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Islands of Pakistan

ASTOLA (AKA HAFT TALAR)

Astola or Astola Island (also known as Haft Talar or seven hills) is a small, uninhabited island in the Arabian Sea, approximately twenty-five kilometres south of the Balochistan coast of Pakistan. The island lies about forty kilometres east-southeast of the port of Pasni, its altitude is 0-200 feet and the total area is approximately 4 km². The island is about four kilometres in length and one kilometre in width, with an isolated rock to the southeast which has broken away. There are caves on the south face cliffs. Astola is the only significant offshore island along the north coast of the Arabian Sea. The island is owned by the Balochistan Board of Revenue and administratively is part of the Pasni subdivision of the district of Gwadar. Between September and May of each year, Astola becomes a temporary base for mainland fishermen, to catch lobsters and oysters. From June to August, the island remains uninhabited by humans because of the rough sea and high tides. On one of the cliffs of the island, there is a small solar-operated beacon for the safety of passing vessels..

History

Nearchus (360-300 BCE), admiral of Alexander the Great, mentioned Astola island as Carnine Island, inhabited by the Ichthyophagoi (Fish eaters in Greek) where, according to Nearchus, even the mutton had a fishy taste. The Persian phrase Mahi khoran, (Fish eaters) has become the modern name of the coastal region of Makran.
On the island are the remains of an ancient Hindu temple of the goddess, Kali Devi. The island was also known as to Hindus as "Satadip". There is also a prayer yard built for the Muslim Sufi Pir Khawaja Khizr who according to mainland legends is said to rule over the oceans and is believed to visit the area occasionally and offer prayers there. The prayer yard is used by the fishermen during the fishing season.

Wild life

The isolated location of the island has helped maintain endemic life forms. The endangered Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and possibly the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbracata) nest on the beach at the foot of cliffs, and it is a very important area for endemic reptiles such as the viper Echis carinatus astolae. The island is maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of the area. The island is reported to support a large number of breeding seabirds including Larus hemprichii and several species of terns. Avifauna includes: Ardeola cinerea, Egretta gularis, Pluvialis squatarola, Numenius arquata, Limosa limosa, Calidris minutus, Larus argentatus, Larus genei, Cursorius coromandelius, Galerida cristata, Oenanthe deserti, and Prinia spp. Feral cats originally introduced by fishermen to control the endemic rodent population pose an increasing threat to birds’ nesting and breeding sites. and as such maintains the genetic and ecological diversity of the area.


BHIT SHAH ISLAND

Baba Bhit Shah Island is the smallest neighborhood of Kiamari Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It comprises three small fishing islands which in the centre of the harbour of Karachi.

There are several ethnic groups in Kiamari Town including Urdu speakers, Punjabis, Sindhis, Kashmiris, Seraikis, Pakhtuns, Balochs, Memons, Bohras, Ismailis. Over 99% of the population is Muslim. The population of Kiamari Town is estimated to be nearly one million.

There is another place named Bhit Shah located in the interior part of province of Sindh, Pakistan. Bhit Shah is the town where the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1689-1752), the patron saint of Sindh.


BUDDO ISLAND

Buddo Island is a small island located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Buddo Island is also known as Dingi by local fishermen. Buddo and Bundal Islands serve as a temporary port for local fishermen. They clean their nets and dry fish on these islands. The Bundal and Buddo Islands comprising 12,000 acres of land, are the assets of the Port Qasim Authority.


BUNDAL ISLAND

Bundal Island is a small island located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Bundal, pronounced Bhandar by local fishermen, is a twin island of Buddo and lies to its West. On Bundal Island the tomb of Muslim sufi Yusuf Shah is located. The annual urs of 'Yusuf Shah' which attracts thousands of coastal people to the island. The island looked like a city during the urs. Churma and Buddo Islands are also located near Bundal Island. There is a dispute between the provincial government of Sindh and Karachi Port Trust on the ownership rights of 12,000 acres of land in these Islands.

Development Project

In September 2006, government of Pakistan gave a Dubai property firm, Emaar the go-ahead for a $43bn (£22.8bn) project to develop two island resorts in Bundal and Buddo Island. A bridge would be constructed at a cost of $50 million to link Karachi Defence Housing Society Phase-8 with Bundal and Buddo Islands. The islands are situated at a distance of 1.5km from Karachi Defence Phase-8. A major portion of one of the two islands has submerged beneath the sea and the land of Emaar Group would reclaim the land by using technology. According to initial plan, about 15,000 houses would be constructed and would be sold to public. On December 8th contruction of the islands started.

Controversy

Many local NGOs, political parties and even Sindh Government have raised their voice about these development projects.


CHURMA ISLAND (AKA CHURNA ISLAND)

Churma Island or Churna Island is a small island located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.

Churna is a tiny island with a big reputation embrace crystal clear water, extraordinary vistas, it’s a culmination of your search for the best Sport Fishing action in Pakistan with a plethora of choices excursions to our undersea world, scuba diving, sailing around and snorkeling, The island of Churna is frequently visited by anglers (recreational fishermen) for fishing, this is one of the biggest and most active fishing spot in Pakistan, There is enough sea life which attracts anglers for Big Game Fishing all over Pakistan.


CLIFTON OYSTER ROCKS

Clifton Oyster Rocks is an island located near Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.


KHIPRIANWALA ISLAND 

Khiprianwala Island is a small island located in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.


MALAN ISLAND

Malan Island is located in Arabian Sea 3 kilometres off the coast of Balochistan, Pakistan. It is an offshore mud volcano and rose out of the water overnight in March 1999. 


MANORA (AKA MANORO)

Manora or Manoro is a small island (2.5 km²) located just south of the Port of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The island is connected to the mainland by a 12 kilometre long causeway called the Sandspit. Manora and neighbouring islands form a protective barrier between Karachi harbour to the north and the Arabian Sea to the south. The western bay of the harbour contains endangered mangrove forests which border the Sandspit and Manora island. To the east is Karachi Bay and the beach towns of Kiamari and Clifton. The island is located at 24°48′00″N, 66°58′00″E (24.800000, 66.970000).

History

According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora at port of Karachi constituted the city of Debal. The island was the site of a small fort constructed in the eighteenth century when the port of Karachi traded with Oman and Bahrain. The fort was stormed by the British in 1839 because of the strategic location of Karachi. Although the fort is now buried beneath the naval base, the lighthouse is a visible reminder of the British presence having been built in 1889 to assist vessels approaching Karachi harbour.
The island of Manora has served for more than 50 years as the main base of the Pakistan Navy, with berths for naval vessels located along the eastern edge of the island. The island has been governed as a military cantonment despite being located so close to Karachi. The opening of the new Jinnah Naval Base at Ormara, 250 kilometres away, has mean't that approximately half of the naval vessels have moved away from Manora.

Tourism

Manora is also a popular picnic spot because of the long sandy beaches along the southern edge of the island, which merge into the beaches of the Sandspit and then extend several kilometres to the beaches at Hawkesbay. At the southeastern end of Manora island is the tallest lighthouse (28 m or 91 feet high) in Pakistan. The island lies approximately 15-20 minutes by boat ride from mainland Karachi but there are no good hotels available for an overnight stay. For this and other reasons, the Government of Pakistan has been considering developing the island into a tourist destination. The island has been envisioned as an exotic location with natural landscapes such as the beaches and the mangrove forests, and secluded beauty with an upgrade for the lighthouse to add to the quaint feel of the island.

Development

Pakistan's Ministry for Ports and Shipping has just signed Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 with Dubai World and Emaar Properties for the redevelopment of Manora Island. As part of the development plans, the KPT and all Military establishments will vacate the island and hand it over to the the companies for development. The development, so to speak, will comprise of establishing high rise hotels and apartment buildings in the areas.

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