Balochistan-Washuk

Introduction

Washuk district is located between 62° 48′ 28” to 65° 58′ 35” east latitudes, and 26° 04′ 25.5” to 28° 39′ 57.5” north longitudes. The district is located in the southwest of Balochistan, sharing its boundary in the southwest with Panjgur, and Khuzdar in the east; district Chaghai is in its north, and Iran is on the west of the district.

District at a Glance

Name of District Washuk District
Headquarters Washuk Town
Population[1] 176,206 persons
Area[2] 33,093 km2
Population Density[3] 4.8 persons/ km2
Growth Rate[4] 2.5%
Male Population[5] 52.2%
Female Population[6] 47.8%
Urban Population[7] 12.4%
Tehsils/ Talukas[8] 03 Tehsils:

1.    Mashkhel Tehsil

2.    Basima Tehsil

3.    Washuk Tehsil

Main Villages Basima, Washuk, Mashkhel, Ladgasht, Nag, Parwar, Korkian Pass
Literacy Rate[9] 36.0%
Male Literacy Rate[10] 53.0%
Female Literacy Rate[11] 16.0%
Major Economic Activity[12] Agriculture with its allied livestock breeding and fishing/ hunting 62.8%

 

Community, Social & Personal Services 19.4%
Construction 9.3%
Wholesale, Retail, Restaurant & Hotel 3.8%
Electricity, Gas & Water 2.1%
Transport, Storage & Communication 1.3%
Others 1.4%
Main Crops Wheat, barley, rapeseed & mustard, cumin, masoor, jowar, bajra, maize, moong, maash, cotton, sunflower, canola, and fodder
Major Fruits Almonds, apples, apricots, grapes, peach, pomegranate, dates, watermelon, and musk melon
Major Vegetables Onions, chilies, tomatoes, okra, tinda, radish, spinach, turnip, broad beans, carrots, bottle gourd, pumpkin, peas, brinjal, luffa, and cucumber
Forest (Area)[13] – HA[14]
Black Topped Roads[15] 1,131.0 km
Shingle Roads[16] 1,326.0 km
Electricity[17] Supplied by Quetta Electricity Supply Corporation (QESCO)
Telephone Exchanges[18] 01 telephone exchange providing 836 landlines, 1,198 wireless phones, and 759 broadband connections
Industry[19] Data could not be collected
Major Industry[20] Same as above
Household Size[21] 5.3 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water[22] 9.4%
Houses with Electricity[23] 3.5%

Table 1.1 Washuk District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census

[2] Washuk District Development Profile 2011; by P&D GoB with UNICEF

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] Washuk District Development Profile 2011; by P&D GoB with UNICEF

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

[10] PSLM

[11] PSLM

[12] 1998 Census; (Kharan District data); 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

[13] Balochistan Development Statistics, 2018-19

[14] Land Utilization Statistics report 94,711 HA under forests.

[15] Balochistan Development Statistics, 2018-19; includes data for Kharan District also

[16] Balochistan Development Statistics, 2018-19; includes data for Kharan District also

[17] Balochistan Development Statistics, 2018-19

[18] Balochistan Development Statistics, 2018-19

[19] Washuk District Development Profile 2011 by P&D GoB with UNICEF

[20] Washuk District Development Profile 2011 by P&D GoB with UNICEF

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

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

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

Brief History

Washuk district was a Tehsil of Kharan district till 2005, when the Tehsil was upgraded to a district. Hence, the early history of the district is synonymous to that of Kharan, and has been recounted in the chapter on Kharan district.

According to the Balochistan District Gazetteer Series Kharan 1907 (p. 181), the name Washuk is said to be a corruption of the words Wab Shut or Khwab Shud meaning “he slept”; tradition recounts that the district’s founder, Malik Dinar, a Syed,[1] could not sleep when journeying from Bampur until halting at Washuk (which was a desert at that time) where he fell sound asleep, and on awaking, announced his intention of permanently settling there. The area is also known as Khashuk.

Malik Dinar’s descendants remained in sole possession of the area until the nomadic tribe called Halazai started coming into the area. The Halazais were allowed to settle in the region, but in time, dissension arose between Malik Dinar’s tribe and the Halazais. The tribes asked the Kharan Chief, Mir Abbas (a Nausherwani) for help. Mir Abbas agreed to help, but over time, he gradually absorbed the area into his own territories, and made it a part of Kharan.

On 17 March 1948, Kharan acceded to Pakistan, and on 3 October, 1952 it joined the Balochistan States Union. The State was dissolved on 14 October 1955, when all regions of the western wing of Pakistan were merged to form the province of West Pakistan under the One Unit Policy. When West Pakistan was dissolved in 1970, the territory of the former State of Kharan was organized as Kharan district of the province of Balochistan.

In 2005, Washuk Tehsil was upgraded to Washuk district.

Government Structure

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

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly[2] 1
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 1

Under the Local Government Act 2010, Amended in 2011, Washuk district has 1 District Council with 10 Union Councils. It has 1 Municipal Committee as follows:

  • Washuk

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

Washuk district covers an area of 33,093 km² and is subdivided into 3 Tehsils named after their major towns:

Mashkhel Tehsil 02 Union Councils
Washuk Tehsil 05 Union Councils
Basima Tehsil 02 Union Councils

Table 1.2 Washuk Administrative Divisions

Historical/ Heritage Sites and Tourism/ Picnic Spots

There are a few ancient dams in the district called Zoroastrian dams or Gabarbands in the Siahan Ranges. These dams are terraced fields and built to contain rainwater in the terraced plots and collect the deposition of fertile alluvium on the otherwise rocky soil.

There are some domed mausoleums in the district called gumbals. These are Persian Tombs and are a square chamber surmounted by a dome. There are several gumbals in the district; of these, the Bibi-i-Gumbad is attributed by local authorities to Malik Bahram Shah. Another of these is known as Chandiani Gumbad. Both these gumbals are located in Washuk Town. There are other lesser known gumbals in Hurmagai.

The tomb of Malik Dinar is a historical shrine located on top of the Raskoh hills. The shrine is known as Langar-i-Malik.

Washuk district can provide mountaineering experience to mountain climbers and tourists.

Figure 1.7 A Jamia Masjid in Basima

[1] Syed is a word used for the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

[2] This seat is shared by Kharan and Panjgur districts

Topography

The district is generally mountainous, with the Siahan Range of mountains separating the Rakhshan Valley of the district from Kharan, and eventually joining the hills of Iranian Balochistan[1] or Makran. The Siahan Range consists of 2 ridges:

  • One in the south, running west-to-south then again westward, from a point near Shireza
  • The other in the north, starting from the desert east of Washuk, and tending westward towardDizzak in Iran, where it is known as the Siahan or the Sianah Koh

According to the Kharan District Gazetteer (p.178), running parallel to the Siahan Range and to its north is a range called Cher Dem Latt. This range is divided into 2 parts by the gap made by Washuk Town. To the east of Washuk, the hills again form 2 parallel ridges, with the northern ridge known as the Togoruk (938 m) and the southern known as Liddi.

The eastern mountain range known as Ras Koh Hills separates Washuk from Awaran and Kalat districts.

The plains along the hilly areas are mostly gravel plains which are formed by the accumulation of stones/ pebbles carried by hill torrents after heavy rains; these pebbles are spread over large areas.

The desert area occupies the northern and central parts of the district, and runs from Hamun-i-Mashkel (the largest desert lake of Pakistan) on the west to the Garr Hills in the east.[2] It is bisected by the line of Boddo River and chains of Nawars[3] at its extremity. The general name of the tract is Registan or Lut (desert). This desert is formed by the accumulation of wind-borne sand, in large masses, formed into crescent shaped dunes.

Figure 1.3 A Camel Caravan through the Desert, Basima

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

The River Rakhshan rises at the Nidoki Pass, southwest of Shireza in district Washuk. Under the name of Nag and flowing southwestward, it unites with the Lop stream[4] at a point to the west of Nag-e-Kalat in Basima Tehsil. It then flows in a west-to-south, then western direction, through the center of the long valley comprising the Panjgur district, Makran, parallel with the Siahan Range on the north and the Zangi Lak hills on the south. As it flows through Rakhshan, it has little to no water.

Other smaller streams in the district are Baddo and Mashkel.

There are a large number of hill torrents, all of which rise in the Siahan Range; these are Gujar, Zahragan, Regintak, Gresha Kaur, Palantak, Pilin, and Bibi Lohari.

Hamun-e-Mashkel, the largest seasonal desert lake in Pakistan, is located in this district. The lake is approximately 85 km long and 35 km wide. When dry, the lake bed consists of sun-cracked clay, oxidized pebbles, salty marshes, and crescent shaped shifting sand dunes.

Figure 1.4 A Spring in Basima

Figure 1.5 A Hill Torrent in Washuk

Forests

Separate statistical data for Washuk district is not available, but it is known that the district is home to olive pistachio forests and Desert Forests consisting of kandi, ghaz, ber, mazri, haloxylon, and gugal.

Vegetation type in the area generally represents the xerophytic plant community. The tree species include taghaz or black saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron), harmal or African/Syrian rue (Peganum harmala), camel thorn (Alhaji camelorum), aak (Calotropice procera), harmal or dogbane (Rhazya stricta), alonj (generic name not known), burako or field cotton rose or cudweed (Filago arvensis), apo (a salsolaceous plant or bush), milk broom (Periploca aphylla), karir (capparis aphylla), phog or abal (Calligonum comosum), purchink or alpine blue mint (Ziziphora clinopodioides), shirakah (a fodder eaten by sheep), simsur (a fodder eaten by sheep), and sohrpul (Gaillonia eriantha). These are generally spread almost over the entire district. Similarly, ghaz or athel pine (Tamarix articulata), anab (Tamarix macrocarpa), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), and wild pistachios or shina (Pistacia khinjjuk) can be grouped into major tree species.

Soils

The soil of some areas of the district is alluvial and extremely fertile. The best type is called matt. It requires less water and retains moisture for longer periods and is thus, suitable for all crops.

Figure 1.6 IUCN GIS Map Washuk District

Climate

The district falls into the second ecological zone (625-1,250 m above sea level), as it is 700 m above sea level.[5] The climate[6] of the district is hot and dry; in the summer season, the day temperatures are very high, but the nights are cooler. July is the hottest month, with mean maximum and minimum temperatures of over 42 °C and 26 °C. January is the coldest month, with mean maximum and minimum temperatures of over 17 °C and 1 °C respectively. Dust storms blow throughout the year, but are most severe from June to September, when they are known as Livar. They are, at times, destructive enough to kill animals and destroy vegetation. Rainfall is scanty, and most of it is received from January to March.

Snow falls on the peaks of the Raskoh Hills.

Since there is no meteorological station at Kharan, the 30 year record at Dalbandin (the nearest station) has been taken. This record shows annual precipitation of 81 mm.

Seismic Activity

The district belongs to Zone 3 of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan which means moderate to severe damage due to earthquakes.

[1] Also called Persian Balochistan, the Iranian Balochistan is part of the Sistan province of Iran and is located in the southeast of that province

[2] Washuk District Profile 2011, by P&D, GoB, and UNICEF

[3] Nawars are small lakes or water bodies.

[4] Balochistan District Gazetteer Series Makran and Kharan p.20

[5] Washuk District Development Profile 2011, by P&D Department, GoB in collaboration with UNICEF

[6] Taken to be the same as Kharan district

Population

The following table shows the population of the district according to 2017 Census:

District/Tehsil Area

Km2

Population % Male% Female% Urban % Growth Rate %
Washuk District 33,093 176,206 52.2 47.8 12.4 2.51
Mashkel Tehsil[1] NA 38,657
Basima Tehsil NA 102,305
Washuk Tehsil NA 35,244

Table 1.3 Washuk Population Statistics

Religions[2]

Muslims 99.2%
Christians 0.1%
Hindus 0.4%
Ahmadis 0.1%
Scheduled Castes 0.1%
Others 0.1%

Table 1.4 Washuk Religions

Languages[3]

Urdu 0.1%
Punjabi 0.2%
Sindhi 0.1%
Pushto 0.2%
Balochi 98.5%
Seraiki 0.6%
Others[4] 0.3%

Table 1.5 Washuk Languages

[1] Data for areas of tehsils is not available

[2] 1998 Census; same as Kharan district; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[3] 1998 Census (same as Kharan district); 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[4] includes Brahvi language

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity

The main economic occupations of the district are[1]:

  • Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding & Fishing/Hunting (62.8%)
  • Community, Social & Personal Services (19.4%)
  • Construction (9.3%)
  • Wholesale/Retail, Restaurant/Hotel (3.8%)
  • Electricity, Gas & Water (2.1%)
  • Transport, Storage & Communication (1.3%)
  • Others (1.4%)

Land Use

The following table shows the main land use statistics of the district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Area 2,951,000 HA Reported Area 105,988 HA
Total Cultivated Area 11,277 HA Net Sown 11,277 HA
Current Fallow – HA Total Uncultivated Area 94,711 HA
Culturable Waste – HA Forest Area 94,711 HA

Table 1.6 Washuk Land Use Statistics

Agriculture

The district is included in the Temperate Agro-Ecological Zone of Balochistan; farming is mostly barani or rain fed/ torrent fed, based on subsistence level farming. The crops of the district are wheat, barley, rapeseed & mustard, cumin, masoor, jowar, bajra, maize, moong, maash, cotton, sunflower, canola, and fodder.

The fruits grown in the district are almonds, apples, apricots, grapes, peach, pomegranate, dates, watermelon, and musk melon.

The vegetable produce of the district includes onions, chilies, tomatoes, okra, tinda, radish, spinach, turnip, broad beans, carrots, bottle gourd, pumpkin, peas, brinjal, luffa, and cucumber.

Livestock

Livestock is also a very important sector of the district’s economy. It is the main source of income for nomadic families. In absence of data for Washuk district, following table reproduces the livestock position of Kharan District as per Livestock Census 2006 (qtd. in Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19):

Cattle 14,854 Heads Buffalo 118 Heads Sheep 665,903 Heads
Goats 635,731 Heads Camels 76,069 Heads Horses 138 Heads
Mules 8 Heads Asses 11,862 Heads

Table 1.7 Washuk Livestock Statistics

Indigenous livestock breeds of the district include kharani camel, khurasani and morak goat, and rakhshani sheep.

Poultry

There are 11 poultry farms[2] in Kharan district (no separate data for Washuk is available).

Fishing

There is no fishing activity in the district.

Bee Keeping

Only wild honey is locally used in the district, and bee keeping is not a commercial/ economic activity mainly due to scanty flora of the region.

Irrigation

The following table shows the mode of irrigation and area being irrigated by the mode for the district (Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Irrigated Area 12,790 HA Government Canals – HA
Private Canals – HA Wells  6,720 HA
Tube Wells 6,070 HA Karez/Spring/Others – HA

Table 1.9 Washuk Irrigation Statistics

Shabok Delay Action Dam is being built in the district.

According to the IUCN Website,[2] there are 13 karezes in Kharan district, and some of these are presumed to be providing water for irrigation to Washuk district[3] also.

Minerals and Mining

Chromite, manganese, copper, and antimony are present in the district, but these are not being mined. Oil and gas is being explored in the district.

Industry

There are no industrial units in the district.

Handicrafts

The handicrafts of the district are embroidery on clothes and sandal/ shoe making as well as embroidery of leather.

[1] 1998 Cenus (Kharan district); 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[2] Table 17, Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock

Economic Infrastructure

Roads are the most important means of transport and form the backbone of the economy. There is a shortage of black topped roads, but the district headquarter, Washuk, is connected with other parts of the district through both black topped and shingle roads. The district is not connected with railway lines and there is no airport.

Roads

The following table shows the road statistics for Kharan/ Washuk district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Roads 2,457.0 km
High Type Roads/Black Topped 1,131.0 km
Low Type Roads/Shingle 1,326.0 km

Table 1.8 Washuk Road Statistics

Some of the important roads of Washuk district include:

  • National Highway N-85 (Hoshab-Panjgur-Nag-Basima-Sorab-Quetta)
  • National Highway N-30 (Basima-Khuzdar Road)
  • The road connecting Chagai district with Kharan district passes through Washuk connecting Hosak and Regin
  • The road connecting Kharan district with Panjgur district passes through Washuk connecting the Guzarzai and Kokian Passes

Rail and Airways

Washuk is not connected with any railway line and there is no airport. The nearest airports are Panjgur and Kharan Airports. The nearest railway stations are at Chagai and Quetta.

Radio and Television

There is no radio or TV station in the district, but TV can be viewed through cable, and radio broadcasts can also be heard. Radio is a major source of entertainment especially in the rural areas.

Telecommunications

The district is connected to other parts of the country through telephone and telegraph. There is 01 telephone exchange in Washuk district which provide 836 landlines, 1,198 wireless phones, and 759 broadband connections in the district (Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19). Cellular phone companies also provide their services in the district.

Post Offices/ Courier Services

There are 04 post offices in the district (Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19). Courier companies provide services in the district as well.

Banking/Financial Institutions

National Investment Bank Ltd. is the only bank[1] operating in Washuk.

In 2019 as per “District-wise Scheduled Banks Branches as on June 30th, 2019” by State bank of Pakistan there were 3 bank branches in Washuk District.

Electricity and Gas

Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) looks after the supply and transmission of electricity to the district.

Education

The following table shows the number of primary, middle, secondary, and mosque schools in the district as per Balochistan Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 124/32 Middle Schools 13/07
High Schools 15/04 Community Schools 36
Higher Secondary 01/01 Degree Colleges -/-
Universities Mosque Schools[4]
Vocational Training Schools Private Schools[5]

Table 1.10 Washuk Educational Institutes

Health

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

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Teaching Hospitals Hospitals 01/24
Rural Health Centers 02/20 Basic Health Units 24/-
Dispensaries 12/- Mother Child Health Centers -/-
TB/Leprosy Clinics -/- Private Hospitals
Private Dispensaries

Table 1.11 Washuk Health Institutes

Policing

The larger part of Washuk district is bifurcated into an “A” and a “B” area. The “A” area, comprising towns and highways, has a police force. Generally, a police station has a jurisdiction of a maximum 8 km radius. A “B” area does not have a police force, and all major law and order situations are dealt with by levies.

A levy is a conventional force for maintaining law and order and was 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 powers delegated to the assistant commissioners, and tehsildars, among others. The levies in Washuk 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.

The policing of Washuk district is looked after by the Regional Police Officer (RPO) Kalat. This RPO is assisted by 1 SubDivisional Police Officer (SDPO) stationed at Washuk. In all, there are 2 police stations[6] in the district.

Figure 1.8 Levies Colony, Basima

[1] List of Reporting Bank Branches State Bank of Pakistan 2013

[2] Retrieved from: http://waterinfo.net.pk/sites/default/files/knowledge/Karez%20Listing.pdf

[3] Separate data for Washuk district is not available

[4] included in primary schools

[5] data not available

[6] Table no. 19.7 (a) Number of Police Stations by Division/District 2019 by Federal Bureau of Statistics.

Environment and Biodiversity

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

Flora and Fauna

Flora

The vegetation zones[1] of Washuk district consist of the following:

  • Hills and Steep Slopes: Gawan or Bombay Mastix (Pistacia khinjuk), is occasionally seen in this zone, mixed with grasses and fodders like basrsho nk (Pennisetum dichotomum), and sorag (generic name not known), kotor (Stocksia brahuica) and (Eragrostis cynosuroides)
  • Foothills: The plants occupying this zone are both xerophytic and non-xerophytic plants. Main plant species are anab (Tamarix macrocarpa), ghaz or farash or athel pine (Tamarix articulate), taghaz or black saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron), milk broom or barara (Periploca aphylla), blue mint or purchink (Ziziphora clinopodioides), shirakah and simsur (fodder eaten by sheep), and sohrpul (Gaillonia eriantha). The dominant shrubs in the region include Zygophylum atripliciodes, kiri or French tamarix (Tamarix gallica), abal or phog (Calligonum comosom), African or Syrian rue/ harmal (Peganam harmala), sweet-scented oleander or jaur (Nerium odorum), prickly glasswort (Salsola kali), sihar or harmal (Rhazya stricta), camelthorn (Alhagi camelorum), lani (Salsola foetida), and lana (Haloxylon salicornicum)
  • Sand Dunes, Stream Beds & Plains: A species of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is seen in groves almost in the entire district. In addition, anab (Tamarix macrocarpa), ghaz or farash or athel pine (Tamarix articulate), taghaz or black saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron), milk broom or barara (Periploca aphylla), purchink or blue mint (Ziziphora clinopodioides), fodder eaten by sheep and not identified (shirakah and simsur), and sohrpul (Gaillonia eriantha) are associated with this zone

Fauna

Mammals of the district include Sindh ibex, wild sheep, desert fox, Asiatic jackal, cape hare, porcupine, Afghan hedgehog, the threatened desert deer, goitered gazelle, and honey badger. Avifauna includes houbara bustard, see-see partridge, a number of sparrows, finches, buntings seasonal/ migratory water fowls, hawks, and sand grouse.

Reptilian fauna includes Turkestan rock gecko, sharp-tailed spider gecko, Lumsden 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 agamura femoralis, and stenodactylus maynardi.

Protected Areas and Wildlife

The Raghai Rakhshan Forest is a protected wildlife sanctuary in the district. When flooded, the Hamun-i-Mashkel provides refuge for migratory birds. The wildlife sanctuary provides sanctuary to the desert deer, goitered gazelle, honey badger, houbara bustard, and other mammals as well as migratory fowl.

[1] Washuk District Development Plan, by P&D, GoB with UNICEF