The district is named after the river
Zhob. It is a Pashto word which means oozing water. The Zhob river has a total
length of about 410 kilometres. It is the only river in the country that follows
a north-eastern course. It springs from the Kan Metarzai range, passes about 4
kilometre from Zhob city and finally flows into the Gomal river near Khajuri
Kach. Zhob city was previously called Fort Sandeman, named after Robert Sandeman,
the first Agent to the Governor General of Balochistan. The name was changed on
July 30 1976 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan of that time Z. A. Bhutto. The
hand-written remarks inserted by him into the visitors' book (preserved at the
Zhob Militia Mess) on the occasion say, "Today we have taken a decision to
eliminate last vestige of colonialism of this historical place by changing the
name instead (to) Zhob of Sandeman, the British conqueror and oppressor of
Pathan and Baloch people and country."
Traditionally, Fort Sandeman was called Appozai, named after a village situated
two kilometres away.
The tribes inhabiting the area are
indigenous to the land. Zhob is the cradle of the Afghan race. Qais Abdul
Rashid, who is believed to be one of the progenitors of the Pashtoons or
Afghans, lived in the Suleiman mountains near Zhob. He was born in 575 AD and
died in 661 AD. Natives call the place where he is buried "Da Kase Ghar" (the
mountain of Qais). The Chinese pilgrim Hiven Tsiang who visited India in 629 AD,
described the Afghans as living in Zhob. The area was ruled by Nadir Shah from
1736 to 1747 and by Ahmed Shah Abdali from 1747 to 1773. It was part of the
Afghan dynasty when the British penetrated it in 1881. A number of areas now in
Zhob, Killa Saifullah, and Pishin districts were ceded to British Indian
Balochistan after the Durand line in 1893. They soon became a district.
Zhob district is the second oldest
existing district of Balochistan, after Quetta. It was raised to district level
in February 1890, under Captain MacIvor as the first Political Agent.
The district has an important
geo-strategic location. It links Afghanistan, South Waziristan Agency, D.I.Khan
district, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, and MusaKhel.