Balochistan: A Great Tourist Destination – OpEd


Balochistan is endowed with extraordinary beauty by God. Every region of the province possesses the allure to captivate visitors with breathtaking vistas. It is one of Pakistan’s most enchanting and well-liked tourist destinations. Covering an enormous area of about 347,190 square kilometers, Balochistan boasts a diverse topography that includes breathtaking mountain ranges, fascinating deserts, captivating beaches, tranquil coastal regions, historic ancient structures, and waterfalls.

Quetta, the provincial capital, is nestled in a picturesque valley, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, creating a surreal atmosphere. Balochistan is regarded as a tourist paradise because of its immense natural beauty, with numerous stunning regions offering glimpses of real heaven. The province is endowed with an abundance of aesthetically appealing places that have a great potential to attract fervent tourists.

Balochistan is a major tourist attraction province because it has natural beauty and historical places. Due to its vast geography and landscapes of different natures, it experiences the coldest temperatures in some places, such as Ziarat Valley, and the hottest temperatures in the deserts of Kharan and Chagai. Despite being the source of several valuable minerals, the province is known as the “fruit basket of Pakistan” since it produces an abundance of various fruit varieties. Dates, apples, almonds, etc. are significant among them. 

Undoubtedly, it is an amazing region, with a wide range of captivating landscapes that are alluring and fascinating. The Suleiman-Kirthar Mountain range adds to the beauty of Balochistan and lies between the Balochistan plateau and the Indus Valley. The scenic beauty of Ziarat Valley alongside its snowy weather in winter and cool breezes in summer, the awe-inspiring waterfalls of Pir Ghayb, the unmatchable view of frozen Hanna Lake in winter, the serenity of Kund Malir beach, and the worth-mentioning beauty of Astola Island are few glimpses of Balochistan inherent beauty. 

The province offers a plethora of opportunities for both native and foreign tourists. Balochistan has enormous tourist potential due to its natural treasure trove and breathtaking scenery, which presents a multitude of options for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. The Hingol National Park, with its diverse ecosystem and unique wildlife, including the elusive Persian leopard, presents an unparalleled experience for wildlife lovers. The scenic beaches of Ormara and the rest of the coastal belt with the golden sands and crystal-clear waters, provide tranquil retreats away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The beach offers a serene and peaceful environment, making it a great place to relax and unwind. 

Balochistan boasts many amazing coastlines on the planet. Beaches like Somniani, Ormara, Pasni, etc. are currently big tourist destinations.  Kund Malir Beach is one of Asia’s Top 50 beaches, which is in Hingol National Park. This pristine beach rests between a desert, mountains, and the sea, providing stunning vistas. This beach is a prominent gem among the diverse beaches of Pakistan, which enhances the province’s natural beauty and charming coastal splendor.

Astola Island, also referred to as “Island of the Seven Hills” is a tiny, uninhabited island in the Arabian Sea. It is also Pakistan’s largest island, making it a popular tourist destination. It is among the most well-known beaches not just in Pakistan but in the whole world. People come to this island to go deep sea diving, fishing, and beach camping. The water is so clean that the seabed is visible down to a depth of roughly 20 feet. The view from the island is unforgettable, people can see the blue sea for miles, spectacular moments of sunset, flying birds, bright sunshine, and the cool gentle breeze leave the viewers spellbound. 

Mata Hinglaj, also known as Nani Mandir, is a significant Hindu temple located in the middle of the Hingol National Park. It holds immense religious importance for Hindus around the world and has become a unifying point for Hindu communities. The annual pilgrimage takes place every April where more than 250,000 pilgrims take part in the Hinglaj Yatra. Pilgrims from all over Pakistan and even India visit the temple during the spring. With proper maintenance and planning, this can turn into one of Balochistan’s biggest revenue-generating places in the tourism sector. 

Near the mouth of Balochistan’s historic Bolan Pass is the Mehrgarh Heritage Site. This 9000-year-old distinguished, and iconic heritage site is a symbol of pride for the province. It is among the world’s most significant and ancient archaeological sites as it provides valuable insights into the early human civilization in the region. Foreign tourists are often interested in exploring Mehrgarh to uncover the mysteries of the ancient past. However, Mehrgarh also needs to be properly preserved and turned into a museum for tourists from across the globe. 

Despite being the largest province of Pakistan, Balochistan has received minimal attention in promoting tourism and is lagging far behind other provinces. A significant portion of the people are still unfamiliar with the province’s inherent natural beauty. No proper attention was paid to harnessing the God-gifted opportunity to earn more and more foreign tourists and foreign exchange which can open new avenues of employment in the tourism sector. It is the right time for Pakistan to take initiatives to develop tourism by improving infrastructure under the CPEC project and establishing high-quality restaurants and hotels that can attract many tourists each year. However, all this can only happen when the security situation improves in Balochistan. The number of tourists will increase when they are provided with facilities of motels and safety and other luxuries etc. It will not only boost the country’s economy but also provide Balochistan and its underprivileged citizens with a plethora of new opportunities. Promoting tourism in the province will not only portray a soft and peace-loving image of Balochistan but will also result in ample revenue generation. 

Shahzadi Irrum

Ms. Shahzadi Irrum is an Assistant Research Fellow at Balochistan Think Tank Network, Quetta.

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