Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhis. Different cultural and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh including Urdu speaking people who migrated from India at the time of independence and partition as well as the people migrated from other provinces after independence. Neighboring regions are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab in the north, Rajasthan and Gujarat (India) to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main languages are Sindhi and Urdu. Known by various names in the past, the name Sindh comes from the Indo-Aryans whose legends claimed that the Indus River flowed from the mouth of a lion or Sinh-ka-bab. In Sanskrit, the province was dubbed Sindhu meaning "ocean". The Assyrians (as early as the seventh century BCE) knew the region as Sinda, the Persians Abisind, the Greeks Sinthus, the Romans Sindus, the Chinese Sintow, while the Arabs dubbed it Sind. It is mentioned to be a part of Abhirrdesh ( Abhira Kingdom ) in Srimad Bhagavatam. Sindh was the first place where Islam spread in South Asia . As a result, it is often referred to as "Bab-al-Islam" (Gate of Islam). The Provincial Assembly of Sindh is unicameral and consists of 168 seats of which 5% are reserved for non-Muslims and 17% for women.
Sindh is located on the western corner of South Asia, bordering the Iranian plateau in the west. Geographically it is the third largest province of Pakistan, stretching about 579 km from north to south and 442 km (extreme) or 281 km (average) from east to west, with an area of 54,407 square miles or 140,915 km² of Pakistani territory. Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the Centrex is a fertile plain around the Indus River. The devastating floods of the river Indus are now controlled by irrigation techniques.
Karachi became capital of Sindh in 1936, in place of the traditional capitals of Hyderabad and Thatta. Other important cities include Sanghar, Sukkur, Shahdadkot, Kamber Khan, Sehwan, Mirpukhas, Larkano, Nawabshah, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Kashmor, Dadu, Umerkot, Thar, Jacobabad, Ghotki, Ranipur, Gambat, Sobhodero, Hingorja, Noshairo Feroz, Moro, Qazi Ahmed and Sehtharja.
A subtropical region, Sindh is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Temperatures frequently rise above 46 °C (115 °F) between May and August, and the minimum average temperature of 2 °C (36 °F) occurs during December and January. The annual rainfall averages about seven inches, falling mainly during July and August. The Southwest Monsoon wind begins to blow in mid-February and continues until the end of September, whereas the cool northerly wind blows during the winter months from October to January.
Sindh lies between the two monsoons - the southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean and the northeast or retreating monsoon, deflected towards it by Himalayan mountains — and escapes the influence of both. The average rainfall in Sindh is only 15 to 18 cm per year, but the loss during the two seasons is compensated by the Indus , in the form of inundation, caused twice a year by the spring and summer melting of Himalayan snow and by rainfall in the monsoon season. These natural patterns have changed somewhat with the construction of dams and barrages on the Indus.
Climatically, Sindh is divided in three sections - Siro (upper section centered on Jacobabad), Wicholo (middle section centered on Hyderabad ), and Lar (lower section centered on Karachi ). In upper Sindh, the thermal equator passes through Sindh. The highest temperature ever recorded was 53 °C (127 °F in 1919. The air is generally very dry. In winter frost is common.
Demographics and society
The 1998 Census of Pakistan indicated a population 42.4 million, the current population can be estimated to be in the range of 50 to 54 million using a compound growth in the range of 2% to 2.8% since then. With just under half being urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Ubauro and Larkana. Sindhi is the sole official language of Sindh since the 19th century. The British required all officers posted to Sindh to become fluent in Sindhi upon posting to Sindh. In 1972, the first elected Sindh assembly since the dissolution of the province restored this status but successive governments have failed to implement the law and many officials in the Sindh government cannot speak, read or write the language. Large sections of the population speak Sindhi and Urdu languages with other languages spoken including Siraiki, Kutchi (both dialects of Sindhi), Balochi, Brahui, Punjabi, Pashto, Rajasthani, Persian/Dari, Khowar and Gujarati. The urban areas of Sindh are dominated by Muhajir Urdu as well as by migrant workers from peripheral provinces; and the rural areas consisting of predominantly Sindhi people. Due to this ethnic composition, Sindh has become a highly polarized province. It is estimated that Urdu speaking Muhajirs make up 15% and native Sindhis make up only 60% of the total population of Sindh, and Balochis, Pashtuns and Panjabis a significant part of the rest. The chief tribes of Sindh are Jats and Rajputs, while Balochis and Urdu-speaking Muhajirs are more recent immigrants. Both Balochi Sindhi and natives speak Sindhi language as their mother tongue. By language, Sindhi speakers make up 50% and Urdu speakers make up 13%, while 20% of the total population of Sindh speaks Pashto, Panjabi, Balochi, Seraiki, Thari, Persian, Kutchi, Gujarati, and Bengali. The Punjabis and Pashtuns form the third and fourth biggest community in Sindh after the Sindhis and the Muhajirs.
Endowed with coastal access, Sindh is the backbone of Pakistan's economy. It generates almost 30% of the total national tax revenue (26.8% in the last two years). The federal government, however, spends just 23% of the financial divisible pool there. The Sindh government considers the formula of financial resource distribution to be unjust and solely population-denominated. But the fact remains that most business is done through Karachi - a major sea port and major revenue collection and banking center. Because Karachi is a business hub, actual Sindh tax revenue is much higher than its official tax revenue.
Sindh is a major Centrex of economic activity in Pakistan and has a highly diversified economy ranging from heavy industry and finance centered in and around Karachi to a substantial agricultural base along the Indus. Pakistan's rapidly growing information technology sector (IT) is also centered in Karachi and manufacturing includes machine products, cement, plastics, and various other goods.
Agriculture is very important in Sindh with cotton, rice, wheat, sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes as the most important crops. Sindh is the richest province in natural resources of gas, petrol, and coal.
The Narayan Jagannath High School at Karachi was the first government school established in Sindh. It was opened in October 1855. The province has a high literacy rate compared to other parts of Pakistan, mainly due to the importance of Karachi.