Baluchistan is a province of Pakistan and roughly encompasses the part of the historical Baluchistan region that lies within the borders of Pakistan. Neighboring regions include Iran's province of Sistan and Baluchistan to the west, several Afghan provinces to the north, Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the northeast, and the remaining Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh to the east. To the south, Baluchestan borders the Arabian Sea. The capital is Quetta and the province has 12,344,408 inhabitants (2017).
With an area of 347,190 km², Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan in terms of area, but it has the lowest population of the four provinces. The population density is very low due to the mountainous terrain and the scarcity of water. The southern region of the province is known as Makran and a region in central Pakistani Balochistan is called Kalat.
The capital Quetta is located in the northeast, in the most populous part of the province. The city is located in a river valley near the border with Afghanistan, on the road to Kandahar in Afghanistan in the northwest.
In the period 1972-2017, the population of Baluchistan increased fivefold (see: table below). In 2017, the Quetta district was the largest with 2.3 million inhabitants, followed by Kech (909 thousand), Khuzdar (802 thousand), Killa Abdullah (757 thousand), Pishin (736 thousand), Lasbela (574 thousand) and Jafarabad ( 513 thousand). The Baloch people form a small majority. Other major ethnic groups are the Pathans and the Brahui.
The largest religion in Balochistan is Islam. In the 2017 census, Muslims made up 98.75% of the population. The largest minority religions were Hinduism and Christianity.
On the coast is the town of Gwadar. Between 2005 and 2010, the Pakistani government, with the help of the Chinese, built a large port complex here. The reasons for this are partly to provide the Pakistani navy with an additional naval base and partly to reduce Pakistan's dependence on Karachi, Pakistan's only major port.
Conflict in Balochistan