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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Pishin

Urdu Version

Well-known for its fruit orchards, Pishin’s history has long been associated with its neighboring province of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Last Updated: 26 Feb. 2015

Overview

The town of Pishin is located near the border with Afghanistan, approximately 42 km north of Quetta city. In 1998, 20,479 people resided in this town, most of them Pathans of the Kakar and Tarin tribes. Pishin is situated at a height of 1,555 meters and is the capital of Pishin District.

Pishin
Pishin Location
(Google Maps)

This district is made up of numerous valleys that are now some of the greenest areas of Balochistan. Apples, apricots, plums, grapes and other fruits are grown on orchards that spread thousands of acres across this district.

According to myth, Pishin is named after a prince who was the son of the Iranian Emperor Afrasiab. In fact, the word Pishin is the modern form of the old Persian word Pushang. This town was also referred to as Fushanj by the Arabs.

History

Pishin 01
Modern day market in Pishin
(Naveed Pishin)

Due to its location near the border with Afghanistan, Pishin and its surrounding areas have long been associated with the region of Kandhar, which is now a province in Afghanistan. The history of this city and its surrounding areas runs parallel to that of Kandahar’s, since whoever ruled Kandahar most likely also ruled Pishin.

Not much is known of Pishin’s history, except a passing mention of it in one of the ancient writings. The description is written in the Avestic language and it refers to a place called, “Pishinorha, a valley in an elevated part of the country containing a barren level plain.” In later history it is known that Amir Subuktgin ruled over this area in the 13th century. His descendants, the Ghaznavids, and later the Ghorids also took their turns.

In the first half of the 15th century, the descendants of Taimur ruled this area. In the later part of the 15th century, the ruler of Herat gave Pishin to Shah Beg Arghun. Shortly afterwards Babar drove him out of Balochistan and into Sindh where Shah Beg was able to establish his rule. From 1530 to 1545, Kandahar as well as Pishin were in the control of Mirza Kamran, Humayun’s brother. After his death they passed back into the hands of the Safavid rulers of Iran. In 1595, Pishin passed into the hands of Akbar. In his Ain-i-Akbari it is mentioned that both Quetta and Pishin supplied military service and revenue to him.

Then in 1662, it was again in possession of the Safavid king of Iran. In the early 1700s the Brahuis rose to power in Kalat and fought for control of Pishin and Quetta area. Eventually Nadir Shah of Afghanistan handed over nearby Quetta to the Brahuis in 1740 but his successors, the Durranis, continued to hold Pishin until 1879 when it was given to the British. The British joined Pishin, Quetta and Shorarud into one unit in 1883. In 1975, Pishin district was formed.

Find out more

Books & Articles

Meyer, William Stevenson. “Quetta-Pishin.” Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 21. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908-1931. 13-14. Digital South Asia Library.

“Pishin.” Government of Balochistan.

Shirazi, S. A. J. “Pishin: Food, Fruit and History.” Pakistaniat. 31 Aug. 2006.


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