[Reader-list] Kalat's occupation by Paki army in 1948

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Tue Mar 9 17:21:21 IST 2010

That Kalat is an independent and sovereign state its status is different
from other princely states of British India, its relations with the British
government being based on various mutual agreements and treaties.

That Kalat is not an Indian state, its relations with India being of only a
formal nature by virtue of Kalat's agreements with the British and that with
the ceasing of the Agreement of 1876 with the Kalat government, Kalat would
regain its complete independence, as it existed prior to 1876. All such
regions including Quetta Municipality as were given under the control of the
British in consequence of any treaty will be returned to the sovereignty of
the Kalat state, and resume their original status as parts of the Kalat

On March 22, 1947, Lord Mountbatten, the last of the Viceroys of India,
arrived in Delhi to wind up British supremacy in this part of the British
dominions. The final partition plan of June 3, 1947 stated in respect of
transfer of power in India. Mr, Jinnah wrote to the Khan of Kalat that since
the position of the Kalat State was different from the other Indian States,
representation on behalf of the state should be made directly to the Viceroy
in Delhi to discuss the future position of Kalat and the return of Baloch
regions hitherto under the control of the British Government. Accordingly,
the Chief Secretary of Kalat State was sent to Delhi with a draft of the new
position of Kalat as prepared by legal experts. This resulted in a round
table conference, held on August 4, 1947, in which Lord Mountbatten, Mr,
Jinnah, Mr Liaqat Ali Khan, Chief Minister of Kalat, Sir Sultan Ahmed, the
legal Advisor of Kalat State and the Khan of Kalat took part in the
deliberations The following points were agreed upon:

"Kalat State will be independent on August 5, 1947, enjoying the same status
as it originally held in 1838, having friendly relations with its
neighbours. In case the relations of Kalat with any future government got
strained, Kalat will exercise its right of self-determination, and the
British Government should take precautionary measures to help Kalat in the
matter as per the Treaties of 1839 and 1841."

As a corollary to the round table conference at Delhi, another agreement was
signed between Kalat and Pakistan on August 4, 1947. The points agreed upon
were broadcast on August 11, 1947, as under:

"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
relations with the British Government as manifested in several
agreements..... In the meantime, a Standstill Agreement will be made between
Pakistan and Kalat by which Pakistan shall stand committed to all the
responsibilities and agreements signed by Kalat and the British Government
from 1839 to 1947 and by this,.... In order to discuss finally the relations
between Kalat and Pakistan on matters of defense, foreign relations and
deliberations will be held in the near future in Karachi." A few weeks after
the agreement, the Agent to the Governor-General informed the rulers of
Kharan and Lasbela that the control of their regions had been transferred to
the Kalat State. Hence they once again came under the direct influence of
Kalat. The Marri and Bugti tribal region was also returned into the Kalat
fold soon after. Thus the whole of Balochistan came under the suzerainty of
the Khan of Kalat in the same confederacy of Baloch tribes that Nasir Khan
I, in 1666-67, was able to create. The Kalat government made a formal
declaration of its independence on August 15, 1947, soon after the end of
British supremacy, and a day after Pakistan's coming into being on the map
of the subcontinent. Immediately, a delegation comprising the Kalat prime
minister and foreign minister was sent to Karachi, the then capital of
Pakistan, for discussions and an honorable settlement vis-a-vis relations
with Pakistan in the light of the mutually endorsed Standstill Agreement of
August 11, 1947.

To shock and grief of Khan of Kalat Mr, Jinnah coarsely persuaded the Khan
to expedite the merger. The Khan replied, "I have great respect for your
advice......but Balochistan, being a land of numerous tribes, the people
there must be duly consulted in the matter prior to any decision I take;
for, according to the prevalent tribal convention, no decision can be
binding upon them unless they are taken into confidence beforehand by their

With this provisional agreement, the Khan returned to Kalat and promptly
summoned the Kalat State Houses of Parliament, the Dar-ul-Awam and
Dar-ul-Umra and proposed to the House to accord him a mandate on the matter
of Kalat's merger with Pakistan. Both the Houses, however, contended
unanimously that the proposal of Kalat's merger militated against the spirit
of the earlier agreement arrived at between Kalat Government and the
spokesmen of Pakistan on August 4, 1947, as also against the Independence
Act of 1947.

This decision of Kalat's Parliament was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Government of Pakistan, for necessary processing. Shortly
afterwords, the Mr, Jinnah visited Sibi and during his stay there insisted
upon the Khan to sign the merger documents in his personal capacity. Finding
reluctance in Khan Govt: Pakistan Cabinet under the leadership and
instruction of Mr, Jinnah working on a scheme to breakup the 500-year old
state. The nature of their scheme, as it turned out subsequently, was
tantamount to a political castration of the Baloch people.

Illegally and in violation of of 4th August 1947 round table conference
declaration and agreement made by Mr, Jinnah on the very day with Khan,
Stand Still Agreement and also Govt; of Pakistan's earlier decion, it had
decided to punish and encircle Kalat and Baloch people cut off Kharan and
Lasbela by giving them an equal status as Kalat and obtaining their
"mergers" with Pakistan directly. Makran, which had been a part of the Kalat
State for the last 300 years, was made independent of Kalat on March 17,
1948; and one of the three Sardars made its ruler.

Thus Makran, too, was made a part of Pakistan. These hasty, illogical,
irrational and politically illegal and oppressive steps naturally
disillusioned the Baloch people. They rightly felt that all their erstwhile
services and sacrifices in the cause of Pakistan were now forgotten. So deep
was their despair and frustration that several of them wanted to revolt.
Meanwhile, the wave of hatred and animosity generated by the irrational
policies of the Government of Pakistan against Kalat was fast gaining
dangerous dimensions all over Balochistan. Feelings in the tribal areas
particularly were running high against Pakistan and the Baloch people were
calling the position of the Khan of Kalat himself into question.

Things were moving fast towards a show down. The Government of Pakistan
instructed the Brigadier in Command at Quetta to go on full alert for action
against Kalat state and the Agent to the Governor General began to prepare
for police action. This was the situation as it stood in the first quarter
of 1948 triggered by the illogical actions of the Pakistan.

Under duress Khan of Kalat signed the merger documents in his personal
capacity on March 27, 1948, in an effort to diffuse the situation in
Balochistan. In his autobiography, he admits that he did not have the
mandate to sign the merger without the consent of the Houses of Parliament
of Kalat State. A fortnight after the merger, on April 15, 1948, the Agent
to the Governor General in Balochistan issued an order in the name of Mr,
Jinnah, and the legal entity of the Khan of Kalat was abolished and within
20 hours of the order many of the members of the Balochistan Cabinet were
arrested or exiled from Balochistan. Prince Abdul Karim's revolt and first
Baloch armed struggle sarted in this back ground. By Hussain Bux Thebo

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