Balochistan-Chagai

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Introduction

Chagai district is located between 27° 52Ꞌ to 28° 04Ꞌ north latitudes and 60° 52Ꞌ to 66° 20Ꞌ east longitudes. It is bounded on the north by Afghanistan, on the northeast by Nushki district, on the southeast by Kharan and Washuk districts, and on the southwest by Iran. The district is the largest district area-wise in Pakistan.

District at a Glance

Name of District Chagai District
District Headquarters Chagai Town
Population[1] 226,008 persons
Area[2] 44,748[3] km2
Population Density[4] 5.1 persons/ km2
Population Growth Rate[5] 4.1%
Male Population[6] 52.4%
Female Population[7] 47.8%
Urban Population[8] 7.2%
Tehsils/Talukas[9]

02 Tehsils:

  1. Dalbandin
  2. Nukundi
Main Towns Chagai, Dalbandin, Nokundi, Saindak, Reko Diq, and Amuri
Literacy Rate[10] 27%
Male Literacy Rate[11] 38%
Female Literacy Rate[12] 13.8%
Major Economic Activity[13] Community Social & Personal Services 33%
Agriculture with it allied livestock breeding & fishing 25.5%
Wholesale, Retail Trade, Restaurant & Hotel 20.4%
Plant & Machine Operators 8.3%
Professional and Technical Workers 6.8%
Others 6.0%
Main Crops Wheat, barley, cumin, jowar, bajra, maash, masoor, moong, cotton, rapeseed, mustard & canola, maize, sunflower, and fodder
Major Fruits Apricots, peach, pears, plums, grapes, pomegranates, dates, almonds, watermelon, melon, musk melon, sarda (galia melon), and garma (cantaloupe)
Major Vegetables Chilies, onion, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, okra, tinda, radish, turnip, spinach, carrots, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, peas, brinjal, luffa, cucumber, and beet root
Forests (Area)[14] 186,300 HA[15]
Total Metaled Roads[16] 1,080.0 km
Shingle Roads[17] 1,162.0 km
No. of Grid Stations Electricity is supplied by Quetta Electric Supply Corporation (QESCO). Data on number of grid stations is not available.
No. of Tel. Exchanges[18] 04 telephone exchanges with 284 landline connections, 2,109 wireless phone connections and 205 broadband connections.
Industrial Zones[19] One project that has been declared as an exclusive Export Processing Zone: the Saindak Export Processing Zone and one Carpet center.
Major Industry[20] Mineral Mining Industry and 1 flour mill
Household Size[21] 6.8 persons per house
Houses (Piped Water Inside)[22] 27.8%
Houses with Electricity[23] 30.3%

Table 1.1 Chagai District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census

[2] 1998 Census.

[3] Area of Nushki Tehsil has been subtracted.

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] 2017 Census

[9] Tehsil Nushki was upgraded as a District in April 2004.

[10] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); Latest available.

[11] PSLM

[12] PSLM

[13] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

[14] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19

[15] Land Utilization Statistics report 306,649 HA under forests.

[16] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19; Contains Data for Nushki District also

[17] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19; Contains Data for Nushki District also

[18] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19

[19] Chagai Development Profile; 2011 by Go Balochistan and UNICEF.

[20] Chagai Development Profile; 2011 by Go Balochistan and UNICEF.

[21] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

[22] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

[23] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHistoric Places

Brief History of the District

The District[1] derives its name from Chagai, a village (now a town) on the western border of the Lora Hamun Lake. Legend attributes the origin of the name to the numerous wells (Chahs) which are said to have formerly existed in the vicinity of the village.

Very little is known about the ancient history of Chagai. The earliest monuments are the ruins of terraced embankments or Gaurbastas. These are found at the foot of the Ras Koh Hills, and are ascribed to fire-worshippers who are said to have been the inhabitants of this area more than 2,000 years ago. Other traces of ancient history are the square shaped tombs in the western areas of the district, which are attributed by local traditions to the Kaianian Dynasty of Persia.[2]

The remains of the ruined forts and karezes found in different parts of the district are ascribed to the Arabs. The same ruins are also sometimes attributed to the Mughals and indicate the presence of a richer civilization than that now found among the Baloch and Brahui (Brahvi) inhabitants of the district.

The Baloch are perhaps the oldest inhabitants of the district, who, according to their own oral history, migrated from Aleppo (Syria). They assert that they found the country to be a deserted waste and de-populated. The Baloch started inhabiting the region, and became semi-independent.

The Brahuis, about whose origin there are different theories, are believed to have moved toward the north from their original home in Kalat district, and ultimately settled in pockets, with a major concentration in the Nushki area. Both the Brahui and Baloch appear to have been firmly established in the region by the beginning of the 16th century. They hosted and provided an escort to the border to the Mughal Emperor Humayun on his flight[3] along the valley of the Helmand (northern Afghanistan) to Seistan (Iran) in 1543.

From 1556 to 1595, the area formed a part of Kandahar, under the Safavid dynasty. The region later appears in history as part of the Mughal Empire, and then, with the downfall of the Mughal power, as part of the northern portion of the Nushki, which was annexed to the territories of the Khan of Kalat, Mir Abdullah Khan (1716-1730). In 1733 Sher Khan the Baloch, Chief of Nushki, submitted to Mir Hassan, the second son of Mir Wais and the founder of the Ghilzai dynasty of Kandahar. Mir Hassan ruled the adjacent Pathan area (which now forms Quetta and Pishin districts), and compelled the Baloch and Brahui tribes to tender their allegiance to him.

A few years later, Nadir Shah sent an expedition against Nushki lead by Muhammad Ali Beg, who inflicted a severe defeat on the Baloch near Shorawak. In 1740, Nadir Shah conferred Nushki as a fief upon the chief of Kharan. It was retaken by Mir Nasir Khan, the Brahvi ruler (1750-1793) and Nushki became a Niabat (district) of the then Kalat State and remained so for about a century.

The advent of the British in this area commenced with the British Agreement of 1878 signed with the Khan of Kalat. Subsequently, as a result of the partial survey and definitions of the western boundary with Iran from Kuhak to Koh-i-Malik Siah, and the demarcation of the Afghan Baloch boundary in 1896, the western Sanjrani (currently Dalbandin subdivision and Nokundi Tehsil) became a part of Kalat State. In November 1896 the first British Political Agent of Chagai was appointed, while Nushki continued to be Niabat to Kalat State. 3 years later (1899), however, the Niabat of Nushki was leased by the British from the Khan on an annual rent of Rs. 9,000. The management of the Niabat was handed over on the 1st of July, 1899 to the British Government. This was done with all rights and privileges, as well as full and exclusive revenue, and civil and criminal jurisdiction, including all rights to levy dues and tolls. At that time, the district was divided into 2 tehsils: Nushki and Dalbandin. From July 1899 to 13th August 1947, the district remained under the control of the British Government.

After Independence in 1947, and after the declaration of Balochistan as a province in 1970, Chagai became a district within Quetta Division. On the abolition of Divisions, Chagai district became the third tier of the Government. In 1950, Naukundi sub-Tehsil was upgraded to Tehsil level. Chagai district was first attached to Kalat district in 1957, but was detached 2 years later in 1959. The Police Department is still under the Superintendent of Police, Kalat. Chagai sub-Tehsil was created with effect from 1 October, 1985. The Assistant Political Agent Nushki remained SubDivisional Magistrate of Nushki SubDivision till September 1989, when an independent post of Additional Political Agent was created for the district. In 2004 Nushki Tehsil was separated from Chagai district and given the status of a district.

In 1998 Pakistan conducted its first nuclear weapons test at Ras Koh Hills, Chagai district.

There are several well-known shrines in the district. The most important of these are the shrine of Sayyad Bala Nosh near Chagai and that of Sher Jan Agha near Keshingi. Other notable shrines are those of Pir Sultan, Sheikh Hussain, and Sayyad Khawaja Ahmad.

Governmental Structure 

At the Federal level, Chagai district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly[4] 1
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 1

Under the Local Government Act 2010, Amended in 2011, Chagai district has 1 District Council with 11 Union Councils. It has 1 Municipal Committee: Dalbandin.

Each Union Council is represented by 1 member in the District Council. In addition, there is special representation of women (33%) and of workers and peasants (5% each).

Administrative Divisions 

The district has a total area of 44,748 km2 (after subtracting area of Nushki Tehsil now a District) and is divided into 2 Tehsils as follows:

Dalbandin Tehsil 07 Union Councils
Nukundi Tehsil 03 Union Councils

Table 1.2 Chagai Administrative Divisions

[1] Most of the events in the following historical account of the district have been drawn from the Balochistan District Gazetteers (Bolan and Chagai Districts) 1907.

[2] Kayanian or Kaianis dynasty of Persia was a semi-mythological dynasty said to have ruled the region before the historic Achaemenid Empire.

[3] The Emperor Humayun fled from Sher Shah Suri’s attack on Delhi, the seat of the Mughal emperors, and traveled through Balochistan on his retreat from Delhi

[4] Shared by Quetta, Chagai, Nushki, Mastung

Historic Places 

There are several well-known shrines in the district that have historical value, and thus need to be protected under Pakistan Laws. The most notable of these are:

  • Shrine of Sayyad Bala Nosh near Chagai
  • Shrine of Sher Jan Agha near Keshingi
  • Shrine of Pir Sultan
  • Shrine of Sheikh Husain
  • Shrine of Sayyad Khawaja Ahmad

Remains of some of the ancient forts, karezes, dams and cupolas are of archeological interest and need to be protected under the laws of the Pakistan Government.

Tourism

There are no tourist spots in the district. A few areas at the Saindak Metal Project site have specifically been developed as a picnic area for visitors and tourists.

Topography

The topography of the district can be classified into 3 parts: the highlands, the lowlands, and the desert.

The Highlands

The highlands or the mountainous areas are comprised of the Koh-i-Sultan, the Chagai Hills, Sarlath Range, Ras Koh, Kachau, and Mirjawa Ranges. These mountain ranges have a general east-west trend. The Koh-i-Sultan, with a height of 1,000 to 2,300 m, and the Chagai Hills, with a height of 2,000 to 2,400 m, dominate the north of the district. The existence of a number of craters in these two mountains shows repeated volcanic activity in the past.

The Sarlath Range is located in the northeastern corner of the district; the height of the various hills varies from 1,100 to 1,600 m. The hill ranges of Kachau and Mirjawa are situated along the southwestern boundary of the district. Their height varies between 900 to 2,300 m.

The Ras Koh Range is located in the southeast along the border with Kharan district. It is a granite hill, forming a part of the Suleiman Range. It is higher than other mountains of the district. The highest peak of this mountain range is the Ras Koh which attains a height of about 3,000 m.

The Lowlands

The lowlands or the plain part of the district is located between Nushki and Chagai. This area consists chiefly of a vast level plain of alluvial soil interspersed with tracts of sand and intersected by a low range of stony hills known as the Bilau Range. This range runs from east to west, from Nushki to Dalbandin. Small detached hills of black limestone, which rise abruptly from the plain, are also found in many parts of this area. The other portion of the plain stretches from Hamun-e-Lora toward the southwest, between Chagai and Ras Koh Hills, known as Dak.

Desert Areas

The desert area is located beyond Chagai city and is a wasteland which consists of sandy desert and stony plains, bordered by ranges of barren limestone and shale as well as mountains/ hills of volcanic origin. There are crescent-shaped rolling sand-hills or sand dunes between Chah Sandan and Tratoh, as well as between Kundi and Mashki Chah. These hills number in the hundreds. The longitudinal/ lateral types of sand dunes are found toward the north of Koh-i-Sultan, in the direction of the district’s border with Afghanistan, forming a part of the desert region of Afghanistan.

Figure 1.3 Reko Diq

Mountain Passes

Gonshoro Pass (also spelled as Gonshero Pass) is located in the Chagai Hills and connects Afghanistan and Pakistan. The total length of the Pass is 30.1 km.

Famous Mountain Peaks

The Ras Koh Peak of the Ras Koh Hills, which is 3,000 m high, is the highest peak of the district. Pakistan conducted its first nuclear tests in the Ras Koh Hills on 28th May 1998.

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

There are innumerable channels and hill torrents which originate from the mountains and flow downwards during rains; these are known as Nawars or seasonal nullahs. Very little water, however, reaches the lake basins (hamuns). In the eastern end of the district, 2 noteworthy streams, namely Kaisar and Lora, enter the district from the north. These two streams drain into the lake basin of the Hamun-i-Lora. Other hill torrents in Chagai and Dalbandin include Bulo, Morjen, Girdi, and Gaze. Some of the other hill torrents of the district include Soran, Kani Kaur, Juzaki Kaur, and Laki Rud.

In the central part of the district, which is the area along eastern Chagai and western Koh-i-Sultan Ranges, many hill torrents flow down toward the south; however, most of them dry up before reaching the Hamun-i-Mashkel which is the lake basin on the border with Kharan district.

In the western part of the district besides the seasonal streams, 2 rivers are of principal importance. One is the Tahlab River, which originates in Iran, and enters Chagai from the southwest near Killa/Qila Sufed. It flows along the southwest of the district and the southern boundary with Iran. In the rainy season, it has enough water to reach Hamun-i-Mashkel. The other, a tributary of the Tahlab, is the Mirjawa River.

Karezes are found more commonly in this region. They spread from Chagai district to Zhob district.

There are 2 lakes in the district: the Hamun-i-Lora and Hamun-i-Mashkel or RCD Lake.

Forests

The following table shows the area and type of forests in Chagai district (Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Forest Area 186,300 A Scrub Forests 186,300 A
Rangelands – A Coniferous Forests
Irrigated Plantations Riverine Forests
Coastal/Mangrove Forests

Table 1.3 Chagai Forest Statistics

 There are 2 notified/ designated[1] forest areas in the district. These are:

  • Gut Wildlife Sanctuary (166,000 HA)
  • Kambran Game Reserve (211,000 HA)

Main vegetation types in the area generally represent the xerophytic[2] plant community. The tree species include turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus), anab (Tamarix macrocarpa), ghaz or farash (Tamarix articulata), bata (Periploca aphylla), mazmung or wild almonds (Prunus eburnea), and taghaz or saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron).

The dominant shrubs in the region include kotor (Stocksia brahuica), caper beans (Zygophyllum atripliciodes), kiri or French tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), milk vetch (Astraglus hycanus), abal or phog (Calligonum comosom), Syrian rue or harmal (Peganam harmala), hing or devils dung (Ferula asafetida; both male kularhing and female paunihing), jaur or oleander (Narium odorum), sage bush (Artemisia spp.); kwandi booti or kalpora or mountain germander (Teucrium stocksianum), and mazri or dwarf palm (Nannorrhops ritchiana). The shrub species generally inhabit this region at the base hills and extend over the plains.

The saline area also hosts some plants like prickly salt wart (Salsola kali), sihar or dogbane (Rhazya stricta), camel thorn (Alhagi camelorum), prickly Russian thistle (Salsola foetida), saxaul (Haloxylon salicornicum) and dwarf saxaul (H. Griffithii). The ground cover is constituted mainly by feather grass (Stipa himalacia), marvel grass (Dichanthium annulatum), aucheri grass (Chrysopogon aucheri) and lemon grass (Cymbopogon spp.).

Of the above mentioned flora, a valuable medicinal plant Ferula foetida (Hing) is found in foothills and collected by local people as remedies for bronchitis and asthma, among others.

Figure 1.5 IUCN GIS Map District Chagai

Soils

The soil of the district is moderately coarse textured, excessively drained, highly calcareous, and low in fertility.

Climate

The climate of the district ranges from extreme hot in summer to severe cold in winter. The difference between day and night temperatures is considerable, and the climatic conditions vary from area to area.

The summer season is long and severe, lasting from April to October with July being the hottest month. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during this month are 43 °C and 26 °C respectively. Sudden and severe sandstorms occur during these months. The western part is specially exposed to the effects of bad-sad-o-bist roz (wind of 120 days) which constantly blows day and night from a northwestern direction, from mid-May to mid-September.

The winter is short and severe. Occurrence of frost is common in the district. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures for the month of January (the coldest month) are 17 °C and 1 °C respectively.

Since the district is situated outside of Monsoonal currents, rainfall is irregular and scanty. The mean annual rainfall is 81 mm and summer rainfall is negligible. In winter, due to a western depression, some rainfall is received.

Seismic Activity

According to the Pakistan Seismic Zone Map, Chagai district falls in Zone 2 A, which means minor or no damage to property due to earthquakes.

[1] Chagai District Development Profile 2011, by P&D Department GoB with UNICEF

[2] Xerophytic plants are plants that can survive in areas with little water

Population

The following table shows the population of the district as per the 2017 Census:

District

Area

km2

Population Male % Female %

Urban

%

Growth Rate %
Chagai District[1] 4,478 226,008 52.4 47.6 7.2 4.13
Dalbandin Tehsil 19,338 185,205
Nukundi Tehsil 25,410 40,803

Table 1.4 Chagai Population Statistics

Religions[2]

Muslims 98.8%
Christians 0.2%
Hindus 0.7%
Ahmadis Negligible %
Schedule Castes 0.2%
Others 0.1%

Table 1.5 Chagai Religions

Languages[3]

Urdu 0.3%
Punjabi 0.8%
Sindhi 0.2%
Pushto 3.1%
Balochi 93.7%
Seraiki 0.5%
Others[4] 1.4%

Table 1.6 Chagai Languages

[1] Area of Nushki Tehsil have been deducted

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been published yet.

[3] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been published yet.

[4] Includes Chhachi/Hindko, Pahari, Potohari, Majhi, and Gojri dialects of Punjabi and Kohistani

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity

The major economic activities[1] of the Chagai population include:

  • Community, Social & Personal Services (33%)
  • Agriculture with it allied livestock breeding & fishing (25.5%)
  • Wholesale, Retail Trade, Restaurant & Hotel (19.5%)
  • Plant & Machine Operators (8.3%)
  • Professional & Technical Workers (6.8%)
  • Others (6.9%)

[1] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been published yet.

Land Use

The following table shows the land use statistics of the district (Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Area 4,474,800 HA Reported Area 3,261,148 HA
Total Cultivated Area 142,773 HA Net Sown 8,847 HA
Current Fallow 133,926 HA Uncultivated Area 3,118,375 HA
Culturable Waste 379,206 HA Forest Area 306,649 HA

Table 1.7 Chagai Land Use Statistics

Agriculture

About 20.3% of the population depends on agriculture for sustenance. The district falls under the Tropical Agricultural Zone and Zone II of Balochistan. The major crops grown are wheat, barley, cumin, jowar, bajra, maash, masoor, moong, cotton, rapeseed, mustard, canola, maize, sunflower, and fodder.

Apricot, peach, pears, plums, grapes, pomegranates, dates, almonds, watermelon, melon, musk melon, sarda, and garma are the fruits of the district, while chilies, onion, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, okra, tinda, radish, turnip, spinach, carrots, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, peas, brinjal, luffa, cucumber, and beet root are the vegetable produce of the district.

Livestock

Livestock plays an important role in the district’s economy and it provides employment opportunities to a majority of the rural population.

The following table shows the livestock statistics for the district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19 (includes data for Nushki District also):

Cattle 6,576 Heads Buffalos 20 Heads Sheep 205,725 Heads
Goats 299,363 Heads Camels 17,543 Heads Horses 100 Heads
Mules 83 Heads Asses 4,124 Heads

Table 1.8 Chagai Livestock Statistics

The main livestock breeds of the district include kharani camel, khorasani and morak goat, and rakhshani sheep.

Figure 1.7 Khorasani Goats

Poultry

There are 03 poultry farms[1] in the district. Data on Private farms is not available but there are 92931 poultry birds in Chagai and Nushki districts.

Fishing

Fishing is carried out in the various springs/ intermittent streams as well as in the Hamun-i-Lora and Hamun-i-Maskel lakes on a very small scale.

Bee Keeping/ Apiculture

Bee keeping is generally not practiced in the district; the reason is most likely the harsh climatic conditions prevalent in the district.

[1] Table 17, Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock; includes data for Nushki District also.

Irrigation

Chagai district belongs to the Dry Western Plateau Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Agriculture mostly depends on springs and karezes. The following table shows the mode of irrigation and area irrigated by it:[1]

Total Irrigated Area 9,657 HA Private Canal Irrigated – HA
Government Canals – HA Wells 4,881 HA
Tube Wells 4,776 HA Karezes/Springs – HA

Table 1.10 Chagai Irrigation Statistics

According to IUCN’s official website of the Pakistan Water Gateway, there are 56 karezes in the district. Some[2] of these include Muhammad Sharif Karez (Dalbandin), Shah Karez Amuri, Sardar Khudai Rahim, Malik Mohammad Karez (Amuri), Essa Karez Dalbandin, Sandak Karez, and Sikandar Khan Karez.

[1] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19

[2] for more details please visit http://waterinfo.net.pk/?q=karez

Mining

A large number of minerals are found in the district. Some of these include onyx marble, chromite, limestone, granite, pumice, iron ore, quartzite, dolomite, copper, gold, diorite, rhyolite, copper ore, travertine, manganese, sulphur, galena, lead, agglomerate, and anathosite.

Reko Diq and Saindak have large deposits of copper, gold, and silver.

There are no oil or gas deposits in the district.

Industry and Manufacturing

There are 2 industrial zones[1] in the district: Saindak Export Processing Zone and a Carpet Center. There were 2 industries producing dinner sets and marble craft, but these are now closed. At present, there is 1 flour mill operating in the district.

Trade

The mineral wealth of the district is the major trade commodity. This is exported to other parts of Pakistan as well as globally.

Handicrafts

In Chagai, handicrafts like embroidery work on women’s dresses, men’s caps and on leather are very common. Women and girls, in particular, possess excellent skill and craft, and mostly complete the embroidery work at home for personal use. However, some women use their embroidery skills for their livelihood as well. The most popular forms of the local Brahui embroidery techniques and designs are Mosan, Mahi Pusht, Sucking Kun, and Puriwal.

Other handicrafts include carpets, rugs, mattresses, coarse woolen cloth and blankets, mats, and other household items made with mazri palm leaves.

[1] Chagai District Development Profile 2011, P&D Department, GoB with UNICEF

Economic Infrastructure

Chagai district is connected by metaled roads and railway with the provincial headquarters, on the one hand, and with Taftan near the Iran border on the other. Other metal and shingle roads also exist in the district. The only town connected by air is Dalbandin. The district is also connected by rail with other parts of Pakistan.

Roads

According to Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19 the road statistics of the district are as follows:

Total Roads[1] 2,242.0 km
High Type Roads 1,080.0 km
Low Type Roads 1,162.0 km

Table 1.9 Chagai Road Statistics

Some of the important roads of the district include

  • National Highway N-40 (Quetta-Taftan) passes through the district. This road enters Chagai at Dalbandin, and connects Pakistan with Iran
  • Saindak Road
  • Reko Diq Road
  • Road connecting N-40 to Hamun-i-Lora
  • Road Connecting N-40 to Sayyid Ziarat

Rail and Airways

There is a railway track between Quetta and Taftan (Chagai); trains travel to Zahedan Iran from Taftan, thus connecting Pakistan with Iran. Taftan is also connected to Saindak by train. There are a number of railway stations between Quetta and Taftan, two of which are at Yakmuch and Abdari Landi.

There is a commercial airport at Dalbandin called Dalbandin Airport, which connects Chagai with other parts of Pakistan via air.

Radio and Television

There are no TV or radio broadcasting stations in the district, but radio programs broadcast from Karachi, Quetta, Islamabad and Zahidan (Iran), as well as Kabul (Afghanistan) and the BBC (UK) can be heard throughout the district. TV can be viewed through cable.

Telecommunication

Chagai district is connected to other parts of Pakistan and globally via modern digital telephone exchanges. There are 04 telephone exchanges which provide 284 landline connections, 2,109 wireless phone and 205 broadband connections in the district.[2] Cellular phone services, with considerable coverage in all major towns are also available.

Post Offices/ Courier Services

There are a total of 08 post offices in the district.[3] All the major courier companies provide their services in the district as well.

Electricity and Gas

Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) looks after the supply and transmission of electricity to the district. There is a 50 MW power generating unit operating at Saindak.

[1] This contains data for Nushki District also

[2] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19

[3] Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19

Banking/ Financial Services

The following banks have their branches at Dalbandin, Chagai district:

  • Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.
  • National Bank of Pakistan Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd.

According to the “List of Reporting Bank Branches 2919” by State Bank of Pakistan there are 04 branches of different banks in the District.

Education

The district has a literacy rate of 27.0%, with 38% male and 13.8% females literate. The following table shows the number of Educational Institutions in the district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 162/58 Middle Schools 18/14
High Schools 12/03 Community Schools 21
Higher Secondary 01/1 Degree Colleges 01/01
Universities Mosque Schools[1]
Vocational Training Schools Private Schools[2] 05

Table 1.11 Chagai Educational Institutions

In addition there are privately owned educational institutions that provide education at all levels.

Health

The following table shows the Government Health Care Institutions in Chagai district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution No./beds Institution No./beds
Teaching Hospitals Hospitals 01/70
Rural health Centers 03/30 Basic Health Units 12/-
Dispensaries 12/- Mother Child Health Centers 04/-
TB/Leprosy Clinics -/- Private Hospitals 01/70
Dispensaries (Private) 02/-

Table 1.12 Chagai Health Institutions

In addition, there are 15 privately-owned medical clinics in the district.

Policing

The larger part of Chagai district is bifurcated into an “A” and a “B” area. The “A” area, comprising towns and highways, has a police force. The “B” area does not have a police force but all major law and order situations are dealt with by levies.

Levy is a conventional force for maintaining law and order. Installed during British rule, levy members are recruited along tribal or clan lines. The levies fall under the direct command of the Deputy Commissioner (DC), with his powers delegated to the assistant commissioners, and tehsildars, among others. The levies in the district are classified as Sepoy, Hawaldar, Dafeedar, Jameedar, and Risaldar. Every district in Balochistan has its own levies, named after the district. Recently, at the initiation of the DC administration, a new levy force has been recruited on the district level, known as the Task Force. This Task Force is better trained and equipped with advanced weapons.

Figure 1.9 A view of Saindak

Figure 1.10 A stone from Reko Diq, containing traces of gold

Figure 1.11 Copper Gold Deposits Saindak, Chagai

Figure 1.12 Ras Koh Hills

Figure 1.13 Railway Station Nokundi

[1] included in Primary schools

[2] This is taken from Balochistan Development Statistics 2011

Environment and Biodiversity

Environmental pollution, especially brown pollution is almost negligible, as there is no industrial set up or heavy traffic in the district.

There are a large number of endemic and rare reptiles found in the Chagai desert. Similarly, a large variety of small and large mammals are also found in the desert area of Chagai.

Flora and Fauna

The district is arid and consists of both desert and semi-desert[1] areas. Siah Reg and Western Sinjrani are the desert parts of Chagai district. Other parts of Chagai district consist of semi-desert areas where, depending on the amount of rainfall, a variety of vegetation grows.

Flora

There are 4 Vegetation Zones in the district:

  • Uphill steep rocky cliffs: These mainly cover the Koh-e-Sultan and Raskoh hills. On the slopes, plants like kakrasinghi or guli pista or wild pistachios (Pistacia khinjuk), kotor (Stocksia brahuica), jarad (Gymnocarpus decadrus), turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus), wild almonds or archin (Prunus ebernea) and milk broom or bata (Periploca aphylla) can be observed
  • Foot hills: Here, a transition of vegetation cover takes place and a mixture of both xerophytic and non-xerophytic plants can be observed. Main plant species are anab (Tamarix macrocarpa), ghaz or farash or athel pine (Tamarix articulata), milk broom or bata (Periploca aphylla), wild almonds or mazmoon (Prunus eburnean), and taghaz or white saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron). The dominant shrubs in the region include kotor (Stocksia brahuica), caper beans (Zygophylum atripliciodes), kiri or French tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), milkvetch (Astraglus hycanus), abal or phog (Calligonum comosom), Syrian rue or harmal (Peganam harmala), hing or devils dung (Ferula asafoetida; male kularhing and female Pauni hing), jaur or oleander (Narium odorum), sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), kalpora or kwandi booti or mountain germander (Tenerium stocksianum), and dwarf palm or mazri palm (Nannorrhops ritichiana). The shrub species generally inhabit this region at the base hills and extend over the plains. The saline area also consists of some plants like Russian thistle (Salsola kali), harmal (Rhazya stricta), shinz or camelthorn (Alhagi camelorum), saltwort (Salsola foetida), varieties of saxaul (Haloxylon salicornicum and H. Griffithii), tarkha or sea wormwood (Artimesia meritima), wild almonds (Prunus ebernea), and ghuzaira or pea flowered shrub (Sophora griffithii) mostly associated with herbs and grasses
  • Piedmont plains: This is the area covering mostly the plains adjoining the foothills. Common plant species are prickly saltwart (Salsola kali), sihar or dogbane (Rhazya stricta), camel thorn (Alhagi camelorum), Russian prickly thistle (Salsola foetida), saxaul (Haloxylon salicornicum), dwarf saxaul (H. Griffithii), ghuzaira or pea flowered bush (Sophora grifithii), and chaste tree or vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) associated with herbs and grasses
  • Dry stream beds: These are commonly found in the entire district where tamarisk or salt cedar (Tamarix Spp.) and mazri or dwarf palm (Nanorrhops ritichiana) are common

Fauna

Mammals found in the district include desert fox, Asiatic jackal, cape hare, porcupine, and Afghan hedgehog. The area is also the habitat of the threatened desert deer, goitered gazelle, and pygmy jerboa.

Birds found include houbara bustard, see-see partridge, a number of sparrows, finches, buntings, seasonal/ migratory waterfowl, hawks, and sand grouse.

Reptiles include Turkestan rock gecko, sharp-tailed spider gecko, lumsdeni gecko, whip-tailed sand gecko, Baloch spiny-tailed lizard, mountain dwarf gecko, short-toed sand swimmer, Easter dwarf skink, Indian desert monitor, reticulate desert Lacerta, Caspian desert Lacerta, Chagai desert Lacerta, dark-headed dwarf racer, tartary sand boa, spotted desert racer, dark-headed gamma snake, Maynard’s awl-headed snake, Afghan tortoise, Indian cobra, leaf nose viper, and lizards like the pointed-tail spider gecko, and whip-tail sand gecko.

Protected Areas and Endangered Fauna

Gut Forest Wildlife Sanctuary, Zawakhan and Kambran Wildlife Sanctuaries/ Game Reserves are protected under the Government of Pakistan Laws. These Wildlife Sanctuaries/ Game Reserves provide protection to markhor, urial, ibex, chinkara gazelle, chakor partridge, houbara bustard, and other migratory birds.

 

[1] Chagai District Development Profile 2011, by P&D Department GoB with UNICEF