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Many observers think that Balochistan resembles the surface of the Moon !

One of the most exciting and exotic regions to explore in Pakistan is the Province of Balochistan. Covering an area of 347190 sq. kms. it forms the largest province of Pakistan. It covers 44 percent of the land surface but has a population of only 4.5 million (around 4% of Pakistan's); making it the least populated province of the country. About half of this population lives around Quetta, the provincial Capital of Balochistan.

To it’s north and west, thousands of kilometers of barren deserts and stark mountains form the borders with Iran and Southern Afghanistan while due east, it is divided from the rest of Pakistan by the Kirthar and Sulaiman / Suleman mountain ranges. Towards the south, along the Arabian Sea, stretch 600 kilometers of deserted sandy beaches of the Makran Coast. Most of Balochistan lies outside the Monsoon System of weather therefore, the climate is extremely dry. The annual rainfall is of about 15 centimeters, and even less along the Makran Coast.

 In terms of physical geography, Balochistan has more in common with Western Asia than with the Sub-Continent. It’s wild & mysterious vistas of arid waste-lands, great deserts, and formidable mountain ranges of amazing rock formations (dramatically contoured and twisted by the earth’s violent geological movements) make it an exotic and dramatic area to visit. It’s dry climate combined with the natural geographical features make it one of the most daunting environments for successful human habitation. Therefore, it is sparsely populated.

Balochistan is populated by a tribal society of Nomadic and semi-Nomadic tribes. The most important are the Brahvis, Baluchis and Pathans who speak Brahvi, Baluchi and Pushto respectively. The north east of this Province receives rain and snowfall which support juniper forests, cultivated land and orchards, producing apples, almonds, apricots, peaches and grapes. Most of the people in central Balochistan lead semi-nomadic life herding sheep, goat and camels, while others are subsistence farmers and laborers working in Punjab and Sind during winter months. Some areas of the South, near the Makran Coast, are famous for growing 300 different varieties of dates. 

Archaeological discoveries have confirmed that Balochistan has been inhabited from the Stone Age of 50,000 years ago. The important Neolithic excavation-site at “Mehargarh” (7000-3000 B.C.) is the oldest in the world. Archaeologists believe that as early as 6000 B.C.,  farmers in the Bolan Valley were cultivating barely and wheat, thereby becoming probably the earliest humans to domesticate sheep and buffalo. Recent archaeological discoveries in the Ketch and Rakshan Valleys of Balochistan have pushed the known history of this region even further back; almost to 9000 B.C. 

Covering an area of 62,000 sq. kilometers, Makran forms the southern most strip of Balochistan, the largest but least populated province of Pakistan. Its one of the 6 divisions of Balochistan province having over 600 km. of coastline. It is hard to envisage the vast wilderness of this remote area where miles and miles of virgin golden beaches stretch along the sea in bright sunshine and  blue skies during the winter months. As there is hardly any rain here, the few villages and settlements depend on spring water and wells.

The coast has several tiny fishing villages while main towns Gwadar, Ormara, Jiwani and Pasni have small fishing harbors where the fisherman can be seen coming in with their catch every morning and evening. Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara, Jiwani, Turbat and Panjgur all have airports connecting them with Karachi and Quetta. 

Quetta (from kwatta, meaning fort in Pushtu) was first mentioned in the 11th century when it was captured by Muhammad Ghazni on one of his invasions of the subcontinent. In 1543 the Moghul emperor Humayun rested here on his retreat to Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar until he returned two years later. The Moghul ruled Quetta until in 1556, when it was taken by the Persians, only to be retaken by Akbar in 1595.   

The powerful Khan of Kalat held the fort from 1730, In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as mud-walled fort surrounded by 300 mud houses. Although occupied briefly by the British during the First Afghan War in 1839,

it was not until 1876 that Quetta came under permanent British control and Robert Sandeman was made political agent in Balochistan. Since Partition the population of Quetta has increased dramatically. Because of its military base and trading activities, and the introduction of commercial fruit farming, Quetta District can now support half a million people.
Quetta town was almost completely destroyed in the great earthquake of 1935, when 35,000 people were killed, trapped in their ruined houses in the early hours of 31 May. In the new town, single-storey buildings are set along tree-lined roads that intersect at clearly labeled roundabout, and there is a well-maintained administrative centre and thriving university.

135km south to Quetta,  Killa Saifullah is an important district of Pushtun Districts of Balochistan. Neighboring Districts Are Zhob, Loralai, Pishin. Its border are linked With the neighboring Country Afghanistan. Qilla Saifullah or Killa Saifullah (Fort of Saifullah Khan) is a district in the north west of Balochistan province of Pakistan


This District is named after Saifullah Khan, who was from the Mirdadzai (Khodadzai) tribe of Kakar Sunzerkhail. He was the great grandson of Zarh Nikka, a renowned religious scholar and has built a fort at Rabat Karaiz, Town and Tehsil Qila Saifullah, which was demolished by the British in an assault. He grandson named Haji Abdul Haleem Akhunzada and his descendents still lives on the place where Saifullah used to operate against the English forces. Saifullah Khan also went to Kalat Afghanistan to raise insurgency against the British which he got succeeded.

Previously it was part of Zhob District and known as Upper Zhob sub-division. About two years ago Kashatoo sub-tehsil of Zhob District was transferred to Qilla Saifullah district with a new name, Badinai. After the inclusion of Badinai sub-tehsil, Qilla Saifullah district, the district was re-organized as far as administrative division is concerned. Approximate population of Killa Saifullah is about 400,000 and this district is inhabited by Pushtoon casts of  Main cast of Killa Saifullah are the sub tribes of Kakar Sanzarkhail which Include Jalalzai, its sub branches ( Musazai, Jogezai, Kareemzai, Kamaludinzai, Shabozai) Meerzai, Musazai, Khudiadadzai, Samalzai, Bharmzai, Alozai, Akhatarzai etc. 
Set amongst with the rugged mountains of the Toba Kakar Range near the border of Afghanistan, the Torghar Hills are an important wildlife area of Balochistan. To reach the Toba Kakar Range, a wild and rugged land sparsely populated by semi-nomadic tribes, one has to undergo a perilous jeep track. In these mountains, life has remained unchanged over the years. The agro-pastoral people still observe centuries old tribal customs, living in tents made of black goat hair as they move around the region on a seasonal basis to look after their sheep and goats. Located in the northernmost part of the Toba Kakar Range in Qila Saifullah District is the Torghar valley.  
There are only four settlements in Torghar, the largest being Tanishpa, where limited cultivable land and perennial water from springs is available. Here, people have small agricultural fields and orchards for a subsistence economy. The local tribal people are famous as much for their hospitality as they are for their fierce pride. Torghar valley was the last bastion of resistance to the British colonizers who attempted to march towards Afghanistan in the 19th century. The British could venture no further than this valley. 
The landscape here is rocky and barren and plants come to life when there is rainfall. The sparse vegetation consists largely of scrub grass and wild pistachio and juniper trees. Near the streams, however, there is an abundance of plants and small animals living among the large boulders. The area is rich in herbs and shrubs that are used as traditional medicine. 
These remote mountains are also home to an indigenous and endangered species of wild goat called the Suleiman Markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni) and wild sheep called Afghan Urial (Ovis orientalis cycloceros). These large ungulates, as well as leopards and Black Bears, once used to enjoy the free range of the mountains of northern Balochistan. Due to uncontrolled hunting, large populations of these animals were either wiped out or were on the verge of extinction by the mid-1980s. Called the ‘Black Mountain’, Torghar consists of a series of dark colored upturned ridges of sedimentary materials that are approximately 90 kilometers long, ranging from about 15 to 30 kilometers in width. 
There were an estimated 200 urial and less than 100 markhor into existence in 1985. A survey carried out by Dr Kurt Johnson on behalf of the US-FWS in 1994 estimated a population of about 400 markhor. This showed a substantial increase in the population in less than ten years. The most recent survey sponsored by the USF&WS and carried out by Michael Frisina in 1999 estimated the Markhor population to be about 1,684 and that of the Urial to be about 1,742. Torghar is now home to the largest population of these unique animals in the world.  
The altitude of these mountains varies between 2,500 to 4,000 meters. Visitors armed with binoculars have to climb up the mountain to the very top of the precipitous ridges to view herds of Markhors feeding on grasses and shrubs. Since they camouflage well with their rocky surroundings, it is difficult to see them with the naked eye. The Afghan Urial, which is reddish in color, is sometimes easier to spot when it is silhouetted against the blue sky on the plateaus above the cliffs, while the Markhor prefer cliffs and ravines.  
 Wild tulips can often be spotted as can other rare flowers and over 80 recorded species of birds including Chakor and See-see partridge. These mountainous tribal areas of Balochistan, near the border with Afghanistan, are home to ethnic Pakhtoon or Pushtun Tribes who have lived on this land for centuries. The Government of Pakistan has marginal jurisdiction in this area where people live by an ancient code of honor and tribal fealty. 

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