My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with an area of 347056 sq Km covering over 40% of the country’s land mass. The country traces its history from times immemorial. Before the birth of Christ, it had commerce and trade with ancient civilization of Babylon through Iran and into the valleys of Tigris and Euphrates. Alexander the Great also had an encounter with the Serbia tribe of Balochistan. 
Here in this ancient yet immensely beautiful land lies Hingol which has been identified as an area of global significance for its diverse ecosystems, endangered wildlife and importance as a winter habitat for migratory birds.

·

HINGOL NATIONAL PARK & ITS WILDLIFE 

·

WoP research desk

 ·

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with an area of 347056 sq Km covering over 40% of the country’s land mass. The country traces its history from times immemorial. Before the birth of Christ, it had commerce and trade with ancient civilization of Babylon through Iran and into the valleys of Tigris and Euphrates. Alexander the Great also had an encounter with the Serbia tribe of Balochistan.

Muhammad Bin Qasim and Mehmood Ghaznavi also invaded Balochistan resulting in the development of Muslim character. Even today most tribal people of the province resemble Arabs and the inhabitants can be quite a fascinating subject of study by anthropologists.

Balochistan is a land of contrasts. It has places with rugged mountains like Chiltan, Takatu, Sulaiman, Sultan etc. and plains stretching hundreds of miles. It has fertile land such as in Nasirabad and the tracks which are thirsty for centuries in the Pat section of Sibi district and the Makran desert zone. It has the hottest place in the country like Sibi and has towns with relatively cooler climate such as Quetta, Ziarat, Kan Mehtarzai and Kallat where temperature in winter goes much below freezing point and the areas remain under a thick cover of snow.

These contrasts in Balochistan’s topography are beautifully depicted in a Balochi war song:

“The mountains are the Balochi’s forts;

The peaks are better than any army;

The lofty heights are our comrades;

The pathless gorges our friends.

Our drink is from the flowing springs; our bed the thorny bush; the ground we make our pillow.”

Here in this very land of contrast lies the gem of Balochistan, the Hingol National Park.

About 100km southwest of Bela (although best accessed from Sindh via the Makran Coastal Highway) is the 619, 043-hectare Hingol National Park. The park is on the Hingol River along the SindhBalochistan border and is home to marsh crocodiles, Olive Ridley turtles, leopards, Persian wild goats, hyenas, spot-billed pelicans and the Houbara bustard.

Hingol has been identified as an area of global significance for its diverse ecosystems, endangered wildlife and importance as a winter habitat for migratory birds.

The park is beautiful but very remote, and can be reached best by 4WD via the town of Aghor. [It is strongly recommended that before you chalk out your plan for a visit to the Park, check with the PTDC in Quetta before travelling].

 Included also in park is the Hindu pilgrimage site of Hinglaj, the site of a carnival (fair) held in March /April every year. The shrine, is dedicated to the ‘goddess’ known as Nani to the Muslims and Parvati, Kali or Mata to the Hindus. The Chandragup mud volcano, also sacred to the Hindus, lies across the coastal highway towards the beach. The shrine is the holiest among the 51 Shakti Peeths of Hinduism. It is a 15km trek from the main road. There is also a dirt track that leads to the site. Several thousand pilgrims visit the shrine each year.

The Park is spread over an area of about 1,650 square km² along the Makran Coast of Balochistan, is the largest of the National Parks of Pakistan. Located approximately 190 kilometres from Karachi, the area was for the first time declared a reserved park area in 1988. It covers parts of the three districts of Lasbela, Gawader and Awaran of Balochistan province containing a variety of topographical features and vegetation, varying from arid sub tropical forest in the north to arid Mountain in the west. Large tracts of the Park are covered with drift sand and can be classified as coastal semi desert. The National Park includes the estuary of the Hingol river which supports a significant diversity of bird and fish species.

The Hungol valley has fantastic scenery of towering cliffs, pinnacles and buttresses, with the river winding in between. Some 350 miles in length, the Hungol is Balochistan’s longest river. Unlike most other streams in Balochistan which only flow during rare rains, the Hungol always has water flowing the year round. The water is crystal–clear, reflecting the incredible blue of the sky, presenting beautiful picture–postcard scenery. Both the valley and the Hungol river are located in Hungol National Park.

Hingol is known to support threatened invertebrates in addition to a variety of bird species. The River Hingol has been nurturing crocodiles for centuries. The Marsh Crocodile, Olive Ridley and Green Marine Turtles, endemic and threatened species of fish, such as the Mahasheer occur and schools of Plumbeous Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are known from close in-shore areas.

The park is also an excellent habitat to wild animals including over 3000 ibexes, and 1500 Urials and more than 1200 Chinkara, besides number of resident and migratory birds. The Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), Dalmatian and Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) are regular visitors to the area.

Blandford’s Urial

Mammals in the park include Sindh Leopard, Indian Fox, Jungle Cat, Jackals, Sind Wild Goat, Blandford’s Urial, Chinkara Gazelle, Honey Badger, Indian Pangolin, Hedgehog, Porcupine, Indian Grey Mongoose, Cairo Spiny mouse and the Rock Mouse. As for the birds, Houbara Bustard, Dalmatian and Spot-billed Pelican, Lagger Falcon, Red-headed merlin, Kestrel, Grey Partridge, See See Partridge, , Eagle owl , Sind pied woodpecker, Hume’s chat, Brown rock pipit, Striped Buning, Finche Larks, Hoopoe, Shrikes and Wheatears. Beside Bonnelli’s, Imperial Tawny and Golden Eagle are also found here. There are three varieties of vultures, namely Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and the Cinereous Vulture. As for sand grouse, there are many varieties like Stone Curlew, Indian, Coroneted, Painted and Close-Barred Sand Grouse.

Left: The Golden Eagle

The wet and muddy patches are home to Marsh Crocodile, Olive Ridley and Green Marine Turtles, Desert Monitor lizard, Yellow Monitor lizard, and different species of lizard and chameleon.

Right: Cinereous Vulture

With such a priceless treasure trove of wildlife, there is a need that the status of the Park as such be maintained, as some years ago when there was a rush by the Seths of Karachi and Punjab to buy land in Gwadar, the prices shot up in the surrounding areas as well. So certain land grabbers set eyes on the land which forms an integral part of the park and its wildlife. Even our defense establishment did not lag behind to purchase certain parts of the park to carve up into air and naval bases there.

Marsh Crocodiles

With the ongoing insurgency in the province, the trend has to certain extent been halted, yet the need still does exist to maintain the status of the park because there is every chance that once the normalcy is restored in the area, the land grabbers will jump once again and deprive the nation of a unique storehouse of an unmatchable species of birds, animals and reptiles found nowhere else in the world.

Desert Monitor Lizard

 Green Marine Turtle

Note: This report is based on information collected from different sources on the net.

Related Posts:

1. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of Environment 2. Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity
Images: Title Image (1) and (2), (3) , (4) to (9)

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan uses copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.


About these ads

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/my-beautiful-pakistan-the-land-of-balochistan/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [...] 1. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan [...]

  2. No Doubt that Balochistan has its own beauty due to its Mountains and Plains, but I think because of its dryness and hot climate people do not prefer to go there for recreation!!

    • Balochistan is indeed a magnificent province with its beautiful mountains and landscape. Its climate is dry, but even this dry climate boasts many spectacular places under its fold. Balochistan deserts and mountains have an immense wealth of unique plants and animals.
      But then there are also places of refreshing environment. Ziarat for example is a place that’s very cool in summer and with its juniper forests one wanders in the plant world hardly found anywhere else.

  3. [...] My beautiful Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan, 2. The Wonders of Deosai Plains 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan, 4. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple, 5. Pakistan, A Treasure Trove of Wonders. [...]

  4. Well described and very well photographed. I wonder if Urial is a relative of our national animal Markhor, both come from Baluchistan.

    Once while visiting Ziarat I came across in a nearby valley adjacent to Ziarat khankah [after which the name is given] , overlooking Harnai, where there was a vry strong flavour of garam masalah. And out of the bushes rose thousands of butterflies, which were small in size, sort of metallic colour and swarming like clouds. I have never seen so many butterflies in my life ever.
    I wonder if you deliberately left out fauna of this area. For example, the juniper trees. Also the tea plantation experiment and zaafran. But then I understand one cannot touch every thng.

    • You are right. The fauna and flora of Balochistan particularly in the Ziarat area is unique. But the subject is so vast that one cannot cover all the aspects during a short visit. Though I have been visiting different areas of Balochistan but all of these visits were for a short period only and in such short periods its simply not possible to do justice to one’s reportage what to speak of different subjects all of which do require a separate comprehensive reporting. As you mentioned you too have been to such colorful places in Balochistan [which in itself could be an interesting read for those who have never been to such beautiful spots right in our own homeland], I would request you to do a bit and I wall be most pleased to put this up on the pages of this site.

      As regards Urial and Matrkhor, both belong to the same category of ungates [the hoofed animals] including the domesticated as well as wild goats. Urial and Markhor belong to the later type. Their progeny goes to the impressive Marco Polo sheep, its smaller relative the Urial, Siberian ibex and Markhor. Urial inhabits the Indus Jehlum basins, Markhor loves the highlands.

      *

  5. AoA
    My Pakistan is beautiful and Balochistan is a part of this beautiful Pakistan. It is also beautiful. You’re doing very good work, very good effort indeed. Please do promote tourism in Pakistan, as its need of the hour. As you know tourism is an industry and this industry is very much needed to give a boost to the country’s economy. So please do take this aspect into consideration and its impact on us, Pakistanis. I did Master of Commerce from the BZU University Multan, Pakistan. May you live long and may my Pakistan, my Balochistan, and my Occupied Kashmir live long. Amen!

    • Thanx Sohaib for appreciating our efforts. Yes we do believe Tourism is a sector which not only can boost our economy but can also help us control the evil of terrorism, that’s why we say ‘tourism not terrorism’. We at Wonders of Pakistan do our little bit, as much as we can and we do so on the blogosphere and other forums, and hope that soon the day will come when Pakistan would be able to unleash all the tremendous possibilities it has in the realm of tourism.
      As regards Kashmir, we do believe that Kashmir is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan which should amicably be settled between the two countries, but primarily it is the will of the people of Kashmir on both sides of the line of control which should firmly be reflected in any settlement reached on the issue of Kashmir. Whatever do they decide, must be respected by both India and Pakistan.

  6. Hi, Kashmir belongs to us. India is enemy of Pakistan.

  7. Everything you wrote about Balochistan is beautiful except the part that is part of Pakistan. I truly believe you are articulate and well intended person, but please know that we the Baloch never were, and never will be part of Pakistan because this Pakistan was created out of nowhere with no history or culture, bits and pieces here and there. But Balochistan has a distinct history and civilization that goes back to thousands of year, therefore you can’t call it part of the land of Pakistan. Pakistan is only Punjab..that’s all, that’s all. By the way (Baluchistan) is the correct spelling.
    Long live free and independent Baluchistan
    Fatema

    • Balochistan was, is and will always remain (Insha Allah) a part of Pakistan. The land now called Pakistan did not emerge only as a sudden, political urge or surge by Muslims of undivided India (which actually is a subcontinent inhabiting many nations, many regions and many communities). It did take its shape thousands of years ago when the whole world did not know even the word we call civilisation.
      It was primarily the Mehgarh area of Balochistan that the world learnt of a human settlement on the planet earth. Please see our series of posts on this subject: Mehrgarh: The Lost Civilisation (in four parts).

      http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/mehrgarh-the-lost-civilisation/

      Later the Mehrgarhians moved to relatively more fertile areas in Sindh and Punjab culminating later in to Harrapa and Moejodaro (The two ramifications of the early Indus Valley Civilisation). Through many millenia, all the five federating units which are now part of Pakistan were geographically, historically as well as culturally all a part of the Great Indus Valley Civilsation.

      Barring the geographic anomalies, the divided boundaries which are a result of the cruel fallout of 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent, the five provinces of Pakistan are but a natural, cohesive and integral unit, not now, not in 1947 but throughout the history have had a common destiny.

      Due to myopic, bigoted and self centred politicians (both in the Khaki and the civvies) injustices have been done to the people of Balochistan. And mind this, it is not restricted only to Balochi speaking inhabitants of the province but it also includes other Balochis like Pashtuns, Hazaras, setllers etc. And it applies equally to all other provinces in Pakistan. But as it is, injustice leads first to discontent, then to resentment, a disappointment and then finally to insurrection. That’s what we see in Balochistan of today.

      But you are utterly wrong to say that Pakistan was created in bits and pieces (some here, some there as you say).

      Let me summarise for you how the different federating units that now form part of Pakistan, democratically joined the federation.

      Punjab as we all know has always been part of the land we now call Pakistan. Sindh as an adjacent province unanimously called for joining the state of Pakistan. The KPK became a part of this land after a democratically held referendum when majority of its population decided to join Pakistan. As regards Balochistan, the Baloch leaders like Qazi Eesa, the Khan of Kalat and Nawab Akbar Bughti, all of them opted for Pakistan. Injustice was, however done in case of Kalat. It was because in the post Jinnah period the nincompoops who by sheer dint of their good luck, but to the bad luck of the people of Pakistan, got power, did neither know the art of statecraft nor did they have any idea of the regional, national or economic aspirations of the masses of Pakistan.
      (to be continued….)

      • They were not the leaders. They were sheer oppressors, of Pakistani masses, irrespective of the province to which they belonged. The military actions in 1948, 1962, 1975, and 2005 were taken to insult the Baloch brethren. They have been treated like a colony and they have done this to the peoples of Punjab, Sindh, KPK, GB, FATA, and PATA in the same manner as they done this to the people of Balochistan.

        I do believe that the situation is different than the other provinces and, therefore, the federation of Pakistan needs to undergo a new socio-political contract with the peoples of Balochistan. This, however, does not mean that the people who are being misled in the name of ‘fake’ independence should start labelling the ‘fake’ as genuine independence.

        It is in this very context that veteran Baloch leader Sardar Ata ullah Khan Mengal warned the Baloch brethren not to be duped by the so called liberation, for once this is achieved, there will be slavery under the cloak of liberation. You can fight against Islamabad but to fight against the imperialist led Washington/London democracies is another story.

        Our Baloch brethren fighting on the mountains against Islamabad should not be unaware of the liberation the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are now enjoying under the yoke of Uncle Sam and John Bull.

        Baloch brethren ought to know what happened with the Chechnyan freedom fighters who were pampered by the CIA to first pressurise the Russians. In those days the Chechnyans were the freedom fighters, the Mujahideen, as they were in Afghanistan in the 1980’s war against the former USSR. But once the US pampered Chechnyans intensified their war of liberation, the Russians under the circumstances agreed to accept the American terms, and the CIA pulled the rug under the feet of the Chechnyans. In a nu the same Chehnyan freedom fighters were labelled by the CIA as terrorists.

        [I would recommend you read an excellent post on the situation in Balochistan, which my dear friend Peter Chamberlin put up on the subject. Here is the link].

        http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/shaitan-is-smiling-in-balochistan/

        The same policy was adopted in case of Kurd freedom fighters. As we know the Kurds are scattered in different countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey etc. When the Bushies wanted to pressurise Saddam they sponsored the Kurdish separatists against Iraq. However when Iraq was subdued through a military inetervention, the same Kurds were ditched as before. They still are fighting with no liberation in sight.

        The intentions were never there to help achieve the real liberation for the people of Kurdistan but to occupy the oil rich region in Iraq which is mainly in the Kurdish areas.

        Same policy is being adopted to pressurise the central government in Pakistan. More firm the GHQ and the Zardari/Gilani stand in denying the support to Washington in its fake war on terrror, more pressure will be exerted on Islamabad through clandestine support to ‘the liberation armies’ fighting for an ‘independent’ Balochistan. As it was in case of Iraq, as it was the case in Afghanistan or in Chechnya or in any other country where Washington seems to have resistance against its hegemonistic policies, the principal aim will never be to allow independent states, regions until and unless it fits into its frame work of a realpolitik. And this independence too will be dependent till the time the regions or countries who secure ‘independence’, blindly follow the course set by Washington or its henchmen in the so called liberated lands. So the so called independent Balochistan will be a vassal state serving the cause of international conglomertaes who will prostitute the riches of Balochistan. Some minor percentage would be doled out to their local lackeys, the Baloch sardars. But as far as the people of Balochistan are concerned, they will remain as poor as before.

        You spell Balochistan as Baluchistan. In the whole of Pakistan (and I travel a lot everywhere in Pakistan) the term Baluchistan is unknown. Baloch themselves call Baloch and not Baluch.

        As we all know our Fauji bhais spell the Baloch as Baluch [Balooch], a legacy of the British Raj and our army having been intoned by the British, still keeps using the old but a wrong pronouncition of the proud, intrepid Baloch.

        The term having been the legacy of the cruel Bristish Raj, we have switched back to the original name Balochistan and Baloch and not Baluch (pronounced Balooch) for the people living in that area.

    • Balochistan was, is and will always remain with Pakistan (Insha’ ALLAH) becoz it is the land of Pakistan. People of Balochistan as well as the rest of Pakistan are all brothers in faith and sons/daughters of one and the same motherland. They all will prosper together as their unity is their strength. We all as Muslims have one culture, one civilization and one history, which is reflected through our religion i.e. ISLAM. Nothing and nothing else…

  8. [...] My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 2.Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 3. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of [...]

  9. [...] Trees and Us 2. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 3. Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 4. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of [...]

  10. [...] don’t care about their trees  2. Trees and Us 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 5.  Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of [...]

  11. LONG LIVE FREE BALOCHISTAN <3

  12. [...] 1.My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 2.Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 3. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of Environment [...]

  13. [...] Batty About Bats In 2011-2012 4. Of Birds, Rivers and Greed 5. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 6. Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of [...]

  14. [...] My beautiful Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan, 2. The Wonders of Deosai Plains 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan, 4. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple, 5. Pakistan, A Treasure Trove of Wonders. [...]

  15. Balochistan is the future of Pakistan … enriched with the huge mineral resources and an 800 km long coastal belt, adds much more to its importance. Recent survey reports show that the province has rich resources of oil and gas and these can fulfill the energy needs of the country for the next two hundred years.
    In the current, prevailing scenario its strategic position is vital for ruling the economy and the resources of the world. The sea route of the Balochistan coast is supposed to be the transportation route that would support the world’s forth total share of transportation of total goods.
    World’s second largest copper reserves deposit also lie int he same province, else then that it has great potential in tourism, agricultural, fishing, and in livestock sector.. this is a golden land.

  16. I love Balochistan because of its beauty,culture,heritage and wildlife.

  17. [...] Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two parts] 5. Mehrgarh: The Lost Civilisation [in four [...]

  18. Beautiful landscape – wild country. Growing up in Pakistan to become an informed citizen is no easy feat. The country is accompanied by its fair share of ignorance and bias against Israel and the West as exists in the West towards the Middle East and South Asia.

    In a land of military dictatorships, anti- Western propaganda and a much detested YouTube ban (Pakistanis normally can’t access favorite item numbers or 10 Minute World History, forget anti- Mohammad videos), Pakistan’s citizens really have to make informing themselves a priority. We think of America as a country softened and destroyed by consumerism and pop-culture, but the Pakistani people have their fair share of opiates that they are systematically befuddled through as well.

    The country could be a ecotourism paradise.
    Pakistanis should inform themselves better – know more about their own trials and tribulations – India, Kashmir, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, USA, Talibans,Ms.Malala and the violence within the society.

  19. […] Pingback: My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan « Wonders of Pakistan […]

  20. […] Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two parts] 5. Mehrgarh: The Lost Civilisation [in four […]

  21. […] Balochistan [in five parts]  2. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 4. I too want to go on Hinglaj Yatra [in two parts] 5. Mehrgarh: The Lost Civilisation [in four […]

  22. […] 1.My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 2.Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 3. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of Environment […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32,070 other followers

%d bloggers like this: