Balochistan is one of the largest provinces of Pakistan in terms of land area, forming the southwestern region of the country, but is least populated. Its provincial capital and largest city is Quetta.
The main ethnic groups in the province are the Baloch people and the Pashtuns, who constitute 52% and 36% of the population respectively (according to the preliminary 2011 census). The remaining 12% comprises smaller communities of Brahuis, Hazera’s along with other settlers such as Sindhis, Punjabis, Uzbeks and Turkmens. The name “Balochistan” means “the land of the Baloch”. Largely underdeveloped, its provincial economy is dominated by natural resources, especially its natural gas fields, estimated to have sufficient capacity to supply Pakistan’s demands over the medium to long term. Aside from Quetta, the second-largest city of the province is Turbat in the south, while another area of major economic importance is Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
The climate of the upper highlands is characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. In the lower highlands, winters vary from extremely cold in northern districts Ziarat, Quetta, Kalat, Muslim Baagh and Khanozai to milder conditions closer to the Makran coast. Winters are mild on the plains, with temperature never falling below freezing point. Summers are hot and dry, especially in the arid zones of Chagai and Kharan districts. The plains 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, exceeding the previous record, 52 °C (126 °F). Other hot areas include Turbat and Dalbandin. The desert climate is characterized by hot and very arid conditions. Occasionally, strong windstorms make these areas very inhospitable.
Tourist Attractions in Balochistan
Pir Ghayb (The Invisible Saint) Waterfalls – Bolan, Balochistan
Pir Ghayb Falls, Bolan – This is an awe-inspiring view of Pir Ghayb, Balochistan. Locals here believe in the myth of the Invisible Saint (Pir Ghayb), who was saved by the Almighty, after a wicked King’s men attacked him. The Saint struck a stick in the mountain from which the water still pours out till date, believe it or not.
Moola Chotok – Khuzdar, Balochistan
Moola Chotok, Khuzdar – This tourism deprived sight is known as Moola Chotok in Khuzdar, Balochistan. Amidst stronghold of nationalists in the Jhalawan belt, Chotok seemed like a lost cause at first. Ever since the military operations in Khuzdar division, Chotok has been swiped clean of all dangers and is now open to locals and tourists to go and witness the unfathomable beauty.
Quaid-e-Azam Residency – Ziarat, Balochistan
Quaid-e-Azam Residency, Ziarat – Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah spent his days of affliction in this wooden cottage in Ziarat, Balochistan. One of the top tourist attractions of Pakistan. The place holds historic importance and is the perfect place to chill when you’re in Ziarat.
Hannah Jheel (Hannah Lake and Urrak) – Quetta, Balochistan
The Hannah Jheel, Quetta – This is how the Hannah Lake looks in winters, frozen, frosted and astounding. This is where people from all over Pakistan go first when they visit Quetta. Only about 18km away from the city, the Hannah Lake serves as the perfect escape for the locals.
Waadi-e-Bolan – Bolan, Balochistan
Waadi-e-Bolan, Bolan, Balochistan is a long stretch of a mountain gorge with blue waters running in-between. The place has historical and picturesque importance. It was where the first railway system of Pakistan was established by the British, also the valley that cradles Pir Ghayb and Bibi Naani’s shrine.
Hingol National Park – Hingol, Balochistan
Hingol National Park, Hingol, Balochistan – Exotic looking mountains, rare and exotic animals including the Markhor and several others of the deer family, surrounded by shallow blue waters. What more could one ask for in a tourist attraction of Balochistan
Kund Malir Beach, Kund Malir, Balochistan
The Kund Malir Beach is one of the most exotic beaches and one of the top tourist attractions in Pakistan. In the last couple of years, a lot of people who started traveling to Kund Malir and companies from Karachi have milked as much money as they could out of it. Still, whatever makes Balochistan a little more unseen help.
Pir Chattal Noorani Gandhawa – Jhal Magsi, Balochistan
Pir Chattal Noorani Gandhawa, Jhal Magsi, Balochistan – An oasis in the middle of nowhere. An astonishing natural habitat amid desert plains with a mythical story to follow. The awe-inspiring oasis caters to thousands of rare fish in the water. Legend has it, that if you catch or eat one of Pir Chattal’s fishes, you’re bound to either die of poisoning or the fish comes out of your mouth alive in one piece. This myth is a huge tourist attraction of Balochistan.
Astola Island – Gwadar-Pasni, Balochistan
Astola Island, Gwadar/Pasni – Astola Island, also known as Jezira Haft Talar Satadip or ‘Island of the Seven Hills’, is a small uninhabited Pakistani island in the Arabian Sea. Also, the largest island in Pakistan, it is the epitome of Balochistan’s undermined beauty. A great tourist attraction indeed.
Jhal Magsi Desert Rally – Jhal Magsi, Balochistan
Jhal Magsi, Balochistan – Famous for its desert safari and the yearly desert rally, caters huge crowds and sponsors every year. Rally enthusiasts from all over Pakistan round up in one place for stay till the rally ends. The desert like plains of Jhal Magsi offer the best route in Pakistan for people who like to off-road. One of Pakistan’s top attractions.