the west of the central highlands .

The lowland bay of Kachhi Sibi has wide terraces made up of clay-like and sandy soils. Summers are characterized by high temperatures with high humidity. The winters, however, are warm-temperate. The lowland bay of Las Bela is morphologically and hydrologically similar to that of Kachhi Sibi, but the temperatures and humidity are lower. The coastal strip of Mekran on the Arabian Sea, on the other hand, has high humidity combined with very little rainfall. The soils are sandy and mineralized.

The highest peak in the region is the Loe Nekan .


Simplified map of the ethnic relationships in Pakistan and the neighboring areas of Iran and Afghanistan from 1980.

The borders of Balochistan were drawn in the 19th century by the British colonial power without taking into account the distribution of ethnic groups. A large number of ethnic groups live in this area today, with the Baluch , the Brahui and the Pashtuns being the largest ethnic groups. Together they make up about 80% of the population. Brahui was not listed as a separate language at the 1998 census . The number of speakers was distributed as follows:

Language group proportion of
Baluchish 54.76%
Pashto 29.64%
Sindhi 5.58%
Saraiki 2.42%
Other 5.06%

However, the respective settlement areas of the Pashtuns and the Baluches go far beyond the area of ​​the province of Balochistan. Baluchis also live in the Iranian province of Balochistan and in parts of Sindh and Punjab . The area, which is predominantly populated by Pashtuns, extends from southern Afghanistan through the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to northern Balochistan. In Balochistan they make up the largest group of the population north of the Quetta-Barchan line. Due to the large number of Pashtuns who came as refugees from Afghanistan after 1979, their political weight has increased.

The arbitrary demarcation through ethnic groups has not been accepted by many until today and has repeatedly led to the demand for a “Greater Balochistan”. Between August 15, 1947 and March 28, 1948, an independent Balochistan existed under the Khan of Kalat , but it was incorporated into Pakistan under pressure from the Pakistani leaders. The book “The Problem of Greater Baluchistan” by Inayatullah Baloch (1987) provides a detailed overview of the Greater Baluchistan question.

However, the Khan of Kalat was not a Baluch, but a tribe member of the Brahui, who ruled all of southern Balochistan in a sub-empire under the Pashtun Ghilzai even before British rule . Their settlement area is practically entirely within this province and extends south of the Nushki- Quetta-Sibi line to the coast of the Arabian Sea.

The level of prosperity and education in the remote and inaccessible province is considered below average. The literacy rate in the years 2014/15 among the population aged 10 and over was 44% (women: 25%, men: 61%), making it the lowest among the four provinces of Pakistan.

Population development

Balochistan census population since the first census in 1951.

Census year population
1951 1,167,167
1961 1,353,484
1972 2,428,678
1981 4,332,376
1998 6,565,885
2017 12,344,739

Administrative division

The 30 districts of Balochistan Province in 2010. Since then, two new districts have emerged.

The Pakistani province of Balochistan is divided into 32 districts (as of 2016). These are in turn divided into Tehsils . The numbering corresponds to that of the adjacent card.


In the inner-Iranian basin landscape, there are only a few rooms where irrigation is possible . Intensive rain-fed agriculture is not possible due to the low and widely varying rainfall events. The modest grazing conditions are in large parts the only economic basis; but the animal owners are forced to live and work in a mobile way.

In the central mountainous region, intensive arable and fruit cultivation is possible through the use of karezen (underground irrigation channels ) , and there are also favorable conditions for migratory livestock farming . In winter, however, many residents leave this region because of the low temperatures because there is a lack of heating material. The north-east of the central mountainous region is best suited for a stationary way of life due to the relatively moderate temperatures and the larger groundwater reserves.

In the oases in the western part, dates , citrus fruits and bananas are grown. The south-western part of the mountainous region, on the other hand, is of little economic importance. Here only the pastures are used for mobile livestock farming .

The soils of the lowland bay of Kachhi Sibi could actually be used for agriculture, but there is a lack of water due to the low rainfall. It is only possible to sow in autumn, when flood water comes into the valley from the mountains surrounding the bay. The pasture, which is sparse as in all parts of Balochistan, allows year-round use, but is preferred only in the winter half-year, as in summer high temperatures and high humidity cause problems for people and animals. In winter, however, the warm, moderate temperatures attract the herds from the mountain fan. There may also be summer rainfall, which favor the availability of pastures.

The bay of Las Belas is a space that can be used all year round, which also serves as a supplementary space for the mountain population during the winter. The coastal strip of Mekran, on the other hand, has very little vegetation cover and offers no opportunities for agricultural use. Economic use of this part is also very difficult due to the unfavorable climatic conditions.

At the village of Sui in Dera Bugti Tehsil is one of the largest is natural gas fields in the country.

In recent years, the expansion of the port of Gwadar has become more and more popular, especially since the work is being financed by the People's Republic of China . In the first decade of the 21st century, Gwadar was to be connected with a pipeline that would extend to the west of China in order to secure the energy supply there. The port is strategically located near the Persian Gulf , so negotiations are also being held about an outpost for the Chinese Navy. The first gas deliveries on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline were expected by December 2014, but the date is still unclear.

History until 1947

The area of ​​the Pakistani province of Balochistan fulfilled a bridging function between the Mesopotamian culture and the Indus culture in an early historical period . At that time, rice and millet were grown here. The culture that predominated, especially in the mountains, was the Kulli culture , whose population lived partly in cities and had extensive irrigation systems. Overpopulation and the resulting desertification mechanisms, however, soon led to a decline in crop yields and thus to the end of this culture around 2000 BC. Then followed an interim period in which the area was apparently uninhabited. Around 500 BC BC people settled in this area again, but little is known about them, apart from their colorful ceramics. From written sources it can be deduced that the landscape was under the rule of various great empires at this time. In ancient times, the southern part of the province was called Gedrosia .

Only after the Arab migration to the east in the 7th century do reports about places in today's Balochistan emerge, at the beginning of the 8th century the entire southern part was conquered by the Arabs.

The Arabs built roads and water pipes. During the Ghaznavid (10th and 11th centuries) and subsequent Ghorid rule (12th and 13th centuries), Baluch and Brahui tribes immigrated and absorbed by the Arabs. The Pashtuns settled in northern Balochistan as early as the 7th century, which came under the influence of the Mongolian Empire founded by Genghis Khan in the early 13th century .

At the beginning of the 14th century, the area of ​​today's Baluchistan came under the rule of the Mughals . But in the second half of the 15th century, the Baluch under the leadership of Mir Chakar were able to shake off the Mughal rule and found the first and only Baluch empire . It comprised Pakistani and Iranian Balochistan, southern Afghanistan, Sind and the Punjab to south of Multan. This empire, which resulted in the current spread of the Baluch in these areas, fell apart after the death of Mir Chakar.

Thereafter, this area came under the power of the Safavids (1559–1595), the Mughals (1595–1638) and again the Safavids (1638–1708). Between 1708 and 1879 the country was under the control of the Pashtun Ghilzai, with small periods in between . During this time the Pashtuns were able to expand their economic position, while the Brahui in the south gained the upper hand over the Baluch. Also supported by Nadir Shah of Persia , they established a khanate in 1766 and thus a second empire in this area, which, however, was only a sub-empire of the Ghilzaire empire. This ended in 1839 with the assassination of the ruler by the British .

The Ghilzai period ended with the Treaty of Gandamak (1879), when the British finally established their position of power and incorporated Balochistan into their colonial empire. This was the first time that a culturally, economically and socially alien and militarily clearly superior group of the indigenous population took power. Until then, the foreign rule had hardly left any traces in Balochistan and its inhabitants, this changed with the beginning of the British colonial era.

With the "integration" of Balochistan and the north-west frontier province into their colonial empire British India, the British pursued the goal of protecting the economic core areas (here: Pundschab and Sind) against the "turbulent frontiers" with wide pacified peripheral zones. In the west and northwest, imperial interests also played a role, since they wanted to prevent Russia from expanding south. This was achieved in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), in which Afghanistan was established as a dependent buffer state.

In Balochistan, only the region around Quetta , the corridor of the Karachi- Quetta railway line and the border region along the Durand line to Afghanistan were directly administered; the entire strategically uninteresting south and southeast of Sibi were kept dependent by the "indirect rule". The procedure in this region served as a model for all of the British-controlled tribal areas in the Commonwealth . Most of these areas were under the Khan of Kalat with the provinces of Kachhi, Sarawan, Jhalawan, Las Bela and Makran . The Marri and Bugti Baluch tribes had direct relationships with the British.

Balochistan was administered solely from a strategic point of view; the British were not interested in the changes in the complex spatial usage pattern with the far-reaching social and ecological consequences triggered by their politics.

Parts of Balochistan had been part of the self-governed British protectorate of Kalat since 1876. The British government agreed to the establishment of a free state of Balochistan, which would also include the tribal areas of the Marri and Bugti. The British protectorate ended with the independence of British India.

History since 1947

After the division of India into a Muslim state Pakistan and the rest of India in 1947, the Muslim-majority areas that were under direct British rule automatically came directly to the new state of Pakistan. Most of Balochistan, however, was only indirectly under British control and under the rule of local princes. In the course of 1948, they joined the Pakistani state association - sometimes not entirely voluntarily, but under considerable military pressure. Within Pakistan, the Baluchistan States Union was formed in 1952 as a larger administrative unit from four princely states ( Kalat , Kharan , Las Bela and Makran ) . After the new constitution came into force in 1956, which largely eliminated the administrative privileges of the former princes, it was dissolved and incorporated into the new province of Balochistan.

Pakistan attached great importance to the control of its borders and restricted the large seasonal movements of the Afghan nomads to Pakistan. In relation to the native tribes, the " indirect rule " was retained until 1960 when the "Basic Democracy System" was introduced. The residents were largely left to their own devices, and the disparities that existed in many areas within Pakistan were not reduced. In the years 1958–1969 and 1973–1977 there were further armed conflicts.

The international disinterest changed suddenly with the intervention of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in 1979. Baluch separatists were supported by the Soviet Union in order to destabilize Pakistan, whose refugee camps were regarded as centers of the Afghan resistance. Since then, some development projects have been started and action plans drawn up, e.g. B. the Action Plan for Employment and Manpower Development in Balochistan (1991) .

In May 1998, Pakistan carried out several underground nuclear tests in the northwest region . These were a response to the second Indian nuclear tests.

Rebels continued to demand Balochistan's independence . In 2004 the most violent conflict broke out. In 2006, the rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed by Pakistani security forces. Over the years, the separatists reacted more brutally. Not only were gas pipes blown up, development workers, diplomats and journalists were kidnapped and killed. Attacks on immigrants from other Pakistani provinces, some of whom are already the fourth generation to live here, are increasingly being reported. Basically it can be said that civil society is weak, state repression is omnipresent and human rights violations are the order of the day.

On the other hand, the Pakistani army is also accused by human rights activists of waging a “ dirty war ” and illegally simply disappearing people who are often unpleasant . Pakistani and international journalists have limited opportunities to get first-hand information on site. Free and critical reporting on the army is only possible to a very limited extent for Pakistani journalists. In 2010 the Baloch Republican Army was banned.

In Balochistan, numerous Hazara were murdered in the 2010s by Sunni fanatics who describe the Shiite Hazara as heretics and deny that they are Muslims. Also Ahmadis were murdered as alleged "heretics".


Web links

Commons : Balochistan  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics | 6th Population and Housing Census. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on October 15, 2017 ; accessed on November 9, 2017 (English).
  2. Source: Statistics Department of the Pakistani Government: 1998 Census - Population by Mother Tongue ( Memento of February 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) , in English, accessed on June 29, 2007
  3. ^ Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (2016). Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey 2014-15. Government of Pakistan, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  4. Pakistan: Provinces and Major Cities - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather, and Web Information. Retrieved July 28, 2018 .
  5. ^ Government of Balochistan ( Memento of April 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica: Sui , accessed December 1, 2012
  7. Ahmad Ahmadani: First flow of gas possible in December 2014 ( Memento of December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) , May 22, 2011, accessed on August 20, 2011
  8. Ahmad Ahmadani: First flow of gas possible in December 2014 , The Nation, May 22, 2011 ( Memento of December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), last accessed February 28, 2016.
  9. Balochistan Archeology - Historic Period , accessed June 29, 2007
  10. With cards open, Balochistan - Another Civil War? Broadcast on Arte on May 24, 2006 at 10:30 p.m.
  11. ^ Khan, Feroz Hassan (2012). Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistan Atomic Bomb. Palo Alto, California, Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-8480-9 .
  12. Hasnain Kazim: Pakistan's secret war - raw materials battle for Balochistan. In: Spiegel online. March 2, 2012, Retrieved May 25, 2012 .
  13. Der Standard : In Pakistan, Kamal Khan's death awaits on May 5, 2015, accessed on May 5, 2015
  14. Shahzeb Jillani: Pakistan's battle against Balochistan separatists sparks anger and suspicion. BBC News, October 6, 2015, accessed August 9, 2016 .
  15. Hina Jilani : “Everyone knows who the murderers are.” In: Amnesty Journal , vol. 2018, issue April / May, pp. 22-23, here p. 49.

Coordinates: 29 ° 0 '  N , 66 ° 0'  E