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History

Isolated remains of Homo Erectus in has been found indicating that Pakistan might have been inhabited since atleast the Middle Pleistocene era. The precise date of these remains is unclear, and archaeologists put it anywhere between 200,000 to 500,000 BCE. The fossils are the earliest human remains found in South Asia. More than 60% of Pakistanis have their mtDNA maternal roots in South Asian specific branches of haplogroup 'M'. Because of its great time depth and virtual absence in western Eurasians, it has been suggested that haplogroup M was brought to Asia after their evolution in Africa, along the southern route, by the earliest migration wave of anatomically modern humans, Homo Sapiens, nearly 60,000 years ago

The original inhabitants of Pakistan may have been the tribals speaking languages related to Munda family of languages. Pakistan was the site of the world's oldest 8,000 year old civilisation at Mehrgarh in the Balochistan province. The Mehrgarh declined about the same time as the Indus Valley Civilization only 200 Kilometers south east was developing. It has been surmised that the Mehrgarh residents moved to fertile Indus River valley as Balochistan became arid over time. The Dravidians invaded from the Iranian plateau and settled in the Indus valley around 4000 BCE. The Dravidian culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan around 3000 BCE. The main site of the Indus Valley Civilization in Sindh was the city of Moenjo Daro and Moenjo Daro and smaller Chanhu Daro. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today Pakistan, but suddenly went into decline just prior to the invasion of Indo-European Aryan tribes from the Eastern Europe. A branch of these tribes called the Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic Civilization that have existed between Sarasvati River and Ganges river around 1500 BCE and also infuenced the Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization helped shape subsequent cultures in South Asia. Due to its location, the Sindh region came under constant attack and influence from the west. Conquered by the Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Kushans, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Balochs the Sindh developed a unique culture that combined that of significant Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences even prior to the coming of Islam.

The Sindh were in ancient times predominantly Buddhist and were in the process of coming under the influence of Hinduism when Umayyad Muslim Arab army led by Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, and the present Pakistan from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea, in 713. The predominant population of Sindh, and the rest of Pakistan, converted to Islam but there were significant non-Muslim population of Hindus. Arab rule ended with the ascension of the Soomro dynasty, who were local Sindhi Muslims and who controlled the province directly and as vassals from 1058 to 1249. Various Turkish dynasties conquered the area by 977 CE and the region loosely became part of the Ghaznavid Empire and then the Delhi Sultanate which lasted until 1524. The Mughals conquered the region and their rule lasted for another two centuries, while another local Sindhi Muslim group the Samma challenged Mughal rule from their base at Thatta. The Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to Islamic Sultanate in South Asia and many settled in Sindh. The Muslim Sufi played a pivotal role in converting the millions of native people to Islam. Sindh, though part of larger empires, continued to enjoy certain autonomy as a loyal Muslim domain and came under the rule of the Arghun Dynasty and Turkhan or Tarkhan dynasty from 1519 to 1625. Sind became a vassal-state of the Afghan Durrani Empire by 1747. It was then ruled by Kalhora rulers. It remained under Balochi Talpurs rule by 1783. British arrived in Sindh in 19th century and conquest in it 1843. In 1843 British forces under General Charles Napier conquered Sindh. Sindh was made part of British Empire and became a separate province in 1935. The British ruled the area for a century and Sindh was home to many prominent Muslim leaders including Muhammad Ali Jinnah who agitated for greater Muslim autonomy.

Following World War II, Britain withdrew and Sindh voted to join Pakistan in 1947 and the Hindu migrated to India while Muslim immigrants from India settled in Sindh. Relations in the province have since been defined by power struggles between the Urdu speakers and the local Sindhis who have also resented the influx of Pashtun and Punjabi immigrants to Karachi.

Geography

Sindh is located at the northeastern corner of South Asia just before the Iranian plateau in the west. It is the third largest province geographically. Its size is about 579 km north-south and 442 km (extreme) or 281 km (average) east-west, with an area of 140,915 km². Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the center is the fertile plain where the Indus river runs through. Largely irrigated, the Indus' devastating floods are now under control. The province of Sindh borders Punjab in the north and Balochistan in the west. Its capital is Karachi an other important cities include Thatta, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Shahdadpur, Tando Adam, Tando Allah Yar, Nawabshah, Larkana, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Badin.

Demography and Society

The population is approximately 45 million in 2005 with over half being urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana. A large section of the population speak Sindhi and Urdu languages. Other languages spoken include Siraiki, Balochi, Brohi, Punjabi, Pakhtu, Rajasthani and Gujarati. Urban areas of Sindh are multi-ethnic centres and sometimes highly polarized as a result.

Sindh's population is over 98% Muslim and mainly Sunnis with large Shia minority. Nearly all Sunnis belong to the Hanafi school of juriprudence. The Shias predominantly belong to the Ithna 'ashariyah school of juriprudence. There are also small but important Shia Nizari Ismailis and Shia Dawoodi Bohras. The province of Sindh is also home to the vast majority of Hindus in Pakistan and they number less than one million. Smaller groups of Christians, Parsis or Zoroastrians and Ahmadis can also be found in the province.

The Sindhis as a whole are composed of various sub-groups related to the Punjabis and Siraikis minorities as well as of Baloch origin. A small group either partially descended from or claiming descent from early Muslim settlers including Arabs, Turks, and Persians is also found in the province and are referred to as Ashraf or nobles.

Economy

Sindh is the backbone of Pakistan economy as it generates approximately 70% of the total national revenue whereas in return federal government pays back just 23% from financial divisible pool. Sindh government considers that the formula of financial resource distribution i.e NFC award is solely population denominated.

Sindh is in many ways the main province of economic activity in Pakistan and has a highly diversified economy with heavy industry and finance centered in and around Karachi to a substantial agricultural base along the Indus. Pakistan's rapidly growing information technology sector (IT) is also centered in Karachi and manufacturing includes machine products, cement, plastics, and various other goods.

Agriculture is also very important in Sind. The main crops are Cotton, Rice, Wheat and Sugar Cane, with Rice being the most important. Other crops include fruits and vegetables especially Bananas and Mangoes.

Districts

Badin
Dadu
Ghotki
Hyderabad,
Jacobabad
Kamber Ali Khan
Karachi
Kashmore
Khairpur
Larkana
Matiari
Mirpurkhas
Naushero Feroze
Nawabshah
Sanghar
Shikarpur
Sukkur
Tando Allah Yar
Tando Muhammad Khan
Tharparkar
Thatta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page last updated: Thursday, February 02, 2006 17:59:25 -0500