Quetta is the capital city of Pakistan’s largest province Balochistan. Constituting 44% of the total land area of Pakistan, Balochistan has tremendous strategic value for Pakistan as it is located close to Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia.
Quetta has always retained the central place in Balochistan since it became a contiguous unit in the 15th century when Sardar Mir Chakar Khan Rind united the main Baloch tribes and also ruled over southern Afghanistan and parts of Punjab and Sindh. Subsequently, from Quetta, Balochistan was governed by Safvids, Mughals, and Ghilzais for three centuries.
Balochistan is an entry point to the southwest of the sub-continent crisscrossed by numerous passes including Bolan Pass used as a gateway by migrants from Central Asia. It links Balochistan with Punjab and upper Sindh.
Quetta is known as the fruit basket of Pakistan producing plums, peaches, pomegranates, apricots, apples, melons, cherries, pistachios and almonds. Saffron grows very well on mountains around 5000 high and is cultivated on a commercial scale. The yellow and red varieties of tulip grow wild around Quetta.
Quetta’s brisk commercial activity takes place in Kandahari Bazar, Liaqat Bazar and Suraj Ganj Bazar offering world-famous Balochi mirror work, colourful handicrafts, intricately designed carpets, fur coats, jackets, sandals and other creations of traditional Balochi skills. Quetta is a hub of traditional Balochi cuisine including Sajji, Landhi, Khadda Kebab, and Namkeen Gosht.
Quetta’s Archaeological Museum has a collection of rare antique guns, swords, coins, and manuscripts. The Geological Museum has a collection of rocks and fossils found in Balochistan.
Quetta has nice recreation venues such as Askari Park, Liaquat Park, and Chiltan Hill viewpoint on Brewery Road offering a panoramic view of Quetta.
The national animal of Pakistan — Markhor — has been given protection in the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which spreads over 325,000 acres at an altitude ranging between 2000 to 3200 meters. The park also houses birds, reptiles and more than 225 species of plants.
Another Quetta’s primary tourist attraction is Hanna Lake, located 10 km away from the city.
Quetta is an excellent base for further exploration of Balochistan.
This province has hottest places in the country like Sibi and the cool towns like Quetta, Ziarat, Kan Mehtarzai and Kallat where the temperature goes below freezing point and these areas remain under a thick cover of snow in winter.
Balochistan’s coastline extends over 750 km ranging from Hub near Karachi to the Gwadar Bay on Pakistan-Iran border. The whole area is rich with long golden sunny beaches and a variety of sea fish.
Gwadar is an important place in Balochistan. Its coastline is about 600 km long and the area is fast developing into an industrial zone. Three mega projects have been developed there, i.e. the Gwadar deep seaport, the coastal highway and the 132 KW electricity line.