In recent centuries, the Baloch people have undergone significant migration, leading to their settlement in various countries and territories around the world. Despite their dispersal, the collective Baloch population stands at around 56,656,027, a number that would position them as the 27th most populous country in the world if they resided in a single nation. This article aims to provide an overview of the current distribution of the Baloch people across different regions globally.
Punjab is home to Baloch tribes, who reside near the border of Sindh and Balochistan, with a population exceeding twenty million, but fewer than two percent speak Balochi or follow Balochi traditions. Instead, most Baloch tribes here speak Saraiki and adhere to Saraiki culture.
The Baloch population in Karachi alone exceeds 2.5 million, and there are also many Baloch tribes residing in other areas of Sindh Province. Baloch people make up 42% of the population of Sindh, which is the largest ethnic group in the province, followed by Sindhis and Muhajirs.
Balochistan has a total population of 12.34 million, with the Baloch comprising about 55.7% of the population, accounting for approximately 6.6 million people. The Pashtun population represents 36 percent of the population, while the remaining 8 percent is composed of smaller communities such as Hazara, Sindhi, Punjabi, Uzbek, Turkmen, Tajik, and Saraiki.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Dera Ismail Khan, along with several adjacent districts of Punjab, are home to a significant number of Baloch, with a population of slightly over one hundred and forty thousand.
Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province is the second largest among the 31 provinces of the country. It has a population of approximately 27 million, with the majority being Baloch. However, Baloch people do not only reside in Sistan and Balochistan but are also spread across four other provinces, including Kerman, Hormozgan, and South Khorasan. The combined population of Baloch people in these five provinces is over 4.8 million, which accounts for 5.51% of Iran’s total population of 87 million.
Baloch people reside in 24 provinces across Afghanistan, including Nimroz, Farah, Helmand, Kandahar, and Herat. However, the province with the largest Baloch population is Nimroz, with its capital being Zaranj. Nimroz is situated 900 km southwest of Kabul, near the Helmand River and in close proximity to the border of Afghanistan and Iran. The local Baloch have inhabited the banks of one of the main water sources in the country for centuries.
Historical records suggest that people from Balochistan migrated to Oman around 1400 years ago during the early days of Islam. European travelers from the 16th and 17th centuries also wrote about the presence of Baloch communities in Oman. At present, there are approximately one million Baloch in Oman, which makes up 23% of the country’s total population.
In Uttar Pradesh, India, there are several Baloch colonies such as Amirnagar, Faridnagar, Ghaziabad, Garhi Abdullah, Pakki Garhi, Jasoi, and Baghra in Muzaffarnagar District. These villages were rewarded to four Baloch brothers, Bairam Khan, Amir Khan, Sher Khan, and Hashim Khan, along with their sister’s husband, Abdullah Khan, by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. These Baloch families settled in the region and gained prominence as the Mughal Empire declined.
In the UAE, the estimated number of Baloch ranges from 215,000 to 468,000, and the population has rapidly grown since 2006. Several Baloch serve in the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates. The Baloch people speak Balochi, while the locals who have been residing in the region for generations speak the Gulf dialect of Arabic.
The Mervi Baloch community is closely related to the Baloch communities in Afghanistan and Iran, who reside near the modern-day borders of Turkmenistan. Presently, they live near the Merv Oasis, as the ancient Persian population of the area was displaced by the Manghit emir, Shah Murad, due to their Shia faith in the late 1780s. As a result, they were compelled to relocate to Bukhara and Samarkand.
here is an estimated Baloch population of around 52,000 in Qatar, accounting for approximately 1.7% of the total population. While Balochi and Brahvi are their native languages, they are also proficient in Arabic.
The Baloch population in Bahrain is roughly estimated at 44,000, representing approximately 2.6% of the total population. Balochi is widely spoken and is the second most commonly used native language in Bahrain. The Baloch community is fluent in both Arabic and Balochi, while a considerable number of them also speak Brahvi as their mother tongue.
Middle East and Africa
A significant but relatively small number of Baloch people reside in various Middle Eastern and African countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. If taken together, their population is around 60,000. Some members of the Baloch population have lived in the region since as early as the 17th century.