Balochistan, The Treasure
Dr M Ali Hamza

Balochistan is recognized for long coastal belt that spreads over 990 KM, starts from Karachi through Sonmiani, Ormara, Kalmat, Pasni, Gwadar, Jiwani and all the way up to Iran. It is also popular for its hill tops and rugged mountainous terrain. Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, comprising 44% of the country’s land mass. The province is an important cultural center in the region with its diverse landmarks for instance, quickly developing futuristic industrial and shipping activity port city the Gwadar, desert safari of Taftan, the ferry service on coastal belt, the parks and restaurants in Chaman and the hotels and open recreation spots in Jiwani, Pasni, Ormara, Ziarat and Zarghoon provide a diverse blend to the tourist experience in Balochistan.  Moreover the Govt. of Balochistan has spent Rs250 million on the establishment of five beach parks at the coastal belt, in a bid to unlock the potential of tourism sector of the province. The provincial government has formulated Balochistan Coastal Development Authority to regulate the commercial activities and ensure modern facilities in the area.

Firstly allow me to introduce the top trending tourists’ attraction spots. So let us begin with Hanna Lake. This lake is hardly at a 40 minutes’ drive from Quetta city; a place worth visiting to have some peaceful time away from ones hectic routine. This place is ideal to visit with friends and family for some fun and serenity. Hingol National Park is a treasure to behold; even the photos cannot capture the essence of the place. The statue of the Princess of Hope is a tiny speck compared to the grandeur of the ancient palaces near it, carved and majestically looking over the road as you pass. From the beautiful, clean beaches to the awe inspiring mud volcano the trip to Hingol National Park is a wonderful treasure of Pakistan. On way to the Hingol National Park and also a little beyond are some amazing beaches of Balochistan which are worth seeing too. Sapat Beach is located about 220 km from Karachi at Lasbela district, Balochistan, Pakistan. The beach is home to a curious rock formation called Bujih Koh – a steep cliff rising from the sand entirely on its own. It’s separated from the cliff wall that stretches along the coast connecting the beach between its rocky embrace and the sea. The entire beach is home to a healthy colony of crabs. Another interesting feature of this beach is that there are some caves on the cliffs. The beach is an entirely different entity at night. On full-moon nights, when the rays strike the surf of the incoming waves, they almost seem to glow. Luckily Pakistan also has bioluminescence (the biochemical emission of light by living organisms such as glow-worms and deep-sea fish) at Sapat beach in Balochistan. Hinglaj Mata Shakti Peetha is one of the three Shakti Peethas (significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism: the goddess-focused Hindu tradition) in Pakistan. It is one of the Shakti Peethas of the Hindu goddess Sati. Its situated in narrow gorge on the banks of the Hingol River. Over the last three decades the place has gained increasing popularity and became a unifying point of reference for Pakistan’s many Hindu communities. It is four to five hours drive from Karachi on a newly build Makran coastal highway. Next fascinating attraction is Gondrani Cave, that  is a site 20 km to the north of the ancient town of Bela and 175 km from Karachi, in Lasbella District of Balochistan. The town is also known as the Cave City of Lasbella, the Cave Dwellings of Gondrani, the House of the Spirits, and the town of Mai Goudrani. Ormara Beach  situated near Ormara city in Balochistan has amazing and breathtaking views and highly suitable place for a night in camps alongside campfire.

This is not it. There are plenty more places that can seize the moment like Pir Ghaib Falls, Bolan. This is an awe-inspiring view of Pir Ghaib, Balochistan. Locals here believe in the myth of the Invisible Saint (Pir Ghaib), 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. A tourism deprived sight Moola Chotok, Khuzdar used to be under the stronghold of sub-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. The calm and peaceful Ziarat is marked by the residency of the father of nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jannah. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent his days of affliction in this wooden cottage in Ziarat, Balochistan. Definitely this is of the top tourist attractions in Balochistan, and this place holds historic importance and is the perfect place to chill. Waadi-e-Bolan 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 Ghaib and Bibi Naani’s shrine. Moving further, The Kund Malir Beach is one of the most exotic beaches and definitely 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. Pir Chattal Noorani Gandhawa, Jhal Magsi, Balochistan is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. An astonishing natural habitat within desert plains carries 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 are 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, also known as Jezira Haft Talar Satadip or ‘Island of the Seven Hills’, is a small uninhabited Pakistani island in the Arabian Sea and also the largest island in Pakistan. It is the epitome of Balochistan’s undermined beauty and a great tourist attraction indeed. Jhal Magsi, Balochistan is 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.

Besides site-seeing, there is a huge attraction for tourists of special interests, such as anthropologists and people interested in ethnographic research studies. A number of tribes constitute to make people of Balochistan. Three major tribes are Baloch (Baloch & Brahvi) and Pashtoon. The Balochi speaking tribes include Rind, Lashar, Marri, Jamot, Ahmedzai, Bugti Domki, Magsi, Kenazai, Khosa, Rakhashani, Dashti, Umrani, Nosherwani, Gichki, Buledi, Notazai, Sanjarani, Meerwani, Zahrozai, langove, kenazai and Khidai. Each tribe is further sub-divided into various branches. The tribal chief is called Sardar while head of sub-tribe is known as Malik. Besides that trade-tourism is another emerging area for Balochistan. You can visit and find business creation prospects. 

If you are interested in bio-tourism, then you can find a variety of biodiversity in Balochistan. This province is quite rich in wildlife. Three National Parks, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries, and six Game Reserves are present in the Province for the protection and conservation of wild species. In a research study a field surveys were undertaken from 2015 to 2019 in major ecological zones of the Balochistan province to collect data on the distribution and status of its wildlife. Based on five years field observations, 92 species of mammals, 373 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles and seven species of amphibians were documented. Furthermore Balochistan is a natural habitat for a variety of unique fauna. From its mighty mountains to the scenic beaches it offers a home to the idiosyncratic species of the world. Suleman Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan and is an inhabitant of the rugged Sulaiman Mountains range in Khilafat Mountain, Ziarat. The Houbara Bustards, which is otherwise called MacQueen’s bustard or Asian houbara, is a migratory bird of Balochistan . Balochistan has a land patch which is highly suitable for the migratory birds. However, it is unfortunate that no proper measures are taken to safeguard the lives of these animals.

The tourism potential of Balochsitan is yet not tapped adequately, and that brings up an opportunity to be the pioneer and advocate in fulfilling the connection gap. Many developments have taken place and many are on their way.  This is an absolutely right time to gather, grab and hug Balochistan: our gigantic treasure for the rest of the country. A warm welcome to Balochistan.

The writer is a columnist and broadcast journalist and can be reached at