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Turbat(The Dates City)


Turbat - a small city in the Balochistan province is situated on the left bank of Kech stream, which is a tributary to the Dasht River which flows from Iran. The Makran Range lies to the north and east descends to coastal plains in the south. Turbat is well known for its high quality of dates which compare well with Basra dates. A date processing factory has been set up at Turbat. However, The abundance of date in the area has given rise to Ocular injury in Turbat, which presents a great challenge and emphasizes the need to educate the community on the prevention of eye injuries ( Half (50.4%) of the injuries were due to fragments of iron from lathe and iron grinding machines; 23.9% were related to date leaves and twigs; 6.6% were due to wood; 4.8% were caused by air gun pellets and a further 4.8% were the result of stone injuries. Road traffic accidents resulted in 5.7% of injuries and 3.8% had other causes).

Turbat traces its history since ancient times when it was ruled by the Gichki Tribes of Makran. It was then the headquarters of the Makran State and the Gichki Nawab of Makran resided in Shahi Tump Near Turbat. When the Makran State was dissolved, Turbat city still remains one of the 27 the divisional headquarters of Balochistan province. The main buildings are the palace of the Nawab of Makran, the Nazim's Mosque and the Turbat Rest House.

Punnu, Hoth prince and the hero of the romance of Sassi Punnu, belonged to Turbat. The remains of Punnu's fort, surrounded by date trees on a high ground visible from far distance, can still be seen at Turbat. Many folklore have been written about this legend in all the local languages. It is thought that Punnu fort could date back to 6000-8000 BC.

Koh-e-Murad is a shrine and a sacred place for Zikris where they believe that Muhammad Jaunpuri, who they view as the Mahdi, meditated and offered prayers for a long time. The followers of Zikri sect gather here at the night of 27th Ramadan for a ritual visit to this shrine. The Zikri kalima differs from the other Muslims. There is a great dispute about their belief of not mentioning Muhammad as the Messenger of God and mentioning al-Mahdi instead as an incarnation of God's Rooh ("Spirit").

Being a small under developed place, the majority of dwellers in Turbat live in huts made of thatch as it allows free flow of air but prevents the inmates from dust and sun. Turbat has been otherwise a neglected area of Balochistan since long due to scarcity of water and shortage of funds. Few years back, Mirani Dam in Kech area of Makran district with a catchments area of 12,000 square kilometres was built about 30 miles west of Turbat on Dasht River at a cost of Rs 6 billion, including Rs1.5 billion paid in compensation to the affected people. It will have a storage capacity of over 300,000 million acre-feet of water. The project launched in 2002 was conceived in 1956. On the demand of the local nazim, the ex president also announced that campuses of the Balochistan University would be opened in Gwadar and Turbat.

Turbat has a small airport which offers direct flights to Gwadar and Karachi. The road network links Turbat with Panjgur and Kalat to the northwest and Pasni to the southeast and to Karachi in the East.

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