Western Baluch of Pakistan
The 1.1 million Western Baluch of Pakistan are part of a larger Baluch community of about 8 million people. Their homeland straddles the borders of Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Baluch groups are distinguishable by their languages, which belong to the same family, yet are quite different. Many of the Baluchs cannot read or write.
Baluch societies are organized into clans and tribes. The tribes are grouped together into large units that are ruled by chiefs. At every level of this hierarchy, a male elder is the head.
The first successful attempt to unite several Baluch tribes was accomplished in the twelfth century. Unfortunately, this unity was short lived. In the fifteenth century, wars over economic issues often broke out between the tribes and their allies. By the sixteenth century, the Baluch were divided into three separate political groups: the Makran State, the Dodai Confederacy, and the Khanate of Baluchistan.
What are their lives like?
The Baluch have overcome the obstacles of living in an extremely harsh, arid climate. Today, most of them live in two types of settlements that are conducive to their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Their permanent villages consist of clusters of mud houses, loosely organized around the home of the local chief. They live in these mountain and valley settlements in the summertime. However, in winter, they migrate to the plains and coastal areas, seeking green grass for their livestock. During this time, they live in tents, and move freely across the landscape as weather conditions dictate. These temporary settlements are smaller, consisting of closely related kin.
The Baluch are basically self sufficient, relying on their own skills to build homes and develop the tools necessary for daily life. Their economy is based on a combination of farming and semi-nomadic shepherding. They usually raise sheep, cattle, or goats. Agriculture is limited because of the harsh climate; nevertheless, it plays a large role in the economy. The chief crop is wheat.
To aid in the household economy, some farmers raise chickens. They also depend on wild fruits and vegetables. One wild plant, called the "dwarf palm," is used as a dietary supplement. The meat of the palm is useful for food, and the leaves are used to make items such as ropes, shoes, mats, tents, spoons, and pipes.
Techniques of survival differ from valley to valley and from high mountain areas to lowland plains. However, each community tries to keep as many different animals as possible and to grow a wide variety of crops.
Within the family, the entire household is responsible for tending the family's herd. Rugs are also woven for household use and for trade. Women work in groups, threshing and separating the harvest; while plowing and planting are done by the men. Traditionally, land is not privately owned but belongs to the whole tribe.
What are their beliefs?
Prior to the coming of Islam, the Baluch were probably followers of Zoroaster. Today, they are Sunni Muslims. Their religious practices remain private, and there is no concept of a "state religion." All forms of secular authority are separated from the spiritual authority held by religious leaders.
What are their needs?
Changing economic and political conditions have made the individual Baluch increasingly more independent, thus weakening the position of the chiefs. In many areas, people no longer know where they stand socially or politically.
The Islamic religion is very difficult to penetrate with the Gospel. Although two missions agencies have targeted the Baluch of Pakistan, very little progress has been seen. The Jesus Film and portions of the Bible are available; however, there are still no known believers. Christian radio and television broadcasts are needed in their language to help further the spread of the Gospel. Since the illiteracy rate is so high, Christian workers might find open doors into Pakistan as teachers.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Pakistan and share the Gospel of Christ with the Western Baluch.
- Pray that the Christian broadcasts will soon be made available in their language.
- Ask God to give the missions agencies favor and strategies for reaching these Muslims.
- Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to complete translation of the Bible into Baloci.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Western Baluch towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will open the hearts of Pakistan's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Western Baluch by the year
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Western Baluch
- Country: Pakistan
- Their language: Baloci
- Largest religion:
- Christians: None
- Church members: None
- Scriptures in their own language: Portions
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 2
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 170,700 (15%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 967,300 (85%)
- Country: Pakistan
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 37
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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