Balochistan (Pakistan)

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Balochistan (Urdu: بلوچستان) is the largest province (by area) of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 census, Balochistan had a population of roughly 6.6 million.[2]

Its neighbouring regions are Iran to the west, Afghanistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province to the north, Punjab and Sindh provinces to the east. To the south lies the Arabian Sea. The main languages in the province are Balochi, Brahui, Pashto and Urdu.[3] The provincial capital is Quetta and Gwadar is the developing port city. The Baloch and Pashtun people constitute the two major ethnic groups; a mixed ethnic stock, mainly of Sindhi origin, forms the third major group (Sindhi Baloch).[3] Balochistan is rich in mineral resources; it is the second major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan.

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Geography and climate

Balochistan is located at the south-eastern edge of the Iranian plateau. It strategically bridges the Middle East and Southwest Asia to Central Asia and South Asia, and forms the closest oceanic frontage for the land-locked countries of Central Asia.

In terms of geographical size, Balochistan is the largest of the five provinces of Pakistan at 347,190 km² (134,051 mi²), which composes approximately 44% of the total land area of Pakistan. The population density is very low due to the mountainous terrain and scarcity of water. The southern region is known as Makran. The central region is known as Kalat.

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