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Panjgur

Panjgur village is located in the Makran region of Balochistan. Situated on top of a plateau, in a green and fertile valley, Panjgur is headquarters for Panjgur District. In 1998, this district had a total population of 234,051. The main occupation of the inhabitants is goat herding and agriculture. One of the most well known products of this district is its dates that are considered to be of very high quality.

Panjgur District is home to various Balochi tribes that make up majority of the total population. A small number of Brahuis, Pakhtoons, and Sindhis also reside in the district. Balochi is the predominant language but the Balochi spoken here is different from that spoken in the rest of Balochistan, as it contains more Persian words. Urdu is also spoken and understood. In 1998, although majority of the population was Muslim, other religious groups such as Christians, Ahmedis, Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, and Zikris all resided in the district.

History

Pungur 2
Dates ready for harvesting
(Express Tribune)

Panjgur is amongst the oldest inhabited places in Makran. Long ago it was known as Kanazbun, a great trading city, and it was under the rule of the Persian kings. Its inhabitants supplied food and animals to the army of Alexander the Great when it passed through the Makran region more than two thousand years ago. After Alexander’s death, Seleucus claimed this region as his own, but it soon passed into the hands of the Mauryans in 303 BC.

The Chachnama tells us that before the invasion of Mohammad Bin Qasim in 611 AD, a king by the name of Chach consolidated his power in Sindh and then travelled west into Balochistan. It is said that he came upon a famous fortress of Kinarbur and ordered its repair. Today, historians identify this fortress with the crumbling fortress now found in the outskirts of Panjgur city. Soon afterwards the Arabs claimed the area. Arab historians admired the bustling city and its inhabitants, describing them as honest, generous and hospitable.

Over time this area passed through the hands of numerous invaders including the Seljuks, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, and Mongols, but it was local tribes that exercised power over the land and its people. Throughout all this Panjgur continued to thrive as a center of trade. During colonial rule, Panjgur remained under the authority of the Khan of Kalat, but the British still exercised some power in the region. Balochistan became a part of Pakistan after partition and in 1977 Panjgur District was formed.

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