Starting from Tibet, the Indus River flows through Jammu & Kashmir to the rest of Pakistan. It is the greatest river on the west of the subcontinent and it is among the seven holy rivers for Hindus. It was the source of Indus Valley Civilization.
Indus is the longest river in Pakistan with the total length of 2880 km and drainage area of whopping 1,165,000 sq. km (450,000 sq. miles). The annual flow of the river is estimated at around 207 cubic km. (50 cu. Miles). So, it is the 21st largest river in terms of annual flow in the world.
The river was also known as “Sindhu” in ancient India. The word “Indós” was used by the Ancient Greeks and “Hinduš” was used by Old Persians and it is known as Sindhu in Sanskrit. On the sub-continent, modern languages use either Sindhu or Sindh or similar words. So, it is no doubt that the country India is named after this river.
Around 60% of total land area of Indus River lies in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. On the other hand, Tibet has only 10%, India has 22%, and Afghanistan got just 7% of catchment area of Indus River basin.
The water system of the rivers includes Indus River along with its tributaries, Kurram River and Kabul River on right bank, and Ravi River, Jhelum, Chenub River, Beas River, and Sutlej on the left. When the first two rivers join Indus just after Indus leaving the mountains, others fall down in the plains. The head parts of Sutlej and Ravi and whole of Beas enter the Republic of India, while most parts of Jhelum and Chenab lie in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Agriculture would be in a major trouble without Indus waters in Pakistan, as the area doesn’t receive much rain. Due to rapid industrialization in Pakistan, water resources are very important. A huge portion of its proposed and existing industry need to survive on the agricultural produce for manufacturing with the raw materials. Virtually all the Indus river basin gets average rainfall of just 15 inches, i.e. 60% of area getting only 10 inches, and 16% getting only 5 inches.
In the Indus lands at Skardu, walnuts, apples and poplars grow. In the Shigar valley, delicious apricots, melons, and nectarines grow. As they are spoilt in transit, it is not easy to distribute them across the country.
The main sources of upper Indus are glacial melt water and snow from the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and the mountainous regions of Himalayas. It flows through the picturesque valleys and deep gorges. But Indus River hardly navigates because of harsh turbulence. It gets waters from the five rivers of Punjab (Jhelum, Chenab, Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej).
Indus is known as the chief river in Pakistan and King of Rivers in India. The valley was the site of a civilization which ruled from 2500 BC to 1500 BC. There are twin Takht-I-Sulaiman peaks in the western corners of the river in Central Pakistan.