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
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
Jinnah as the legal advisor of the Kalat state and Jinnah as the Governor General of
ed by the British in 1839 in Kalat. Through gentle but forceful nudges, the principalities of Kharan, Makran and Lesbela were merged into
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
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
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
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
"We have a distinct civilization and a separate culture like that of
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
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:
- 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.
- 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
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
Why this sudden turn-around? It was British advice that led to the forcible accession of Kalat to
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
After the departure of the British,
The Indian Position
As soon as the possibility of the British leaving
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
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
A third blow to Kalat was the
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
1- For details see Baren Ray, Balochistan and the Partition of India: The Forgotten Story, Occasional Paper, South Asian Centre for Strategic Studies,
2- One can find a detailed discussion on this from the Khans autobiography. Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Baluch, Inside
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
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,