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Zhob: Basic Facts

Zhob

Zhob means bubbling water. It refers to the Karez water which pops up everywhere when there is no drought situation. The Zhob district is located in the Balochistan Province in the north east of Pakistan. It lies close to the Afghanistan border. Zhob town is just east of Zhob river on an open plain. To the north is a ridge, about 150 ft high, on which is a castle from the time when the British colonized the area. In the winter, the weather is cold and the snow is normal. In the summer, although the temperature can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, there is little moisture, so it is not uncomfortable.

Flora

Principal trees and plants found in Zhob district are wild olive (shinay), pistachio, chilgoza or edible pine and wild almond in ghigh lands. Other trees include willow, tamarisk (along the beds of streams) pastawana (grewia oppositifolio) and spalnai (calotropis gigantea).

Fauna

Wild animals are wolves, jackals, hyenas, foxes, deer, and porcupines. Leopards and black bear are occasionally found in the high hills in Suleman range. Wild pigs are seen along Zhob river while straight horned markhors, wild goats, are present in moderate numbers in Shinghar mountains.

Among the game bird chakor, partridge and pigeon are numerous i n higher altitudes, Sand grouse, quails, and bustard are found in plains.

Other birds are doves, hoopoe, starlings and vegetals, Jay black birds, wood pigeons, cuckoos and thrush live in high ranges while wild duck and pelican are seen along the Zhob river in winter.

Snake and scorpion are common every where in Zhob. Fish (Mahsir) are found in every running stream and in Zhob river some of which weigh up to 8 pounds.

Agriculture

Most part the area is hilly barren with very limited water resources for agriculture purposes. However, during recent years tube wells have become quite abundant; as a result agricultural activity has risen and a total of 36170 acres of land is under cultivation in the district. Sowing and harvesting are still largely carried out in traditional manner but the use of agricultural machinery is increasing day by day.

Irrigation

Only 16206 acres of land is irrigated throughout the district. Majority of the area in the district is irrigated by springs.

History

Zhob claims historical significance being the crade of the Afghan race. Qais Abdul Rashid, who is believed to be the progenitor of Pashtoons or Afghanis, is said to have lived around the vicinity of Suleman mountains near Zhob, where he is said to have been born in 575 AD and died somewhere 661 AD, the site is known as Takhta-e-Suleman or "Kas-Ghar" (the mountain of Qais). He is buried near Takht-e-Suleman.

Ethnicity and Tribes

The district is inhabited by Mandokhels, Kakars, Sheranis, Haripals, Babars, Lawoons, Khosty and Syeds. Sulemankhels, Nasars, Kharots, and other tribes of Afghan origin are also present.

Food

Majority of the people have two meals daily, one in the morning and other at sunset. Only well-to-do families have a third meal. An average meal consists of nan, locally called "marai" with pulses, vegetables/meat broth and butter milk (lassi). Consumption of landhi, or dried meat is common during winters. Sheep are specially fattened so that they may be more suitible for preparing "landhi"

Culture, Custom, and Traditions

The dominating life style is still nomadic. Scattered mud huts exist for seasonal habitation; summer is spent in highlands and winter in lower plains for feeding cattle in tribal reserved pastures. The people are deeply religious and their lives are marked by strict adherence to tribal norms and values.

There are two major channels for conflict resolution in the district: namely the traditional/tribal and the government/ institutional. The traditional/tribal channel however has proved more effective than the latter. In the past jirga system operated in the region which was the traditional system where by tribal elders sat together to settle disputes and mete out justice to offenders. The system stands annulled by a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1991. The government however, still forms informal jirgas (comprising of notables from the tribes) for conflict resolution, as they have proven to be very effective.

Education

During the 1990s, the enrollment of children in schools nearly doubled in the Zhob district. For boys, it went from 15136 in 1993 to 21841 in 1997. For girls, it more than doubled, from 3046 in 1993 to 6789 in 1997.

Rural/Urban Distribution

The rural population of the district is 231.30 thousand, constituting, 84.07 percent of the population. The average annual growth rate of the rural population during 1981-98 is 1.44 percent which was 9.74 and 5.96 percents during 1972-81 and 1961-72 respectively. The urban population of the district is 43.84 thousand of the total population, constituting 15.93 percent of the total population.

Literacy

A person was treated as literate in the 1998 census if he could read a newspaper and write a simple letter in any language. The literacy ration of the district among the population aged 10 years and above is 16.78 percent, 47.84 percent for urban areas, and 10.40 percent for rural areas.

Immunization

53.34 percent of the children under 10 years of age have been reported as vaccinated, while 21.01 percent have been reported as not vaccinated, leaving the rest 25.65 as not known.

Date/Time Last Modified: 2/24/2003 8:25:23 PM

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