Back to the future (The Khanate of Kalat and the Genesis of Baloch Nationalism 1915-1955)
Review by: Asif Baloch
The Death of a State: Accession to Pakistan and its aftermath
British Balochistan was created in 1877 by corporating Afghan territories along with the leased areas of Kalat State. In order to merge British Balochistan into Pakistan, officials from new state along with British officials approached Shahi Jirga. A fake referendum was held and most of the participants rejected the proposal of joining Pakistan. Status of MarriBugti tribal areas remained vague till that day and in 1946 Marri and Bugti tribal chiefs also submitted a memorandum to British Government to rejoin their territories with Kalat State. The leased areas somehow remained outside the domain of Pakistan till Leased Areas (Laws) Order of 30 September 1950. Soon after the accession of British Balochistan Jinnah addressed to annual SibbiDarbar in February 1948 and in his address he didn’t discuss about Kalat and its status. In his address he announced a formal structure of government and formed “ Balochistan Advisory Council”. Members of Balochistan Advisory council shall act as the advisor of Governor General. By this setup Jinnah made himself the Chief Commissioner as well as Agent to Governor General. Advisory Council that came into being on 11 June 1949 consisted of one chairman, twelve members and a secretariat. Soon after Advisory Councils formation, a reform committee was introduced by Jinnah’s successor Liaqat Ali Khan. Reform committee compiled a report and submitted it to government. Implementation of reforms didn’t work and according to The Gaurdian of 15 July 1950, “Ever since the introduction of reforms in Balochistan and the appointment of MianAminuddin as AGG, the province instead of making appreciable progress is going from bad to worse”.
The Khanate of Kalat:-
In 1946 Kalat was left with three options either to Join Pakistan, Indian Union or remain as an independent state. Similarly three other princely states such as Sawat, Khairpur and Bahawalpur didn’t join Pakistan till 15 August 1947. Khan of Kalat made a standstill agreement with Pakistan on 5th August 1947 which consists of five points which are given below
- The government of Pakistan agrees that Kalat is an Independent State, being quite different in status from other states of India; and commits to its relation with the British government as manifested in several agreements.
- Legal opinion will be obtained to find out whether Pakistan Government is legally bound by agreements and treaties that already exist between Kalat and the British Government.
- Further talks will be held between the nominees of Pakistan and the Khan-e-Azam of Kalat after obtaining legal opinion on the above points.
- In the meantime, a standstill agreement will be made between Pakistan and Kalat state.
- In order to discuss finally the relations between Kalat and Pakistan on matters of Defence, Foreign Relations and communications, deliberations will be held in the near future in Karachi.
So, with the agreement of 5th August 1947 the de jure and de facto independence of Kalat State was accepted. Khan of Kalat has good personal relations with Jinnah for almost a decade. In 1936 he asked Jinnah to advise him on constitutional matters concerning Kalat State. Awkwardly Kalats case in front of Cabinet Mission in 1946 was presented by Jinnah himself. And similarly as late as 18 Jun 1947 Jinnah narrated that, “The Memorandum of the Cabinet Mission of 12th May, 1946 clearly lays down the policy of His Majesty’s Government in respect of the position of the Indian states. It nowhere makes it obligatory upon them to merge themselves with any Legislative Assembly, be it Indian or Pakistan”. But it was the same Jinnah who ordered against the will of Baloch people and occupied Baloch land on March 27, 1947.
Soon after the Independence of Kalat State on August 11, 1947 Khan of Kalat announced reforms in state and formed two legislative assemblies. Upper House consisted of Sardars from various areas and Lower House’s members were elected from various classes of people and each assembly consisted of fifty two members. Soon after the independence Khan announced election in September 1947. Kalat State National Party got majority, thirty nine out of fifty two seats in Lower House and GhousBakhshBazinjo became the leader of house. At the time when Pakistan was forcing Khan to accession and Khan presented the case before assembly GhousBakhshBazinjo delivered a historical speech, “We are Muslim but it is not necessary that by virtue of our 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 amalgamate with Pakistan…. Pakistan’s unpleasant and loathsome desire that our national homeland, Balochistan, should emerge with it, is impossible to concede. We can survive without Pakistan. We can remain without Pakistan. We can prosper outside Pakistan. But the question is what Pakistan would be without us. If we are forced to accept accession then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defence of his national freedom”.
Pakistan lured the chiefs of Kharan ,Lasbella and Makran with autonomy and their chiefs assured them giving the same status as the status of Khan of Kalat. So, on March 15, 1948 they made an agreement of accession with Pakistan. Soon after making an agreement with Pakistan, an uprising started in Makran against that decision. Government infrastructures were burned and similarly protesting rally,s were arranged. Pakistan assured Gichkisardarsthe entitle to be monarch of Makran and they must have autonmy in all senses. Pakistan tried to use the same policies of Sandeman and gave Gichkisardars the title of “Wali-e-Makran”.Gichki’s were never considered as the chief of Makran and they were almost confined to a small territory. So, remaining chiefs of different areas showed their allegiance to Khan of Kalat. For example Mir Buland Khan from Panjgur wrote to Khan of Kalat after Makrans accession to Pakistan, “Therefore, in view of the personal interests of NawabBai Khan, I in my capacity as Sardar of Panjgur and my tribe, are not prepared to come under the perpetual slavery of Pakistan and to this end in view are prepared to sacrifice our all”. After the accession Balochistan States Union was formed in 1952 in which all states were headed by khan of Kalat. Under their banner there was a cabinet to discuss legislative and administrative issues. BSU was demolished before one unit system, these states were named as special areas and on Jan 1, 1955, One unit was formed and areas were included in west Pakistan.
Case of Dera Ghazi Khan
At the time of NoriNasir Khan’s reign DeraJat was considered as part and parcel of Kalat’s Confederacy. Chiefs of these areas were loyal to Khan and as like chiefs from other areas were obligatory to provide armed personals to Kalat state. After the British’s occupation on Baloch land, MarriBugti areas and Dera Ghazi was considered as “Special Areas”. Untill 1901 their special status remained same and in 1901 Dera Ghazi Khan was corporated with Punjab administratively and MarriBugti Areas were included in British Balochistan administratively. While, both areas enjoyed “Special Status” until the annexation of Balochistan into Pakistan.
Soon after the forceful annexation with Pakistan, Baloch never accepted this accession and resisted against it. Brother of Khan of Kalat and Governor of Makran at the time of accession, Prince Abdul Kareem along many prominent figures took weapon against Pakistan. He crossed the border and reached Afghanistan to get support but Afghan government refused the support of any kind. Pakistan government urged Prince to lay down arms and took oath on Quran to not trial them in any case. But as soon as Prince Abdul Kareem along with his fellows came back to Balochistan, they were deceived and they were captured from SarLath. Prince Abdul Kareem was detained for seven years and he was released in 1955. Soon after his release, Agha Abdul Kareem became the founder of a political party named Ustaman Gal. Ustaman Gal’s main agenda was to resist politically against One Unit.
In 1957 Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan again demanded the transfer of Power. He called for a Grand Baloch Jirga in September 1957 where BalochSardars from throughout Pakistan attended this conference. In this conference Khan asked BalochSardars to join hand in hands to get Kalat State its independence back. Almost all sardars hadn’t any idea about Khan’s that intention and they refused to become part of such conspiracy and walked out from the conference. In October 1958, Ayoub Khan accused that Khan of Kalat along with eighty thousand tribal forces is emerging to fight against the government, so army was ordered to be on ground throughout Balochistan. On second day, Martial Law was implemented and Baloch tribal people were asked to give away their weapons to army. Check posts were made throughout Balochistan. Baloch people denied to give away their weapons and took on hills to fight against Pakistan army. Eighty year NawabNoraz Khan Zarkzai became the stalwart leader of guerrillas and several ambushes were made on Pakistan army. Fight remained at peak till July 1960 when Pakistan government made an agreement with Noroz Khan and took oath on Quran to never start any trial against him and his guerilla fighters. Pakistan again broke the agreement and detained Noroz Khan along with his companions. His sons, along with several companions were hanged and he remained in Kohlu Jail till his death. At the time when Pakistan army brought the dead bodies of hanged martyrs in front of him and one army officer asked the aged warrior to identify the bodies…….” Is this your son?????”…an army officer asked Noroz Khan as he pointed to the body of the elderly warriors son. Noroz Khan stared at the soldier for a moment and then replied, “All these brave young man are my sons”.