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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Sindh Regions

Urdu Version

Sindh can be divided into three natural regions of Kohistan, Registan and the Alluvial region.

Last Updated: 13 Sep. 2013


The province of Sindh derives its name from the river Indus. In Sanskrit the word Sindhu means ‘ocean’ or a ‘vast collection of water’ and was particularly used in reference to the Indus River. To derive the name of this region from the river is most apt because without the mighty Indus flowing through it, Sindh would have been a barren desert. Present day Sindh can be divided into three natural regions of Kohistan (land of mountains), Registan (land of sand), and the Alluvial Regions.

Soil map of Sindh
Soil map of Sindh
(Soil Survey of Pakistan)


Kohistan refers to the hilly areas to the west which act as a natural barrier between Sindh and Balochistan. This area extends eastwards towards the Indus River and southward to the Arabian Sea. Kohistan region consists of the Kirthar Mountains and several low hill ranges including the Kambhu, Dumbar, Bhit, Bhadra and Lakhi Hills. The Kirthar Mountains in some parts reach the elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level. At the base of these mountains and extending eastwards are piedmont plains. Piedmont plains are formed by the deposition of rivers flowing down the mountains. These plains have good soil for agriculture, but due to the scarcity of rain, this region is almost devoid of vegetation.


Registan refers to the rolling sand plains, ridges and dunes located at the east end of Sindh. This area is known as the Thar Desert and has an average breadth of 48 – 80 kilometers. The eastern Nara Canal acts as a rough boundary between this region and the Alluvial region. Directly above the Thar Desert lies the Cholistan Desert of Punjab and together they stretch east into the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujrat to form the Greater Thar Desert, which is the largest desert in South Asia (an area of around 200,000 square km). Approximately 50,000 square km falls into Pakistani Territory in the Sindh districts of Tharparker, Mirpur Khas, Sanghar, Khairpur, Sukkar, and Ghotki and approximately 25,000 square km falls into the Punjab province. The Thar Desert is not drained by any perennial stream and thus is not suited for agriculture.

Pakistan deserts map
Pakistan deserts map
(Pakistan Geographic)

Alluvial region

The Alluvial region is situated between Kohistan and Registan and extends from Kushmore District in the north to the Arabian Sea. This area contains the Indus River and its average breadth is 16 to 32 kilometers extending outward on both sides of the river. This region is very fertile and best suited for agriculture. The alluvial tract can be sub-divided into three climactic regions. The upper region, Siro, is centered on Jacobabad, the middle region, Vicholo, is centered on Hyderabad, and the lower region, Lar, is centered on Karachi. The Indus Delta lies south of this region and is continuously growing and changing its direction.

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Books & Articles

Khan, Fazle Karim. Pakistan: Geography, Economy and People. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.

Pithawalla, Maneck B. A Physical and Economic Geography of Sind. Hyderabad: Sindhi Adabi Board, 1979.

Safiruddin, Mohammad. “Folk Houses in Sindh: A Study in Cultural Geography.” Thesis. University of Karachi, 2005. Higher Education Commission.


Pakistan Geographic