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Party History

In 1972, the National Awami Party or NAP formed the first elected government in Balochistan after winning the elections and Attaullah Mengal was sworn in as the first Chief Minister of Balochistan. But just nine months after the formation of the NAP Government, it was overthrown by Bhutto who used Nawab Akbar Bugti's allegation that Mengal's regime wanted to disintegrate Pakistan and liberate Balochistan as grounds for this dismissal. Attaullah Mengal, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Gul Khan Nasir, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and the other NAP leaders were thrown in jail. They were released when Bhutto's government was toppled by Zia-ul-Haq, after spending more than four years in captivity. By this time differences had arisen between the NAP leadership, so while Mengal, Bizenjo and Nasir went to the NAP headquarters, Khair Bakhsh and Shero Marri headed home.
Later, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo formed the Pakistan National Party or PNP after differences arose between him and Wali Khan over the Kabul Revolution (he supported the revolution while Wali Khan was against it). Gul Khan joined PNP and became the President of its Balochistan wing while Attaullah Mengal went into exile in London.
In 1996, Attaullah Mengal returned to Pakistan and formed the Balochistan National Party



Aims and Objectives of BNP





To struggle for right of National self-determination for people of Balochistan. To end the Chief system, decayed tribal and all concerns of semi-feudal system of Balochistan. To bring the education and economic system completely in line with modern necessities. To struggle for enforce primary education in mother-tongues.


To struggle for setting up a secular national state which: 


  i. To entertain all faiths, religion equally and respect all prevailing positive public traditions.
  ii. To end every kind of sectarian and all other discriminations.

To provide socio-economical and political opportunities equally for every one without any discrimination of cast, creed, religion, sect, gender or profession.



The party shall work to promote, disseminate education in Balochi in Baloch-dominated areas while Pashto and other languages in Pashtoon-dominated areas.



The party shall struggle to safe-guard basic, democratic, equal employment opportunities for labourers, farmers, gypsies, journalists, writers, students, youths, fishermen, women. The party shall struggle to eradicate bribery, drugs and other social evils in the society.



The party shall bind itself with all social organizations to play democratic and social role of bodies, trade unions, students, youths, journalists and women organization by enhancing friendship and cooperation with them. Further the party shall set up its sub-organizations within different organizations of the society.



The party shall struggle to eradicate modern colonialism system, various forms of dictatorship and exploitation, economical exploitation, capitalism, feudalism and other decayed systems prevailing in Pakistan. It shall also stand with and show full integrity with those nations who struggle for their self- determination.



In line with international scenario the party shall strengthen its affiliations and relations with global organizations fighting for freedom and peace keeping itself non-aligned based on just and equity. The party shall work for global non-proliferation and curbing chemical weapons.



The party shall struggle for reconstruction of society keeping in view on historical, linguistic, social and national grounds of all national units living in Pakistan.



The Party shall continue to take up the cause of national movement according to necessity of prevailing circumstances.



The Party shall work on the golden principles of collective leadership, democratic federation, and unity of thoughts, acts and intellectual disciplines.



The party shall continue to work for superiority of masses in all walks of life and to strengthen democracy shall work for devolution of power from down to upward.





















































From the 1st century to the 3rd century CE, the region was ruled by the Pāratarājas (lit. "Pārata Kings"), a dynasty of Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings. The dynasty of the Pāratas is thought to be identical with the Pāradas of the Mahabharata, the Puranas and other vedic and Iranian sources. The Parata kings are essentially known through their coins, which typically exhibit the bust of the ruler on the obverse (with long hair within a headband), and a swastika within a circular legend on the reverse in Brahmi (usually silver coins) or Kharoshthi (copper coins). These coins are mainly found in Loralai in today's western Pakistan.
Herodotus in 450 BCE, describes the Paraitakenoi as a tribe ruled by Deiokes, a Persian king, in northwestern Persia (History I.101).
Arrian describes how Alexander the Great encountered the Pareitakai in Bactria and Sogdiana, and had them conquered by Craterus (Anabasis Alexandrou IV). The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (1st century CE) describes the territory of the Paradon beyond the Ommanitic region, on the coast of modern Balochistan.
The region was fully Islamized by the 9th century and became part of the Saffarids of Zaranj followed by the Ghaznavids, Ghorids Timurids, and Hotaki until Ahmad Shah Durrani made it part of the Afghan Empire in the mid-18th century. And became part of Afghanistan. The Western Balochistan was invaded and taken by Iran in the 19th century, and its boundary was fixed in 1871. Omani influence waned in the east and Oman's last possession, Gwadar, was bought by Pakistan in 1958.
Like other nowadays south asian ethnic groups with "Middle Eastern" roots, the Baloch claim Arabian extraction and assert that they are descended from Amir Hamza, a paternal uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammadand from a fairy (Pari). They consistently place their first settlement in Aleppo, where they remained until they sided with the sons of Ali, took part in the Battle of Karbala and were expelled by Yazid, the second Umayyad Caliph, in 680 A.D. They went to Kerman, and eventually to Sistan where they were hospitably received by Shams-ud-Din, ruler of that country. According to Mansel Longworth Dames there was a Shams-ud-Din, an independent Malik of Sistan, who died in 1164 A.D. (559 A.H.), almost 500 years after the Baloch migration from Aleppo. Shams-ud-Din claimed to be descent from the Saffarids of Persia. His successor, Badr-ud-Din, appears to be unknown to history, demanded a bride from each of the 44 bolaks or clans of the Baloch. But the Baloch race had never yet been tribute in this form to any ruler, and they sent 44 boys dressed in girls' clothes and fled before the deception could be discovered. Badr-ud-Din sent the boys back but pursued the Baloch, who had fled south-eastwards into Kech-Makran where they defeated him. During this period Mir Jalal Khan, son of Mir Jiand Khan, was the ruler of the Baloch. He left four sons, Rind, Lashar, Hooth, and Korai, and a daughter Jato, who married his nephew Murad. These five are the eponymous founders of the five great divisions of the tribe, the Rinds, Lasharis, Hooths, Korais, and Jatois. Balochistan occupies the southeastern most portion of the Iranian Plateau, the site of the earliest known farming settlements in the pre-Indus Valley Civilization era, the earliest of which was Mehrgarh dated at 7000 BC. Balochistan was one of the first places Zoroaster travelled to from Sistan in search of converts to his religion. Some of the first proselytes of his religion lived here before Zoroastrianism spread into western portions of the Iranian plateau. Makran and other parts of Balochistan used to be parts of Maurya, Kushan, Guptas, partly of the empire of Harsha Vardhana and other dynasties of northern India before the advent of Turkic invaders.
However, another theory says that the Baloch have Medes origin. According to that theory, they were a Kurdish group that has absorbed Dravidian genes and cultural traits, primarily from Brahui people. The northern point of Balochistan known in Pashto as Dzaranga was known as Drangiana to the Greeks and came to be known to the Persians as Saka. The Persian epic of Shahnama does record the Baloch in the Qazvin-Zanjanregion of old Iran in the 6th century AD, when they were engaged in battle by the Persian king Chosroes I Anoshirvan, The Shahnama also records its heroes, Rustom and Sohrab, as being Saka and not Persians, making Sistan or the old Sakistan their origin. With time, Baloch tribes linguistically absorbed all the local people in Makran, southern Sistan and the Brahui country, becoming a sizeable group to rival in size the other Iranic group in the region.
In the 7th century, the region was divided into two parts; the south was part of the Kermān Province of the Persian Empire and the north became part of the Persian province Sistan. In early 644, the Islamic Caliph Umar sent Suhail ibn Adi from Busra to conquer the Kerman region of Iran. He was then made governor of that region. From Kerman, he conquered the western Balochistan region, near the Persian frontiers. In the same year, south-western Balochistan was conquered during the campaign in Sistan. In 652 during the reign of Caliph Uthman, Balochistan was reconquered during the counter-revolt in Kerman under the command of Majasha Ibn Masood. This was the first time western Balochistan was directly controlled by the Caliphate and paid taxes on agriculture. Western Balochistan was included in the dominion of Kerman. In 654, Abdulrehman ibn Samrah, governor of Sistan, sent an Islamic army to crush a revolt in Zaranj, which is now in southern Afghanistan. After conquering Zaranj, a column of the army pushed north, conquering Kabul and Ghazni, in the Hindu Kush mountain range, while another column moved through Quetta District in north-western Balochistan and conquered the area up to the ancient cities of Dawar and Qandabil (Bolan). By 654, the whole of what is now Balochistan was controlled by the Rashidun Caliphate, except for the well-defended mountain town of QaiQan which is now Kalat. However, this town was later conquered during the reign of Caliph Ali. Abdulrehman ibn Samrah made Zaranj his provincial capital and remained governor of these conquered areas from 654 to 656, until Uthman was murdered.
During the Caliphate of Ali, a region of Balochistan, Makran again revolted. Due to civil war in the Rashidun Caliphate, Ali was unable to deal with these areas until 660, when he sent a large force, under the command of Haris ibn Marah Abdi, towards Makran and Sind. Haris ibn Marah Abdi arrived in Makran and conquered it by force, and then moved northward to north-eastern Balochistan and reconquered Qandabil (Bolan). Finally, he moved south and conquered Kalat after a fierce battle. In 663, during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah I, Muslims lost control of north-eastern Balochistan and Kalat when Haris ibn Marah and large part of his army died in battle against a revolt in Kalat. Muslim forces later regained control of the area during the Umayyad reign. It also remained a part of the Abbasid Caliphate.
In the 15th century, Mir Chakar Khan Rind became the first king of Balochistan, after which the region was dominated by the Timurids, who controlled large most of Central Asia, and west Asia. The Mughal Empire also controlled some parts of the area. When Nadir Shah won the allegiance of the rulers of Balochistan, he ceded Kalhora, one of the Sindh territories of Sibi-Kachi to the Khan of Kalat. Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Afghan Empire, also won the allegiance of that area's rulers. Most of the area would eventually revert to local Baloch control.



After independence

In August 1947, the Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan immediately became part of Pakistan. Followed by the princely states of Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Khanate of Kalat who decided to accede to Pakistan in March 1948. The Khan of Kalat agreed to join Pakistan under the condition that defence, currency, foreign office, and finance would be controlled by the federal government but that the province would remain otherwise autonomous. The four princely states together formed the Balochistan States Union in October 1952. The enclave of Gwadar was excluded from this as it was still part of the Sultanate of Oman.
In October 1955, formation of one unit resulted in the Balochistan States Union and the Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan being merged with all the remaining provinces and princely states in other parts of Pakistan to form the province of West Pakistan. The enclave of Gwadar was purchased from Oman in October 1958 and was also merged with West Pakistan. The province was officially dissolved in 1970 and the former Balochistan States Union, former Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan were combined to form the new province of Balochistan. The government of Pakistan later decided to incorporate Gwadar in to Balochistan in 1977 thus expanding the Balochistan province to its current form.
Balochistan is situated in the southwest of Pakistan and covers an area of 347,190 square kilometres (134,050 sq mi). It is Pakistan's largest province by area constituting 44% of Pakistan's total land mass. The province is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, Punjab and Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the north-east. To the south lies the Arabian Sea. Balochistan is located on the south-eastern part of the Iranian plateau. It borders the geopolitical regions of the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. Balochistan lies at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuzand provides the shortest route from seaports to Central Asia. Its geographical location has placed the otherwise desolate region in the scopes of competing global interests like Afghanistan for all of recorded history.
The capital city Quetta is located in a densely populated portion of the Sulaiman Mountains in the north-east of the province. It is situated in a river valley near the Bolan Pass which has been used as the route of choice from the coast to Central Asia, entering through Afghanistan's Kandahar region. The British and other historic empires have crossed the region to invade Afghanistan by this route.
Balochistan is rich in exhaustible and renewable resources; it is the second major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan. The province's renewable and human resource potential has not been systematically measured nor exploited due to pressures from within and without Pakistan. Local inhabitants have chosen to live in towns and have relied on sustainable water sources for thousands of years.
The climate of the upper highlands is characterised by very cold winters and hot summers. In the lower highlands, winters vary from extremely cold in northern districts Ziarat, Quetta, Kalat, Muslim Baagh and Khanozai to milder conditions closer to the Makran coast. Winters are mild on the plains, where temperature never falling below freezing point. Summers are hot and dry, especially in the arid zones of Chaghai and Kharan districts. The plains are also very hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 50 °C (122 °F).The record highest temperature, 53 °C (127 °F), was recorded in Sibi on 26 May 2010, exceeding the previous record, 52 °C (126 °F). Other hot areas includes, Turbat, and Dalbandin. The desert climate is characterised by hot and very arid conditions. Occasionally strong windstorms make these areas very inhospitable.
The economy of Balochistan is largely based upon the production of natural gas, coal and other minerals. Other important economic sectors include fisheries, mining, manufacturing industries, trade and other services being rendered by public and private sector organisations. Tourism remains limited but has increased due to the exotic appeal of the province. Limited farming in the east and fishing along the Arabian Sea coastline provide income and sustenance for the local population. Due to the tribal lifestyle of many Baloch and Brahui people, animal husbandry and trading bazaars found throughout the province are important.
Though the province remains largely underdeveloped, several major development projects, including the construction of a new deep sea port at the strategically important town of Gwadar, are in progress in Balochistan. The port is projected to be the hub of an energy and trade corridor to and from China and the Central Asian republics. The Mirani Dam on the Dasht River, 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of Turbat in the Makran Division, is being built to provide water to expand agricultural land use by 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) where it would otherwise be unsustainable.
Natural resource extraction
Balochistan's share of Pakistan's national income has historically ranged between 3.7% to 4.9%. Since 1972, Balochistan's gross income has grown in size by 2.7 times. Outside Quetta, the resource extraction infrastructure of the province is gradually developing but still lags far behind other parts of Pakistan.
There is Chinese involvement in the nearby Saindak gold and copper mining project where deposits exist in the Chagai District in Reko Diq area. The main license is held jointly by the Government of Balochistan (25%), the rest by foreign interests Antofagasta Minerals (37.5%) and Barrick Gold (37.5%). These deposits are comparable in size to those located in Sarcheshmeh, Iran and Escondida, Chile, which are the second and the third largest known deposits of copper in the world. The multinational mining companies BHP Billiton and Tethyan entered into a joint venture with the Balochistan government to extract these deposits. The potential annual copper production has been estimated to be 900,000 to 2.2 million tons. The deposits seem to be largely ofporphyry rock nature. The agreements for royalty rights and ownership of these resources were reached during a period of unprecedented natural disasters, economic, social, political, and cultural unrest in Pakistan. The negotiations were widely considered to be insufficiently transparent.
Provincial symbols of Balochistan
Provincial animal Camel
Provincial bird Macqueen's Bustard
Provincial tree Date Palm
Provincial flower Ephedra distachya













































Main articles: Government of Balochistan, Pakistan and List of cities in Balochistan

In common with the other provinces of Pakistan, Balochistan has a parliamentary form of government. The ceremonial head of the province is the Governor, who is appointed by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the provincial Chief Minister. The Chief Minister, the province's chief executive, is normally the leader of the largest political party or alliance of parties in the provincial assembly.
The unicameral Provincial Assembly of Balochistan comprises 65 seats of which 4% are reserved for non-Muslims and 16% exclusively for women. The judicial branch of government is carried out by the Balochistan High Court, which is based in Quetta and headed by a Chief Justice. For administrative purposes, the province is subdivided into 30 districts:
Awaran Barkhan Kachi Chagai Dera Bugti Gawadar
Harnai Jaffarabad Jhal Magsi Kalat Kech (Turbat) Kharan
Kohlu Khuzdar Killa Abdullah Killa Saifullah Lasbela Loralai
Mastung Musakhel Nasirabad Nushki Panjgur Pishin
Quetta Sherani Sibi Washuk Zhob Ziarat
Historical populations
Census Population Urban
1951 1,167,167 12.38%
1961 1,353,484 16.87%
1972 2,428,678 16.45%
1981 4,332,376 15.62%
1998 6,565,885 23.89%
Balochistan's population density is very low due to the mountainous terrain and scarcity of water. In March 2012, preliminary census figures showed that the population of Balochistan had reached 13,162,222, not including the districts of Khuzdar, Kech and Panjgur, compared to 5,501,164 in 1998, representing approximately 5% of Pakistan's total population. Official estimates of Balochistan's population grew from approximately 7.45 million in 2003 to 7.8 million in 2005.
Ethnolinguistic groups
According to the 2008 Pakistan Statistical Year Book, households whose primary language is Balochi represent 54.8% of Balochistan's population; 29.6% of households speak Pashto; 5.6% speak Sindhi; 2.5% speak Punjabi; 2.4% speak Saraiki; 1.0% speak Urdu; and 4.1% speak some other language at home. Balochi-speaking people are concentrated in the sparsely populated west, east, south and southeast; Brahui speakers dominate in the centre of the province, while the Pashtuns are the majority in the north.
Rakhshani is spoken in the sparsely populated west, Sulemani is spoken by the tribal east mainly by Murree Bughtis, and Makrani is mostly spoken in south coastal areas. In addition, the coastal region of Makran is home to communities such as the Siddi and Med, who speak distinct ethnic dialects. Brahui is spoken in the central Baluchistan and Pashto is mainly spoken in the north and north-west including Quetta. In Barkhan and Musakhel districts bordering Punjab, Pashto is the local language. There are also a number of speakers of Hazaragi Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi in the capital Quetta and other areas of Baluchistan. Farsi Persian is also spoken. Sindhi is spoken in the south-east. The Jamot tribes of Sibi Naseerabad and Kachhi region mainly speak Jadgali (Sindhi). The Kalat and Mastung areas speak Brahui. In the Lasbela District, the majority of the population speaks Lasi.
The 2005 census of Afghans in Pakistan showed that a total of 769,268 Afghan refugees were temporarily staying in Balochistan. However, this number is likely to be reduced in 2013 after the repatriation of the refugees to Afghanistan.
The landscape of Balochistan is composed of barren, rugged mountains and fertile, but dry land. Most of the land is barren, particularly on the Iranian and Afghan side of the region, and it is generally sparsely populated. In the south (Makran) lies the desert.
Agriculture in this region is based on horticulture supported mostly by rain water. Cultivation is often located on alluvial fans, along river-courses, and in fertile areas which are maintained through artificial irrigation systems such as qanats (holes sunk in the ground to trap water) and gabarbands (low stone and earth mounds creating raised beds which become saturated by rainfall and water run-off from the surrounding hills). In the southern Makran and oasis region (south of the Chagai Hills) date palms are cultivated. Orange orchards are also typical in southern Balochistan, particularly in Jhalawan and Sarawan.
The Baloch people once referred to their land as Moka or Maka, a word which later became Makran. Balochistan is referred to in Pashto as Gwadar or Godar (also Godar-khwa, i.e., the land by water). Then the Greeks, who derived the names of Iranian lands from the Bactrian language, Hellenised it to Gedrosia. It thus appears that the name Balochistan is a relatively recent arrival on the scene.
Baloch economy
In its latest economic report on Balochistan the World Bank has not presented us with good news. Pakistan’s poorest province is growing poorer, its economic growth lagging behind that of the other provinces.


Poverty rising in Balochistan, says World Bank
ISLAMABAD, Nov 7: Balochistan has the weakest long-term growth performance of all provinces in the country, according to a World Bank study.
The ‘Balochistan Economic Report 2009’, which took into account statistics from 1972-73 to 2005-06, said the province’s economy expanded by 2.7 times in Balochistan, 3.6 times in the NWFP and Sindh and four times in Punjab.
Overall, the size of the ‘economic pie’ rose 110 per cent in the rest of the country, except Balochistan.
With Balochistan’s growth lagging behind the rest of Pakistan, its per capita income level has lagged behind other provinces, the World Bank said.
Balochistan ranked lowest on the “horizontal axis” in 1981-82 as it was the poorest province. It also ranks lowest on the “vertical axis” because of a weak growth performance.
While Balochistan experienced large variations in growth from one year to the next, its average rate of expansion matched the one in the rest of Pakistan reasonably close over growth periods in the past. Apart from the latest recovery, GDP growth was no more than one per cent different from the rest of the country.
Poverty in Balochistan has risen and become statistically indistinguishable from that in the NWFP, the province with traditionally the highest measured poverty .
Balochistan stands out as the province with the worst social indicators. It scores lowest in 10 key indicators for education, literacy, health, water and sanitation for 2006-07.
The province has not yet been able to exploit adequately its geological potential. Balochistan has more than half of the national prospective geology for minerals, yet it contributes just over one-fifth to national mining GDP and leads only in the production of coals.
In 1994-95, Balochistan produced 355 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas and accounted for nearly 56 per cent of Pakistan’s total output. A decade later, the province produced 336bcf and contributed only 25 per cent to national output. As Balochistan’s gas supplies are exhausting, Pakistan is also running out of usable energy.
GAWADAR POTENTIAL: If the country’s trade volumes continue to grow at a healthy rate over the next 10 to 15 years, the capacity constraints at Karachi and Qasim ports will generate substantial business for Gwadar.
Gwadar is located near the entrance of the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, which holds close to three-fifth of the world’s crude oil reserves and almost half of the world’s proven gas reserves.
The development of Gwadar port, Makran coastline and mining and petroleum sectors and facilitation of cross-border trade in energy and other goods will provide a powerful impetus for stronger linkages of Balochistan’s economy with the rest of the country.
“The government should focus on activities around Balochistan’s economic assets, such as minerals, gas, fisheries and coastal development, trade with Afghanistan and Iran, livestock and crops,” the World Bank report says.
Water is the single most important constraint to developing rural Balochistan. While some 87 per cent of Pakistan’s total available water is found in the river system of the Indus basin, only five per cent of Balochistan’s landmass is connected to the Indus basin and the remaining 95 per cent rely on non-perennial sources. Since 97 per cent of province’s water use is by agriculture, any strategy to deal with the water shortage has to put this sector centre stage.
Insufficient exploration has resulted in few new discoveries. Less than one-third of the reserves are left in Sui, and no more than 45 per cent of the known gas reserves in the province overall. Uch is the only field with large remaining reserves, but the gas is of lower quality than in Sui. In calorific equivalent basis, the Uch reserves are just under half of what remains in Sui. According to the report, the reserve depletion has already an impact on production. Volumes have declined since 2001 by about 3.5 per cent annually, and Balochistan’s share in national production dropped from 56 per cent in 1995 to 25 per cent only in 2005. At current rates of production, the province’s present reserves will be almost depleted within the next 15 years.


The Baloch
The waves of migrations, beginning from as early as 3500 BC and continued till the end of fourteenth century AD in the aftermath of devastating economic, political and religious events in the Caspian region, brought the Baloch tribes in the present semi-desert land of Balochistan. Baloch traces their history to the ancient Parthian family of Aryan tribes living in the Caspian Sea region. It is estimated that the present population of Baloch, is more than 20 million. One amongst the few state-less nations in contemporary world, majority of the Baloch are inhabited in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A large number of them are living in Diaspora mainly in Arabian Gulf and some European countries.
Historically, settlement in to present day Balochistan by Baloch tribes began as early as 1200 years before the birth of Christ. Baloch folk tales and legends points out that major shift of Baloch population from Caspian Sea region to the present semi-desert land of Balochistan was brought about in three different times and different places. The first migration was of the Baloch tribes residing in the northern areas of what is now called Kurdistan. These Baloch are called Narui (Nara denoting north in archaic Balochi) and they settled in the areas now called Seistan, Zabol in present-day Iran, Helmand valley in present Afghanistan and Chagai plains in present Pakistani province of Balochistan. The second migration took place a few hundred years after the first migration. In this batch, the migrating Baloch tribes ofMount Elburz in the south of Caspian Sea settled in what is now called central Balochistan in Pakistan. The third and most important of all is the migration of the remaining Baloch tribes said to be living in Aleppo who first settled in Kerman, then Makuran and finally to the plains of Sibi and Kachchi in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. This occurred during 12th century AD.
Baloch society is organized on similar pattern as the ancient Aryan tribes.Balochi, the language spoken by the Baloch is a member of Indo-Aryan languages. The main dialects of Balochi language are termed as Western (Mekurani), Rakhshani and Eastern Balochi. In central Balochistan many Baloch tribes of Brahui origin speak a dialect, which is believed to be a compound of Balochi and a Dravidian language. In the Pakistani province of Punjab most of the Baloch have adopted Sarakai which also belong to the Aryan family of languages. The Balochi is closely related with Kurdish, Persian and Sanskrit languages but appears to be more archaic than these languages.
Balochistan literally meaning the country of Baloch is strategically situated at the eastern flank of the Middle East, linking Central Asian States with Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean. Presently the three parts of Balochistan are under the sovereignty of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Being one of the ancient inhabited lands with a 10000 years history of civilization, it is a land of contrast. Much of its landmass of 695,380 square km is a high barren plateau 1,000 to 1,500 meters (3,000 to 5,000 feet) above sea level, enclosed by various mountain ranges; it has desert lands stretching hundreds of miles. In the proximity of a coastline of more than 1500 km in the south, lies one of the semi- deserts of Makuran, the ancient Gedrosia that nearly defeated Alexander the Great by thirst and hunger when he marched through it on his way back to Mesopotamia. In the west, the great Iranian salt desert, the Dasht-e Luth separates Balochistan from Persia proper. There is scanty rainfall, which ranges between 3 to 12 inches annually. Balochistan has hottest places where temperature shoots up to over 120 ?°F, as well as coldest towns where mercury falls down much below freezing point. In between the cheerless mountains and dry and wide deserts are beautiful fertile valleys. Wherever water is available the fertile fields produce various types of agricultural products like wheat, barley, rice, potato, sugar beet, and cotton. Dates, and various other fruits, flowers and medicinal plants are among the country’s agricultural products. Beside the large natural gas reserves, which are providing almost all the gas requirements of Pakistan, it has also unexplored rich mineral resources of copper, aluminum, lead, chromium, iron and gold.
The archeological explorations include this land as one of the oldest inhabited areas of the earth. The area had commerce with the ancient civilizations of Babylon, India and Central Asia. It is presumed that the famous Indus civilization derived most of its material elements from Iran and beyond through the Baloch Borderland. There is a marked cultural similarity between ancient settlements in Balochistan and those of Indus valley civilization.
The archeological findings in different parts of central and northern Balochistan indicate that some 7 to 15 thousand years ago a fair number of people, familiar with agriculture and use of domesticated animals inhabited the region. The German and French excavations at Mehrgarh, Nausharo and Pirak in the Kachhi plain and Kech valley reveal a long cultural sequence from the Neolithic Period through the Iron Age. The sites indicate that development from villages to towns and then to camps, and from agriculture to migratory pastorals took place in ancient times. The people lived in clay-brick houses, and were familiar with stone ornaments and jewelry of precious seashells. The rising number of settlements from the beginning of settled life in the 6th millennium through the mid-third millennium BC witnesses the success of food production through farming and agriculture. The pattern is very similar during the later 3rdmillennium during which the largest number of sites in southern Balochistan co-existed with the Indus Civilization. Enigmatically, after 1900/1800 BC, the Indus Civilization disintegrated into several regional cultural complexes some of which remain dormant till today. Inexplicably in the same period, the settlements and irrigation systems were abandoned and no human traces left in southeastern Balochistan.
Balochistan has been the meeting grounds of ancient civilizations and empires. The irst recorded mass migration of a tribal people in the area is that of Aryans, which began after the disintegration of the Mesopotamian empires of Sumer and Akkad after the death of Emperor Hammurabi. Although some of the Achaemenian, Greek, Mauryan, Kushana, and Sassanian rulers and historians mention southern Balochistan in their records, nevertheless, significant archaeological finds that may correlate their presence are rare.
Various regions of Balochistan were known as Gedrosia, Drangia, Turan and Sajistan and Kermania Altera. The narration about these areas by Greek or other ancient historians are sketchy and no firm conclusion could be drawn about the inhabitants of these areas. The Greek historian Arian mentioned two distinct groups of people Ichthyophagi and Oreitai living in the region during Alexander’s campaigns.
Balochistan changed hands frequently between the great empires of ancient epochs. Remaining the part of the Darius Empire in 5th century BC, it remained under Greek domination for some two decades. In 305 BC, Chandra Gupta defeated Alexander??Ts successor Seleucus Nicator and the region came under the control of the Mauryan Empire. During Maurya reign Balochistan witnessed the incursions of white Huns. Another historical event of the era was the invasion of the Saka, declaring the region as Sakastan, the country of the Saka, a name that has survived as the northwestern Balochistan being still called as Seistan. From 227 to 590 AD, Balochistan came under the Sassanians, with Ephthalite Turks controlling the central and northern areas. Later the area fell under the Sassanian Dynasty and remained under their control till the end of the 6th century. Hindu rulers of Sindh also replaced the decaying Sassanians before the Arab conquests. Significant relics of Graeco-Bacterian rule and Buddhist settlements have been identified in northern and southern Balochistan.
Among the most important invasions of Balochistan was the Arab incursion in 7th century AD, bringing far reaching social, religious, economic and political changes in the region. In AD 644 an Arab army under the command of Hakam defeated the combined forces of Mekuran and Sindh. The Arabs established several fortified cities in southern Balochistan and during their rule, trade and commerce flourished in the area and the sea routes were extensively used for trade between Middle East and India. The period of Arab rule brought the religion of Islam in the area. The Baloch tribes gradually embraced Islam replacing their centuries old Zoroastrian religion. The Arab control of Balochistan lasted till 10th century.
The overthrowing of Sassanian yoke and lessening of the threats from Indian rulers enabled the Baloch tribes to establish their own semi-independent tribal confederacies, leading to the formation of a subsequent Baloch State. For the next seven centuries the region was under loose control of many dynasties of surrounding areas. Major parts of Balochistan were under Ghaznavi and Ghori rulers from Afghanistan, till the end of fifteenth century when the country fell into the hands of the Argons and subsequently the Mughuls. The defeat of Baloch forces at Khabis and Bumpur resulted in the complete victory of Gaznavi dynasty over Balochistan. During most of the 12th century southern Balochistan was under the control of Seljuks, before the arrival of Mughuls. Towards the beginning of the 16th century the Portuguese captured several places along the Makuran coast.
The period from AD 1400 to 1948 can be distinguished for an era of declining grip of the surrounding powers on Balochistan and the rise of Baloch influence. The predominance of Baloch socio-political and cultural institutions is the characteristic of this period.
The early decades of the Baloch era was marked with the formation of loose tribal unions. One of the most important was the tribal union of Rind and Lashaar consisting of 40 bolok or tribes. Different Baloch tribes and tribal unions were linked economically through trade and agricultural and animal products. They interacted socially, cooperated politically and united militarily whenever faced with a common external threat. Bumpur, in the western Balochistan, Kech in the southern and Surab and later Kalat in central Balochistan were the center of Baloch power in the period of tribal unions of Baloch history. During this period Balochistan was not free of external threats or interventions but the combined strength of Baloch tribal unions were able to defend their territory against the Afghan or Persian invading forces on various occasions.


The Khanate: The Baloch Confederacy
During sixteenth century bonds between various tribes loosened due to internal feuds and constant infighting between various tribes. Subsequent period witnessed an era of anarchy and chaos throughout Baloch land. Such a state of affair continued till seventeenth century when in 1666 AD, Mir Ahmad, the leader of a Brahui tribal confederation founded the Ahmadzai Khanate of Kalat. The birth of Kalat State coincides with the decline and disintegration of Safavid, Mughul and Afghan Empires and the simultaneous rise of British colonial power in India. The Kalat State was the first and the last Baloch State headed by sovereign rulers, the ??o Khan???, who survived various attempts of different powers of the period to dominate the land till 1948.
At the peak of its power the Khanate of Kalat included the entire region of present day Pakistani Balochistan, and most part of the Iranian and Afghani Balochistan. The Baloch landmass extended from Afghanistan’s western district of Farah in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south. From west it stretches from the present Iranian province of Kerman and the Luth Desert to the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh in the east.
The Kalat State was the improved version of old tribal union prevailing in Balochistan. It did not bring any changes in the general tribal setup. The tribal alliance was broad-based, with tremendous powers allowed to tribal chiefs, who recognized the Khan as the paramount power and contributed revenue to him and a fixed contingent of armed men in time of war. Although the tribal chief was selected through the general consent of the clan headmen, the office of the Khan was hereditary, being a benevolent ruler of a loosely decentralized tribal confederacy. A council of advisors representing the major tribes and allied people assisted the Khan. The Khan was the head of the confederacy but he enjoyed no absolute power. The Council took major important decisions. The Khan had no standing army beyond a contingent of household servants and bodyguards. Militarily, every able-bodied Baloch was supposed to take-up arms in an emergency. The Khan was supplied with contingents of fighting men by the tribal heads according to their respective strength. The main sources of revenue of the State were the collection from port of Karachi and taxation from Bolan Pass. A nominal source of revenue was also from the Mekuran Coastal trade. Taxation on agricultural and affiliated products was fixed between one-tenth, one-third, and half of the produce depending upon distance and area concerned. The land was usually the property of the tribe with few exceptions. The land could be forfeited if the tribes failed to supply a specific number of men and material in times of war. The bureaucratic institutions were organized on the same pattern, as was vogue in the surrounding countries of the region during that period. The foreign policy of the Khanate was one of peaceful coexistence with all the neighboring states. The Khanate was a sort of buffer between Persia, Afghanistan and Sindh or later the British India. Kalat State being the neighbors of powerful Persian Empire, the resurgent Afghanistan and powerful British Empire in India, the degree of sovereignty enjoyed by the Baloch State was not constant throughout. Khan Naseer Khan (1750-1795) in a bid to thwart the danger emanating from Persia extended nominal allegiance to Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah.


The Fall of Baloch Confederacy
Baloch destinies changed drastically beginning from mid 19th century due to powerful historical happenings in Asia and Europe. In this period while Russia was pushing southward, the decayed Persian Empire was trying to gain its lost glories and England was struggling to consolidate its position in Europe and in colonized world. The Russian ambitions for warm waters, the resurgence of Persian nationalism and British efforts to ward off the Russian thrust southward were the factors causing collateral damages resulting in territorial division of Baloch land and subsequent destruction of the sovereign Baloch State. The French exploratory mission to Persia in 1807 for exploring the possibility of an overland invasion of India through Persia and Balochistan caused great alarm among British authorities in India. Appeasement of Persia to be neutral in the great game being played in central Asia, compelling Afghanistan to be a buffer between Russian and British areas of influences, were the causative factors of devastating Afghan wars and the extension of British proxy rule in Balochistan and its partition. From the military bases in Balochistan it was easier for Britain to secure the buffer status of Afghanistan and Iran vis-à-vis Russia and also to secure its communication links with Middle East and Europe.
After the Khanate of Kalat declined to be involved in foreign aggression against Afghanistan, occupation of Baloch State became necessary for England to safeguard the supply line for British invading army in Afghanistan. An English detachment attacked capital Kalat on 13 November 1839. Khan, Mir Mehrab Khan was killed in battle and a new Khan was appointed as nominal ruler of Baloch State with a British representative as the supreme authority, reducing Khan to mere vassals of British Crown.
From 1839 onward the British had gradually consolidated their power in Balochistan through a series of wars and treaties imposed on Kalat State. These treaties gave the British the rights of safe passage through Kalat (1839), the right to stationing of troops (1854), the right to extend Indo-European telegraph line through Baloch Coast (1863) and various other agreements giving Britain some major economic and territorial concessions. The northern areas of Balochistan including Bolan Pass was leased out to Britain, which was later, named as British Balochistan. An important and consequential treaty was signed in 1876 between Khan, the tribal chiefs and British authorities in Delhi. Under the agreement, the Khan’s authority was accepted over the region, but it was to be administered by the British in accordance with local customs.
The British occupation of Kalat was perhaps the greatest event in Baloch history. It weakened the authority of Khan, broke up the traditional system of governance giving extraordinary clouts to tribal chiefs and establishing a “Shahi Jirga”, a nominated council, having vast jurisdictional power, unprecedented in Baloch annals. After the fall of Kalat unto First World War, Baloch tribes fought unsuccessful battles against the mighty forces of British Empire. The Baloch resistance to British authority lasting nearly a century was acts of individual tribes and could not assume a form of a national struggle due to many factors. These including lack of communication between various tribes, superiority of enemy in all respects, lack of inspiration from the Khan, and lack of any political organization for channeling the resistance movement.


Partitioning Balochistan
Soon after the death of Khan, Naseer Khan, and later geo-strategic events that reduced Khanate to a subordinate position, the central control of Khanate on Baloch chieftains began to loosen. This coincided with Iranian encroachments on western Balochistan during the reign of Qajar King Nasir-al Din Shah (1848-1896). In 1849, an Iranian army defeated Baloch forces in Kerman and captured Bumpur. The Iranian expansions increased after the extension of Indo-European telegraph line from Karachi to Gwadar and then up to Jask in western Balochistan in 1861. By the time of completion of that line in 1870, Iranian forces had advanced very far in Western Balochistan. It was the period when Britain was trying to neutralize Persia in order to prevent her with siding either with Napoleon or the Czar of Russia. To compensate the loss of Persian territory in the west to Ottoman Empire, Britain decided to grant a portion of Baloch land to Persia. In 1871, the British Government accepted an Iranian proposal and appointed Maj. General Goldsmid as Chief Commissioner of the joint Perso-Baloch Boundary Commission. In 1871 Persian and British Governments excluding the Khanate delegate from the final joint meeting that took the decision agreed upon a boundary line. This line dividing Western and Eastern Balochistan is called “Goldsmid Line” forming the present international boundary between Pakistan and Iran. In 1893, a similar arbitrarily drawn line “The Durand Line” demarcating the Afghan and British Indian borders gave a large part of Baloch land in northern Baloch regions of Helmand and Nemroz into Afghan sovereignty.
Resisting Foreign Domination
The Baloch in Western Balochistan were in constant revolt against foreign domination of Persian dynasties. The revolt of Jask (1873), of Sarhad (1888), and the general uprising in 1889, resulted in the scorch earth policy to suppress Baloch rebellion by Iranian forces in 1889. A major uprising under Baloch chieftain Sardar Hussein Narui in 1896 prompted a joint Anglo-Persian expeditionary force to crush the rebellion. The rebellion was crushed after two years and Narui chief was arrested. With resultant weakening of Qajar dynasty in Iran after the death of Muzzafar-al Din Shah and the preoccupation of British authorities dealing with the Baloch uprisings in the Eastern Balochistan, the Baloch tribal chiefs in the west began consolidating their hold on their territories. In the beginning of twentieth century, Bahram Khan gained control of almost the entire central and southern region of Western Balochis tanending the occupation of Iranian forces. In 1916, the British recognized him as the effective ruler of Western Balochistan. His nephew, Mir Dost Mohamed succeeded Mir Bahram Khan. Mir Dost Mohamed’s attempts to consolidate his power coincided with the rise to power in Persia of Reza Khan in 1921. In 1928 an Iranian force began operation against Mir Dost Mohamed. The skirmishes continued for seven months and ended in the victory of Iranian forces over Baloch and eventual surrender of Mir Dost Mohamed, thereby Western Balochistan was finally annexed with Persian Empire.


Baloch Culture