Administrative Divisions of Pakistan

by on January 31, 2010
in Descriptive Maps of Pakistan

Administrative Divisions of Pakistan

Pakistan is located in South Asia. It is located at a very important place from geographic and strategic point of view. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan comprises of 4 provinces Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and NWFP, one capital territory Islamabad, a federal territory FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and two autonomous states Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan.

In 2000 the Pervez Musharraf government adopted a system of administration named “Local government system”, in which each province was sub-divided into districts, known as “zilas” locally). The districts form the topmost tier of the three tier local government and are further sub divided into tehsils (counties). Villages and municipalities come under tehsils. The City Districts are big metropolitan areas which comprise of towns and union councils. The tehsils and union councils are the 2 lower tiers of the local government.

The districts have the authority of carrying out certain functions independently. Each district is headed by a Nazim (Mayor). There are 105 provincial districts with 400 tehsils and over 6 thousand union councils. Over all there are five thousand local governments.

There are seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions in FATA. Azad Kashmir has seven districts and Gilgit Baltistan comprises of six districts.

Federal capital Islamabad has been given the status of a district.

Hingol National Park

by on November 12, 2009
in Travel Pakistan

Princess-of-Hope-Hingol-National-Park-Baluchistan

The Hingol National Park in Pakistan is the largest National Park of the country. It is situated at the Makran Coast in the province of Baluchistan. It covers an area of 619,043 hectares and is spread over three districts namely Lasbela, Gawadar and Owaran. It was declared a shelter for various species of wildlife in 1988. The park is unique in the sense that it provides refuge to land as well as marine creatures. The topography of the park varies from coast lines, beaches, sand dunes, barren mountains and a river. The area is mostly semi desert.

A large number of animals exist in this rocky and marshy area some of whom are close to extinction. The estuary of the Hingol River is the home to many species of fish. Marsh crocodiles are also found here. These are few in number only around 50. Olive Ridley Turtles and Green Marine Turtles are occasionally seen here. The river is a resting place of many migratory water fowls such as Dalmatian and Spot billed Pelican, Sociable Plover, Spoonbills, and Black Ibis etc.

Around 35 species of mammals including the Sindh Ibex, Afghan Urial and Chinkara Gazelle are found here. There are 65 species of reptiles and amphibians and 185 species of birds in the park. Besides animals, 250 species of plants are housed in the Park too.

Another claim to fame of the area is the Shrine of Devi Hingali commonly known as Nani Mandir. It is a sacred Hindu temple.

The Valleys of Baluchistan

Quetta, Pakistan - sunset-Pishin Valley

Balochistan has many valleys which not only have fruit bearing orchards but are also favorite picnic spots.

1. The Pishin Valley

Pishin Valley is situated at a distance of 50 km from Quetta. Blessed with fertile soil, it is a valley of orchards. Superior quality grapes, cherries, almonds, plums, apricots and apples are grown here. With a railway station and an airport nearby, the fruit harvest can easily be transported to other cities. Another attraction of Pishin valley is the beautiful man made lake, Lake Bund Khushdil Khan.

2. Urak Valley

Urak Valley is another place where orchards are found in abundance. It is situated 21 km from Quetta. Some fruits grown here are apples, apricots, plums and peaches. A waterfall at the other end of the valley makes it a favorite picnic spot.

3. Ziarat Valley

Ziarat Valley is the tourists’ favorite destination. It is a valley of juniper forests, singing gorges, orchards and water falls. Another claim to fame is the Ziarat Residency, the place where the Quaid spent the last days of his life.

4. Zhob Valley

The Zhob valley is situated at an altitude of 4,500 feet above sea level. Zhob means “bubbling water” as when there is no drought, the water tends to spring up from the underground springs, Kareez. Due to its proximity to Afghanistan, the British took its control in 1889. They developed an irrigation system, planted orchards, and opened a school and dispensaries. Fort Sandeman, a castle built during the British era on a cliff in the northern part of the valley still stands. Zhob valley is also the home of some archaeological sites.

Mountain ranges of Baluchistan

Chaghi range in Balochistan

The plateau of Baluchistan has a number of mountain ranges which although barren are rich with mineral resources. These ranges form natural borders with Iran and Afghanistan. The passes through these mountains connect Pakistan with Afghanistan. Some important ranges are:

1. The Chaghi Range

The Chaghi Range forms a triangular border with Afghanistan and Iran. The famous Gonshero Pass is located here. The Chaghi Range is rich with minerals like copper, gold and sulphur. Pakistan carried out its first nuclear test at Chaghi.

2. The Central Brahui Range

The 360 km long Brahui Range is the southern branch of Himalayas lying in the central Baluchistan. It meets the Suleiman Range at Quetta. The range is covered with Juniper Forests. Here Limestone is found in abundance. The Khilafat Peak is the highest peak of this range with a height of 3,487 meters. The major passes through this range are Bolan Pass, Harnai Pass and Mula Pass.

3. The Suleiman Range

The 400 km long Suleiman Range lies in a north to south direction parallel to the Indus River. Its height decreases as it extends southwards with 1,520 meters being the average height. Kaisargarh with a height of 3,441 meters and Takhat-e-Suleiman (throne of Suleiman) 3,379 meters high are the highest peaks situated in the North. Juniper Forests are found in the northern side of the range where as the southern side is barren. Minerals like Limestone and Sandstone are found in this area.

4. The Toba Kakar Range

The Toba Kakar range lies in the north and forms a border with Afghanistan. Unlike most of the Baluchistan ranges, it has vegetation in the form of juniper, pistachio and tamarisk trees.

Other mountain ranges of Baluchistan are Siahan Range, Makran Coast Range, Ras Koh and Hala Range.

Turbat-A must visit place in Baluchistan

Turbat in Balochistan

Turbat lies in the southwest of the Balochistan province in the Kech District. It lies on the left bank of the Kech River. Turbat is known for the high quality dates it produces. There is also a date processing factory. The town is not developed and water scarcity adds to the problems of the residents. The Mirani Dam project 30 miles west of Turbat was launched in 2002 and is believed to lessen the water woes of the area. Turbat also has a small airport and is linked to the other parts of the province and the main city Karachi via a network of roads.

1. The Palace of the Nawab

Turbat has an interesting history. It was the headquarters of the Makran State when Makran was under the rule of the Gichki Tribe. A palace where the Nawab of the Gichki tribe lived still exists.

2. Punnu’s Fort

Turbat is said to be the home of Punnu Hoth, the hero of the love story Sassi Punnu. Punnu was a prince and the remains of his fort are still present in Turbat. Locals claim the fort is can be traced back to 6000-8000 BC.

3. Koh-e-Murad

It is said to be the sacred place of the Zikris. The Zikris follow the Zikri Faith which they claim is a branch of Islam. According to the Zikris, their spiritual leader Mohammed Janpuri who they view as Mehdi the last Imam visited this place. They hold a big zikr here on the 27th of Ramadan.

Other places worth visiting are the Nazim’s Mosque and the Turbat Rest House.

4 Amazing Cities of Baluchistan

Khojak-Tunnel in Chaman

Some cities of Balochistan although small are quite significant either due to their location or their rich history. A small account of four such cities is as follows:

1. Chaman

Chaman is the dry port of Balochistan. It is situated at the Pak-Afghan border. Trade goods from Afghanistan and the neighboring country Iran are brought here. Chaman is connected to Afghanistan through railways. The Chaman Railway Tunnel is supposed to be one of the oldest and largest tunnels in the world.

2. Khuzdar

The history of Khuzdar can be traced back to the Arab Conquerors. Some ruins of forts and graveyards dating back to that era were discovered here.

Present day Khuzdar is a small neat city on the National Highway which connects Pakistan to Iran and Turkey. Previously a part of Kalat State it is now a separate district. The Khuzdar University of Engineering and Technology is situated on the outskirts of the city.

3. Taftan

Taftan links Balochistan with Iran. It is located in the Chagai District. Taftan is the legal border between Pakistan and Iran. If you do not wish to cross the border, then you can go on a desert safari. However the area is not safe and people are advised not to venture out alone or too far. Carrying food supplies and plenty of water is also recommended.

4. Sibi

Sibi is located 163 km from Quetta. Historically its importance cannot be denied as it has seen conquerors like Alexander, The Arabs, Mahmud Ghaznavi and many others. Present day Sibi was founded by the British in 1903. Sibi is mostly known for its extremely hot weather and the annual cattle fair held in February.

Mehrgarh ruins in Baluchistan-The oldest in the lot

Mehrgarh Mohenjodaro, Sindh

Up till the 1970s, Moen Jo Daro and Harappa were considered to be the oldest civilization of Pakistan but the discovery of the 9000 year old Mehrgarh ruins in Balochistan showed that the two places were comparatively young. The site was excavated from 1974 till 1986 with the help of a team of French archeologists.

Mehrgarh is located at the foothills of Balochistan near the Bolan Pass. The Bolan River must have been the lifeline of the settlement. The settlement consisted of four mounds and was spread over an area of 495 acres. It can be divided into seven periods. The earliest period belonged to the Neolithic (later stone age) era. The settlers were farmers as many bone and stone faming implements were discovered Evidence of livestock rearing was also found. The people lived in simple mud houses and had also built a granary to store grains. The dead were buried along with the articles of use. The archeologists also found ornaments made of sandstone, sea shells, turquoise and lapis lazuli. Rough figurines of women and animals were discovered too. Excavations show that the world’s first dental drilling was said to be done in this era.

The residents of the later period were more into skills and crafts. These skills became refined with time and kilns, copper melting crucibles and stone and copper drills were unearthed. The figurines of this era were better and adorned with paints and ornaments. Glazed beads were also found. The dead were smeared with red ocher (pigment) and the number of articles buried with the dead was less and mostly restricted to ornaments.

It is believed that the settlers of Mehrgarh left for the much fertile lands of the Indus Valley between 2600 BCE to 2000 BCE when the climate of Balochistan became unfavorable.

Quetta city – 7 Tourist Attractions

by on October 31, 2009
in Travel Pakistan

HANNA LAKE & URAK VALLEY Pakistan, Quetta

Quetta the capital city of Balochistan province Pakistan is situated at a height of 1654 meters above sea level. The city is surrounded by unyielding hills and has been rightly named Quetta meaning the fort. The silent sentinels are Chiltan, Zarghoon, Takatoo, and Mordar Hills.

Quetta lies at the mouth of the Bolan Pass which has served as an entrance to South Asia since times immemorial. Because of its key location, Quetta is still an important city. Its close proximity to the neighboring countries of Iran and Afghanistan makes it an important trade centre. It is well connected to the other cities of Pakistan through a network of roads.

The city has many visitors during summer while those who enjoy a good snowfall come here during winter. The major attractions of Quetta city are:

1. The Chiltan Hazarganji National Park

The Park provides sanctuary to many endangered species of wildlife especially to the Markhor, the wild goats. It is situated some 20 km from Quetta and has picnic spots and a museum for the visitors.

2. Hanna Lake

Against the backdrop of the rugged hills, the clear blue water of Hanna Lake is a treat for sore eyes. It is one of the most visited picnic spots of Quetta.

3. The Urak Valley

At a distance of 22 km from Quetta lies the Urak Valley, the land of orchards. A large variety of fruits such as apricots, apples, pomegranates, etc is grown here. The waterfall at the other end of the valley makes it all the more appealing.

4. The Museum

The Museum is located on Fifa Road and here you can see a fine display of antique firearms, swords and rare manuscripts. Artifacts from Meharghar the earliest known civilization are also exhibited here as are the Stone Age tools and pottery.

5. Askari Park

It is a famous recreational and amusement park situated at the Airport Road.

6. Karkhasa

This is another recreational park situated 11 km west of Quetta. It is known for the variety of plant life. Different kinds of birds are also seen here.

7. Bazars

The famous handicrafts of Balochistan can be purchased from the colorful bazaars of Quetta. The Kandhari Bazaar and the Liaquat Bazaar are especially worth mentioning. Apart from clothing items with intricate embroidery and delicate mirror work, you can also buy rugs, woolen mats, shoes and leather items.

Hazarganji Chiltan National Park Baluchistan

Hazarganji Chiltan National Park Pakistan

The Hazarganji National Park was established in 1980 to provide protection to the Markhor goats whose number was dwindling at an alarming rate. Markhor incidentally is the national animal of Pakistan. The Park is situated 20kms south west of Quetta and covers a total area of 325000 acres. The Chiltan Hills and the Hazar Ganji Range lie in the east and west respectively hence the name. This national park is considered as one of the most important reasons for which people visit Quetta.

The Chiltan Hazarganji National Park is very popular among tourists. Besides the peaceful environs, the park also has a museum, rest house and picnic spots to entertain the visitors.

The Park was established primarily to save the Markhor (wild goats). The number of Markhors has increased ever since the establishment of the park. Five kinds of Markhors found here. Other animals in this protected zone are Urial sheep, Indian wolf, Striped hyena, Red fox, leopard, jackal, porcupine and desert hare.

A variety of birds like bearded vultures, golden eagles, partridges, warbles, falcons, hawks, Houbara bustard are either found here or are frequent visitors.

Python, Cobra, Monitor and other wild lizards, Afghan tortoise, Russell Viper and Levantine are the creatures from the reptile kingdom to be seen here.

7 Wonders of Ziarat

Juniper forests in Ziarat Pakistan

Ziarat is the soul of Balochistan. It is a place of juniper forests, lush green valleys, singing cascades, hills and orchards. Visitors throng Ziarat during summers to seek comfort in its cool, pleasant climate. Winters are rather harsh with much of the area covered with snow. Some features which draw people to this wonderful place are:

1. The Juniper Forests

The juniper forests of Ziarat are reputed to be the 2nd largest juniper forests in the world with an area of 247,000 acres. Some of the trees are believed to be 5000 years old.

Besides juniper you can also see chinar, walnut and almond trees in the valley. A wide variety of flora and fauna are found here. You can also find herbs of medicinal value. The valley is known for its honey and the extra ordinarily large flowers.

2. The Ziarat Residency

Ziarat has the honor of playing host to the Quaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the last days of his life. The two storey wooden house where the Quaid stayed is called Ziarat Residency. It is surrounded by trees and garden laden with flowers. Its hilly location has made it all the more alluring. Ziarat Residency has now been converted to a National Monument and the things used by the Quaid are displayed here.

3. Chashma Walk

It is a mile long stretch of land popular among hikers and nature lovers. It takes you to the springs (chashma) which provide water to the valley.

4. Prospect Point

Situated 6 km from Ziarat is the well known picnic spot from where people can get a spectacular view of the valley. Although it can be reached by road, many people prefer to walk there enjoying the natural beauty around them.

5. The Valleys

Ziarat is dotted with lush green valleys. As there are no proper roads, these valleys can be accessed through jeeps. After a rough ride you are rewarded with cool pure scented air, apple orchards, greenery and in some places, a clear blue lake. Zizri, Mana, Karvi Kach and Zindra are some valleys worth mentioning.

6. The Gorges

Most of Balochistan is dry and barren with scant rainfall. However nature has its own way of watering its forests and orchards. There are numerous springs which fall through the narrow openings in the mountains. The gorges around Ziarat are Sandeman Tangi, Chautair Tangi, Kahn Tangi, Fern Tangi and Kawas Tangi. Tourists usually visit these gorges for picnics and to enjoy the sound of music made by the falling water.

7. Mount Khilafat

It is 3487 meters high. Its snow capped peak invites people but the route is pretty difficult.

If you are inclined towards spirituality, you can visit the shrine of Kharwari Baba. The apple and black cherry orchards of Ziarat are also worth visiting.

Rest Houses and motels have been setup by the government and PTDC for tourists comfort. However its is recommended to make reservations before hand.

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