The Baloch National Resistance (1948)
The ruler of the Khanate of Balochistan, Mir Ahmad Yar Than, was forced to sign the document of accession. The Khan was not an absolute monarch; he was required to act under the provisions of the Rawaj (the Baloch constitution) and had no authority to sign the merger document without the consent of the parliament. The Khan in his autobiography has admitted that he violated his mandate by signing the merger document.
The forced incorporation of the Khanate resulted anti-Pakistan rallies and meetings throughout the Khanate. To subdue the popular sentiments, the Pakistan army was ordered to be on alert. The Government of Pakistan decided to take over the complete control of the administration of the Balochistan (Khanate) on 15 April 1948. The A.G.G. in Balochistan conveyed the orders of Jinnah that the status of the Khanate “would revert back to what it was during the preceding British rule. A political agent was appointed to control the administration of the Khanate. The Khan accepted the new development unwillingly and he commented on the decision of Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan:
“Thus my legal authority as the Khan-e-Azam came to an end on 15 April 1948 and my connection with the affairs of Kalat were cut off and within 20 hours of the orders being issued to me, several ministers of the Kalat Government were exiled or arrested.
“All the socio-economic and administrative reforms which I had introduced were suddenly reversed. ...The Baloch representative parliament and Baloch confederation were broken by one stroke of the pen.
Besides the policy of the central government of Pakistan towards the Khanate, Jinnah also refused to give
Autonomy to Balochistan, rather, he accepted the demands of tribal chiefs for maintaining the notorious
In an interview he regarded Balochistan as the burden of the Governor General. He announced that instead of democratic institutions, Balochistan needed socio-economic development programmes under his guidance. In April 1948, several political leaders from Balochistan such as Mohammad Amin Khosa and Abdul Samad Achakzai were arrested. The Anjuman-i-Watan Party (pro-congress), headed by Samad Achakzai, was declared unlawful.
Prince Abdul Karim Khan Leader of Baloch National Resistance 1948:
The refusal to grant autonomy, the continued existence of the Sandeman system, and the unconstitutional and undemocratic merger of Balochistan into Pakistan resulted in unrest. Thus, on the night of 16 May 1948, Prince Abdul Karim, the younger brother of the Khan, decided to lead a national liberation movement.
He invited the leading members of nationalist political parties, (the Kalat State National Party, the Baloch League, and the Baloch National Workers Party) to join him in the struggle for the creation of an independent Greater Balochistan. Apart from his political motives, the Prince was a member of the royal family and the former governor of the Makuran province. The forced accession of the Khanate and recognition of Sardar Bay Khan Gichki as a ruler of Makuran by Pakistan upset him.
He decided to migrate to Afghanistan in order to get help and to organize the liberation movement. Prince Karim wrote to the Khan on 28 June 1948 explaining the causes of his migration. In his lengthy letter he pointed out the unconstitutional accession of Kharran and Las Bela, the unfair annexation of the Makuran province, and the forced merger of Kalat into Pakistan, which caused him to migrate to Afghanistan:
“...The real cause of this unrest is the high-handedness and unlawful actions of the Pakistan people. Both the Upper and lower Houses gave their unanimous verdict against accession, and were prepared to fight to the last for maintaining complete freedom. Your Highness has also expressed similar sentiments at numerous occasions through oral as well as written statements. Am I the cause of all this? If the people of Pakistan are taking away the freedom of Kalat state, they are doing so under a set programme, not due to my migration. Since I have come here, I am quite silent, but they are continuing their efforts to destroy our freedom and nationality. The appointment of a political agent for the Baloch states at Mastung, the posting of a Nazim at Sarawan, and an assistant prime minister in the center, the showering of favor upon the traitors and repression of the faithful of the state- what do all these things show? Are the people blind to these happenings? Your Highness and the Baloch nation under your instructions, in spite of incurring the displeasure of their British masters, gave all moral and material help in securing Pakistan, but the result is before all of us. Your Highness is still under the delusion that the founder of Pakistan is a friend of your Highness, and wishes to see the Baloch nation happy and flourishing in the world. The world has seen that in spite of accession against the wishes of the nation the treatment meted out to your Highness was most inconsistent with moral, religious or social laws. The province of Makuran has been torn away from Kalat without any reasons; an act, which even the pagan British people had not endeavored to do, in spite of the fact that instead of serving them we have been fighting armed battles against them, not once or twice but throughout the period commencing from the reign of Khan Mehrab Khan to the end of the last great war. It means that the Pakistan people are not only more aggressive than the British, but they are also in the habit of biting off their own friends. What their nature is and what type of men they are, can be judged from
his fact alone.
“It is true that the present plight of Muslims is due to disunity, but do the people of Pakistan, who are managing the state affairs, and whose customs and practices are based on non-fraternity, inequity, injustice and repression, also realize this? I, therefore, request that there is no use in keeping false hopes, which will only mean trying a person, who has already been tried and failed. From whatever angle we look at the present Government of Pakistan, we will Bee nothing but Punjabi Fascism. The people have no say in it. It is the army and arms that rule. There is no morality or justice. Selfishness and repression prevail without exaggeration; it is an immoral, military government, tar worse than British democracy. There is no place for any other community in this government, be it the Baloch, the Sindhis, the Afghans or the Bengalis, unless they make themselves equally powerful. In view of these facts, there is hardly any justification to think so, or to give credence to such opinion that Pakistan is the fifth largest state of the world and the biggest Muslim state on earth, and owing to its vast resources, it is likely to become the center of Muslim unity and fraternity, as its foundations are not based on Islamic principles. Not to speak of Islamic ways they have not the slightest regard for its name. The brothels and wine shops thrive as usual, and total Punjabi fascism rules supreme everywhere. These are the reasons that for its existence and progress it is compelled to remain a stronghold of the imperialistic powers, and dancing at their tunes, suppress the natural aspirations of other communities by force, It is a path of repression, and it is a verdict of human experience, as well as the Holy Koran, that repression will never survive, regardless of which material resources it may command. This belief is my only support, and has dragged me out to this place. I most humbly request you not to add to my worries by sending f or am unnecessarily. There is nothing in your Highness’s hand. Which could prompt me to give up migration.
Have the forced accession of Makuran undone, and the province returned to Kalat to make me see a gleam of hope in this darkness. It not, have they given any proof of Islamic brotherhood by restoring all rights of Kalat in Compensation for the wound inflicted in the shape of accession of Makuran, so that one might reflect how far Punjabi Fascism can bend? It is neither this, nor that. If there is anything, it is an increase in the display of military night, tightening of the blockade, shooting and arrests of peaceful passersby and banning of my name in the whole of the state. I am sorry I am unable to live in such a painful and repressive atmosphere. I submit to your Highness that I will be able to return, only when the causes of my migration are removed or God gives me enough strength to remove them myself.
Before his departure the wife of the Khan had given him silver and gold as financial aid, an indication of the Khan’s approval of his action, as the Khan Saw in the struggle of Karim, a hope for ‘regaining some of his princely prerogatives.
Mr. Fell, however denied any sort of connection between the Khan and the prince, who was joined by some of the military personnel and officials of the Khanate. Some of the prominent political leaders who joined him were Mohamed Hussain Anka (the secretary of the Baloch League and the editor of Weekly Bolan Mastung) • Malik Saeed Dehwar (the secretary of the Kalat State National Party) • Qadir Bakhsh Nizamami, a member of the Baloch League and prominent members of the Communist Party, Sind-Balochistan branch, and Maulwi Mohd Afzal, a member of Jamiat-Ulma-e- Balochistan.
The Baloch Mujahideen, (Holy Warriors)as they called themselves, entered Afghanistan and en- camped at Sarlath in the Province of Kandahar. During their stay, the Baloch freedom fighters adopted the following measures to achieve their goal:
(ii the sending of messages to the Baloch chiefs of Eastern and Western Balochistan asking them to join in the struggle;
(ii) The running of a propaganda campaign in Balochistan, aimed at the creation of unrest, disturbances ,and revolt as well as the enlistment of a national liberation force;
(iii) The search for international support, particularly from Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.
Messages were sent to Mir Ghulam Faruq of the Rudini tribe, Sardar Mehrab Khan, Sardar Mir Jumma, Mir Wazir Khan Sanjrani of Chagai, and several other chiefs. The propaganda campaign was to be carried out on two fronts:
(A) The National Cultural Front. (B) The Religious Front.
On the national cultural front, the party distributed a series of pamphlets all over Balochistan, aiming to cause an uprising against the oppressive rule of Pakistan:
“Mohammed Ali Jinnah and his grand colleagues, in whose hands the English have given the Government, wish to enslave us, and to have our dear homeland (Balochistan), every inch of which was secured by our forefathers at the cost of blood, inhabited by foreigners. We are not prepared to be unworthy sons of our ancestors, we are resolved to fight for every inch of our homeland to maintain its freedom.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah and other colleagues of this shameless person intend to liquidate our Baloch culture, so that we may not be able to call us as Baloch in future, shall not be able to speak our mother tongue and neglecting our old modest customs, shall follow their shameful ways. We are determined that we will save our culture and will not give up our mother tongue while living and will defend our honor to the last.
On the religions front Maulwi Mohammed Afzal, a prominent religious leader, issued the Fatwa (religious order) , addressed to the government servants and military personnel of Pakistan. The order demanded that the Muslims of Pakistan and particularly the soldiers, should engage in Jihad (Muslim holy war) against the non- Islamic Government of Pakistan. The Fatwa declared that Jinnah “the ruler of Pakistan, is a Khoja by religion, and of his ministers, that Liaqat Ali Khan is Rafzi (heretic), Abdul Rub Nishtar an atheist and Zafar Ullah a Qadiani pagan. They cart never be well-wishers of Islam In the Fatwa, an appeal was made to the Pakistan army to join the Baloch liberation Army with “a truly Islamic spirit”, for the purpose of waging a holy war against a non-Islamic Government. The Fatwa warned the Muslim soldiers that those “who fight against us in this Islamic Jihad, in general terms are called pigs and will be the worst offenders of God and his holy prophet.
Besides the cultural and religious campaign, the Prince also organized a liberation force called the Baloch Mujahedeen’, consisting of the ex-soldiers and officers Of the Khanate’s army. The Prince was chosen as the supreme commander.
The Prince issued an appeal to personages to help with the recruitment. A person recruiting 100 men was offered the rank of a major and a person recruiting 50 men was entitled to the rank of captain. The Baloch liberation army had a secret agency called ‘Jannisar’ (devotee) , whose duty was to provide information, destroy the communication system, and watch the activities of traitors. In addition to this, there was a secret unit ‘Janbaz’ (darer), to kill all traitors. The ‘Janbaz’ were subordinate to the Jannisar. The headquarters of the agency was known as ‘Bab-i-Aali’ (secret war-office) and headed by prince Karim. The total strength of Jannisar was recorded to be 30, while nothing is known about the strength of Janbaz. The first order issued by the ‘Bat-i-Aali’ provides information about the role of Jannisar including Janbaz:
‘Bab-i-Aali’ agrees to the constant reports and suggestions of the ‘Jannisars’ that the traitors of the Baloch Nation and of Kalat be put to death; therefore Bab-I-Ali issues definite orders to the ‘Janbaz’ that from 1 June 1948, this order should be carried out very cautiously, and even if it costs them their lives, when a Jannisar reports the name of a traitor to any Janbaz after showing the special sign of ‘Bab-i-Aali’, then it is the Janbaz’s duty to put an end to the traitor’s life and give a report to this effect through that particular Jannisar.
However, the Prince did not start a war of liberation because of Afghanistan’s refusal and the silence of Stalinist Russia concerning assistance. During his stay in Sar Lath, Prince Karim appointed Malik Saeed and Qadir Bakhsh Nizamani his emissaries to contact the Afghan Government and to approach other embassies in Kabul in order to get moral and material support. According to Nizamami, the Afghan authorities refused to provide any sort of help and told them either to reside as political refugees at Kandahar or to return. The Afghan authorities also refused to permit the rebel group to operate from Afghan soil. Nizamami informed the Iranian Embassy of the Baloch demands as well. Iranian diplomats showed their concern but did not offer any assistance, though they indicated their desire to provide, asylum to the rebel group in Iran. The last hope of the Prince’s representative was the Soviet Embassy. The Soviet diplomats listened to Nizamami carefully. Though they did not give any assurances, they did promise to inform Moscow.
Afghanistan’s Policy Towards Baloch National Freedom:
The question arises why the Afghan Government, which was an opponent of Pakistan, failed to help the Baloch national movement; and why Stalinist Russia did not support the right of self-determination of the Baloch in accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism, whereas Lenin in the twenties (1920) had instructed the Soviet representative in Afghanistan to establish contact with the Baloch revolutionaries and to support them; and why the Iranians showed interest in the Balo000ch problem contrary to the Iranian policy, which has been to subdue the national movements of the Baloch, Kurds, and Azri Turk,etc. These questions need an historical analysis.
The Afghans, since the rise of Ahmad Shah, had treated Balochistan as a vassal state until the Baloch-Afghan war in 1758, when an agreement of ‘non-interference’ was signed between the parties. In the 19th century, Afghan rulers like Shuja and Amir Abdur-Rehman desired to occupy Balochistan. Amir Abdur-Rehman showed his expansionist policy in his would to his successors:
“If Afghanistan had access to the ocean, there is no doubt that the country would soon grow rich and prosperous ... If no favorable opportunity occurs in my life-time to bring about this purpose my sons and successors must always keep their eyes on this corner” of Balochistan.
In 1947, the Afghan Government demanded the creation of Pashtunistan. Stretching from chitral and Gilgit to the Baloch coast in the Arabian Sea.
The Afghan Government called Balochistan ‘South Pashtunistan’ in statements and publications. The Afghan expansionist
policy reflected the economic considerations of a landlocked state. At the same time, it was impossible for the Afghan
Government to neglect its own national interests and to support the movement of an independent Greater Balochistan,
which claimed the Baloch region in Afghanistan. The Stalinist junta did not pursue Lenin’s policy in the East and the
Stalinists in India even supported the cause of Pakistan, a state based on religion. Moreover, the Stalin regime in Moscow was
not ready to annoy the Afghans or the British, opponents of an independent Balochistan.
Iran’s Policy Towards Baloch Freedom;
Concerning Iranian policy, it is speculated that the Iranians wanted to deceive the Baloch leaders with their invitation to Iran and then to hand them over to the Pakistan authorities. (We must remember, it was the Shah of Iran, who first recognized Pakistan as an independent sovereign state)
Meanwhile the Prince and his party were regarded as a rebel group by a Farman (royal order) issued by the Khan on 24 May 1948, stating that no connection of any sort with the Prince and his party should be maintained nor should they be helped with rations, and that if any member of the rebel group committed an offence, hewould be punished. The Government of Pakistan moved the army to the military posts of Punjabi. Chaman chashme,and Rastri near the Afghan borders aiming to control the rebels’ rations, which were being sent by the pro-liberation elements, as well as to control their activities or any attempt to invade. The Pakistan authorities confirmed two clashes between the army and the liberation forces.
To avoid popular unrest in Balochistan, the Khan sent his maternal uncles Hajji Ibrahim Khan and Hajji Taj Mohammed at Sarlath to bring Prince Karim back to Kalat. Khan made his return conditional in his letter to the Khan, 18 May 1948
(1) The Baloch are a separate nation like Afghans, having their own culture and language, a fact, which is supported by history and geography. They shall have the right to live as a free and independent nation.
(2) Kalat is the ancient center of the Baloch; if those territories , which have been demarcated from the Khanate of Kalat and are now under Pakistan rule, wish to rejoin it, Pakistan must not object to it.
(3) Kalat must maintain its sovereignty when it enters into a treaty relationship with Pakistan.
The Prince and the liberation movement failed to achieve internal and external support. Moreover, the Baloch nationalists were divided into two groups. Anqa and Malik Saeed favored armed struggle in the form of guerilla war, while Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo and other prominent leaders “were cool to the idea of a military showdown With Pakistan’ because of the lack of preparation and internal and external Support.
The Prince was forced, due to the above-mentioned realities, to return to the Khanate and negotiate for his demands peacefully. On 8 July 1948, when the news of the Prince’s arrival reached Kalat, the Prime Minister, D y Fell, accompanied by a Kalat State Force, went to meet the Prince at Earboi to deliver the Khan’s message.
During their meeting the Prime Minister agreed to same of the Prince’s demands and assured him that if he disarmed his Lashkar,(Army) he would be pardoned. The Prince acted accordingly. According to another version, Pakistani high officials “signed a safe conduct agreement” with the Prince’s party at Harboi and swore am oath on ‘Koran’ the Muslim holy book, the Koran, to uphold it. However, the agreement was dishonored when the army of Pakistan ambushed the Prince and his party of 142 members.
According to the official version of Pakistan, Abdul Karim entered Balochistan with Afghan help and organized a rebellion against Pakistan in the area of Jallawan with the aid of Mir Gohar Khan Zahrri, an influential tribal leader of the Zarkzai clan. Further, it is stated that Major General Akbar Khan, who was in charge of the Seventh Regiment, was ordered to attack the insurgents and forced them to surrender. Prince Karim with his 142 followers were arrested and imprisoned in the Mach and Quetta jails. A detailed and interesting statement comes from General Akbar Khan, in his article published in the daily ‘Dawn’ • dated 14 August 1960, under the title: “Early reminiscences of a soldier’. General Akbar confirms here that there was a plan to invade the Khanate and describes the clash between the Pakistan army and the liberation force headed by Prince Karim. Akbar says that Jinnah had issued instructions that this news should not be published in the press.
Major General Akbar Khan wrote:’ Mr. Jinnah called me for discussions. I placed before him my plan (of invasion). I told him that we should not invade the State in such a way that the world might get an opportunity to start propaganda against Pakistan. According to his plan, Mr. Jinnah declared Balochistan and its States as disturbed areas. I was appointed Commander of the 8th Army. This happened during the Ramzan month. I ordered the 7th Baloch Battalion to march upon the State. Acting upon my instructions, Colonel Gulzar Ahmed collected a few camels. We loaded war material on them and decided to enter the State in such a way that nobody could suspect us. In this way our soldiers entered the State in the guise of traders. In the meantime, the State Forces had entered Jalu Valley after we had passed through the main Kalat Road. The Khan of Kalat had deliberately left his palace there so that Prince Abdul Karim might occupy it and declare the independence of the State.
Akbar Khan writes further: “In order to befool the Khan, I participated in a dinner which the Khan had arranged in honor of the Pakistan Army. The State authorities had arranged folk dances and music. During the celebrations, I left the function at the insistence of Major Bukhari. I motored straight to the royal Guest House and then left the place through a back door. I left that place on a military jeep. The State Army had received the reports of invasion during that evening. Its soldiers were in position at the height of a hill. They were observing Ramzan (fast). All of a sudden the Pakistan Army attacked the State Forces. Fighting went on for four hours. In the meantime col. Gulzar’s battalion started advancing. When Mr. Douglas Fell came to know of my plan, he issued orders for my liquidation. When I joined my forces at midnight, I found that the Pakistani Brigadier had not achieved any significant success because he was consulting his English political officer at every step. He (the Englishman) was not doing justice to his role. I dismissed him and appointed Mohammed Zaman Khan in his place.
Thus the attempt of independence by Prince Karim and his liberation force came to an end.
After the arrest of the Prince and his party, the A.G.G. gave an order for an inquiry, to be conducted by Khan Sahib Abdullah Khan, the Additional District Magistrate Quetta. He submitted his report on 12 September 1948. His report was based on the activities of the Prince and upon the letters and documents published by the liberation force. After the inquiry, R.K.Saker the District Magistrate at Quetta, appointed a special Jirga (official council of elders) consisting of the following persons:
1) Khan Bahador Sahibzada, M.Ayub Khan Isakhel, Pakhtoon from Pishin;
2) K.B. Baz Mohd Khan. Jogezai, Pakhtoon from Loralai;
3) Abdul Ghaffar Khan Achakzai, Pakhtoon from Pishin;
4) S.B. Wadera Noor Muhammad Khan, a Baloch Chief from Kalat;
5) Syed Aurang Shah from Kalat;
6) Sheikh Baz Gul Khan. Pakhtoon from Zhob;
7) Wahab Khan Panezai, Pakhtoon from Sibi;
8) Sardar Doda Khan Marri, Baloch from Sibi.
The ,Jirga was instructed to study the circumstances and events which led to the revolt and was asked to give its recommendations to the District Magistrate. On 10 November 1948, the Jirga heard the testimony of the accused and gave its recommendations to the D.M. on 17 November 1948, suggesting the delivery of the Prince in Loralai at the pleasure of the Government of Pakistan and various other penalties. The D .M., in his order dated 27 November, differed with the opinion of the Jirga and sentenced the Prince to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5000/-; other members of his party were given various sentences and fines. Thus the Pakistan Government crushed the first national struggle for independen