Sunday, January 27, 2013

Balochistan Old Maps

Balochistan Map in 1860

Balochistan Map 1838

Thursday, October 9, 2008



Wahe Watan O Hushkien Dar The fatherland even barren is worth anything
Balochi saying

People with a warlike spirit, wearing exalted plumes, like the cocks comb, on their turbans.
Firdausi in Shahnama
The present day insurgency in Balochistan is a continuum of the intermittent guerrilla struggle against the Pakistani state that has characterized Balochistan since 1948. The insurgency in 2004-05 is only different from the ones in 1948-52, 1958-60, 1962-69 and 1973-77 in the scale of the violence and the geographical spread of the insurgency. The causes, the issues, the demands and the goal continue to be the same.

On August 15, 1947, a day after Pakistan came into existence, the Khan of Kalat had declared independence. Kalats independent status had been affirmed several times by the Muslim League and by the Kalat National Assembly. Despite this, on 1 April 1948, the Pakistan Army marched into Kalat and arrested the Khan who capitulated. His brother, Prince Abdul Karim (with the Khans tacit approval) however, declared a revolt proclaiming the independence of Kalat and issued a manifesto in the name of the Baloch National Liberation Committee rejecting the accession agreement signed by the Khan. Karim hoped to obtain Afghan support since Afghanistan had objected to the inclusion of the Baloch and Pashtun areas in Pakistan and had even opposed the admission of Pakistan to the United Nations. While the Pakistani version is that Karim received substantial Afghan support, the Baloch nationalist version is that Afghanistan denied support since it favoured the inclusion of Balochistan in Afghanistan rather than an independent Balochistan.

First Guerrilla Revolt

Prince Abdul Karim launched guerrilla operations against the Pakistan Army in Jhalawan district in late May, 1950, but the Khan, threatened with reprisals by Pakistani Army authorities, persuaded his brother to surrender with assurances of safe conduct and amnesty from the Pakistan Army. Pakistani officers reportedly signed a safe conduct agreement with Abdul Karims representatives and swore an oath on the Koran to uphold it. However, Pakistani forces dishonoured the agreements by ambushing and arresting the Prince and 102 of his accomplices on their way to Kalat in 1950. Karims revolt is important in Baloch history for two reasons. First, it established that the Baloch did not accept the accession of Kalat with Pakistan. Second, it led to the wide-spread Baloch belief that Pakistan had betrayed the safe conduct agreement. The Baloch regard this as a first series of broken treaties that have created distrust between them and Islamabad. Karim and his followers were all sentenced to long prison terms and became rallying symbols for the Baloch liberation movement.

The Second Revolt

The next violent outbreak of Baloch sentiments came in 1958. This was the direct result of the centralising policies pursued by the Pakistani leaders. Fears of Bengali domination in the 1950s had propelled the Punjabi leaders, who controlled the levers of power, to consolidate the Western Wing of Pakistan into a unified province to counter Bengali numerical strength. This One Unit plan was resisted by the Baloch, both by Abdul Karim who had completed his prison term in 1955 and the Khan who mobilised wide spread demonstrations through tribal chieftains. Balochi nationalists within the Khanate took serious exception to the One Unit scheme and in a meeting with Pakistani president Iskander Mirza in October 1957 they urged Iskander Mirza to exempt Kalat from the One Unit scheme, and to allot more government spending on developmental activities in Kalat. But Ayub Khans ambitions changed the political matrix in Pakistan and when some Baloch sardars started non-cooperating with the Pakistani commissioner, under a flimsy pretext that the Khan had raised a parallel army to attack Pakistani military, Ayub ordered Pakistani army to march into Kalat on 6 October 1958, a day before he imposed martial rule in Pakistan. The army arrested the Khan and his followers and accused them of secretly negotiating with Afghanistan for a full-scale Baloch rebellion.

The arrest touched off a chain reaction of violence and counter-violence with the government bombing villages suspected of harbouring guerrillas. Pakistan military's campaigns in Danshera and Wad were resisted by the Jhalawan Sardars loyal to the Khan. The octogenarian Chief of the Zehri tribe in Jhalawan, Nauroz Khan put up a stiff resistance in the Mir Ghat mountains, but the Pakistani military swore an oath by the Quran and urged Nauroz to give up arms and prepare for negotiations.

Nauroz surrendered in anticipation of safe conduct and amnesty but the army put Nauroz and his sons behind the bars as soon as they laid down their arms. Naurozs sons were hanged soon afterwards, in Hyderabad and Sukur, in July 1960. A shocked and surprised Nauroz died soon afterwards in Kohlu prison in 1962. Ayubs message to the Balochis of Kalat who were the first to challenge the might of the Pakistani state, was clear. He reportedly threatened the total extinction of Balochis if they did not mend their ways.

The 1958 revolt was followed by the Pakistan Army setting up new garrisons at key points in the interior of Balochistan. This in turn provoked the Baloch to plan for more armed guerrilla movements capable of defending Balochi interests. The movement was led by Sher Mohammed Marri who was far-sighted enough to realise that the disorganised random struggle adopted so far would have to be transformed into a classic guerrilla warfare. For this purpose, he set up a network of base camps spread from the Mengal tribal areas of Jhalawan in the South to the Marri and Bugti areas in the North. The Pararis, as the guerrillas were called, ambushed convoys, bombed trains and so on. In retaliation, the army staged savage reprisals. For example, the Army bulldozed 13,000 acres of almond tress owned by Sher Mohammed and his relatives in the Marri area. The fighting continued sporadically until 1969 when the Yahya Khan withdrew the One Unit plan and got the Baloch to agree to a ceasefire. Despite the ceasefire, the Pararis assumed that the renewal of the hostilities with Islamabad would be unavoidable sooner or later. As such, the organisational infrastructure was kept intact and cadres continued to be trained.

Third Balochi Resistance: The 1970s

The nationalist Balochis took to rudimentary politics during Ayubs practice of Basic Democracy in Pakistan. They struck a chord of unity with the Pakhtuns in NWFP and formed a National Awami Party (NAP) upon the dissolution of the One Unit scheme in 1970. In the elections of 1971, while Bhuttos PPP swept the polls in West Pakistan, the NAP won in Balochistan and NWFP. The attacks on Punjabi settlers in Quetta and Mastung in early 1973, the perceived defiance of the Ataullah Mengal-led government in Balochistan and the discovery of a large consignment of weapons in the Iraqi embassy were woven together to be served as conclusive evidence of the Balochis militant intentions and General Tikka Khan was sent to Balochistan to lead the second military attack on Baloch nationalists. Pakistan, smarting under the shock of vivisection in 1971, certainly over-reacted to the Balochi nationalist assertion. The immediate provocation for the Baloch resistance was Bhuttos dismissal of the Baloch provincial government in February 1973 in which Ghaus Bux Bizenjo was Governor and Attaullah Mengal Chief Minister. Bhutto alleged that the government had repeatedly exceeded its constitutional authority and alleged that this had been done in collusion with Iraq and the Soviet Union as part of a plot to dismember both Pakistan and Iran. The dismissal was timed with the disclosure of a cache of 300 Soviet sub-machine guns and 48,000 rounds of ammunition allegedly consigned to Baloch leaders that were found in the house of the Iraqi Defence Attaché in Islamabad. It was, however, subsequently revealed that the arms had actually been found in Karachi and were meant for Iranian Baloch in retaliation against Irans support to Iraqi Kurds and that the Iraqi Defence Attaché had collaborated with Iranian and Pakistani intelligence agents in staging the arms exposure to put pressure on the Iranians.

Following the dismissal of their government, Baloch guerrillas began to ambush army convoys from April 1973. Bhutto retaliated by sending in the army to Balochistan and by putting three veteran nationalist leaders of Balochistan Ghous Bux Bizenjo, Ataullah Khan Mengal and Khair Bux Marri, behind the bars. The armed struggle continued over the next four years with varying degrees of severity. At the height of the war there were over 80,000 Pakistani troops in the province. The fighting was more wide-spread than it had been in 1950s and 1960s. The guerrillas succeeded by July 1974 to cut off most of the main roads linking Balochistan with surrounding provinces and to periodically disrupt the Sibi-Harnai rail link thereby blocking coal shipments from the Baloch areas to the Punjab. Additionally, attacks on drilling and survey operations stymied oil exploration activities.

The then Shah of Iran, apprehending trouble in Iranian Balochistan, supported the Pakistan forces in decimating the Baloch resistance. The Shah sent in 30 US Cobra Helicopters manned by Iranian pilots who pounded the Baloch pockets of resistance. The turning point came during the 6-day battle at Chamalang in the Marri area in September 1974. In line with the Pakistan armys scorched earth policy, an army ground and air offensive in the winter of 1974 on the Baloch tribes, largely Marris, along with their families, who had gathered in an annual pilgrimage to the Chamalang plains to graze their flocks, inflicted heavy human and livestock casualties. While casualties on both sides were heavy, the Baloch were unable to regain the military initiative in the ensuing years.

Most of the Balochi leaders left Pakistan and went into exile in Afghanistan, the UK and other places outside Pakistan. Several Baloch groups migrated to Afghanistan where they were permitted to set up camps by Mohd Daud. Even if Bhutto claimed to have wiped out Baloch resistance, he played a big role in the transformation of dispersed Pararis into the Balochistan Peoples Liberation Front (BPLF) in 1976, led by Mir Hazar Khan Marri, who broke away from Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) led by Sher Muhammad Marri.

The anti-Bhutto sentiments of the Baloch nationalists were well manipulated by Zia ul Haq after he seized power in 1977 and his show of clemency was received well by many Baloch leaders including the Baloch triumvirate: Ghaus Bux Bizenzo, Ataullah Mengal and Akbar Khan Bugti. However, a rebel faction of the Marris continued defying the Pakistani administration. And, as a proof of the irreconcilability of Balochi nationalism with the Pakistani state-nationalism, the most aggressive and fiercely independent of all Baloch factions, the Baloch Students Union (BSO), reorganised and reasserted itself in the early 1990s.

Reference Book:

Selig S. Harrison in his book cited below analyses the insurgencies between 197 and 1977 ina splendid manner. His book is:

In Afghanistans Shadow Baluchistan: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet

Temptations, 1981, New York / Washington: Carnegie Endowment

for International Peace.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


WHEREAS the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an independent Dominion known as PAKISTAN, and that the Government of India Act, 1935 shall, with such omissions, additions, adaptations and modifications as the Governor-General may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of Pakistan;
AND WHEREAS the Government of India Act, 1935, as so adapted by the Governor-General provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of Pakistan by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof:

I, His Highness Baglar Begi Khan of Kalat (signed) Ruler of Kalat State in, the exercise of my sovereignt; in and over my said State DO hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession and
1. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of Pakistan with the intent that the Governor-General of Pakistan, the Dominion Legislature, the Supreme Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall, by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession, but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only Dominion, exercise 1n relation to the State of Kalat (hereinafter referred to as “this State”) such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force ,in the Dominion of Pakistan on the 15th day of August 1947 (which Act as so in force is hereinafter referred to as “the Act”).
2. I hereby assume the obligation of ensuring that due effect is given to the provisions of the Act within this State so far as they are applicable therein by virtue of this My Instrument of Accession.
3. I accept the matters specified in the Schedule hereto as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws for this State.
4. I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of Pakistan on the assurance that if an agreement is made between the Governor-General and the Ruler of this State whereby any functions in relation to the administration in this State of any law of the Dominion Legislature shall be exercised by the Ruler of this State, then any such agreement shall be deemed to form part of this Instrument and shall be construed end have effect accordingly.
5. Nothing in this Instrument shall empower the Dominion Legislature to make any law for this State authorising the compulsory acquisition of land for any purpose, but I hereby undertake that should the Dominion for the purposes of a Dominion law which applies in this State deem it necessary to acquire any land, I will at their request acquire the land at their expense or if the land belongs to me transfer it to them on such terms as may be agreed, or, in default of agreement, determined by an arbitrator to be appointed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
6. The terms of this my Instrument of Accession shall not be varied by any amendment of the Act or of the Indian Inde­pendence Act, 1947, unless such amendment is accepted by me by an Instrument supplementary to this Instrument.
7. Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of Pakistan or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of Pakistan under any such future constitution.
8. Nothing, in this Instrument affects the continuance of my sovereignty in and over this State, or, Save as provided by or under this Instrument, the exercise of any powers, authority and rights now enjoyed by me as Ruler of this State or the validity of any law at present in force in this State.
9. I hereby declare that I execute this Instrument on behalf of this State and that any reference in this Instrument to me or to the Ruler of the State is to be construed as including a reference to my heirs and successors.
Given under my hand this 27th March 1948. Nineteen hundred and forty eight
Signed by: His Highness Baglar Begi Khan of Kalat
(Ruler of Kalat State)
I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession.
Dated this 31st March 1948 Nineteen hundred and forty eight
Signed by: Ma Jinnah
(Governor-General of Pakistan)

Copy of the original document Below

Monday, October 6, 2008


The Khan of Kalat, who had expressed his enthusiasm for Pakistan as had Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was the leader of the Muslim League and went on to become the first Governor General of Pakistan, in his payrolls as the legal advisor to the Kalat state, resorted to the legal position that with the lapse of paramountcy, leased out territories around Quetta that would return to Kalat and so also Kharan and Las Bela would be left independent to decide to rejoin Kalat.

The British had a relationship of paramountcy with the Indian states or principalities. The rulers of these states enjoyed substantial measure of internal autonomy in exchange for their loyalty to the British. The Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, emphasized on the special status of the Kalat State and in a memorandum to the Cabinet Mission, in 1946, he had highlighted that the governments succeeding the British could only inherit the states that had treaty relations with the British Indian government and not those states whose treaty relations were with Whitehall. As the Cabinet mission could not find flaws with the legality of the demand, it left the issue unresolved. Ironically, Jinnah, as the legal adviser to the Khan had prepared the case in favor of independence of the Kalat state.

By the time the British began their preparations to leave the Indian subcontinent, the state of Kalat had lost much of its past glory, yet it had a functioning government responsible to a parliament, which comprised of two houses, like the British parliament. Its council of ministers included Douglas Fell, a British, who was functioning as the Foreign Minister. In addition it also had Mohammed Ali Jinnah as its legal adviser. According to Baloch nationalists, Jinnah had agreed that the position of the Kalat State was different from that of other Indian princely states. In addition, at a round table conference held in Delhi on August 4, 1947, and attended by Lord Mountbatten, the Khan of Kalat, chief minister of Kalat and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in his capacity as the legal advisor of Kalat State, it was decided that Kalat State would become independent on August 5, 1947. Subsequently, the rulers of Kharan and Lesbela were informed by the British that control of their regions had been transferred to Kalat State and the Marri and Bugti tribal regions which were under the British control were also returned into the Kalat fold, thereby bringing the whole of Balochistan under the suzerainty of the Khan of Kalat .

Jinnah as the legal advisor of the Kalat state and Jinnah as the Governor General of Pakistan were two separate characters. Under his leadership as Governor General of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan the legal heir of the British imperial system followed a policy not too different from the policy adopt

ed by the British in 1839 in Kalat. Through gentle but forceful nudges, the principalities of Kharan, Makran and Lesbela were merged into Pakistan in March 1948.

There were reports that during this period the Khan had sought Indian help but was turned down. However, Nehru later denied the report.1 The rumor was enough for Pakistan to threaten the Khan with preparation for military takeover and on 30 March 1948, in what the Khan construed as a decision taken in the interest of Balochi nation, without obtaining formal sanction from the Balochi Sardars and in opposition to the decision of the Balochi legislature (in October 1947), signed the treaty of merger with Pakistan.2 In April 1948, Pakistan forced status quo ante, i.e., Kalat was to be ruled by an agent of the Pakistani state. The short display of Balochi nationalist defiance under the leadership of Khans brother, Abdul Karim Khan, continued until 1950, when the latter was captured along with his followers and put behind the bars. He spent 16 out of the rest of his 22 years in Pakistani prisons on charges of sedition.

Partition and the Annexation of Balochistan

"We are Muslims but it (this fact) did not mean (it is) necessary to lose our independence and to merge with other (nations) because of the Muslim (faith). If our accession into Pakistan is necessary, being Muslim, then Muslim states of Afghanistan and Iran should also merge with Pakistan."

Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo in 1947-48

The legal status of Kalat was different from that of other princely states in the Indian subcontinent. The 560 odd princely states belonged to Category A under the political department. States like Kalat, together with Bhutan; Sikkim etc. were under the External Affairs Department of the Government of India and were in Category B. The 1876 treaty with the British provided for the independence of Kalat in internal jurisdiction and non-interference in domestic affairs. It was on this basis that the Khan never joined the Chamber of Princes in Delhi and always maintained that they were on a separate footing and not part of Britain’s Indian empire. Thus Kalat in 1947 was not really obliged to join either India or Pakistan. When it was decided to partition India, the last ruler of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Khan made it clear that he sought independence.

In a Memorandum submitted to the British Cabinet Mission in March 1946, the Khan made the following points: First, the Government or Governments succeeding the Raj would inherit only the treaty relationships of the colonial government in New Delhi and not those of Whitehall. Second, after the British left, Kalat would retain the independence it had enjoyed prior to 1876. Third, the Baloch principalities that had been tributaries of Kalat and which were later leased to the British under duress would revert to Kalat. As a result, the Memorandum stated, the Kalat will become fully sovereign and independent in respect to both internal and external affairs and will be free to conclude treaties with any other government or state. It added, the Khan, his government and his people can never agree to Kalat being included in any form of Indian Union.2

On August 15, 1947, a day after Pakistan was formally established; the Khan declared Kalats independence but offered to negotiate a special relationship with Pakistan in the spheres of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications. Pakistani leaders rejected this declaration touching off a 9-month diplomatic tug of war that climaxed in the forcible annexation of Kalat.

Pakistan historians have tried to argue that the Khans stand was not representative of Baloch sentiments and point as evidence to the pro-Pakistan Assembly of Baloch leaders (called Shahi Jirga) held in Quetta on June 29, 1947. However, the participants were those who had been appointed by the British and the Assemblys recommendation related only to British Balochistan.

Apart from declaring independence, the Khan also formed the lower and upper houses of the Kalat Assembly. A meeting of the Kalat National Assembly (elections for which had been held a few weeks earlier) held on August 15, 1947 as well as subsequent meetings of the Assembly, decided not to join Pakistan and Affirmed the position that Kalat was an independent state and would only enter into friendly treaty relations with Pakistan. Amongst those who, in these meetings of the Kalat Assembly spoke in clear terms about the justification for an independent Balochistan was Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, who later became a leader of the National Awami Party and also the Governor of Balochistan for a short period.

Bizenjos speech of December 14, 1947, in the Kalat Assembly is noteworthy for the ample warnings that it conveyed to the Pakistani state:

"We have a distinct civilization and a separate culture like that of Iran and Afghanistan. We are Muslims but it is not necessary that by virtue of being Muslims we should lose our freedom and merge with others. If the mere fact that we are Muslims requires us to join Pakistan then Afghanistan and Iran, both Muslim countries, should also amalgamate with Pakistan. We were never a part of India before the British rule. Pakistan’s unpleasant and loathsome desire that our national homeland, Balochistan should merge with it is impossible to consider. We are ready to have friendship with that country on the basis of sovereign equality but by no means ready to merge with Pakistan. We can survive without Pakistan. But the question is what Pakistan would be without us? I do not propose to create hurdles for the newly created Pakistan in the matters of defense and external communication. But we want an honorable relationship not a humiliating one. If Pakistan wants to treat us as a sovereign people, we are ready to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation. If Pakistan does not agree to do so, flying in the face of democratic principles, such an attitude will be totally unacceptable to us, and if we are forced to accept this fate then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defense of his national freedom."(Italics by the author)3

On January 4, 1948 the Upper House comprising Sardars discussed the question of a merger with Pakistan and declared This House is not willing to accept a merger with Pakistan which will endanger the separate existence of the Baloch nation.

What was the position of the Muslim League on this issue? The League had, in fact, signed a joint statement with Kalat and repeated the declaration two or three times that the League recognized that Kalat was not an Indian state and constituted an independent entity and the League would recognize and respect this independence. In fact, as late as August 11, 1947 a joint statement was signed in which the League leaders, now as the government of Pakistan,again recognize the independence of Kalat. The operative portions of the communiqué dated August 11, 1947 is worth quoting from:

As a result of a meeting held between a delegation from Kalat and officials of the Pakistan States Department, presided over by the Crown Representative, and a series of meetings between the Crown Representative, HH the Khan of Kalat, and Mr Jinnah, the following was the situation:

  1. The Government of Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state; in treaty relations with British government, with a status different from that of Indian states.
  2. Legal opinion will be sought as to whether or not agreements of leases made between the British government and Kalat will be inherited by the Pakistan government.

Hence, by 1948 there was a situation where Khan of Kalat had declared independence, both houses of the Kalat Assembly had endorsed this decision and rejected accession with Pakistan, the Muslim League had acknowledged the independence of Kalat as late as in August 1947. Despite all this, and despite the close personal relations that Jinnah had with the Khan of Kalat and despite the Khan having made large financial contributions to the Muslim League, On April 1, 1948 the Pakistan Army invaded Kalat. The Khan surrendered and accepted the merger by signing the instrument of accession and ended the 225 days independence of the Kalat confederacy formed by Mir Ahmad Khans ancestors almost 300 years earlier.

Why this sudden turn-around? It was British advice that led to the forcible accession of Kalat to Pakistan in 1948. Initially, the British favored honoring their commitments under the 1876 treaty regarding Kalat’s independence based upon the prospects of using an independent Balochistan as a base for their activities in the region. Maj. Gen. R C Money in charge of strategic planning in India had formulated a report in 1944 on the post-war scenario. According to this report, in case of any eventual transfer of power, Balochistan, since it was not formally a part of India, could serve as a strategic military base for the defense of the Persian Gulf. However, by 1946 when it was decided to partition India, the British felt that instead of locating a base in a weak Balochistan, such a base could be established in Pakistan which was more than willing to accommodate the British. Hence, it was in British interests to ensure that Balochistan was kept within Pakistan and did not become an independent entity.

Not surprisingly therefore, Secretary of State Lord Listowell advised Mountbatten in September 1947 that because of the location of Kalat, it would be too dangerous and risky to allow it to be independent. The British High Commissioner in Pakistan was accordingly asked to do what he can to guide the Pakistan government away from making any agreement with Kalat which would involve recognition of the state as a separate international entity. The British were keen to use Balochistan (which they did from 1949) against the new nationalistic government of Prime Minister Mossadegh that came into being in Iran and which had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. It was then that the British bases in Western Balochistan started acting against Eastern Iran.4 Replace the British with the US and the government of Mossadegh with Ahmadinejad and the chilling similarity will not escape anyone's attention.

After the departure of the British, Pakistan adopted the same imperial tactic of divide and rule, of false promises and deception and made it an inalienable part of Pakistan.5 By 1952, the princely states were united to form the Balochistan States Union (BSU). Later the BSU became part of the then West Pakistan as the Kalat Division in 1955. Under the one unit scheme started in 1955, in the face of rising assertion of Bengalis in East Pakistan, the British Balochistan along with the tribal agencies became part of West Pakistan as the Quetta Division in the same year. With the abolition of the One Unit plan on 1 July 1970, the combined divisions of Quetta and Kalat came together as the separate province of Balochistan. The one unit plan sought to subsume all ethno-national aspirations in West Pakistan, but in reality, strengthened the ethno-nationalist sentiments further.

The Indian Position

As soon as the possibility of the British leaving India became apparent, the Khan of Kalat (as most of Balochistan was then known) Mir Ahmed Yar Khan made it clear that he sought independence. His arguments were based on the fact that Kalat had a status different than the 560-odd Indian princely states. It was in direct treaty relations with Whitehall and the 1876 treaty had affirmed that the British would respect the sovereignty and independence of Kalat.

Not only Khan, but the goal of the Kalat State National Party, made up largely of educated and left leaning Baloch, was also an independent and unified Balochistan. As a necessary prelude to independence, the party demanded that the British restore the Baloch principalities of Kharan, Makran and Las Bela to Kalat.

The Khan had argued before the Cabinet Mission in March 1946 that since the Empire was being withdrawn those other areas that the British had taken away from the original Kalat state should be returned to Kalat. The Khan followed this up by sending Samad Khan (a member of the AICC) to plead Kalats case with the Congress leadership. Nehru, however, totally rejected this contention and stated that the Congress would not accept on any account any attempt to bring about such a deal. Presumably, this was due to the Congresss antipathy to the princely states without, however, making a distinction between the state of affairs in Kalat and the other princely states. Subsequently, Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, President of the Kalat State National Party went to Delhi and met Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, President of the Congress. Azad agreed with Bizenjos contention that Balochistan had never been a part of India and had its own independent
status governed by the Treaty of 1876. However, Azad argued that the Baloch would never be able to survive as a sovereign, independent state and would ask for British protection. If the British agreed and remained in Balochistan, the sovereignty of the sub-continent would become meaningless. Hence, though Azad admitted that the demands of the Baloch were genuine that Balochistan had never been part of India, yet he could not help in maintaining Kalats independence.

A third blow to Kalat was the AIR broadcast of March 27, 1948 that reported a press conference in Delhi addressed by V P Menon. According to the report, V P Menon stated that the Khan of Kalat had been pressing India for agreeing to Kalats accession to India instead of Pakistan and that India had not paid any attention to the suggestion and India had nothing to do with it. The Khan who had the habit of listening to the 9 o clock AIR news was extremely upset at the dismissive manner in which he had been treated and is reported to have informed Jinnah to begin negotiations for Kalats treaty relationship with Pakistan.

Significantly, the minutes of a Cabinet meeting held on March 29, 1948 as well as Nehrus reply to a question on March 30, 1948 in the Constituent Assembly19, state that V P Menon had, in fact, made no such comments and that there was an error in reporting by AIR. Despite this attempt at damage control, the damage had already been done.

End Notes

1- For details see Baren Ray, Balochistan and the Partition of India: The Forgotten Story, Occasional Paper, South Asian Centre for Strategic Studies, New Delhi, 1998

2- One can find a detailed discussion on this from the Khans autobiography. Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Baluch, Inside Baluchistan: A Political Autobiography of His Highness Baigi: Khan-e-Azam-XIII, Karachi, 1975

3- For details see Khan of Kalats autobiography cited in end note no 10.

4- Cited in Inayatullah Baloch, The Problem of Greater Balochistan: A Study of Baloch Nationalism, Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, Stuttgart, for South Asian Institute, University of Heidelberg, 1987.

5- For detailed discussion see Baren Ray, op. cit.

6- For further discussion on the way the princely states were absorbed into the Pakistani dominion see W.A. Wilcox, Pakistan: The Consolidation of a Nation, Columbia University Press, New York and London, 1963.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Boundary Demarcation and Trifurcation of Baloch terrain

Inayatullah Baloch writes in his book, The Problem of Greater Balochistan, that the British ignored all evidence of certain areas coming under the jurisdiction or influence of the Khan of Kalat and gifted them away to either Iran or Afghanistan, in a bid to placate the rulers in these two countries and befriend them in apprehension of an attack from the Russian side. This was the Great Game of those times and the Baloch had to pay dearly for the selfish motives of the colonial rulers. In fact, a secret diary prepared by the British representative at Kalat on April 20,1872, to the British Government of India suggested that Sardar Ibrahim Khan Sanjrani of Chakansur (Outer Seistan) acted as a vassal of the Khanate. Sir Robert Sandeman, in the letters to Lord Curzon dated November 22, 1891 and January 12, 1892, also described the western limits of the Khanate as Hassanabad Q (Irani-Seistan) and the Helmand river near Rudbar in Afghanistan. The final demarcation of Seistan took place in 1904 by the British Commissioner, Sir Henry McMahon, but the historical right of the Khanate and the principle of the right to self-determination were ignored. Sanjrani, chief of Chakansur, refused to acknowledge the Afghan rule under Amir Abdul Rahman. Nonetheless, the Kabul policy of British India encouraged Abdul Rahman to occupy the country. Nothing was known about the reaction of Mir Khudadad Khan, the then ruler of Balochistan.

The Baloch-Afghan or McMahon Line covers an area from New Chaman to the Perso-Baloch border. The boundary was demarcated by the Indo-Afghan Boundary Commission headed by Capt. (later Sir) A. Henry McMahon in 1896. The boundary runs through the Baloch country, dividing one family from another and one tribe from another, according to Inayatullah Baloch. As the Khan was not consulted by the British in the demarcation of the Perso-Baloch Frontier, the validity of the line was seen as doubtful by the Balochis. The partition of Balochistan took place without taking into consideration the 4 factors of geography, culture,history, and the will of the people. The final outcome of the boundary settlements imposed on the Baloch was:

  1. Seistan and Western Makran, Sarhad, etc. became part of Iran.
  2. Outer Seistan and Registan came under the control of Afghanistan.
  3. Jacobabad, Derajat and Sibi were included in British India.
  4. The Khanate of Balochistan was recognised as an independent state with the status of a protectorate.1

During the process of demarcation of the frontier, several areas of the Khanate of Balochistan were surrendered by the British authorities to Iran and Afghanistan. The change in the British approach was visible in the way the Khan was treated during the negotiations. In 1871, the Khan was allowed to participate and the commission was called The Perso-Baloch Boundary Commission, but in 1896, it was called The Anglo-Persian Joint Boundary Commission. The Balochis had for all practical purposes lost their independence and autonomy.

By 1905, the demarcation of the boundary between British India and Iran on the one hand and between British India and Afghanistan on the other had quite effectively and unalterably divided the Balochis among three states British India, Afghanistan and Iran. The Khanate lost its previous glory. Even inside Balochistan, direct British rule was imposed on certain strategic areas like Derajati, Jacobabad and Sibi while the rest of the Balochi territory was under the control of the Khan of Kalat, whose Khanate was a mere protectorate of the British government. In order to further delimit Khans influence, the British encouraged the vassals of the Khanate in Makran and Las Bela to emerge as separate protectorates and thus there was a practical administrative trifurcation of the Khanate even within British India, i.e., the British Balochistan, the Khanate and Independent princely states of Makran, Kharan and Las Bela, and the tribal territories.

Nevertheless, Baloch tribes in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century showed their hatred of the unnatural and unjust partition through their revolts against British and Persian rule. Gul Khan, a nationalist writer, wrote: Due to the decisions of (boundary) Commissions more than half of the territory of Balochistan came under the possession of Iran and less than half of it was given to Afghanistan.

The factor for the division of a lordless Balochistan was to please and control the Iran and Afghanistan governments against Russia2 in favour of Britain.

In 1932, the Baloch Conference of Jacobabad voiced itself against the Iranian occupation of Western Balochistan. In 1933, Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd, a prominent national leader of Balochistan, showed his opposition to the partition and division of Balochistan by publishing the first map of Greater Balochistan. In 1934, Magsi, the head of the Baloch national movement, suggested an armed struggle for the liberation and unification of Balochistan. However, it was a difficult task because of its division into several parts, each part with a different constitutional and political status.

As a border area, the British were more interested in keeping the area calm and quiet. Through the principalities and the tribal sardars, the British had astutely created a system of collaborative administration of the area and its people, which proved effective. The Khanate of Kalat was completely subdued and with the emasculation of the predominant seat of power in Balochistan, the British had ensured perpetuation of their rule in the entire region. The British system had, in fact, developed a curious sense of centripetality about it too. The moment Pakistan emerged as the heir to the British in 1947, the Shahi Jirga, a remnant of the British system of patronage, consisting of collaborative sardars and feudal overlords, immediately veered around Pakistan and supported Balochistan's accession to Pakistan. The rulers of Kharan and Makran were also too timid to support the Khan.


Baloch people are also known as Balochi, Balochee, Baluchee, Beloochi but they all mean the same. In this paper one or more of these expressions have been used but they all refer to the same Baluchi/Balochi people.

End Notes
  1. See Inayatullah Baloch, The Problem of Greater Balochistan: A Study of Baloch Nationalism, 1987, Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, Stuttgart, for South Asian Institute, University of Heidelberg.
  2. Ibid.