Quetta

 

Quetta
General Information
Country
Pakistan
Province
Balochistan
Calling code
081
Time zone
PST (UTC+5)
No. of Towns
2
Population
565,137 (1998)
Estimate
759,894(2006)
Government
No. of Union Councils
66
Quetta  (Urduکوئٹہ) It is the largest city and provincial capital and district of Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.:
The city is the provisional and district headquarters and is an important marketing and communications centre between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Situated at an elevation of 1676–1900 meters above sea level in north-western Pakistan, Quetta is also know as the fruit basket of Pakistan.
History
 Early history
It is unknown when Quetta was first inhabited, but most likely it was settled during the 6th century A.D. The region remained part of the Sassanid Persian Empire and was later annexed by theRashidun Caliphate during the 7th century Islamic conquest. It remained part of the Umayyad Empire and Abassid Empire. However the first detailed mention of Quetta was in the 11th century when it was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni on one of his invasions of the subcontinent. In 1543 the Moghul emperor Humayun rested here on his retreat to Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar until he returned two years later. The Moghuls ruled Quetta until 1556, when the Persians took it, only to be retaken by Akbar in 1595.
 During British era
In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by 300 mud houses. Although occupied briefly by the British during the First Afghan War in 1839, it was not until 1876 that Quetta came under permanent British control and Robert Sandeman was made political agent in Baluchistan. Since Partition the population of Quetta has increased dramatically. Because of its military base and trading activities, and the introduction of commercial fruit farming, Quetta District can now support about half a million people.
 Early Settlers
Very little is known about the human settlement in the district. However, it is certain that the Afghans and Brahuis are recent immigrants. The Pashtuns appear to have entered the district from the north east, emigrating from their home round the Takht-i-Sulaman. Kasi's (A branch of Afghan) are said to have migrated from their home around the Takht-i-Sulaman about eight centuries ago. They made their first settlement at Samli, a village near Quetta city. The Brahuis are an offshoot from the Kalat territory and their presence in the district dates back to the eighteenth century.
Till 1947 Quetta was a small town. People used to call it small London. But rapid population growth in terms of rural - urban migration, and influx of Indian refugees increased the population at Quetta. Influx of Afghan refugees during the 1980s helped the slums to grow. New settlement in the form of housing schemes emerged at Satellite Town, Jinnah Town, Samungli Town, Model Town and Shahbaz Town. In Kachi Abadies, slums also begun to develop. The process of settlement continues. Now Quetta has turned into an over-populated city.
 Earthquake (1935)
Quetta, before the devastating earthquake of 7.1 magnitude on 31 May 1935, was a bright and bustling city with multi-storey buildings. Those couple minutes of the earthquake seemed like hours to the people of Quetta. It was almost completely destroyed in this earthquake and was virtually razed to the ground in the small hours of the morning of that fateful day, when about 40,000 people perished. Today, houses are generally single storey and quake proof, built with bricks and reinforced concrete. The structure is generally of lighter material. Incidentally, the bricks of Quetta have a yellowish tinge unlike the red variety of Sindh and the Punjab.
 Geography and climate
 
Quetta city is comprised of a valley and is a natural fort, surrounded as it is by imposing hills on all sides. The encircling hills have the resounding names of Chiltan, Takatoo, Murdar and Zarghun. surrounded by three different mountain ranges. It is north west of Karachi and south west of Islamabad.
Quetta has minimum winter temperatures ranging well below freezing point and as low as -18˚C, while maximum winter temperatures seldom crosses 25˚C. Snowfall was a common feature in months of December – February till early ninties but after that snowfall has become rare in winters due to drought that was severe during 1999–2001. Summer maximum and minimum temperature hover around 42˚C and 12˚C (53˚F) respectively. Unlike to the rest of the country, Quetta does not have a fertile rainy season during monsoon time. In general Quetta has a dry climate. It receives rainfall during the winter season from December – March.
Demography
According to the 1998 census Quetta was the ninth biggest city of Pakistan with a population of 565,137 ( however according to non-governmental census the population of Quetta along with Afghan immigrants is over 1,500,000). The city in general is dominated by a Pashtun majority, a Balochi, Brahui and Hazara minority with an eclectic smattering of smaller groups. However the city is also a home to millions of Afghan immigrants. The Pushto, Balochi, Persian (Hazaragi dialect), Brahui, Sindhi, Punjabi and Urdu languages are spoken in large parts of Quetta, giving the city a very multicultural feel.
Quetta was the outskirt of Kandahar until it was captured by the British in Second Afghan war. Most of the Balochis settled in Quetta after 1970 when a new province by the name of Balochistan was created after One Unit system was abolished in Pakistan. Quetta was made the capital city of Balochistan.
 Culture
Beside millions of Afghan immigrants, the local inhabitants are mainly Pashtuns. Others include Baloch, Brahuis, Hazaras and smaller populations of Punjabis, Mohajirs and Sindhis. During the summer season main bazaars are full of people from all over Pakistan. The merchants are mainly Pushtun people. Quetta is a multi-Cultural city. The Hazaras mostly live in Mari- Abad, and out skirt of Quetta called Brouri. Hazaras have migrated from Afghanistan in 1980's and 1990's during the time of instability. It is one of the hot spots of Hazara migrants especially from Hazaras of Ghazni. Quetta tribesmen are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Making visitors comfortable is an integral part of their local traditions.
 Sports
Football is popular in Quetta, which has produced more renowned players then any other part of Pakistan. Mali Bagh is the best-known football ground. Teams in Quetta include Baloch football and Afghan football clubs and Quetta Bazigars. In boxing, Olympian sportsmen are Syed Ibrar Ali Shah, Asghar Ali Changezi, and Haider Ali Changezi.
 Educational institutions
Quetta has many higher education institutions. The prestigious military Command and Staff College, which was founded by the British, recently celebrated its hundredth anniversary. University of Balochistan was established in 1974. The Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences is also located in Quetta.
  • Balochistan Institute of Technology
  • DAR-E-ARQAM School Of Islam & Modern Sciences
  • Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences
  • Command and Staff College
  • Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University
  • University of Balochistan
  • Bolan Midical College
  • Model Public School & college
  • Tameer-i-Nau public college
  • Government College of Technology Balochistan
  • Garrison Acadmy School & College
  • F.G Degree College for Boys Quetta Cantt
  • F.G Degree College for Girls Quetta Cantt
  • F.G Public School Cantt
  • F.G Girls Public Secondary School Quetta Cantt
  • F.G Boys High School Cantt
  • F.G Girls High School Cantt
  • F.G Jinnah Middle School Cantt
  • F.G Chiltan School Cantt
  • Becon House School System
  • Seaven Streem School Cantt
  • Iqra Army School Cantt
  • Al Hadid Army School Cantt
  • Mission Girl High School
  • Sandyman High School
  • Special High School
  • Islamia High School
  • Muslim Abad High School
  • Mussa College
  • Yazdan Khan High School
  • Tameer-i-Nau School
  • Infantory School
  • Government Girls College
  • F.G Digree College
  • Police Line School
  • Saint Resa High School
  • Saint Michal High School
  • Government Degree College
  • Government Science College
 Institutes For Computer and English Language.
·        Challenger Acadmy
·        House of Knowledge
·        Spectrum Acadmy
·        Pearl Institute
·        Muslim Hands
·        The Quist
·        The Osis
·        A.Q Khan Institute
 Transport
Quetta is on the western edge of Pakistan and is well connected with the country by a wide network of roads, railways and airways.
 Air Transport
Quetta Airport is 4th highest Airport of Pakistan, at the height of 1605 meter above sea level. Pakistan International Airlines, Shaheen Air International and Airblue all have regular flights between Quetta and other major cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar. Pakistan International Airlines has a direct flight between Dubai and Quetta. Other international passengers traveling to Quetta can reach Quetta via any of the other main hubs of Pakistan, i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad or Peshawar.
 Road and Railways
Quetta railway station is one of the highest railway station of Pakistan, at the height of 1676 meter above sea level. The railway track was lined in 1890s during the British era to link Quetta with rest of the country. The extensive network of Pakistan Railways connects Quetta to Karachi in south, by a 863 km (536 miles) track, Lahore in northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1587 km or 986 miles). A metalled road is also present along the railroad that connects Quetta to Karachi via Sibi, Jacobabad and Rohri. A track from the Irani city of Zahedan links to Quetta via Taftan, but the train service were temporarily disabled in 2006 due to unrest in Balochistan.Recently the new project has been proposed for constructing a railway track that will link Gawadar to China, this will also link Gawadar with Quetta via Kalat. Even though the linear distance from Quetta to Lahore is merely 700 km, there is no direct railroad track on this route because of the Sulaiman Range that lies in the east of Quetta. So all northeast-bound trains for Punjab or NWFP must go 350+ km south up to Rohri, Sindh (near Sukkur) first, before continuing north to Punjab and/or NWFP.
 Telecommunication
PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited) provides the main network of landline telephone. Many Internet Service Providers and all major mobile phone companies operating in Pakistan provide service in Quetta.
 Tourist Attractions
Quetta is a major tourist attraction for tourists from abroad. It is advertised as a thrilling location, full of adventure and enjoyment. Some prominent bazaars of Quetta are located on the roads Shahrah-e-Iqbal (the Kandahari Bazaar) and Shahrah-e-Liaquat (the Liaquat and Suraj Gang Bazaar, Alamdar road (little Tokyo). Here, tourists can find colorful handicrafts, particularly Balochi mirror work and Pashtun embroidery which is admired all over the world. The Pashtun workers are prominently expert in making fine Afghan carpets, with their pleasing and intricate designs, fur coats, jackets, waist-coats, sandals and other creations of traditional Pashtun skills. local handicrafts, specially green marble products, mirror work and embroidered jackets, shirts, and hand bags, pillow covers, bed sheets, dry fruits, etc. Balochi carpets are made by the nomadic tribes of this area. They are generally not nearly as fine or expensive as the Persian city products, or even the Turkoman tribal rugs from further North, but they are generally better than Afghan carpets and more authentic than the bad copies of Turkoman and Persian designs that the cites of Pakistan produce. They definitely have a charm of their own. They range from relatively crude rugs that can, with some bargaining, be had at very reasonable prices to quite fine and valuable pieces. Many are small enough to be fairly portable. For those interested in local cuisine, there are many sumptuous dishes to feast upon. The "Sajji" (leg of lamb), Hazaragi Aash, Mantho is said to be very good by locals. The Pathan tribesmen of the valley also enjoy "Landhi" (whole lamb), which is dried in shade and kept for the winters. "Kebab" shops are very popular, the best being Lal Kabab, Tabaq, Cafe Farah and Cafe Baldia. They serve Pakistani and Continental food, while Cafe China specializes in Chinese cuisine. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta. It has a delicious smell which can be sampled in the "Pulao" that most of the eating houses offer..
 Hanna Lake
Hanna Lake nestles in the hills ten kilometres (six miles) east of Quetta, a startling turquoise pool within bare brown surroundings. There is a lakeside restaurant with picnic tables shaded by pine trees. At one end, the irrigation dam rises out of the depths like battlements of a fort. It is very attractive for holidaymakers, and is crowded with hikers and campers in holidays. You can hire a boat and paddle on the lake and round the island in the middle.
 Towns
Quetta Consists of Several Small Housing Areas.
  1. . Golistan Town (On Main Major M.Ali Road near Alamdar Road)
  2. . Quetta Cantt (Primarily for Ex and Serving Armed forces Personnel)
  3. . Satellite town (Known as Heart of Quetta)
  4. . Jinnah Town (One of the most Developed Housing Schemes of Quetta)
  5. . Samugli Housing Scheme (On Main Samugli Road near Jinnah Town)
 Askari Park
It is the Biggest Park of Quetta with Children Playground/Toys and Entertainment Point, Present on Airport Road Near Custom House Quetta. Its being Administrated by Army.
 Hazarganji Chiltan National Park
In the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 km south-west of Quetta, Markhors have been given protection. The park is spread over 32500 acres, altitude ranging from 2021 to 3264 meters. Hazarganji literally means "Of a thousand treasures". In the folds of these mountains, legend has it, there are over a thousand treasures buried, reminders of the passage of great armies down the corridors of history. The Bactrains, Scythians, Muslims, Mongols and then the great migrating hordes of Baluch, all passed this way.