Mastung is a small district located in the province of Balochistan, Pakistan. Despite its relatively small size, Mastung holds great significance in Pakistan’s history and culture. This hidden gem is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves exploring off-the-beaten-path locations and learning about the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of Pakistan. In this article, we will delve into the history, geography, culture, cuisine, and tourism opportunities in Mastung.
History of Mastung
Mastung has a rich historical background dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization and the reign of the Persian Empire. The region was also ruled by various dynasties such as the Mughals, Safavids, and the British. In the 19th century, Mastung became a strategic location for military campaigns due to its location between the plains of Punjab and the mountainous regions of Balochistan. The famous Battle of Mastung took place here in 1839 during the First Anglo-Afghan War. Today, Mastung is known for its role as a hub for the Baloch nationalist movement and has been the site of several violent incidents in recent years.
Mastung District is located in the northwest of Balochistan province, Pakistan. The district was previously a part of Kalat District before being established as a separate district in 1991. The region is rich in culture and history, and is home to the Babri tribe.
The district is divided into three Tehsils: Dasht, Kardigap, and Mastung. At present, there are 13 union councils within these tehsils: Khadkoocha, Ghulam Parenz, Karez Noth, Mastung-1, Mastung-2, Sorgaz, Dasht, Isplinji, Kanak, Shaikh Wasil, Kardigap, Soro, and Alizai.
According to the 2017 census, Mastung District has a total population of 266,461, out of which 137,504 are males and 128,169 are females. The rural population makes up 86.83% of the total population, while the urban population accounts for 13.17%. The literacy rate is quite low, with only 39.66% of the population being literate. The male literacy rate is higher at 49.69%, while the female literacy rate is only 28.92%. In addition, there are 775 people from religious minorities in the district.
The dominant language spoken in the district is Brahui, with 85.93% of the population using it as their first language. Balochi is the second most commonly spoken language at 8.00%, followed by Pashto at 3.02%. Other languages make up 3.05% of the total population.
Mastung District ranks at number 74 out of 141 districts in Pakistan in terms of education score index, according to the Pakistan District Education Rankings 2017. However, the literacy rate for the population aged 10 years and older is only 59%, with females having a much lower literacy rate of only 38%. Post-primary access to education is a significant challenge in the district, with 79% of schools being at the primary level, and only 8% of schools being high schools.
Furthermore, access to education for girls is limited, with only 36% of schools in the district being girls’ schools. Gender disparity is a major issue in the region, which is reflected in the low literacy rates for females. The schools in the district also lack basic facilities such as electricity, clean drinking water, working toilets, and boundary walls, with 4 out of 5 schools lacking electricity, more than half lacking a toilet, and 1 out of 3 lacking a boundary wall.
Notable People and Places
Mastung District is known for its beautiful Mastung Valley and is home to the Babri tribe, who have a rich cultural heritage. The region has also been in the news for the tragic 2017 Mastung suicide bombing, which claimed many lives. Malik Saeed Dehwar, a prominent political figure, hails from Mastung District.
Geographical Location and Climate
Mastung is located in the southwest of Pakistan and is bordered by Killa Saifullah to the north, Kalat to the west, and Khuzdar to the south. The district covers an area of 7,196 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 300,000 people. The terrain is dominated by rugged mountains and plateaus, with the highest peak reaching over 3,000 meters. The climate in Mastung is arid and semi-arid, with hot summers and cold winters. The monsoon season brings occasional rainfall between July and September.
Attractions and Tourist Spots
Mastung offers a wide range of attractions and tourist spots for visitors to explore. The district is home to several ancient forts and historical landmarks, including the Karez System, a complex network of underground aqueducts used for irrigation, and the ruins of the ancient city of Kharanagh. The surrounding natural landscapes and parks are also a major attraction, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. The Bolan Pass, a mountain pass that connects Balochistan to Afghanistan, is another popular destination for tourists.
Culture and Traditional Heritage
Mastung has a rich cultural and traditional heritage, with a mix of Baloch, Pashtun, and Hazara influences. The locals are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards visitors. The district is home to several religious and social events, including the annual Urs of Hazrat Shaikh Wali Baba, a spiritual festival that attracts thousands of visitors from all over Pakistan. The traditional folk arts and crafts of Mastung, such as pottery, embroidery, and rug weaving, are also worth exploring.
Mastung has a unique and traditional cuisine that reflects the region’s cultural diversity and geography. The local dishes are heavily influenced by the use of spices, herbs, and meats. Some of the popular dishes include Sajji, a slow-roasted lamb or chicken, and Balochi Pulao, a rice dish with meat and vegetables. Other dishes include Kebabs, Daal, and Chapli Kebab, a flat, round-shaped meat patty.
Accommodation and Transportation
There are several accommodation options for tourists in Mastung, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. The district is well-connected by public and private transportation, with buses, taxis, and private cars available for hire. The nearest airport is located in Quetta, approximately 50 kilometers from Mastung.
Challenges and Opportunities
The tourism industry in Mastung faces several challenges, including security concerns and lack of infrastructure. However, there are also opportunities for growth and development, such as the promotion of eco-tourism and the preservation of the region’s cultural heritage.
Mastung is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Despite the challenges faced by the tourism industry in the region, Mastung has the potential to become a major tourist destination in Pakistan. We encourage readers to visit and explore this fascinating district and discover the charm of Mastung for themselves.