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Afghan-Baloch Wars

Khan Barmazid

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Haibat Khan Niazi’s military expedition against Balochs of Multan

In 1543-44 , Sher Shah Suri gave the orders to Haibat Khan Niazi to wrest Multan from the sway of Balochs and detain Fateh Khan Jat of Kot Kaboola [1]. Haibat Khan , in obedience to the command, reached Songkehra. He sent Dhondana, the local chief, to Fateh Khan Baloch to induce him to mend his conduct. Meanwhile , he advanced up to the shrine of Shiekh farid Gunj Shakar.Fateh Khan Baloch shut himself in Fatehpur fort. Through the mediation of a nephew of Shiekh Farid, he came out to the besiegers. Haibat Khan put him in confinement till the arrival of fresh instructions from Sher Shah. Medu Baloch inspired by his strong attachment to the Baloch chief, tried to get Fateh Khan released by force. He failed and surrendered on the second day [2]. B.Dorn writes that Medu was seized by Bukhshoo Langah and delivered alive to Haibat Khan , who took possession of town of Multan and all its dependencies and made the strongest efforts to re-populate the country, which lay in a state of desolation by the oppressions of Balochs.

Naghar-Baloch wars

Naghars are Ghurghast Afghans [3]. As a dynasty Naghars rose to power under Islam Khan Naghar during reign of  Bahlol Lodhi, who had charge of southern parts of Multan province including Sitpur , Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazai khan and Kashmor in Sindh, all then on right bank of the Indus. He cut himself adrift from Langah at Multan and set up an independent government at Sitpur. But the Mirrani Balochs came soon into conflict with Naghars who had extended their dominion North-ward from Sitpur over Harrand and Dajal, but were expelled from those tracts by Ghazi khan in 1482 A.D. The Naghar territory thus diminished was soon divided between Kasim Khan , a grandson of the first islam Khan, who held the southern part and resided at Kin ,and Islam Khan his brother who held the northern, with Sitpur as his seat. Kasim Khan developed a feud with Islam Khan. The former invited and allowed the Mazari Balochs to settle on his territory to form an alliance with them against Islam Khan. Mazaris expelled the Naghars from Kin in 16th century and the Nahars of Sitpur fell into decay about the same time as as the Mirranis i.e about 1789 .[4]

Panni-Brahui wars

During the time of Mirza Khan Barozai, the Afghan Chief of Sibi(1666-1699 AD) eighteen battles were fought between the Panni Confederacy and the Brahuis of Kalat in the neighborhood of Sibi and Dhadar . Mir Ahmad Khan Kambrani , the ruler of Kalat hoped to annex the fertile lands of Kachhi and Dhadar tracts. In sixteen battles with the Barozai Ruler of Siwi, Mir Ahmad Brahui  was defeated in each encounter with their forces. A seventeenth engagement took place at a spot called Pir Lehkan in which neither party obtained a decisive result. But Mir Ahmad himself, and his Minister, Akhund Mohammad Saleh, were both wounded and Mir Shawaz and Mir Ibrahim, the latter an ancestor of the  Naushirwani Sardar Mir Azad Khan, lost their lives. The Brahuis left the battlefield; the Afghans collected the booty, consisting of silken belts and horses of Turki and Tazi breed. Mir Ahmad Qambrani’s sister named Bibo gallantly attacked the Pannis. Attired in male garments she fought valiantlyand got killed at the hand of Jalal Khan Kurak.

Marri tribesmen

In 1695 , the Khan of Kalat received the intelligence about absence of Mirza Khan from Sibi. He planned a well thought-out attack on Sibi. Skirting Sibi andDhadar he reached unnoticed above the Silachi village of Talli, and thus caught Rahim Khan Pirani (commnder of Pannis of Sibi) unprepared. The latter ,shocked and surprised, faced the Kambaranis on the Luni irrigation channel. For lack of infinitive and timely decision on the part of Rahim Khan, Pannis lost thebattle. [5]

Nawab Mirza Khan learnt about this debacle in Shikarpur. He rushed to Sibi,organized the disheartened Pannis into a fighting contingent and headed for Kalat. The Khan of Kalat gathered his force in the fort of Kalat. After a fewS kirmishes both sides thought it prudent to negotiate terms. Peace prevailed between the two tribes, which was sealed by a happy marriage of Princes Mahnaz the daughter of Mir Ahmad Qambrani with Said Khan Barozai Panni, the brother ofMirza Khan Barozai.

Conquest of Balochistan by Shah Hussein Ghilzai

Nadir Quli marched out of Mashad (1731 AD) against the Abdalis of Herat, his object being to defeat the Afghans in detail.  He asked hisally Abdullah Khan Baloch, a feudal of Ganjaba, to engage the Afghans so as to ease the Nadir’s advance on Kandahar. Shah Hussain Hotak had dispatched 3000men against the Baloch chief under the famous Chief Saidal Khan, the Nassari.While Abdullah Khan was preparing to carry out Nadir’s request, the Kalhora chief of Sindh marched against Abdullah Khan Baloch. A battle was fought, the Baloch were overthrown and Abdullah Khan Baloch was killed. Nadir’s agent,Abdul Momin Khan , who had been sent to Abdullah Khan to request him to engage the Afghans, returned to the camp near Herat, bringing along with him Mohabata nd Iltaz, the two sons of late Abdullah Khan Baloch. They do not appear to have been brought as hostages, but these Balochs were subjects of Safavi dyansty is beyond dispute, for Nadir confirmed Mohabat Khan, the eldest son ,in his father’s position.

The Baloch , beaten by the Kalhoras, retired to the fort on the Kwatah mound.Shah Hussain Hotaki besieged them. The Baloch attempted to break the siege but were repulsed. After another attack some days later, the Baloch, under cover of night , evacuated the place and made for Mastung and Kalat. Shah Hussain occupied the fort with 500 Jazailchis and a body of 200 cavalry under Sher DilKhan Babuzai and then pushed on to Mastung. On his arrival, Shah Hussain foundt he Baloch had abandoned Mastung and had fled with the others from Shal towards Ganjaba Kachhi area and Kalat. The Ghilzai perused them and overtook a body of the fugitives on the boundary of the Kalat district. The Baloch took to the hills,  leaving their families , cattle, flocks and other property in the hands of the Afghan force under Asadullah Khan Ishakzai Hotak. The Afghan did not molest the women and children and only captured the men.

When the flying Balochs reached Kalat, Mehrab Khan, the sardar of  all Balochs,expecting that the next movement would be against Kalat, tendered his submission and sought terms of accommodation , accompanied with offerings of horses and other presents. Sher Khan Baloch, hakim of Naushki and Mohabat Khan of Ganjaba, also submitted and tendered their allegiance.The former agreed tothe terms offered whereby he acknowledged his allegiance to Shah Hussien Ghilzai and stipulated to restore the cattle carried off from Pishin and Shorabak (Naushki). He also agreed to make the losses sustained by people of Shal; to furnish a contingent of 5,000 men whenever the sovereign of Kandhar required troops; and to give up some chiefs as hostages for the performance of these terms. This ratified, Shah Hussain returned to Kandahar, taking five chiefs along with him as hostages , according to the terms agreed upon.[6]

Revolt of Mir Nasir Khan Brahui

With a difficult situation for the Afghans in India (1758 AD),Nasir Khan, a formally loyal Brahui Chieftain, also availed of the opportunity and declared his independence. A Brahui Baloch confederation, centered in Kalat state, threatened Ahmad Shah Abdali, Nasir Khan was defeated but was allowed to rule locally in return for the right to ask for troops to serve in time of War. Nasir Khan gave a cousin in marriage to Ahmad Shah, while receiving Quetta and Mastung as wedding gifts.

The Battle between Kakars and Balochs

 In 1809-10, a contingent comprising of the Balochs and Pannis, led by Mir Mustafa Brahui, invaded the Sanatias at Dozakh Tangi, deep inside the valley of Ziarat. The Kakars defended their territory tenaciously and repulsed the Baloch-Brahui coalition.

Graves of Nawab of Mirza Khan Panni and his father Junaid Khan, at Dhadar(Bolan).

Nasir Khan II , the chief of Kalat, assembled six thousands Balochs at Shal to attack Kakars. The Kakars , alarmed at this serious invasion, retired with their flocks to Doshakha , a stony plain and climbed the highest peaks of the mountains , west of Zawara; these were difficult to climb and were surrounded by inaccessible precipices. The Balochs, aware of the strength of this place if approached from Shal side, changed direction and proceeded through the Hanna valley, across the ridge to enter the Zawara valley and advanced through a narrow defile which was the only practicable route to Doshakha. Tahmas Khan,the Kakar chief, allowed them to advance till they reached the last steep ascent where his men showered them with a barrage of boulders and completely defeated the Balochs.[7]

Hasni-Marri wars

Though Hasnis are now an unimportant group, amalgamated with Khetrans, they were in former days the most powerful tribes of Sewistan. The Hasnis are of Tor Tarin Origin and their ancient home was in Pishin. About three and half centuries have elapsed since Hasan and Musa Khan, Tor Tarin,with their families wandered to the Marri hills in search of livelihood. They took service with the Marris as Shepherds, and at length a Marri carried off Musa’s wife. Hasan came to Pishin for help. The Tareens dispatched a party of 12 men with Hasan who was able to recover Musa’s wife and kill her abductor,but a feud was thus established between the Marris and Hasnis as the Marris called their opponents from the name of their leader. The Tareens made repeated attacks on the Marris, turned them out and occupied Kahan, Phelawar and Nesao. Hasan was subsequently killed in a raiding expedition against the Brahuis in Bolan. He was succeeded by his son Muhammad, who manged the tribe for 20 years and lived in peace with his neighbors. On his death his son Nur Muhammad succeeded him. He was the chief of tribe for 30 years, and during this period Hasnis the summit of their prosperity. Nur Muhammad was succeded by his son Sadiq Khan who permitted the Marris to build a fort and live as “hamsayas” at Kahan. The Marris, however, gradually collected together and fought with the Hasnis at Phelawar, where 200 Marris and 100 Hasnis were killed. Peace was then concluded, but at the end of year quarreling again commenced with reference to land. The Marris, now applied to Nasir Khan Brahui of Kalat for assistance and he sent a force to help them ; the Hasnis were defeated by the combined Marris and Brahuis and retired to Kohlu, which in those days belonged to Zarkun Afghans. This was about 1780 AD. Subsequently another fight ensued at DaolaWanga, when Sadiq , the Hasni chief , was killed and the power of Hasni tribe was completely broken. The place had since been called Sadiq Wanga. Sadiq’s son however continued to fight against the Marris and he was assisted by a Luni force, but was again beaten; 58 Hasnis and 38 Lunis fell, whilst the Marris only lost 17 men. A further attempt resulted in total destruction of an advanced party of Lunis under their chief Gul Khan. This defeat resulted in the dispersion of the remainder of the Hasnis.[8]

Luni-Marri war

 In 19th century, chief of Lunis, Paind Khan collected a force of 800 men , and attacked some Marris who were living with the Khetrans. Babul Khan, Khetran, claimed the restoration of property looted, but the Lunis declined to give it up. In the fighting which ensued, the Lunis were at first successful , but the Khetrans and Marris at length collected in such large force that Lunis were obliged to retire towards Lakhi.[9]

The battle between Khajjaks and  Brahuis of Kalat

In 1817 AD, the Khajjaks consolidated their supremacy in the region by defeating the Brahuis. Mir Muhammad Khan Shahwani , at the head of big lashkar , attacked the Barozai of Sibi. The Khajjaks offered stiff resistance. Mir Mahrab Khan, along with Akhund, was then at Ganjaba. He was instructed by Khan of Kalat to raise more fighting men from the local Sarabani Afghans at Bhag and re-attack the Khajjaks. Mir Mahrab Khan, with his son MirMubarak, also moved to Bhag.The former was seriously ill and Mir Muhabat Khan Shahwani, who was on his way to attack Sibi, had to be called back. Mir Mahrab Khan died and Brahuis attack on Sibi fizzled out. The Khajjaks emerged victorious.[10]

Encroachment on Afghan territories by Marris 

The losses suffered by the Khajjaks at the hands of the Britishforces broke the strength of the Pannis as a tribe and provided an opputunityto the neighbouring Marris in Sibi tract where they displaced the Pannis of Badra, Kwat, Mandahi and almost desolated Sanagan and overran the whole tractof Kachhi , forcing the original Afghan inhabitants to leave their lands and villages and shift to Sindh and other places. Initially the British preferred the Pashtuns over the Balochs ; however , after the death of their stooge KingS hah Shuja, they changed their mind and tried with their tacit support to pit the Balochs against the Pashtuns and thus pave the way for their subsequent occupation of Balochistan, particularly the Pashtun territory. Indeed, for the Afghans of Balochistan, the Anglo-Khajjak Battle of 1841 was a turning point for the ascendency of the Balochs over the Afghans and the beginning of Marri Baloch encroachment in Sibi district. [11]

Zarkun-Bugti war

In January 1876 the Masori Bugtis attacked and looted the Zarkuns who pursued the party and killed 14 of them. A few months afterwards another body of Bugtis, which came to revenge the death of their comrades, was attacked by the Zarkuns, and its leader Haidar Khan was killed with 28 others. The Marris fomented the strife and gave passage through their country to a force,consisting of nearly all the Bugtis led by their chiefs, the Zarkuns were outnumbered, the Kohlu valley was sacked, 70 Zarkuns and 27 Bugtis were killed.Their settlements were burnt. The Marris, who had previously acquired Gamboli and Mamand from the Zarkuns, invited them to return to Kohlu and the Marri Chief Ghazan offered them an offensive and defensive alliance against the Bugtis. The Zarkuns returned to Kohlu and Ghazan Khan Marri died soon afterwards. In July 1878 the Zarkuns, few and weak, yielded to the Marris, who took three-fourths of the valley themselves and left a fourth to the Zarkuns[12]

Musa Khel- Baloch wars 

The Musa Khels were generally well equipped with matchlocks , and on account of this were held in great respect by the Balochs who possessed comparatively few firearms . However , they had no horsemen and found it difficult to make distant forays.  The feuds existed between the Musa Khels and the Baloch neighboring tribes , namely, the Hadianis, Durkanis , Bugtis, and Marris since time immemorial. For many years the Musa Khels had been incessantly plundered by the Hadianis and Durkani (clans of Lashari Balochs) ; both are sub-divisions of Gorchanis. The Marris and Bugtis also considered the outlaying Musa Khel settlements as a fair game but didnt always have their way with them. Once a big party of the Marris. in 1880,  made a successful raid and were returning , apparently unmolested , to their homes with a large drove of captured cattle. The Musa Khels intercepted them at the Han pass and not only recovered their property and cattle but also killed anumber of the Marris. The latter didnt attack the Musa Khels for quite sometime. Nevertheless , other Baloch tribes didnt for many years didnt miss any opportunity and raided the unguarded Musa Khel caravans . The Musa Khels to protect themselves , entered into an alliance with Kibzi Kakars of Sehan. Thus reinforced, they counter-raided , with considerable force , the Hadiani and Durkani settlements. The aggressive Balochs were now demoralized by the enterprize and hardiness of the Musa Khels who followed them to the recesses ofthe mountains , which they had hitherto considered inaccessible. The Musa Khels forced them to move from the higher and exposed mountains to the low hills on the border of Dera Ghazi Khan District.

 In March 1883 , Mr Fryer, the Deputy Commissionar  of DeraGhazi Khan decided to settle matters between the Musa Khels [13], Hadianis and Durkanis. The Musa Khels responded to his peace efforts , however , they had apprehensions about the Balochs whom they thought would violate the settlementand might catch them off-guard. The deputy commissionaire gave an assurance that he would influence the Baloch chiefs to keep the peace. There after peace prevailed in the area with the exception of minor crimes. [14]

                                      Notes and  References:

  1. B.Dorn, “History of the Afghans”, p-134
  2. Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans”,p-324
  3. For details on the tribe, seeNaghar
  4. Gazetteer – District Muzaffargarh, p-23
  5. Mullah Fazil writes: Mir Ahmad got off his horse toi nspect the bodies of some of the Afghan nobles famous for their bravery in the battlefield. He smeared his moustaches with the fat of Syed Abdul Nabi and drank the blood of Shanbay Pirani (Mulla Fazil Nasab Nam-i-Barozi or History ofSiwi, 1825 AD).
  6. Raverty, “Notes on Afghanistan and Balochistan:,p-612
  7. History of the Pathans Vol.III page 72-73
  8. Loralai Gazeteer 1907 , p-104
  9. Loralai Gazetteer 1907, p-86-87
  10. Abdul Aziz Luni. “Afghans of Frontier passes”,Vol.II, p-84

9 . Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans”, Vol.III,p-181

  1. Mr. O.T Duke�s report on Thal-Chotili and Harnai district, compiled in 1883 A.D. Sibi district Gazetteer,  Compiled by A.McConaghey ,page-67
  2. The Musa Khels chiefs were also accompanied by chiefs of Jafar and Isot Afghans
  3. Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans”,Vol.III, p-110-111
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