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Quetta (Pashto: کوټه‎ ; IPA [ˈkʰwəː tə]; Balochi: کویته‎;Urdu: کوئٹہ‎; [ˈkweːʈə] (About this soundlisten); formerly known as Shalkot[3] is the provincial capital and largest city of the Province of Balochistan in Pakistan. It is also the 10th largest city of Pakistan.[4] It was largely destroyed in the 1935 Quetta earthquake, but was rebuilt and has a population of 1,001,205 according to the census of 2017.[5][2][6] Quetta is at an average elevation of 1,680 metres (5,510 feet) above sea level,[7] making it Pakistan's only high-altitude major city. The city is known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan," due to the numerous fruit orchards in and around it, and the large variety of fruits and dried fruit products produced there.[8]


  • کوټه
  • کویته
  • کوئٹہ

Quetta at night 2.jpg
Bolan mosque.jpg
Quetta cantt.jpg
Quetta Fort Mirri.jpg
Clockwise from top:
Night view of Quetta City, A playground in Quetta Cantonment, Fort Miri, Bolan Mosque
Official logo of Quetta
Etymology: Pashto: Kwəṭə (fortress)
Little London
Quetta is located in Balochistan, Pakistan
Quetta is located in Pakistan
Coordinates: 30°11′N 67°00′E / 30.183°N 67.000°E / 30.183; 67.000Coordinates: 30°11′N 67°00′E / 30.183°N 67.000°E / 30.183; 67.000
Country Pakistan
ProvinceBalochistan, Pakistan Balochistan
 • TypeMunicipal Corporation[1]
 • Mayor of QuettaSeat Vacant
 • Deputy Mayor of QuettaSeat Vacant
 • City178 km2 (69 sq mi)
 • Metro
3,501 km2 (1,352 sq mi)
1,680 m (5,510 ft)
 • City1,001,205
 • Rank10th in Pakistan;
1st in Balochistan
 • Density5,600/km2 (15,000/sq mi)
 • Demonym
Quettan or Quettawal (kʰwətə.wal)
Time zoneUTC+05:00 (PST)
ZIP code format
Area code(s)081

Located in northern Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the road across to Kandahar, Quetta is a trade and communication centre between the two countries. The city is near the Bolan Pass route which was once one of the major gateways from Central Asia to South Asia. Quetta played an important role militarily for the Pakistani Armed Forces in the intermittent Afghanistan conflict.


The name Quetta is a variation of the Pashto word Kwatkōṭ, or kōta meaning "fortress".[9][10]


Quetta Fort Mirri

The immediate area has long been one of pastures and mountains, with varied plants and animals relative to the dry plains to the west.

From 11th century CE, the land of Quetta was owned and ruled by the royal tribe of Pashtuns Kasi. It was captured by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi during his invasion of South Asia.[11] In 1543, Mughal emperor Humayun came to Quetta en route to Safavid Persia, leaving his son and future Mughal emperor Akbar here. In 1709, the region was a part of Afghan Hotak dynasty and stayed a part until 1747 when Ahmed Shah Durrani conquered it and made it a part of Durrani Empire. The first European visited Quetta in 1828, describing it as mud-walled fort surrounded by three hundred mud houses.[12]

In 1876 Quetta was occupied by the British and subsequently incorporated into British India.[11] In 1856, British General John Jacob had urged his government to occupy Quetta given its strategic position on the western frontier.[13] British Troops constructed the infrastructure for their establishment. By the time of the earthquake on 31 May 1935, Quetta had developed into a bustling city with a number of multi-storey buildings and so was known as "Little London". The epicenter of the earthquake was close to the city and destroyed most of the city's infrastructure, killing an estimated 40,000 people.[14]



Quetta has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with a significant variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summer starts about late May and goes on until early September with average temperatures ranging from 24–26 °C (75–79 °F). The highest temperature in Quetta is 42 °C (108 °F) which was recorded on 10 July 1998.[15] Autumn starts in mid-September and continues until mid-November with average temperatures in the 12–18 °C (54–64 °F) range. Winter starts in late November and ends in late February, with average temperatures near 4–5 °C (39–41 °F). The lowest temperature in Quetta is −18.3 °C (−0.9 °F) which was recorded on 8 January 1970.[15] Spring starts in early March and ends in mid-May, with average temperatures close to 15 °C (59 °F). Unlike more easterly parts of Pakistan, Quetta does not have a monsoon season of heavy rainfall. Highest rainfall during 24 hours in Quetta is 113 millimetres (4.4 in) which was recorded on 17 December 2000,[15] Highest monthly rainfall of 232.4 millimetres (9.15 in) was recorded in March 1982, also the year of the highest annual rainfall, at 949.8 millimetres (37.39 in).[15] In the winter, snowfall has become quite erratic (December, January and February).

The city saw a severe drought from 1999 to 2001, during which the city did not receive snowfall and below normal rains. In 2002 the city received snow after a gap of five years. In 2004 and 2005, the city received normal rains after three years without snowfall while in 2006, 2007 and 2009 the city received no snow. In 2008 Quetta received a snowfall of 10 centimetres (4 in) in four hours on 29 January,[16] followed on 2 February by 25.4 centimetres (10 in) in 10 hours[17] – the city's heaviest snowfall in a decade. During the winter of 2010 it received no snow and saw below normal rains due to the presence of El-Nino over Pakistan.[citation needed]


Historical population
1941 65,000—    
1951 84,000+29.2%
1961 107,000+27.4%
1972 158,000+47.7%
1981 286,000+81.0%
1998 565,137+97.6%
2017 1,001,205+77.2%
Source: [18][2]

The population of the city is around one million. In 2016, it was estimated at 1,140,000,[19] but the 2017 Census revealed a total of 1,001,205. This makes it the largest city in Balochistan province and one of the major cities of Pakistan. The scholars disagree about the demographics of the city. According to some, the city has a Pashtun plurality followed by Baloch people, other indigenous people of Balochistan, Hazaras and lastly the settlers from other areas of Pakistan.[20] Others think the city has a Pashtun majority followed by Balochs, Hazaras, Brahui, Punjabis and Muhajir people.[21][22][23] Urdu being national language is used and understood by all the residents and serves as a lingua franca.

According to Reuters and the BBC, there are as many as 500,000-600,000 Hazaras living in Quetta and its surrounding areas.[24][25]


At the local level, the city is governed by a municipal corporation consisting of 66 ward members which elects a mayor and a deputy mayor.[1] In addition, Quetta development authority is responsible for provision of municipal services for the city.[26]


Quetta is on the western side of Pakistan and is connected to the rest of the country by a network of roads, railways and its international airport close to its center.

At an altitude of 1,605 metres (5,266 feet) above sea level, Quetta Airport is the second highest airport in Pakistan.[27] Pakistan International Airlines has regular flights to and from the other major cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Gwadar, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Passengers boarding a Chaman bound train at Baleli, Quetta

Quetta Railway Station is one of the highest railway stations in Pakistan at 1,676 metres (5,499 feet) above sea level. The railway track was laid in the 1890s during the British era to link Quetta with rest of the country. The extensive network of Pakistan Railways connects Quetta to Karachi in the south, by a 863 km (536 mi) track, Lahore in the northeast (1,170 km or 727 miles) and Peshawar further northeast (1,587 km or 986 miles). A metalled road runs alongside the railway that connects Quetta to Karachi via the nearby town of Sibi to Jacobabad and Rohri in the plain of the River Indus.[28]


Quetta serves as the learning centre for the Balochistan province. The city has a number of government and private colleges, including the following:


Cricket and football are the two most popular sports among the people of Quetta. Football teams from Quetta include Quetta Zorawar, Muslim FC, Hazara Green Football Club, Baluch Football Club and Quetta Bazigars Club, and Balochistan United W.F.C. won the 2014 National Women Championship. The Bugti Stadium is the home of Balochistan cricket team, a first-class cricket team which competes in domestic tournaments,[30] while the city based Quetta Gladiators compete in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Boxing is highly popular as well.[31] Muhammad Waseem is a professional boxer from Quetta. In Body Building Nisar Ahmed Khilji have Mr. Balochistan and Mr. Pakistan Titles and Pakistan representation in International Body Building Contests. In hockey, Quetta has produced Zeeshan Ashraf and Shakeel Abbasi, who were members of the Pakistan's national hockey team.

Musa Sports Complex


The Shaheed Nauoroz Stadium is the largest stadium in the city. The city also has Ayub National Stadium, a multipurpose stadium used for football and cricket and Bugti Stadium for cricket.

Local facilities were created in the city for mountain climbing and caving as well as water sports. Hayatullah Khan Durrani (Pride of Performance) is the chief executive of Hayat Durrani Water Sports Academy, Balochistan's first and only Rowing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing, rough swimming and boating academy where all such facilities provide free to the youth members at Hanna Lake. In kayaking, Muhammad Abubakar Durrani, National Junior Champion was selected for the world Junior Canoeing Championship in 2009 in Moscow.[32][33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Government Organization – Government of Balochistan". balochistan.gov.pk. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c DISTRICT WISE CENSUS RESULTS CENSUS 2017 (PDF) (Report). Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. 2017. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  3. ^ Thornton, TH. "Colonel Sir Robert Sandeman: His Life and Work on Our Indian Frontier. A Memoir, with Selections from His Correspondence and Official Writings". Pg. 211. University of California. J. Murray, 1895.
  5. ^ "PROVISIONAL SUMMARY RESULTS OF 6TH POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS-2017 | Pakistan Bureau of Statistics". www.pbs.gov.pk. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  6. ^ "DISTRICT WISE CENSUS RESULTS CENSUS 2017" (PDF). pbscensus.gov.pk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Mongabay -environmental science and conservation news". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  8. ^ "The Fruit Garden of Pakistan – Quetta". asadasif.com. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  9. ^ Everett-Heath, John (7 December 2017). The Concise Dictionary of World Place Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-255646-2.
  10. ^ Baloch, Hameed (2008). The Balochistan Chronicles: The Archives of the Times, London and the New York Times on Balochistan, from 1842-2007. Sayad Hashmi Reference Library. p. 361.
  11. ^ a b Burki, Shahid Javed (2015). Historical Dictionary of Pakistan. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442241480.
  12. ^ BHC. "History of District". bhc.gov.pk. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  13. ^ Dodwell, H. H. (1929). The Cambridge History of the British Empire. CUP Archive.
  14. ^ ڈان اردو (30 December 2013). "پاکستانی شہروں کی تاریخ". dawnnews.tv. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d [1] Archived 13 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ [2] Archived 4 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  18. ^ Elahi, Asad (2006). "2: Population" (PDF). Pakistan Statistical Pocket Book 2006. Islamabad, Pakistan: Government of Pakistan: Statistics Division. p. 28. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Demographics" (PDF). www.demographia.com. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  20. ^ Jonah Blank, Christopher Clary & Brian Nichiporuk 2014.
  21. ^ Sarina Singh (2008). Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway. Lonely Planet. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-74104-542-0.
  22. ^ "The Crowded-Out Conflict  by Ann Wilkens  – Pashtun form the Majority".
  23. ^ Abubakar Siddique (2014). The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hurst. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-84904-292-5.
  24. ^ "Two killed in sectarian attack in southwestern Pakistan". Reuters. 22 April 2018.
  25. ^ Kermani, Secunder (12 December 2017). "The community caged in its own city". BBC News.
  26. ^ https://qda.gob.pk/index.php/about-us/about-qda
  27. ^ Quetta Airport Archived 29 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine CAA Pakistan. Retrieved 24 June 2009
  28. ^ "Bomb attack targets Worshippers at Quetta mosque, killing 14". www.aljazeera.com.
  29. ^ Dr. Javed Haider Sayed (2008). "The Balochistan Muslim League". National Institute of Historical & Cultural Research – Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Retrieved 6 March 2016.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "PCB unveils new domestic set-up with 'stay at the top' mantra". ESPN Cricinfo.
  31. ^ Faruqi, Sama. "The Hazaras who made Quetta a boxing powerhouse". The Caravan. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  32. ^ Pakistan Players for Moscow Archived 24 January 2013 at archive.today
  33. ^ "GEO TV Report Pakistan Players for Moscow >". Geo.tv. 28 July 2009. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2014.


External linksEdit