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definition - Quetta

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-1935 Quetta earthquake • 4th (Quetta) Division • Aamer Malik (Quetta cricketer) • Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta • Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences, Quetta (Takatoo Campus) • Daftar Taliban in Quetta • Daftar al Taliban guesthouse, Quetta • Guest house, Quetta • Gulzar, Quetta • History of Quetta • Holy Rosary Church, Quetta • Inam-ul-Haq (Quetta cricketer) • List of educational institutions in Quetta • Quetta Bears • Quetta District • Quetta Division • Quetta Electric Supply Company • Quetta International Airport • Quetta Railway Station • Quetta Shura • Quetta Zorawar • RMS Quetta • Taliban Center, Quetta • Taliban guest house, Quetta • Taliban safe house, Quetta • Tameer-e-Nau Public College, Quetta



—  City District  —
Quetta City at night
Quetta is located in Pakistan
Location in Pakistan
Coordinates: 30°12′38″N 67°1′8″E / 30.21056°N 67.01889°E / 30.21056; 67.01889Coordinates: 30°12′38″N 67°1′8″E / 30.21056°N 67.01889°E / 30.21056; 67.01889
Country Pakistan
Region Balochistan
District Quetta District
Autonomous towns 2
Union councils 66[1]
 • Type city
 • Nazim Mir Maqbool Ahmed Lehri
 • Naib nazim Mohammad Naseem Lehri
 • Total 2,653 km2 (1,024 sq mi)
Elevation 1,900 m (6,230 ft)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 896,090
 • Density 213/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC+6)
Area code(s) 081

Quetta (Pashto: کوټه, Urdu: کوئٹہ About this sound pronunciation is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the Fruit Garden of Balochistan due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is situated at an average elevation of 1,680 meters (5,500 ft) above sea level,[3] making it Pakistan's only high-altitude major city.

Sitting near the Durand Line border with Afghanistan and close to Kandahar province, Quetta is a trade and communications center between the two countries as well as an important military location which occupies a strategic position for the Pakistani Armed Forces. The city lies on the Bolan Pass route which was once the only gateway to and from South Asia.



Quetta is also spelled Kuwatah which is a variation of Kot, a Pashto word meaning "fortress."[4] It is believed the city's name is derived from the four imposing hills (Chiltan, Takatu, Zarghoon and Murdaar) that surround the city and form a natural bulwark. (Brahvi and Pashto are the Local Languages)


  Quetta cantonment, 1889

The area was inhabited by Kasi Tribe Pashtun. The first detailed account of Quetta is from the 11th century when it was captured by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi during one of his invasions of the South Asia. In 1543, the Mughal emperor Humayun rested in Quetta on his retreat to Safavid Persia, leaving his one-year-old son Akbar in the city until his return two years later. In 1828 the first westerner to visit Quetta described it as a mud-walled fort surrounded by three hundred mud houses.

Although the city was occupied briefly in 1839 by the British during the First Afghan War, it was not until 1876 that Quetta became part of the British colonial empire, with Robert Sandeman being made the political leader for Balochistan. The arrival of British troops led to the establishment of road and rail links and the introduction of schools, mainly for strategic purposes.

The British made the largely Pashtun area part of British Balochistan. In April 1883 it was combined with Pishin into a single administrative unit.

By the time of the earthquake on 31 May 1935 Quetta had developed into a bustling city with a number of multistory buildings. The epicentre of the earthquake was close to the city and destroyed most of the city's infrastructure and killed an estimated 40,000 people. After many years the city has been rebuilt mainly with local funds. Structures are now generally earthquake resistant, being mainly single story structures with bricks and reinforced concrete. However multi-story buildings are also built, while a number of buildings of three to five floors are being constructed in the city.

On joining Pakistan, Quetta was made the capital city of the newly created province of Balochistan before it was combined with other Balochi princely states (Kalat, Makran, Lasbela and Kharan) to form the Baloch province. Quetta remained the capital of the province until 1971 when the provincial system was abolished under Zulfiqar Bhutto. After Bhutto was overthrown by General Zia ul Haq, the provincial system was re-instated, and Quetta was once again made capital of Balochistan.


Despite being capital of Balochistan province (meaning "Land of the Baloch" in Persian), the city is actually dominated by Pashtuns, with a very large number of Hazara community. Balochis and Punjabis form smaller minority groups. Other groups found in the city include Brahuis, and Sindhis. Large communities of Persian, Afghan Pashtun and Uzbek refugees are also found in the city, irking Baloch nationalists who demand their repatriation to Afghanistan by the Government of Pakistan.[5] While the city is overwhelmingly Muslim, Quetta is home to the bulk of Balochistan's 200,000-strong Hindu community.[6]

The city's population has grown from 11,000 in 1891, to a total of between 1,865,137 and 2,076,941 according to 2012 estimates - making it the 6th largest city in Pakistan.[7][8]

  Geography and climate

Climate data for Quetta, Pakistan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.6
Average high °C (°F) 10.8
Average low °C (°F) −3.4
Record low °C (°F) −18.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 56.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 220.1 209.0 232.5 273.0 334.8 327.0 313.1 313.1 294.0 306.9 279.0 238.7 3,341.2
Source no. 1: Climatological Normals of Quetta
Source no. 2: Extreme weather records of Quetta

Quetta has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with a significant variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summer starts in late May and goes on until early September with average temperatures ranging from 24–26 °C (75–78 °F).The highest temperature in Quetta is 42 °C (108 °F) which was recorded on 10 July 1998.[9] Autumn starts in late September and continues until mid-November with average temperatures in the 12–18 °C (55–65 °F) range. Winter starts in late November and ends in late March, with average temperatures near 4–5 °C (39–41 °F).The lowest temperature in Quetta is −18.3 °C (−0.9400000 °F) which was recorded on 8 January 1970.[9] Spring starts in early April and ends in late May, with average temperatures close to 15 °C (60 °F). Unlike more easterly parts of Pakistan, Quetta does not have a monsoon season of heavy rainfall. Highest rainfall during 24 hours in Quetta is 113 millimetres (4.4 in) which was recorded on 17 December 2000.,[9] Highest monthly rainfall is 232.4 millimetres (9.15 in) which was recorded in March, 1982.[9] and the highest annual rainfall is 949.8 millimetres (37.39 in) recorded in 1982.[9] In the winter snow is the principle precipitation with snow falling mostly in the months of December, January and February.

The city saw a severe drought from 1999 to 2001, during the drought the city did not receive snowfall and received below normal rains. In 2003 the city received snowfall after a long period of five years. In 2004, and 2005 the city received normal rains after three years with snowfall while in 2006, 2007 and 2009 the city received no snow except in 2008 when Quetta received a snowfall of four inches in four hours on 29 January 2008.[10] On 2 February 2008 Quetta received ten inches of snow in just 10 hours[11] which was the heaviest snowfall for the city in the last ten years. During the winter of 2010 it received no snow and saw below normal rains due to the presence of El-Nino over Pakistan.[12]

Quetta has an area of 2,653 km2 (1,024 sq mi) and consists of series of valleys which act as a natural fort surrounded on all sides by hills named Chiltan, Takatoo, Murdar and Zarghun. There are no natural boundaries between Quetta and its adjoining districts of Dera Ismail Khan to the northeast, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sibi to the east, Sukkur and Jacobabad to the southeast, Karachi and Gawadar to the south and Ziarat to the northeast. The closest major city is Kandahar in Afghanistan which is located to the west of the Quetta.

  Government and politics

Under the latest revision of Pakistan's administrative structure, promulgated in 2001,[13] Quetta was restructured as a City District, and divided into two towns[14][15] Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.'s).[16]:


Quetta is on the western edge of Pakistan and is connected to the rest of the country by a network of roads, railways and airways.

At an altitude of 1,605 metres (5,260 ft) above sea level, Quetta Airport is the second highest airport in Pakistan. Pakistan International Airlines has regular flights between Quetta and the other major cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Gwadar, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar while Pakistan International Airlines operates direct flights to Manchester, Dubai, New York and other major international airports.

Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway station in Pakistan at 1,676 metres (5,495 ft) above sea level. The railway track was laid in the 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 mi) track, Lahore in northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1,587 km or 986 miles). A metalled road runs alongside the railway that connects Quetta to Karachi via Sibi, Jacobabad and Rohri.

A track from the Iranian city of Zahedan links to Quetta via Taftan, Balochistan. Service was temporarily discontinued in 2006 due to unrest in Balochistan. Since 2008 railway service has come under attack by the Balochs, especially in the Bolan Pass area resulting in a bomb blast on the railway tracks and firing on trains.

There has been a proposal to construct a railway track that will link Gawadar to China and Gawadar with Quetta via Kalat. Although the distance from Quetta to Lahore is only 700 km (430 mi), there is no direct track on this route because of the Sulaiman Range that lies in the east of Quetta. All northeast-bound trains for Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must first go over 350 km (220 mi) south to Rohri, Sindh (near Sukkur) before continuing north to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Quetta is connected by metalled roads to the rest of the country. A road connects it with Karachi through Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar and Lasbela. Other major roads are Quetta to Karachi following the Sibi, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Hyderabad route and two roads from Quetta to Lahore one (the older) via Sibi, Sukkur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan the other route via Khanozai, Muslimbagh Loralai, Fort Mondro, Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan. Quetta is connected with Afghanistan through Chaman and to Iran through Mastung, Nushki, Dalbandin and Taftan.

  Educational institutions

Quetta has a number of institutions of higher education. The military Command and Staff College was founded by the British in 1905, its centennial was celebrated in 2005. The city is home to the University of Balochistan established in 1974, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, (BUITAMS) Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University, Bolan Medical College, Agricultural institute, the Geological Survey of Pakistan, the Sandeman Library and many government and private colleges.

  Flora and fauna

Mammals such as Markhor (wild sheep), leopards, wolves, hyena, rabbits, wild cats and porcupines are to be found in the Quetta region. Local birds species include partridge, warblers, shikra, the blue rock pigeon, rock nuthatch, golden eagle, sparrows, hawks, falcons and bearded vultures. A total of 225 species of flora have been identified in the area including pistachios, juniper, wild olives, wild ash and wild almonds. Also found are shrubs including wild fig, barbery, wild cherry, makhi and herbs such as ephedra intermadia and gerardiana.

  Local attractions

  Hanna Lake in winter
  Kayaking in front of the historical Bridge wall at Hanna Lake

Hanna Lake, which nestles in the hills ten kilometres (six miles) east of the city, is a turquoise body of water that contrasts markedly with the bare surrounding hills. It is an attractive destination for vacationers, with facilities for boat hire. A lakeside restaurant is crowded with hikers and campers during holiday periods. At one end there is an irrigation dam, while on the eastern shore there is Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy, the only water sports training center in Balochistan Province. The Hanna Lake Development Authority, the Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy and Merck Marker have planted a range of trees in the Hanna Lake Mountains both for beautification and the protection of the environment.

The Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, 20 km (12 mi) south-west of Quetta, Markhors is a protected park area. The name of the park, "Hazarganji" literally means "Of a thousand treasures" is spread over 32,500 acres (132 km2) at an altitude ranging from 2,021 to 3,264 metres (5,625 to 10,700 feet). In the folds of the mountains, according to legend, there are over a thousand buried treasures, reminders of the passage over the ages of great armies including the Bactrians, the Scythians, the Muslims, and the Mongols.[citation needed] Pir Ghaib is a waterfall and picnic spot located 70 km from the Quetta City in hisotric Bolan valley. Kharkhasa is located 10 km (6.2 mi) west of Quetta in a 16 km (9.9 mi) long narrow valley that contains a variety of flora and fauna species. The Chiltan Hill Viewpoint in the park provides a panoramic view of the city. A visit to the nearby cities of Kirani and Ziarat are popular scenic places for tourists travelling to and from Quetta.

The Quetta Geological Museum, located on Sariab Road has a collection of rocks and fossils found in Balochistan. The Command and Staff College Museum is a museum dedicated to British military history. It is housed in the former bungalow of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The Quetta Archaeological Museum, located on Fifa Road has a collection of rare antique guns, swords, manuscripts and a display of Stone Age tools, prehistoric pottery and articles found in Mehrgarh. There are also coins, manuscripts and photos of Quetta before the 1935 earthquake. The Balochistan Arts Council Library houses arts and crafts from Balochistan province.

  Festivals and shopping

Cultural and religious festivals are held in the city every year. The two Eid festivals which mark the end of fasting and the end of the Hajj allow the majority Muslim community to put on musical shows, distribute sweets and presents. Buzkashi is a festival celebrated by Pashtuns in which two teams on horse-back attempt to snatch a goat from each other.

Quetta's bazaars are the Shahrah-e-Liaquat (Liaquat Bazaar and Suraj Gang Bazaar and the Shahrah-e-Iqbal (Kandahari Bazaar). Colorful handicrafts are sold, particularly Balochi mirror work and Pashtun embroidery. Afghan rugs, fur coats, embroidered jackets, waistcoats, sandals, and other traditional Pashtun items are also sold.

Balochi carpets are made by the nomadic tribes of the area. They are generally not as fine or as expensive as either the Persian products or the Turkoman tribal rugs from further north, but they are generally more authentic than the copies of Turkoman and Persian designs often found in the major cities of Pakistan.


For those interested in local cuisine, there are many dishes to try. The Balochi Saji and other Balochi Trible delicious dishes are available around the city especially at Prince Road, Jinnah Road, Serena Hotles. The Pashtun tribal cuisine “Roash” which non-locals call “Namkin” is to be found in both city restaurants as well as in the outlying areas. Some of the finest mutton in the country is raised around Quetta and is a mainstay of local cuisine. The Pashtun tribal dish, “Landhi”, is made of a whole lamb which is dried and kept fresh during the cold winters. "Khadi Kebab" is a lamb barbecue while "Sajji" (leg of lamb) and "Pulao" are other local dishes. Restaurants include Usmania, Tabaq, Green Hotel, Gulab Hotel, Lal Kabab, and the Abasin Hotel all of which serve both Pakistani and western food while the Cafe China is one of the oldest Chinese restaurants. Small hotels located along Alamdar road provide accommodation for tourists.


Asghar ali changezi Ex-boxing player Quetta Pakistan.jpg

In Quetta, unlike most of Pakistan, football rather than cricket is the most popular sport. Football teams from Quetta include Quetta Zorawar, Afghan Football Club, Hazara Green Football, Baluch Football and Quetta Bazigars Club. In cricket, Quetta is home to the Quetta Bears. In hockey, Quetta has produced Zeeshan Ashraf and Shakeel Abbasi, who are members of the Pakistan national hockey team. In mountain climbing and caving, Hayatullah Khan Durrani (Pride of Performance), the chief executive of Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy at Hanna Lake. In kayaking, Muhammad Abubakar Durrani, National Junior Champion was selected for the world Junior Canoeing Championship in 2009 in Moscow.[citation needed] In boxing Olympians from Quetta include: Shaheed Abrar Hussain Hazara killed by LeJ, Abdul Salam Khan Kakar, Asghar Ali Changezi and Haider Ali Changezi.weight lifting Dilawar Khan Khilji, Mohammad Rafiq Khan Khilji and Mohammad Alam Khan Kakar were famous weightlifters.[citation needed]

The Shaheed Nauoroz Stadium is the largest stadium in the city. The city also has Ayub National Stadium, a multipurpose stadium used for football and cricket.

In squash, Hiddy Jahan Khan was ranked among the top six players in the world from 1970 through to 1986. British Open champion Qamar Zaman also hails from Quetta. Other notable squash players include: Zarak Jahan Khan, Abdul Wali Khan Khilji, Hamayoon Khan Khilji, Zubair Jahan Khan, Shams ul Islam Khan Kakar, Tariq Rahim Khan Kakar, and Shaied Zaman Khan.

  See also



  1. ^ National Reconstruction Bureau of Pakistan, list of Zila, Tehsil & Town Councils Membership for Balochistan. URL accessed 5 April 2006
  2. ^ World Gazetteer population estimate for Quetta. URL accessed 5 April 2006
  3. ^ "Quetta". PakistanPaedia. http://www.pakistanpaedia.com/qta/quetta.html. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  4. ^ "History of Quetta" Government of Quetta
  5. ^ http://www.thebalochhal.com/2012/04/aro-director-says-most-afghan-refugees-in-balochistan-are-not-registered/
  6. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/347277/with-prayers-and-colour-quettas-hindu-community-celebrates-holi/
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Population Census Organization, Pakistan. 1998 Census. URL accessed 5 April 2006
  9. ^ a b c d e [2][dead link]
  10. ^ [3][dead link]
  11. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 2008-02-04. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\02\04\story_4-2-2008_pg7_22. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  12. ^ http://www.pakmet.com.pk/monsoon2009ver.pdf
  13. ^ "The Local Government System 2001". National Reconstruction Bureau, Government of Pakistan. 14 August 2001. http://www.nrb.gov.pk/local_government/default.asp. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  14. ^ "City District Governments". National Reconstruction Bureau, Government of Pakistan. http://www.nrb.gov.pk/local_government/city_district_government.html. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  15. ^ Official City District Government Quetta Website
  16. ^ "City District". National Reconstruction Bureau, Government of Pakistan. http://www.nrb.gov.pk/city_district/index.html. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 

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