Allama Iqbal, great poet-philosopher and active political leader, was born at Sialkot, Punjab province, in 1877. He descended from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins, who had embraced Islam about 300 years earlier. Iqbal received his early education in the traditional maktab. Later he joined the Sialkot Mission School, from where he passed his matriculation examination. In 1897, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Government College, Lahore. Two years later, he secured his Masters Degree and was appointed in the Oriental College, Lahore, as a lecturer of history, philosophy and English. He later proceeded to Europe for higher studies. Having obtained a degree at Cambridge, he secured his doctorate at Munich and finally qualified as a barrister. He returned to India in 1908. Besides teaching and practicing law, Iqbal continued to write poetry. He resigned from government service in 1911 and took up the task of propagating individual thinking among the Muslims through his poetry. By 1928, his reputation as a great Muslim philosopher was solidly established and he was invited to deliver lectures at Hyderabad, Aligarh and Madras. These series of lectures were later published as a book “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. In 1932, Iqbal came to England as a Muslim delegate to the Third Round Table Conference. In later years, when the Quaid had left India and was residing in England, Allama Iqbal wrote to him conveying to him his personal views on political problems and state of affairs of the Indian Muslims, and also persuading him to come back. These letters are dated from June 1936 to November 1937. This series of correspondence is now a part of important historic documents concerning Pakistan’s struggle for freedom. On April 21, 1938, the great Muslim poet-philosopher and champion of the Muslim cause, passed away. He lies buried next to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Urdu: خیبر پختونخوا ), locally called Pukhtunkhwa (literally “area of Pashtuns”) or KP, and formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country. It borders the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the west and south, Gilgit–Baltistan to the north-east, Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the east and Punjab and the Islamabad Capital Territory to the south-east, while Afghanistan lies to the north-west. The main ethnic group in the province is the Pashtun people. The principal language is Pashto spoken by the majority as first language, while Urdu, the official language, is widely spoken as second language and used as the main literary language. The provincial capital and largest city is Peshawar. The province has an area of 28,773 mi² or (74,521 km²) comparable in size to New England in North America. The province’s main districts are Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Kohistan, Kohat, Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra, Swat, Buner District, Bannu and Karak. Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat, Abbottabad, Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu are the main cities.
The region varies in topography from dry rocky areas in the south to forests and green plains in the north. The climate can be extreme with intensely hot summers to freezing cold winters. Despite these extremes in weather, agriculture remains important and viable in the area. The climate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa varies immensely for a region of its size, encompassing most of the many climate types found in Pakistan. The province stretching southwards from the Baroghil Pass in the Hindu Kush covers almost six degrees of latitude; it is mainly a mountainous region. Dera Ismail Khan is one of the hottest places in the South Asia while in the mountains to the north the weather is temperate in the summer and intensely cold in the winter. The air is generally very dry and consequently the daily and annual range of temperature is quite large. Rainfall also varies widely. Although large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are typically dry, the province also contains the wettest parts of Pakistan in its eastern fringe.
Balochistan (Urdu: بلوچستان), is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. The name Balochistan means the “land of the Baloch” in many regional languages. Balochistan is situated in the south-west of Pakistan and covers an area of 347,190 square kilometers (134,050 sq miles). It is Pakistan’s largest province by area constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total land mass. The province is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, Punjab and Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the north-east. To the south lies the Arabian Sea. Balochistan is located on the south-eastern part of the Iranian plateau. It borders the geopolitical regions of the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. Balochistan lies at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz and provides the shortest route from seaports to Central Asia. Its geographical location has placed the otherwise desolate region in the scopes of competing global interests like Afghanistan for all of recorded history.
The capital city Quetta is located in a densely populated portion of the Sulaiman Mountains in the north-east of the province. It is situated in a river valley near the Bolan Pass which has been used as the route of choice from the coast to Central Asia, entering through Afghanistan’s Kandahar region. The British and other historic empires have crossed the region to invade Afghanistan by this route.
Balochistan is rich in exhaustible and renewable resources; it is the second major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan. The province’s renewable and human resource potential has not been systematically measured nor exploited due to pressures from within and outside Pakistan. Local inhabitants have chosen to live in towns and have relied on sustainable water sources for thousands of years. The economy of Balochistan is largely based upon the production of natural gas, coal and other minerals. Other important economic sectors include fisheries, mining, manufacturing industries, trade and other services being rendered by public and private sector organizations.