Last week we have discussed about the ground situation of Baluchistan. In this part, we are focusing on the historical perspective about the troubled region
Baluchistan is an extremely important area as per strategic point of view and an extensively vast field as per geographical point of view is concerned. This includes Iran’s Sistan—Baluchistan province and Nimruj, Helmond and southern Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan. Pakistan has the possessory lien over the largest remaining part since 1948 and in 1972 it was awarded the status of a province. Baluchistan is a very ancient place where the world’s first civilisation flourished. Harappan civilisation one of the world’s oldest civilisations existed in some areas of Baluchistan. The
invasion and occupation of Achemenid rulers of Iran have also been mentioned. And the subsequent invasion of India after conquest of Babylon by Alexander, and its geographical description have also been mentioned in Greek texts. The earliest extant source (Šahristānīhā ī Ērān-šahr, a Pahlavi text written in the 8th century, though probably
representing a pre-Islamic compilation; lists the Baluch as one of seven autonomous mountain communities. Christ’s early centuries were dominated by the Indo-Parthian rulers. In the
period of Caliph Omar in 643 AD Islamic armies invaded Baluchistan for the first time and in the battle of Rasil they defeated local Rai dynasty, after which began the process of converting local Baloch tribes to Islam. During the reigns of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, Arabs ruled here until tenth century. Mahmud Ghazni conquered the region in the eleventh century, and then it went to Ghori. In the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan and his descendants made assault on Baluchistan. After that, the politics of Baluchistan region was operated and directed from Kandahar.
This area was under the Mughal Empire under the rule of Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan for a short span, from 1590 to 1638, but, after that the authority of the Safavi rulers of Iran was established here.
Many small and large feudatory chieftains were active from time to time in Baluchistan region. But to
contemporary political scene they switched their allegiance and accepted the suzerainty of either Mughals or the Shah of Iran. And a similar type of chieftain Mir Ahmad Khan Baloch founded the state of Kalat in 1666. And he slowly started expanding his
kingdom. Kharan, Makran Jalawan Kacchi and Lasbela came under the state of Kalat in the course of time.
In the eighteenth century, taking advantage of the weakness of the Safavi of Iran, Ghilzai clan which ruled Afghanistan, took the possession of Baluchistan, which remained under their control until conquests of Nadir Shah of Iran in 1748. Nadir Shah’s regime was very short and after his death the area around the present Afghanistan as well as the Baluchistan region fell into the hands of his most trusted lieutenant, Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Abdali. But Barkjai Sardar Dost Muhammd Khan took power in 1826 by uprooting) the Durrani dynasty founded by Abdali.
By the early nineteenth century British East India Company occupied a large area in India and became a great power. In 1839 the company waged First Afghan War against the ruler of Afghanistan Dost Muhammad Khan which lasted until 1843. During the course of the Afghan war British
company for the first time came in contact with Kalat politically when the ruler of Kalat Mir Meharab Khan was killed and lost some areas in favour of company In 1842 Charles Napier, a company commander captured Sindh. Afghan war also ended in 1843, when the company returned up new areas completely to new Mir of Kalat, Mir Nasir Khan II.
After the fall of the Safavi dynasty in Iran Kajar Dynasty came to power in 1785 and from 1850 the Kajar dynasty started military intervention in Afghanistan and area of current Balochistan.
In 1871 the English accepted the fact that Baluchistan should be divided between Iran and British India to
diminish possibilities of creating
conditions for conflict. For this purpose a boundary commission was appointed headed by Major General Goldsmith. After the suggestions given by this Goldsmith commission some areas of Baluchistan were transferred to Iran and a Goldsmith Line came into existence to isolate Iran from present time Baluchistan’s area. Hence social,
cultural and economic integration of the Baloch was split.
By the Treaty of Gandmk which was result of the defeat of Afghans in Second Anglo-Afghan war in 1879 Sibi Duki and Pishin area were annexed by British rule but the rest of Western Baluchistan remained in the possession of Afghan and Baloch warlords.
Similarly, in 1893 another
commission headed by Mortimer Durand, Registan and external Sistan were transferred to Barakjai Amirs of Afghanistan and Durand Line was stretched between the two regions.
The current form of Baluchistan came into existence in 1876 when the then Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan Robert Sandman, signed a treaty (known as Treaty of Mustang) with Khan of Kalat, Khan Khudadad Khan. Kalat with his 4 subordinate states was brought to the British
occupation. And the four states of the treaty, Kharan, Sarawan, Jalan and Lasbela confirmed Suzerainty of Khan of Kalat.The treaty was the base of
relationships between Baluchistan and British rule in India until independence in 1947. In 1883 following the Treaty Quetta Niabt and Bolan Pass were
permanently taken by the British Government. Nuski in 1899 and Nasirabad in 1909 were merged into British India.
In 1783 Gwadar area was presented to a fugitive Prince of Oman, Said Sultan by Khan of Kalat, Mir Naseer Khan Nouri. The Prince became Sultan of Oman in 1797 and Gwadar became a part of Sultanate of Oman and in 1958 the Government of Pakistan, brought it back from Sultan of Oman. Thus the region of Baluchistan in India came under the two types of rule. One, The area under the Khan of Kalat, under Bloch federation and another was under direct rule of British India.
Baluchistan, during the British rule gained importance due to being the
border area and also as a strategic area which came into heat by Russia’s
forward policy and its moves to increase its influence in the region. Since 1880 due to their fear of the so-called Great Game, the British policies related to Afghanistan, Iran and also the Baluchistan had been affected by this factor. And thus they strengthened their control in these areas. Then stir in the Baluchistan was started in early period of the Second World War. Muslim League passed a resolution on March 23, 1940 for Pakistan is a Separate nation and a “Homeland for Muslims”.
The failure of Cripps Mission in 1942 and Shimla Convention in 1945 called by Lord Wavell made it clear that the immoral inclinations of Muslim League towards a separate nation, would make the division of the country inevitable.
Before the draft of division of June 3 was published, Khan of Kalat made his efforts to preserve the existence of Kalat as an independent nation but could not succeed due to deceitful and devious tactics of the rulers of Pakistan, and on March 27, 1948 Kalat dominated Baloch-federation was acquired by Pakistan forcefully.
This is an historically proven fact that the Baluch people are highly self esteemed and extremely proud of their traditional values and indomitable zeal for independence and they fought to
protect their freedom and honour in past centuries and still are in perpetual conflict for these. And at the end this is the fact that fulfillment of their rational and
equitable rights is possible only by
establishing an independent Baluchistan.
(The writer is a Researcher on Pakistan related issues)