Balochistan (region)

Balochistan (region)

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Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

 in the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 in Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

; it includes part of southeastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, western Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and southwestern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The area is named after the numerous Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 tribes, Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 who moved into the area from the west around 1000 AD. All natives are considered Balochi even if they do not speak the Balochi language
Balochi language
Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch of Balochistan, Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. It is also spoken as a second language by some Brahui. It is designated as one of nine official languages of Pakistan.-Vowels:The Balochi vowel...

; Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and Brahui languages are also spoken in the region. The southern part of Balochistan is known as Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

.

Landscape and ecology


Balochistan's landscape is composed of barren, rugged mountains and fertile land. During the summer, some regions of Balochistan are the hottest. Most of the land is barren, particurarly in the Iranian and Afghan side of the region, and it is generally sparsely populated. In the south Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

 lies the desert through which Alexander the Great passed with great difficulty.

Agriculture in the region is based on the cultivation of kharif or winter crops. Cultivation is often located in alluvial fans, along river-courses, and in fertile areas which are maintained through artificial irrigation systems such as qanat
Qanat
A qanāt is a water management system used to provide a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid and semi-arid climates...

s (holes sunk in the ground to trap water) and gabarbands (low stone and earth mounds which create raised beds which, in turn, become saturated by rainfall and water run-off from the surrounding hills). In the southern Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

 and oasis region (south of the Chagai Hills
Chagai Hills
The Chagai Hills is a range of granite hills in the Chagai District in Pakistan's Balochistan province.-Location:The Chagai Hills lie in a desert area in the northernmost part of Chagai District north of Pakistan's Ras Koh Hills and south of Afghanistan's Helmand and Nimruz provinces.- Topography...

) the date palm is grown and cultivated. Orange orchards are also typical in southern Balochistan, particularly Jhalawan
Jhalawan
Jhalawan was established in the 17th century and its boundary was fixed with Sindh in 1853. The country was south of Kalat State, north of the Sarawan, west of the Kachi and Sindh and east of the Kharan and Makran. Jhalawan has important valleys of Baluchistan, such as Kalat, Gidar, Baghwana,...

 and Sarawan
Sarawan
Saravan is the title of the head of Brahui and Baloch tribes in Balocistan, Pakistan.-See also:* Sarawan Country an area in Balochistan* Saravan...

.

History


The earliest evidence of occupation in Balochistan is dated to the Paleolithic, represented by hunting camps and lithic scatters (chipped and flaked stone tools). The earliest settled villages in Balochistan date to the ceramic Neolithic (c. 7000-6000 BCE), including the sites of Mehrgarh (located in the Kachi Plain, east of Quetta) and Kile Gull Mohammad. These villages expanded in size during the subsequent Chalcolithic, while interaction was amplified. This involved the movement of finished goods and raw materials, including chank shell
Turbinella
Turbinella is a genus of large sea snails with a gill and an operculum, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Turbinellidae. These species are sometimes known as "chanks" or "chank shells"...

, Lapis lazuli, turquoise and ceramics. By 2500 BCE (the Bronze Age) Balochistan became part of the Harappan
Harappan
Harappan can refer to:* Aspects related to Harappa an archaeological site and city in northeast Pakistan* The Indus Valley Civilization that thrived along Indus River...

 cultural orbit, providing key resources to the expansive settlements of the Indus river basin to the east.

From the 1st century to the 3rd century AD, the region was ruled by the Pāratarājas
Paratarajas
The Pāratarājas were a dynasty of Indo-Scythian kings who ruled in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan and Iran, from the 1st century to the 3rd century CE....

 (lit. "Pārata Kings"), a dynasty of Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings. The dynasty of the Pāratas is thought to be identical with the Pāradas of the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, the Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

 and other vedic and Iranian sources.

They are essentially known through their coins, which typically exhibit the bust of the ruler on the obverse, with long hair within a headband), and a Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 fire alter on the reverse (usually silver coins) or Kharoshthi (usually copper coins). The coins can mainly be found in Loralai
Loralai
Loralai is the principal city of Loralai District in the northeast of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. It was formerly known as Bori. It is four thousand seven hundred feet above the sea level....

 in western Pakistan.

Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 in 450 BC describes the Paraitakenoi as a tribe ruled by Deiokes, a Persian king, in northwestern Persia (History I.101). Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

 describes how Alexander the Great encountered the Pareitakai in Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 and Sogdiana
Sogdiana
Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

, and had them conquered by Craterus
Craterus
Craterus was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi.He was the son of a Macedonian nobleman named Alexander from Orestis and brother of admiral Amphoterus. Craterus commanded the phalanx and all infantry on the left wing in Battle of Issus...

 (Anabasis Alexandrou IV). The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

 (1st century AD) describes the territory of the Paradon beyond the Ommanitic region, on the coast of modern Balochistan.

During the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 conquest of the Persian empire in the 8th century, Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world and many settled in Balochistan and its tributary state until the rise of the Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. Numerous Baloch tribes, an Iranian people, moved into the area from the west in the 11th century to escape the Seljuk Turks. Western Balochistan was conquered by Iran in the 19th century, and its boundary was fixed in 1872. Omani influence waned in the east and Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

's last possession, Gwadar
Gwadar
Gwadar also known as Godar is a developing port city on the southwestern Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan. It is the district headquarters of Gwadar District in Balochistan province and has a population of approximately 50,000.Gwadar is strategically located at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the...

, was bought by Pakistan in 1958. In 1998, Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

Secessionist movements

  • Baloch Republican Army
    Baloch Republican Army
    The Baloch Republican Army is a Baloch secessionist organization which began attacks on Pakistani security forces and infrastructure on 5 July 2007. Their prime targets are individuals of Pakistani Armed Forces, international oil companies, Pakistan Railways and electricity infrastructure...

  • Balochistan Liberation Army
    Balochistan Liberation Army
    The Balochistan Liberation Army is a terrorist group based in Balochistan, a mountainous region within southern Iran and Pakistan. The organization is a participant in the Balochistan conflict and strives to establish an independent state of Balochistan, free of Pakistani and Iranian rule...

  • Jundallah
    Jundallah
    Jundallah, or Jondollah , also known as People's Resistance Movement of Iran , is an organization based in Balochistan that claims to be fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran. It was founded by Abdolmalek Rigi who was captured and executed in Iran in 2010...

  • Parrari
    Parrari
    Parrari or Parari was founded by Sher Mohammad Marri in the 1962. The Parrari resistance began in Marri tribal region and spread to other parts of Baluchistan. The Parraris had volunteers which ambuhed convoys and raided Pakistani Military camps, which in answer Pakistani Army air bombardments...

  • Partisans of National Liberation of Afghanistan
    Partisans of National Liberation of Afghanistan
    Partisans of National Liberation of Afghanistan or Front of Nimruz was founded in the 1979 in Nimruz province of Afghanistan, and led by Abdul Karim Brahui and Gul Mohammad Rahimi....

  • Popular Front for Armed Resistance
    Popular Front for Armed Resistance
    Popular Front for Armed Resistance, or PFAR, was founded in 1960s and active until 1973 in Pakistan. It was run by Baluchi tribal separatist groups, which carry out serial bomb attacks. In 1974 at Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the group announced and end to the insurgency, which had by that time claimed the...


See also


  • Balochistan, Pakistan
  • Sistan and Baluchistan Province
    Sistan and Baluchistan Province
    Sistan and Baluchestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southeast of the country, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and its capital is Zahedan....

  • Balochistan (Afghanistan)
    Balochistan (Afghanistan)
    Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region that includes part of southern and southwestern Afghanistan. It extends into southeastern Iran and western Pakistan and is named after the Baloch people.-Geography:...

  • Balochistan conflict
    Balochistan conflict
    The Balochistan conflict is an ongoing conflict between Baloch nationalists and the Government of Pakistan over Balochistan, the country's largest province...

  • Mehrgarh
    Mehrgarh
    Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

  • Bolan Pass
    Bolan Pass
    The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

  • Seistan Force
    Seistan Force
    The Seistan Force, originally called East Persia Cordon, was a force of British Indian Army troops set up to prevent enemy infiltration from Persia into Afghanistan during World War I. The force was established to protect British interests in Persia from subversion by German agents, most notably...

  • Balouch rug
    Balouch rug
    Baluch rugs are woven near the South-Eastern border of Iran and in Western regions of Afghanistan. Being of tribal and often nomadic origin the Baluch rugs are generally small in size, typically limited to a length of 8 ft....

  • Kakazai
    Kakazai
    The Kakazai , also known as Loye Mamund , are a Pashtun tribe originally from the Laghman province of Afghanistan.They came to South Asia during Afghan invasions such as those of Mahmud of Ghazni, settling in various regions....