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Zhob

 

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Introduction: Zhob Valley is not much known despite its beauty and the ancient culture that once flourished here, the barren hills of rmulti-coloured rocks hide one of the most beautiful and spectacular valleys of Pakistan situated some 60 miles north-east of Quetta, This 200 miles long and on an average 15 miles wide valley is probably nature's biggest gift to Pakistan. Starting at Kan Mebtarzai which is 7.500 feet above sea level 60 miles from Quetta. Zhob Valley continues through Muslim Bagh. Qilla Saifullah and Fort Sandeman to Afghanistan border. Being not less than 4,500 feet above sea level at any point and surrounded by hills, which are over 10,000 feet high. This Valley can boast of some of the loveliest spots, unspoiled by human hands. One can enjoy a snowfall or a very bracing winter or a cool summer in this Valley. The Valley abounds in fruits: the nicest peaches, apples, grapes, apricots, pomegranates, plums, almonds, walnuts and melons.The original name of the town was 'Apazai '. During the British period it was named Fort Sandeman after Sir Robert Sandeman. It has now been renamed as Zhob.

Attractions: There are a number of places of interest for a tourist in the Zhob Valley. The archaeological sites of Rana Gundai, Sur Jungle. Mughai Gundai and others, etc. neglected and unknown as they are can still be visited.For wild flower collectors, the Zhob Valley is a paradise. Wild lovely flowers bloom from February to May. especially lavender, tulips, hyacinths, poppies, iris ephedra and others.The Zhob Valley was located or, the ancient caravan routes to Afghanistan and in this fertile valley once lived perhaps the earliest agricultural communities known in the Indo-Pak subcontinent Very little reconstruction work has been done on the Zhob Valley civilization, but there is no doubt that it was flourishing at the beginning of 3,000 B.C. The baked earthen ware and figurines discovered at various sites like Rana Gundai. Sur Jungle, Perian Gundai, Mughal Gundai and Kandai suggest affinities of this culture with that of the Bronze Age culture of the regions further west.The resemblance of the Zhob Valley pottery with that discovered at various cities in the Indus Valley also suggest links with these cultures. Also, the grey-ware bowls found in - the Zhob Valley sites are similar to a group of early pottery from sites in the Fars province of Iran.The climate of Zhob Valley is very healthy, winter is a bit long and severe but spring and autumn are beautiful. In some winters, Kan Mehtarzai and Muslim Bagh experience several feet of snow, though normal temperature is about 19-50 F But in summer the maximum temperature shoots to about 100 F but due to very dry climate it is not uncomfortable and evenings are invariably cool. Scorpions are abundant here. The best months to visit this area are February to March when one can see snow and spring together. April when wild flowers bloom and August to October when there is an abundance of fruits and the weather is pleasant.In Muslim Bagh, Qilla Saifullah and Fort Sandeman, there are number of Dak Bungalows and rest houses to stay. Accommodation can be arranged with the Political Agent or Executive Engineer, P.W.D., at Fort Sandeman or the sub-Divisional Magistrate at Muslim Bagh.Various tribes of Kakar pathans inhabit the Valley. Medium statured and well built these handsome people are mostly wheat complexioned but some of them are really fair and have blue eyes. Though in touch with the outside world for a long time they have retained their age-old traditions and are proud of them. Even now, a bridegroom cannot take the bride away to his house till his party has defeated the bride s party at marksmanship. Their hospitality is well known and the coming of a guest is always considered a blessing.Some people still lead a nomadic life and are on the road for the greater part of the year. The migration to the plains start from October and some caravans go as far as Multan or Hyderabad with sheep, camels and donkeys. It is common to see small babies and newly born lambs tied together in nets on camel backs. These caravans return to their native land in March or early April.Due to extreme severe winter food has to be stocked and the common practice is to slaughter a few specially fattened sheep and dry their meat by hanging it on poles. This salted and dried meat called Landhi, is considered a local delicacy. Another popular dish is Shorba, a thin meat soup in wooden basins in which pieces of bread are soaked. This is eaten from the basin itself five to six persons sharing each basin. Barbecued lamb, rice with boiled meat, meat curries with only salt and pepper are the common dishes. Green tea is the favourite drink.Most of the work is usually done by women, who work a great deal in the field as well. Water being scarce it has sometimes to be brought from long distances usually by little girls or the female members of the family.The common dress of men is Shalwar, Shirt and long coat while women wear flowing frocks which touch the ground. They wrap themselves up in red shawls and very seldom can one see a woman not dressed in red. This is a legacy of the past when various tribes spent their time is shooting at each other. Since women did not take part in shooting they dressed themselves in red so that they were not shot at by mistake. Women wear silver jewelry and waistcoats or dresses with small mirrors are worn on festive occasions. Women also like to have their hand and faces tattooed in various designs. Henna is extensively used by women as well as men, not only on their beards but also on hands and feet. On festive occasions, gay coloured clothes are worn by men and women alike.

Accessibility: Zhob is 333 kilometers from Quetta, 225 kilometers from Dera Ismail Khan. Zhob is linked by air with the major cities of the country. A Fokker flight operates from Quetta, linking Zhob with Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Islamabad.

 

Zhob Fact Sheet

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Balochistan province
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