Pakistan is uniquely constituted in the heart of the South Asian sub-continent. It is a country with its own history and cultural heritage-fascinating in its own right. Pakistan was the site for one of the world's earliest human settlements, the great prehistoric Indus Valley Civilisation, the crucible of empires, religions and cultures. The land of Pakistan ranges from lofty mountains in the north, the Karakoram and the Himalayas, through dissected plateaux to the rich alluvial plains of the Punjab. Then follows desolate barrenness of Baluchistan and the dry deserts of Sindh blending into miles and miles of golden beaches of Mekran Coast.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan emerged as an independent state on 14th August 1947. It comprises four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, North west Frontier and Baluchistan, besides the Federally administered tribal areas. The country borders Iran on the west, while India in the east, Afghanistan in the north and north-west, and the People's Republic of China in the north west to the north-east.
This Pakistan Gazetteer aims at a position different from, and somewhat higher than, that of an ordinary Gazetteer. The Gazetteer is complete in itself and contains all matters of interest such as historical, geographical, physiographical, ethnographical etc. of each province of the entire country. The Gazetteer also covers important districts and cities which are not only significant from administrative point of view but enjoy great historical traditions. The emphasis therefore, in the Gazetteer, is on the historical aspect.
The advent of Islam strengthened the historical individuality in the areas now constituting Pakistan and further beyond its boundaries. Some of the earliest relics of Stone Age man in the sub-continent are found in the Soan Valley of the Potohar region near Rawalpindi, with a probable antiquity of about 500, 000 years. The first hesitant steps towards civilisation in this area were taken about 3,000 BC. amidst the rugged windswept valleys and foothills of Baluchistan. The prehistoric site of Kot Diji in the Sindh province has provided information and high significance about the origin of civilisation from about 2500 BC. The Aryan races now inhabiting the entire sub-continent also first came through the regions of Pakistan.
As we shall see in these volumes, the forms of belief having their origin in or beyond Pakistan have influenced the entire sub-continent in many ways from the earliest ages to the present day. The Gazetteer is a nucleus of a complete index to our knowledge of the people of Pakistan, its history, its life and its institutions.