Focus on Balochistan
By: Asad Rahman
Never a part of India
The political, economic, social and cultural discrimination that Balochistan’s people are facing today is nothing new and has been going on since the very inception of Pakistan. This discrimination today has taken on even more sinister overtones leading to a situation similar to that which pertained in 1970-71 in respect of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The fact is that it is not the Baloch that have not accepted suzerainty of Pakistan over them but it is the Pakistani establishment and state that has never accepted the Baloch as rightful, legal, patriotic citizens of Pakistan.
The Baloch supported the movement for an independent Muslim state in the Indian subcontinent even before the 1940 resolution. Unfortunately our history books, establishment and governments have never recognised through publication of the real facts, nor appreciated the Baloch contributions to the emergence of Pakistan as an independent state.
I, (a Punjabi), have lived for nine years, 1971 to 1980, amongst the most orthodox Baloch tribes, eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, sleeping in the same beddings, suffering the same illnesses, drinking the same unhygienic water, as the common Baloch. I have studied the language and read, write and speak it as fluently as a Marri or Bughti Baloch. I have come to love these people like my brothers and sisters for the respect, hospitality and honour that they have given me over the years and still do.
The pathetic and abject poverty of the Baloch have compelled me to take up their just cause and demands to be treated as patriotic, legal, equal citizens of Pakistan. These demands are not only confined to Balochistan but are also representative of rural Sindh, NWFP especially the south, South Punjab and the Northern areas, which areas constitute approximately 75% of Pakistan’s territory.
The need for such a debate is being acutely felt today because of the dangerous political and economic conditions prevailing in Balochistan that are reinforcing the anti-state separatist forces which are spreading perceptions of ruthless exploitation by Punjabis, as a whole, amongst the common Baloch.
Historically, Balochistan or Kalat, has never been a part of India. Of the early history of the state little or nothing is known. The first distinct account, which we have, is from Arrian, who narrates the march of Alexander through this region. In the 8th century, an army of the Caliphate traversed the country. The present dynasty was founded by Kambar, a leader of the mountain tribes. After various successes, the Kambarianis at length possessed themselves the sovereignty of a considerable portion of the fruitful plain of Gandava. It was about this time that Nadir Shah advanced from Persia to the invasion of Hindustan, and the Khan of Kalat, who helped the Shah with men and money, was by a firman appointed “Beglar Begi” (Prince of Princes) of all Baloch tribes.
On the death of Nadir Shah, the Khan of Kalat acknowledged the title of the King of Kabul, Ahmed Shah Durrani. In 1758, however, the Khan declared himself entirely independent, upon which Ahmed Shah dispatched a force against him under one of his ministers. This expedition terminated in a treaty of peace, by which the Khan agreed to furnish troops to assist the Kabul armies, and the Afghan King in return, agreed to pay a cash allowance. From that time till 1839, when the British army advanced through the Bolan Pass to Afghanistan, Kalat was completely independent owing no allegiance to any authority in India or elsewhere. The British government in India never claimed the doctrine of paramountcy was applicable to its relations with Kalat; nor has the Khan ever admitted that the powers of paramountcy could be exercised against him and his government. On the contrary, several representatives of the British colonial government described Kalat as a sovereign and independent state.
In 1872, Sir WL Merewether, in charge of the British Government’s relations with Kalat, wrote: “There cannot, in my opinion, be the least doubt of the course which should be followed with regard to Kalat, or Balochistan as it should be correctly termed. His Highness the Khan is the de facto and de jure Ruler of that country. We have treaty engagements with him under which, he is bound to keep his subjects from injuring British territory or people, to protect trade etc. But the treaty is with him as ruler only, and under none of the engagements are we called upon to enter directly into the manner in which he carries on his government.”
Sir Bartle Frere, another recognised British authority on Kalat, held the same view. Dealing with the British government vis-a-vis Kalat, Sir Bartle wrote in 1876: “It was a cardinal rule to attempt no disintegration of the Khan of Kalat’s sovereignty, whether nominal or real, over the Baloch tribes, but rather by every means in our power to uphold his authority. The Khan was regarded as our independent ally, free to act as he pleased in internal affairs, but externally subordinate to the English government in all that could affect anything beyond his own borders. We dealt with Kalat as far as we could for Belgium and Switzerland.”
This policy was insisted upon by the government of India against the wishes of the local officers even during the years of anarchy and discord, which prevailed in Kalat till the conclusion of the treaty of 1876.
Lord Salisbury, the then secretary of State for India, wrote as follows to the Governor General-in-Council: “Armed intervention would appear an unfriendly act towards a state with which our relations have, until recently been cordial, while it would probably entail a prolonged occupation of the country, and might involve ulterior results of a serious kind in other quarters. His Majesty’s Government trust that an early opportunity may be taken of again placing the relations between the Government of India and the Khan of Kalat on the friendly footing provided for by the Treaty of 1854, and thereby reestablish a position of affairs desirable in the interests of the British Government, and essential to the continued existence of Kalat as an independent state.”
It is, however, no doubt true, that the Government of India Act, 1935, treats Kalat as an Indian state and provides representation for it in the Federal Legislature, but the state was never consulted in the drafting of the Act, nor was it a party to it in any manner. The territories of the Kalat State being outside the limits of the legislative authority of the British parliament, the Act could not be held binding on the state. Nevertheless, the Khan of Kalat lodged a protest against the provisions of the Act. In a personal letter to the Khan of Kalat, His Excellency the Crown Representative assured him that such reaffirmation was unnecessary and that His Excellency recognised the treaty of 1876 as fully valid in every respect, and that it would henceforth form the basis of the relations between the British Government and the Kalat State.
The views of the Government of Kalat regarding the future position of the state at the time are as follows: In view of the forgoing considerations, the Government of Kalat maintains, and they are supported in this by the unanimous will of the subjects of the state: That the Kalat State is an independent sovereign state whose relations with the British Government are governed by the Treaty of 1876; that its Indian associations are merely due to its connections with the British Government; that Kalat being an independent state, the Khan, his government, and his people can never agree to Kalat being included in any form of Indian Union; and that with the termination of the treaty with the British Government, the Kalat State will revert to its pre-treaty position of complete independence and will be free to choose its own course for the future.
The Khan and his government are, however, anxious to continue friendly and amicable relations with India and will always be glad to enter into an alliance with any government, which succeeds the British government in India on the basis of strictest reciprocity and mutual recognition of independence. This thus was the political position of Balochistan right up to the partition of the subcontinent. These treaties are all available for scrutiny in the Pakistan Archives, Balochistan Gazetteers and the British Museum of History.
The News International Saturday, October 14, 2000. By Asad Rahman
Under British rule
Balochistan enjoyed a special status under British rule as was established in my preceding article. The Agent of the Governor General was the administrative head of the Kalat State, as Balochistan was known then. The Agent to the Governor General held the supreme position in the state with Political Agents in all districts of Balochistan, while the Political Agent in Kalat district functioned as the Prime Minister as well. Respective Political Agents administered Lasbela, Kharan, Makran etc.
The Khan-e-Kalat was the head of the State only on paper. For all practical purposes, authority was vested with the political Agents who functioned under the direct orders of the Agent to the Governor General. Nasirabad, Chagai and the tribal regions of Marri, Bugti had each a separate Political Agent. Dera Ghazi Khan was absorbed in the Punjab, and Jacobabad (formally Khangarh) was given over to Sindh. Also a substantial tract of the borderland of Balochistan was handed over to Iran. This region is still marked as “Iranian Balochistan” on geographical maps.
The Baloch were deliberately barred from key posts in the Government of Kalat, while non-Baloch and persons adept at the art of loyal services to the British occupied high positions. In the sphere of education, the masses were criminally ignored. The budget allocation for this vital sector was a mere Rs13,000. On the judicial plane, an innovation, a system of Jirga was introduced by the British, supplanting the Islamic system of dispensing justice based on Shariat (Islamic laws) and sound Baloch traditions. What was ridiculous was that all members of the Jirga were nominated by the Political Agents in their respective areas and regions. Appeals, if any, against decisions were directed to be lodged with the Agent to the Governor General in India, who would issue final orders in the name of the Khan-e-Baloch.
The then Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, on ascending to the throne in 1933, reversed most of these British imposed administrative measures and more or less reverted to the system established in 1666 under the loose Baloch tribes Confederacy. He made the Prime Minister responsible to the Legislature with a cabinet comprising of selected and some nominated members, each with a separate portfolio. Besides the Cabinet, a State Council with 12 members, being the peoples’ representatives and the other 6 drawn from the Cabinet was set up. Qazis (judges) were appointed in every Tehsil and a panel of ulema was set up to advise the judges. Sharia laws were reintroduced. A penal code was prepared and introduced by which justice was assured for everyone without any distinction of caste, creed, colour, race, religion or status.
Revenue taxes, which the tribal Sardars and influentials in the state used to collect hitherto from the farmers, labourers and the common people, were discontinued. Labourers had to pay a tax to them on their earnings as well known as “shashik”; this too was banned. Preference in employments was given to Baloch, as far as justifiably possible, thus replacing the non-Baloch personnel in the state services. The education allocation was increased from Rs13,000 to Rs400,000. A large number of schools were opened through out the state. The establishment of a litho printing press rectified an acute dearth of printing facilities.
Economically Kalat state was in woeful condition. Leaving aside political and social development reasons, purely on humanitarian grounds the economics demanded immediate attention. Accordingly an ordinance factory was established for small arms and ammunition, thereby providing employment to people and the needed wares for the state army. Small-scale industries like spinning and cloth weaving, carpet making and leather tanning were opened at various places.
Agriculture received due attention by the establishment of numerous farms and Baloch students were given special stipends to specialise in this vocation. An extensive chain of fruit farms was set up under the direct management of the state government to streamline the horticulture production on commercial basis. This created a good healthy competitive atmosphere between the state run and private sector farms.
The British government had signed a lease for oil exploration in Balochistan for 18 years (1918-1936) for the paltry sum of Rs2,000 per annum. This contract was annulled in1937 upon its expiry and was not renewed until after the Second World War on much better terms and conditions. But subsequently the Pakistan government canceled this contract. We will discuss the reasons for this in one of our next articles. The independence and partition movement finally culminated in the creation of two major states of India and Pakistan in relation to Balochistan’s ceding to Pakistan.
In 1945, a series of talks began on the future of the Indian subcontinent between political leaders of the Indian Congress Party, All India Muslim League and the Viceroy with no results. Lord Wavell, the then Viceroy, found himself sitting on a volcano that was about to explode in communal violence, anarchy and violence against the British themselves. The Second World War had ended on May 7, 1945, in a victory of the Allies but another catastrophe was still stalking around the Indian subcontinent.
Lord Wavell now saw that all emergency laws, under which the Indian unrest was being put down with an iron hand, would cease to be operative with the end of the war in Europe. Desperate, he flew off to London for apprising His Majesty’s Government of the dangerous situation in India. He came back with British proposals on constitutional reforms devised to lead eventually to full self-rule for India. These proposals, however, failed to meet the demands of the All India Muslim League, which stuck to the ideology of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.
The newly elected Labour Party Government headed by Clement Atlee in Britain after considerable debates, decided to send a 3-member Cabinet Mission to India in a final bid to devise the methodology for the transfer of power in India. The Mission comprising the Secretary of State for India, Lord Pethic Lawrence, AV Alexander and Sir Stafford Cripps arrived in India on March 24, 1946. The Khan of Kalat, on the advice of the Quaid-e-Azam, the legal advisor to the Kalat state at the time, approached the Mission on behalf of his government to discuss the future status of his state in the scheme of independence for India. The Mission advised the Khan to have his case prepared by legal experts. Eminent lawyers as I I Chundrigar, Sir Sultan Ahmed, Sardar BK Memon and Sir Walter Monkton were hired to prepare the case for the Kalat state, which after vetting by the Quaid himself, was submitted to the Mission in the form of a memorandum. This memorandum, briefly, re-stressed the following major points:
That Kalat is an independent and sovereign state, 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; and that the Kalat government would then be free to choose its own way without interference by others. All such regions 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 state.
The right to rule over these areas is vested only with the British government, which is in direct control presently. On the lapse of British sovereignty, the agreements in respect of these areas under their direct control shall cease to have any legal binding; and the rights hitherto vested in the British shall automatically be transferred back to the Kalat government. Other Baloch regions like Kharan, Lasbela and the Marri, Bugti areas were part and parcel of the Kalat state as acknowledged by the British; and must, therefore, go back to it when the latter vacates. The Marri and Bugti Tumandars also added their application to the memoradum, submitted in 1946, demanding that their tribal regions be included in a “federation” with Kalat.
Saturday, October 21, 2000. By Asad Rahman
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 vis-a-vis the states:
“All the rights surrendered by the states to the paramount power will return to the states. Political arrangements between the states on the one side, and the British Crown and British India on the other will thus be brought to an end. The void will have to be filled either by the states entering into a federal relationship with the successor government or governments in British India; or failing this, entering into particular political arrangements.”
At a press conference, the next day, Mountbatten stated that the Indian states had been “independent states in treaty relations with the British”; and that with the lapse of paramountcy, they would assume an independent status and were “absolutely free to choose to join one Constituent Assembly or the other, or make some other arrangement.”
Mr Gandhi said that the declarations of independence by Indian Princes “were tantamount to declaration of war against the free millions of India.” On the other hand, the Quaid-i-Azam hailed this statement and on June 18, 1947, issued the following statement to the press:
“The Indian states will be fully independent, legally and constitutionally, as soon as the supremacy of the British ceases; and as such, the states will be free to act as per their wish whether to join the Indian Legislature or the Pakistan Legislative Assembly. In case of their decision to join either of the two, they can adjust their relations and arrangements anew as per their wish in the new setup.
The All India Muslim League’s policy has been quite unambiguous from the very beginning that we would not interfere in the internal affairs of any state; and such problems must primarily be discussed and solved between the people of the state concerned. If any state wishes to consult us in the matter, we offer our services readily. In case a state desiring to retain its independence by cooperating with Pakistan in trade and economic affairs only, we welcome them to have political talks on the same to arrive at any solution agreed upon for mutual good.
I am of the firm opinion that the Memorandum of the Cabinet Mission of May 12, 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 Pakistani. It is my personal belief that if any State wants to remain aloof, it may do so without any pressure from any quarter, whether it be the British Parliament or any political organisation in the country. The British Government has clearly informed them (the states) that sovereignty is not transferable. It can be brought to an end, thus making the states attain their independence automatically.”
The Quaid-i-Azam also 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, the Quaid-i-Azam, 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. The Khan of Kalat, mentioning his services and those of the Baloch in the creation of Pakistan, expressed his full confidence in the Quaid-i-Azam and the “Government of Pakistan” to be established under his leadership.
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. Legal opinion will be obtained to find out whether Pakistan Government is legally bound by the agreements and treaties that already exist between Kalat and the British Government. Further talks will be held between the nominees of Pakistan and Kalat after obtaining the legal opinion on the above points. 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, Pakistan shall be the legal, constitutional and political successor of the British. In order to discuss finally the relations between Kalat and Pakistan on matters of defense, foreign relations and communications, 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.
In our next article, we will begin to discuss the merger of Balochistan into Pakistan and the treatment that the Khan and the people of Balochistan received at the hands of the new inexperienced, incompetent politicians, who were already representing their class interests, holding the reigns of power. It must be made clear here that the Quaid-i-Azam immediately after partition and independence became too ill to be able to oversee the daily running of government and left this to his trusted lieutenants. At the same time, negotiations for merger of Balochistan with Pakistan also devolved onto the shoulders of these very people. The subsequent problems in the merger and the maltreatment of Balochistan by the federal government began from this time onwards, leading to civil unrest in Balochistan for decades and culminating in the bloody civil war of 1973 to 1977.
Even after the armed resistance of 1948, 1958, 1960 to 1968, and the civil war of 1973-77, the attitude of all federal governments, civilian or military, has not changed in the least towards Balochistan. Herein lies the genesis of the so-called “Balochistan problem.”
Saturday, October 28, 2000. By Asad Rahman
Merger with Pakistan
Following the preliminary talks between the nominees of the Kalat Government and the Government of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam invited the Khan of Kalat to Karachi for discussions on the future status of Kalat. These discussions took place in October 1947. The Quaid-i-Azam advised the Khan to expedite the merger in view of the developing dangers from neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and the potential threat from the Soviet Union to the newborn state of Pakistan.
He said, “I would sincerely advise you to merge your state with Pakistan. Both the states will be benefited by this measure and as far as the demands and other problems of Kalat are concerned, these will be finally decided in a spirit of mutual friendship.” The Khan replied, “I have great respect for your advice and it is my considered opinion that Kalat’s merger is necessary in order to make Pakistan stronger. In this connection, I would suggest 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 Khan.”
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. In view of this contention, the members proposed further talks with the Government of Pakistan on the basis of the agreements referred to. This decision of Kalat’s Parliament was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, for necessary processing.
Shortly afterwards, the Quaid-i-Azam visited Sibi and during his stay there insisted upon the Khan to sign the merger documents in his personal capacity. Trivialising his own Houses of Parliament, the Khan affirmed to the Quaid that on his individual persuasion, the members of both Houses of Kalat’s State Parliament had signified their consent for merger subject to such inconsequential conditions:
“No laws will be enacted without the prior consent of the Baloch tribes as might affect their traditional customs and traditions. The presence of all tribal Sardars is necessary at the ceremony of Kalat’s merger, if and when it takes place; and the Khan of Kalat and the Quaid-i-Azam should sign the merger documents before them. The Quaid and Government of Pakistan should issue a statement eulogizing the role of the Baloch people in the cause of the historic culmination in the establishment of the sovereign Muslim State of Pakistan. Lastly, the Quaid-i-Azam should personally address the traditional gathering of tribal Sardars, appreciating and acknowledging their sincere services in the cause of Islam and Pakistan.”
The Khan, by putting these conditions forward, was trying to use the Quaid’s personal influence and persuasiveness to get the members of his Parliament to agree to merge Balochistan with Pakistan without preconditions. He further suggested that the Quaid should instruct the Agent to the Governor General (who was an Englishman at the time) to guide the Baloch tribal leaders into accepting the merger of their State without any hesitation. By these manipulative measures undertaken by the Khan, it is abundantly clear that the Baloch leaders were not in favour of the merger without first thrashing out crucial issues like constitutional status, provincial autonomy, judicial system, resource allocations, taxation, socio-economic development programs, and all other governance subjects of vital importance in the life of a nation.
The Khan agreed to merge Kalat State with Pakistan in his subsequent discussions with SB Shah who confirmed the same in a letter to the Khan with these points:
“That you (the Khan) have at last acquiesced to merge Kalat State with Pakistan for the benefit of the people of Kalat. That you have summoned the Dar-ul-Awam and Dar-ul-Umra on the 21st of this month, and that you would let us know the decision arrived by them.”
Accordingly the Quaid handed over the matter to his newly formed Cabinet. The members of the cabinet were new entrants to such high office and lacked the requisite experience of handling sensitive matters like the ethnological, historical, cultural and traditional and democratic background of the Baloch and the peculiar status of Kalat State vis-a-vis the agreements made between Kalat, the British and subsequently Pakistan. The Quaid himself was by now very sick and weak in health and therefore unable to take part in governance, negotiations in any meaningful manner. His deputies were not of the same calibre and, therefore, it is no surprise that the affairs of Balochistan were mishandled from the very beginning. The Cabinet approached the merger of Balochistan with Pakistan in an atmosphere of apprehension and animosity.
The Khan still went ahead with his plans for the merger and informed the Government of Pakistan that:
“My Government will get the merger of Kalat State finalised within 3 months. In pursuance of Baloch traditions, the Khan of Kalat will proceed to Karachi along with his advisors to sign the merger documents as soon as these are finally drafted.”
The Pakistan Cabinet basing their policy formulations on absurd assumptions, in the meantime, was 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. The Cabinet decided to 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, and some did take to the hills making no secret of their intentions.
The neighbouring countries were quick to take notice of this vulnerable situation in Pakistan just a year after its birth. Reaction to this situation was particularly sharp in Afghanistan, India and Kashmir resulting in:
The Government and the people of Afghanistan becoming increasingly suspicious and adopting a hostile attitude towards Pakistan over the Durand line. Finding Pakistan in trouble, Bharat attacked Hyderabad state on September 9, 1948, and subdued it by September 17. Capitalising on the situation, the Maharaja of Kashmir also merged his state with India.
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. At the same time, Pakistan faced crucial situations on the external front, the most important developments being:
Armed clashes with the Indian Army for the liberation of Kashmir. Afghanistan stared its slogan of “Pakhtoonistan” and inciting Pathans of NWFP with money and material in order to give momentum to this political move. The Hindus and Sikhs in India were massacring Muslims wholesale and refugees were pouring into Pakistan from India daily by the millions. The Soviet Union was pressing its demand of access to the port of Gawadar on the Balochistan coast.
This was the situation as it stood in the first quarter of 1948 triggered by the illogical actions of the Pakistan Cabinet members. The Khan of Kalat
deeming it his patriotic duty towards Pakistan signed the merger documents in his personal capacity on March 30, 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 the Quaid-i-Azam that it had been decided to maintain the status quo ante in Kalat. Balochistan was to revert to the position it held pre-partition in the British period. A Political Agent, an officer subordinate to the AGG was appointed to look after the administration of the state and guide the Prime Minister in all internal affairs. Thus 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.
Monday, November 06, 2000. By Asad Rehman