1871-1947 History of Baluchistan 1955-1970

Pakistani Baluchistan 1947-1955

In 1947, British India was partitioned into the independent Dominions of India and Pakistan. The nominally independent princes ruling the princely states, hitherto subject to indirect rule, were expected to opt either for India or Pakistan. For the Khans of Kalat, Kharan and Las Bela, and the ruler of Makran, a vassal of Kalat, the option for Pakistan was expected, as the population of Balochistan was Muslim.
The Khan of Kalat, instead, desiret an independent federation of Baluchi feudatory states under the leadership of Kalat. Pakistan did not tolerate this attitude; in 1948 Pakistani forces occupied Kalat; the Khan was placed under arrest. His brother Abdul Karim continued to lead Baluchi resistance, until arrested and sentenced to imprisonment in 1949.
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1948 and the Indo-Pakistani population exchange of the same year had little impact on Balochistan, as it was far from the contested frontiers, and few of the Mohajirs (Muslim refugees from India) considered Balochistan as an area to settle.
The stretches of Baluchistan which until 1947 were directly administrated by the British were transformed into the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, with capital Quetta. The states of Kalat, Kharan, Las Bela and Makran (in 1948 elevated from a vassal of Kalat to a state independent of Kalat) in 1952 formed the Baluchistan States Union.
The law declaring Urdu the national language of Pakistan had limited impact on Baluchistan, as the majority of the population was illiterate. Baluchistan (province and states union combined) made up over 40 % of the territory of West Pakistan, but only 8 % of the population; with the population of East Bengal considered, the issues of Baluchistan, for the administration of Pakistan, facing the issues of having to establish a national infrastructure, integrate millions of refugees and dealing with neighbouring India, were of marginal importance.
While in the core provinces of Sindh, Punjab and East Bengal elections were held, provincial assenblies and cabinets established, the province of Baluchistan was administered by a chief commissioner. Until 1955 no provincal election was held.
Pakistan's political leadership was urban, had received a modern education, in India and partially at western universities. They were inspirited by the vision of a modern Pakistani nation, Urdu the national language, and regarded the feudal structures in Baluchi society, as well as in other regions of the country, as an obstacle to the implementation of their vision.
The heavy-handed means by which the Pakistani administration treated the Khan of Kalat was resented by many of his subjects. In 1955, the provinces and princely states were abolished altogether, merged into the new province of West Pakistan.

Carina Jahani, State Control and its Impact on Balochistan
Articles Kalat, Las Bela, Makran, Kharan, Baluchistan States Union, Baluchistan (Chief Commissoner's Province), History of Quetta, from Wikipedia
Kalat, from Indian Princely States
Pakistani Annexation of Kalat 1945-1948, from ACED
The Exact Date of Kalat's Occupation by Paki Army in 1948, from Baloch Voice
Battleground Baluchistan : 1948 - Abdul Karim's Reign, from Hindustan Times
The Chronicle of Pakistan : 1949, by Khurram Ali Shafique
DOCUMENTS Pakistani Princely States, from World Statesmen; scroll down for Baluchistan States. posted by Ben Cahoon
Flag of Kalat, from FOTW
REFERENCE Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.), A History of Pakistan and its Origins, translated from the French, London : Anthem Press (2002) 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 954.91 J23h

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 2nd 2007

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