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the_baloch_and_balochistan

The Baloch and Balochistan

By NASEER DASHTI

CHAPTER 18

Persian Encroachments in Western Balochistan

The Baloch recognized the boundaries of Balochistan at the time of Mir Naseer Khan I as the Baloch homeland. The Khanate of Kalat under Mir Naseer Khan I extended to Hasanabad (Sistan) and the Helmand River near Rudbar in Afghanistan. The areas in the control of the Khan of the Baloch included Nimroz, south of Helmand and southwest of Fa rah of modern Afghanistan. Western Makuran up to Kerman and Sarhad (southern Sistan) up to great desert formed the western boundaries of the Baloch state. The areas of western Makuran and Sarhad came under the control of the Baloch state in its peak days when the Khanate forces made inroads into western Makuran up to Minaab. During the second half of the nineteenth century, while the Khanate of Kalat was in the firm grip of the British forces, the Baloch areas in western Balochistan were increasingly being encroached by a resurgent Persian state. With the introduction of Indo-European Telegraph Line, beginning from later part of the nineteenth century, the British also became deeply involved in the affairs of western Balochistan.

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PERSIAN INROADS IN WESTERN BALOCHISTAN

The Persians had been increasing their penetrations in Balochistan from the establishment of the Safavid Dynasty in Iran. The Safavid established Persian control in Makuran, mainly from Bampur, Dezzak, and Sistan. In 1515, Shah Esmail Safavi was forced to accept the Portuguese occupation of Hormoz and concluded a treaty with Admiral Alfonso de Albuquerque. In the terms of the treaty, it was included that the Portuguese would assist the Shah of Persia in suppressing a revolt in Makuran. At this time, the overland traffic in Makuran was still taxed by Saffarids ruler (Malik) of Kech, who also controlled Gwadur. During the reign of Shah Abbas, under the command ofGanj Ali Khan, a strong Persian force attacked Bampur. The Baloch forces under the command of Malik Shamsuddin Hakom (ruler) of Bampur were defeated, and Malik Shamsuddin was arrested and taken to Safavid capital of Ispahan along with several Baloch chiefs of Dezzak, Panouch, and Kasarkand. Later, Malik Mirza, son of Malik Shamsuddin, was reinstated as the ruler of Bampur by the Safavid king.

During the reign of Shah Hussain Safavi, various Baloch chiefs in a semiautonomous relationship with the Persian Government were ruling various regions of western Balochistan. Around 1620, Kech was taken over by the Buladai tribe, who dominated the whole of Makuran up to Jask until 1740 (Naseer, 1979). Malik Dinar was the ruler of Bampur, Purdil Khan was the ruler of Jalk, and Khusrow Bozorgzada was the ruler of Shustun while Shah Salim Nosherwani was ruling the Kharan region. The Baloch fought intermittent battles against the Persian forces concentrated in Kerman, which were increasingly interfering with the affairs in the Baloch regions.

During 1691, a huge Baloch army under the joint command of Shah Salim Nosherwani and Khusrowr Bozorgzada invaded Kerman. The Persians, under the command of Reza Kuli Khan, confronted the Baloch forces near Bam and forced them to retreat. However, the Baloch reduced many surrounding settlements of Kerman before

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Khan Baloch was made the governor of Kuhgilu in 1729 by Shah Tahmasp after he pledged loyalty to the Safavid king. After Nader Shah Afshar's attempt to depose the Safavid king, Muhammad Khan Baloch was among the main supporters of Shah Tahmasp. In 1733, he collected a large force, which was also joined by the sympathizers of Safavid king and Arab tribe of Ahwaz to counter the advances of Nader Shah Afshar. In a bloody battle in Shulistan defile between the forces of Nader Shah Afshar and Muhammad Khan Baloch, the Baloch were heavily defeated with the loss of three thousand fighters. Near Fahliyan, the mound where Muhammad Khan Baloch took his last stand against Nader Shah Afshar became known as Sangar-e-Muhammad Baloch. Muhammad Khan Baloch escaped to Shiraz, and from there, he made his way to the island of Qais. He was arrested from Qais and brought to Shiraz where he was blinded by the orders of Nader Shah Afshar and died in prison (Lockhart, 1938).

In 1739, Admiral Taqi Khan, commander of Nader Shah Afshar's naval forces, invaded Gwadur on his way to Sindh. In search of provisions for his starving forces, he ventured into Kech where the Baloch forces, under the leadership of Malik Dinar, heavily defeated the Persians, and they were forced to withdraw from Gwadur (Lockhart, 1938).

After the British occupation of Kalat, Qajar rulers of Persia increasingly became involved in western Balochistan. Beginning from 1838, western Balochistan became the battlefield of hostilities between the supporters of Ismaeli spiritual leader Agha Khan and his brother, and the Persian forces stationed at Kerman. The Baloch under the leadership of Muhammad Ali supported Agha Khan and his brother. In 1843, the governor of Kerman occupied Bampur (Watson, 1866). A strong military presence was established in Bampur, and military expeditions were mounted periodically into various regions of western Balochistan. In one of the tragic events of the Baloch— Persian conflict of that time, foreseeing an imminent defeat from the Persians under the command of Habibullah Shahsevan and in

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continued the harassment and humiliation of the Baloch, and in 1891, several Baloch leaders were seized and detained for several years (Sykes, 1902).

In the absence of any central leadership to lead the Baloch in western Balochistan, the Baloch resistance turned into a general uprising against the Persians. This resistance, later, also turned against the British who were establishing the British Indo-European Telegraph Line, which was to link Karachi and Basra. In 1897, the Acting Superintendent in the Indo-European Telegraph Department at Jask, Mr. Graves was robbed and murdered. In the same year, Sardar Hussain Khan attacked Fahraj (Sykes, 1902) and led a general rebellion against the Persian Government in Sarhad, Sarawan, and Bampur, demanding reduction of taxes imposed by the Persian authorities. With the joining of several Baloch groups, the revolt spread to Sarbaz, Dezzak, Laashaar, and Bamposhth. Mir Hussain Khan occupied Bampur, Fahraj, and Bazman and other places, which had small Iranian garrisons, and controlled most of the northern part of the province. The Baloch forces defeated a large Persian army sent from Kerman to reestablish the Persian order in 1897 (Sykes, 1902). The uprising lasted about three years and ended with the agreement, recognizing Mir Hussain Khan as the ruler of the Baloch areas under the Persian sovereignty. In return, the Baloch leader acknowledged every claim made by Persians on the Baloch territories.

On the death of Mir Hussain Khan in 1907, his son Sardar Sayyad Khan and Baranzai (Barakzai ) chief Mir Bahrain Khan tried to consolidate their power in western Balochistan by asserting their control on Geh, Bent, Kasarkand, Sarbaz, Bampur, and Fahraj (Sykes, 1902). Sardar Sayyad Khan later submitted to the Persian authorities by accepting the title of Sardar-e-Nizam. The Persians recognized him as the nominal ruler of the region. However, Mir Bahrain Khan refused to submit, rallied the Baloch chiefs, and became the actual authority in western Balochistan. An army was sent from Kerman against the rising power of Mir Bahram Khan in 1910 (Spooner, 1988). However, the Persians failed to overcome the Baloch

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against the British colonial domination. However, most important of the responsible factors for the final defeat of the Baloch resistance in western Balochistan was that the Baloch chiefdom lacked the structural and organizational capacity to withstand a modern army with limitless resources, artillery, and air power. Mir Dost Muhammad Khan Barakzai did not have enough time to consolidate his authority over an inherently divisive tribal society where local Hakoms were vulnerable in defecting to powerful forces.

After the fall of Kalat in 1839, the short-lived chiefdom in western Balochistan brought a hope of national resurgence among the Baloch nationalists. However, with the collapse of the Baloch resistance against the Persian domination in western Balochistan, there prevailed a period of general depression throughout the Baloch land. Since then, the Baloch under Iranian domination had been suffering tremendously. Their culture, language, and national identity are being mortally threatened by increased cultural and religious invasion ofthe Persian state. The Persian grip became strong over the Baloch with the introduction of various administrative measures by subsequent Persian regimes. Apart from directly ruling Balochistan through Persian administrators and military officials, the Persians also incorporated in their governing strategies the installments of Baloch Hakoms of their choice as their protégés in different regions.

THE BRITISH INVOLVEMENT IN WESTERN BALOCHISTAN

The initial phases of Persian incursions in the Baloch region during the nineteenth century began in the reign of Qajar king, Nasir-al Din Shah. In the context of the „Great Game,“ the British decided to adopt the policy of appeasement toward the Iranians to dissuade them from the Russian influence. However, soon, the British in India began to take a more serious interest in the region because of many of their concerns and interests that compelled them to increase their direct role in western Balochistan. In this process,

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Chahbahar was only controlling the Gwadur region and immediately signed various treaties regarding the establishment and protection of the Line with the British authorities.

The Baloch resistance against Persians and the British manifested itself on sporadic raids on the camps of surveyors and other installments of the Telegraph Line. On several occasions, the British officials were attacked and killed by groups of the Baloch with the tacit approval of their chiefs. The British retaliation on the other hand was out of proportions. In 1898, in consequence of the murder of Mr. Graves and the generally unsettled state in western Balochistan, 150 rifles of the Bombay Marine Battalion were sent to western Balochistan from India, of whom a hundred were to be located at Chahbahar and fifty at Jask (Spooner, 1988). This was with tacit approval of the Persian authorities. To punish the murderers of the telegraph officer Mr. Graves, a major campaign was launched, and hundreds of the Baloch were killed and many of their settlements were burnt during 1898 campaigns (Curzon, 1966). Another campaign against the Baloch in Magas and Erafshan areas caused huge destruction and casualties among the Baloch (Saldanha, 1905).

As the Persian Government was unable to protect the British trade, security, and communication interests, the British anxiety increased regarding the situation in western Balochistan. The British, therefore, tried to protect their interests unilaterally by increasing their political and military presence in the region. In 1901, they asked permission to set up a vice-consulate at Bampur for the protection of British subjects. The Persian Government rejected the proposal but allowed them to set one up in Bam (Kerman) instead (Spooner, 1988).

In Sarhad region, the Baloch tribes of Ghamshadzai, Yarahmadzai, and Esmailzai resisted the Persian encroachment. However, alarmed by increasing activities of the Baloch tribes, threatening their supply lines, and forestalling any German political advance in the region, the British sent a force under the command of General Dyer to deal with the problem. At this time, the Baloch tribe of Ghamshadzai

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THE BALOCH AND BALOCHISTAN under Sardar Khalil Khan Ghamshadzai held the area around Jalk and Safed Koh. West of them was the Baloch tribe of Yarahmadzai under Sardar Jiand Khan Yarahmadzai who was the nominal head of the confederacy of the Baloch tribes of Sarhad. West of Khwash was the Baloch tribe of Esmailzai under Sardar Juma Khan Esmailzai. For obvious reasons, General Dyer succeeded in his task by defeating the Baloch forces and crushing the Baloch resistance (see Dyre, 1921).

In 1924, the control of the Sarhad region was formally surrendered by the British to the Persian Government. The Baloch rose in rebellion in 1925, but it was overcome by the Persian authorities in 1926 (Aitchison, 1865). After the collapse ofBarakzai Chiefdom of Bampur in 1928, resistance against the Persians was manifested by intermittent outbreaks of disorder in this part of Balochistan until late 1930s. A rebellion of Sardar Juma Khan Esmailzai was crushed in 1931, and another uprising in Kuhak was defeated in 1938 with much bloodshed by the Persian Army under the command of General Alborz (Baloch, 1987).

The Persian incursions and the British interests in the region ultimately caused the division and permanent Persian occupation of western Balochistan. There began immediately a process of cultural imperialism by the Persian rulers. They embarked upon a campaign of assimilation of the Baloch into the Persian culture. The use of Balochi language was discouraged ruthlessly, and the Baloch were encouraged to adopt the Persian dress and public behavior. The Persians also created some new Baloch tribes, giving them names of their choice. The Balochi personal names were forcibly replaced in official documents. Although the attempts of the Persian rulers to persuade the Baloch to adopt the Shi a doctrine of Islam failed, in reaction, however, it prompted some of the Baloch to become strict Stinni followers. In the coming years, this action and reaction phenomenon nearly changed the character of a secular Baloch society, and religion increasingly began its intrusion into the Baloch society in western Balochistan.

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CHAPTER 19

The Division of Balochistan

During the nineteenth century, Balochistan became divided into different parts under the control of various powers of the region. After the occupation of Kalat in 1839, the British officials began a process of dividing the Khanate territories. Eastern regions of the Khanate Arund, Dajal, and Derajat had been taken away from the control of the Khan and were being administered directly by the British administrators in Punjab. Quetta, Chagai, Sibi, and Bolan Pass had been incorporated in British India on various pretexts. The 1879 Treaty ofGandamak with Afghanistan sanctioned the temporary occupation of Sibi to the Government of India. The Khan of Kalat leased out Quetta to Government of British India on April 1, 1883 with the signing of the Accord of Dasht Plain (Naseer, 1979). With the fall of Kalat, the Persian and Afghan governments claimed sovereignty on various regions of Balochistan, including Makuran, Sarhad, and Nemroz. In the context of the „Great Game,“ the British, under various boundary commissions, granted western and northwestern regions of Balochistan to Persia and Afghanistan. Many factors were responsible for influencing the British decision to divide Balochistan ultimately. These include appeasement of Persia—to prevent her from going into Russian camp—stabilizing Afghanistan as a viable buffer state between Russia and British

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India, protecting the line of communication from India to Europe, and, finally, general security concerns of the British in the Middle East.

DIVISION OF BALOCHISTAN: A CASUALTY OF THE GREAT GAME

Anglo-Russian rivalry in military and diplomatic arenas had been termed as the „Great Game“ in the diplomatic circles of the nineteenth century. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the pace of Russian advance in Central Asia gained momentum with the occupation of Bukhara in 1866 and of Samarkand in 1869. From the British point of view, this advance was threatening its possession in India and Persian Gulf. The specter of a Russian threat to vital British interests in India was not only unnerving for the British authorities in India, but it also became the universal obsession among the British policy makers for a long time to come. The description of Brigadier-General Dickson (see Dickson, 1924, pp. 22-23) on the Russian options in South Asia is the summation of the British perceptions during the „Great Game.“

Russia is a great self-contained country, possessing within her own borders all the essentials for building up a prosperous nation with one exception—free outlets to open sea. Her ports are either ice-bound in winter, as in the case of those in the north, or commanded by territorial waters of another power, as in the case of the Black Sea ports. History has shown that access to the sea is an almost indispensable factor in building up prosperity, and to reach the 'warm water' has been a traditional ambition of Russia since the time of Peter the Great. There were obviously three directions in which this ambition could be satisfied without encroaching on the territory of powerful

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neighbors, viz, the Mediterranean via the Balkans, the Pacific via China, or the Indian Ocean via Persian Gulf… Britain having been regarded as the power chiefly responsible for shutting the door on this (the Mediterranean outlet), the Russian policy assumed that strongly anti-British bias which was a familiar feature of the time. Every effort was made to push forward in Central Asia and to obtain a predominating influence in Persia, the former by its veiled threat to India giving Russia a lever against Britain, the latter as a means of reaching the warm sea in a region where Britain would not be likely to obtain continental help in thwarting her.“

Beginning from the eighteenth and continued in the nineteenth century, a high-profile diplomatic and espionage game played in Central Asia between Russia and Britain brought negative consequences for many small states and nationalities in the region. For a while, France was also an interested partner in this game; during the last decades of the eighteenth century, increased French diplomatic activities in Tehran caused much alarm among the British authorities in India and England. The British became much suspicious from the activities of the French representatives in seeking alliance with the Persian Government. The Russo-French Agreement of Tilsit signed in 1808 prompted the British authorities to increase their efforts for securing friendship with the Persians in order to dissuade them from joining the threatening alliance of France and Russia (Janmahmad, 1989). In the context of Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran were viewed by the British as the vulnerable spots from where any Russian advance can be made toward warm waters, posing direct threat to the precious British possession of India. Dickson (1924) observed that according to British perceptions, a weak Persia in a lawless condition and with an empty treasury would not be a preferable obstacle across Russia's route to warm water. Among the countermeasures against Russian advances, the British extended financial and diplomatic support to

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a politically weak and financially bankrupt Persian Government. A policy of appeasement was adapted in dealings with the Persians in order to make the Persian border as the final defensive line against any further Russian advance.

Every effort was made to make Afghanistan viable geographically. Creation and stabilization of Afghanistan as a buffer state between Russia and the British India was designed by the planners in New Delhi and London. After a long drawn-out tussle, the recognition of Afghanistan as a buffer state was formalized between the Russians and the British with the signing of the Pamir Boundary Agreement between the two powers. Moreover, to strengthen Afghanistan by expanding its geographical landmass, the British decided to pressurize the weak Persian Government to cede the control of Herat and Sistan. From the British point of view, it was very important. An Afghanistan without the territories of Persian provinces of Herat and Sistan would have not been in a geographical position to serve as a buffer between the British India and the Russia. Meanwhile, demarcation of formal boundaries became imperative for the stabilization of Afghanistan, which was carved out from the amalgamation of geographically, culturally, and historically diverse ethnic groups. In this context, some of the Baloch territories were ceded to Afghanistan.

The architect of the division of Balochistan, Goldsmid (1873), justified the Persian incursions in western Balochistan. Supporting the Persian claims on the Baloch land on the ground that Persia had been losing territory to Russia in the north, to the Ottomans in the West, and to Afghanistan in the East, the only avenue left for her to expand was the southeast. He identified western Balochistan, where the constant feud between the tribal chiefs had made the land as an easy prey to the Persian design.

In the context of the „Great Game,“ establishment of Afghanistan as a buffer state and strengthening of Persian state to withstand any Russian pressure became the cornerstone of the British foreign policy regarding Central and South Asia. By default, Balochistan

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in disruptive activities, damaging installations and robbing British camps. The Baloch chiefs were also agitating against the increased Persian advances and aggressions upon the Baloch land. The Persians and the British forces had been carrying out long drawn-out and expensive joint punitive expeditions against the Baloch resistance groups in the region often ending in bloody clashes. In this context, it was felt prudent by the British to put these areas under a firm controlling authority by formally delimiting the boundaries of the Khanate of Kalat and Persia.

DIVISION OF BALOCHISTAN UNDER BOUNDARY COMMISSIONS

The British concerns for the security of Indo-European Telegraph Line was only one of the factors responsible for the division of Balochistan. In accordance with the British policy of appeasement toward the Persians to protect them from Russian influences, compensating geographical losses of the Persian state, which she suffered against the Ottomans and Russia, also became imperative. During 1871, the British agreed to the Persian proposal for the division of Balochistan by officially demarcating a boundary line separating the British and Persian areas of influence in Balochistan (Goldsmid, 1873). The border between the Khanate of Kalat and Persia was demarcated under Makuran Boundary Commission (1870-1871) and Perso-Baloch Boundary Commission (1896). The Baloch areas of Sistan were allocated to Persia and Afghanistan under two Sistan arbitration commissions (1872, 1903). The final demarcation of Sistan took place in 1904 by the British Commissioner, Sir Henry McMahon. The line approved by Sir Henry McMahon was the extension of Durand Line, and it demarcated the Baloch—Afghan border. McMahon Line covers an area from Chaman to the Perso— Baloch border. From the arbitrary announcement of boundary lines, without taking into consideration the Baloch interests, it appears that a division of influence between the British, Afghanistan, and

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„This line may be thus described: Commencing from the northernmost point, or that which is furthest from the sea, the territory of Khelat is bounded to the west by the large Persian District of Dizzuk, which is composed of many Dehs or minor Districts, those on the frontier being Jalk and Kallegan. Below these two last-named is the small District of'Kohuk, which, together with Punjgur, comprising Parum and other dependencies, is on the Khelat side of the frontier, while on the Persian side is Bampusht.“

„Below Punjgur, the frontier, possessions of Khelat to the sea are Boleida, including Zamiran and other dependencies, Mund and Dusht. Withing the Persian line of frontier are the villages or tracts belonging to Sirbaz and Bahu Dustyari. The boundary of Dusht is marked by a long line drawn through the Drabol hill situated between the Rivers Bahu and Dusht, to the sea in the Bay of Gwuttur.“

„to summarise: Punjgur and Parum and other dependencies with Kohuk; Boleida, including Zamiran and other dependencies; Mund, including Tump, Nasserabad, Kedj, and all Districts, dehs and dependencies to the eastward; Dusht with its dependencies as far as the sea: these names exhibit the line of actual possession of Khelat, that is to say, all tracts to the east of the frontier ofactual Persian possession, which frontier comprises Dizzuk and Bampusht, Sirbaz, Pishin, Bahu and Dustyari.“

The Goldsmid line was accepted by Persia while the Khanate officials mutely protested on the division of their land. This was the beginning of the division of the Baloch land under subsequent commissions listed above and described below. However, immediately after the delineation of the border was completed and Major General

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Goldsmid departed from Iran, the Persian forces occupied Khanate regions of Kohuk and parts of Mashkel Valley. To settle the new dispute, the Perso-Baloch Frontier Delimitation Commission was formed in 1895, and Sir Thomas Holdich was appointed as the chief commissioner. This commission in 1896 formally awarded Kuhak, Kenarbasteh, Esfandak, and areas to the west of Mashkhel River to the Persians (Baloch, 1987).

Figure 27: Map showing division of Sistan

(from Mojtahed-Zadeh,2004)

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DIVISION OF SISTAN UNDER ARBITRATION COMMISSIONS

The Sistan Arbitration Commission (1872) was formed as Major General Goldsmid being the chief commissioner. It was to demarcate the boundaries of Persia and Afghanistan in Sistan region. In his award, Goldsmid distinguished between Sistan proper and outer Sistan. The former he defined as running from the Neizar, or reed beds, on the north to the main canal on the south, the district being bounded at that period by the Helmand River on the east. This area, estimated at nine hundred and fifty square miles, with a population of45,000, was awarded to Persia (Goldsmid, 1873). Outer Sistan, or the district on the right bank of the Helmand River, was awarded to Afghanistan.

Boundary lines dividing Sistan proper were drawn in the following manner (Goldsmid, 1873):

From Siah Kuh near Bandan, which is the beginning of the Qaenat district, a line to be drawn to the southern limit of the Neizar toward Lash-Jowein. Thence the line continues to a point named Shahi, which is the end of Helmand's main waterbed.
From Shahi, the boundary takes a more northwest to southeast direction to Korki.
From Korki, the boundary follows Helmand River's main channel upstream as far as Kuhak.
From Kohuk, the boundary takes a northeast to southwest direction in a straight line across desert as far as Kuh-e-Malek Siah, where the boundaries of Balochistan, Persia, and Afghanistan meet.

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Figure 30: Map showing British Balochistan at the time or creation of Pakistan in 1947

Source: www.mapsofindia.com

In practical terms, the Baloch resistance against the division of their land was nonexistent. The resistance in Sistan from Sanjarani and Nahrui chiefs were pacified with the use of excessive force by Persian and Afghan authorities. Unfortunately, the Khanate was not in a position to exert any influence on the events leading to the permanent division of the Baloch land. The Khan was so helpless and incompetent that he even withdrew his representative Sardar Faqir Muhammad Bizenjo from the commission headed by Major General Goldsmid under Persian protestations.

The British policy of appeasement toward Persia against Russian advances, their obsession of establishing Afghanistan as a viable buffer state, and the protection of Indo-European Telegraph Line were the immediate causative factors in the division of Balochistan. The most important and from a Baloch point of view the most destructive act was to allocate nearly half of the Baloch land to Persia while incorporating a small portion of the Baloch land into

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Afghanistan. Khanate was under the British domination, the Baloch resistance was leaderless and decentralized, and the occupation of the Baloch lands by the neighboring countries became permanent, dividing arbitrarily the cultural, social, and economic unity of the Baloch people.

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BEGINNING OF POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS

As observed by Baloch (1987) and Janmahmad (1989), a growing need was felt among the Baloch conscious elements that if the national resistance is to be meaningful, then the masses must be organized along scientific lines. During the first quarter of the twentieth century, some of the Baloch educated personalities began to organize the Baloch resistance by establishing clandestine political bodies. These clandestine groups later merged and formed the first Baloch political party in the name of Kalat State National Party (KSNP).

In essence, the Baloch political activism for national liberation was greatly influenced by the Indian national struggle and rise in power of socialist revolutionaries in Russia. Earlier, influenced by the Khilafat Movement in India, some of the religious elements among the Baloch joined the Hijrat Movement and migrated to Afghanistan as a mark of protest against the colonial rule in India (Baloch, 1987). Another group of the Baloch was influenced by the anti-imperialist policy of the revolutionary Russia. As observed by Baloch (1987) and Janmahmad (1989), these Baloch were attracted by the Bolshevik declaration of support for the struggle of the people of the East against colonialism. In hopes of getting support for the Baloch cause, Mir Misri Khan Baloch and Sobhdar Khan Mari traveled to Soviet Union in early days of Bolshevik revolution.

Beginning from the second decade of the twentieth century, Russia was emerging from the long-drawn civil war, and the revolutionary government was holding firm in Moscow. On the international front, the new government was striving to gain support from its neighbors and extending support to nations struggling against imperialism. An ambassador, Mr. Surits, was appointed by the Soviet Government to seek and maintain diplomatic relations with the peoples of independent Afghanistan, independent tribes of Balochistan, and the people of India fighting for their liberation (Bondarevski, 1977). To consolidate the efforts of the anti-imperialist movements in the East, the newly established communist government of Soviet Union

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organized a conference in Baku in 1920. The conference was named as the „Congress of Peoples,“ and records of the congress noted the participation of a delegate from Balochistan among the list of participants. The congress adopted a resolution, calling for the unity of toiling masses of the East with the proletariat revolution in Russia. The Congress called for waging a joint holy war with the people of India, Turkey, Persia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidzhan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Balochistan, Kashghar, China, Indochina, Japan, Korea, Daghestan, Northern Caucasia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Khiva, Bukhara, Turkestan, Ferghana, Tataria, Bashkeria, Kirghezia, and so on, against imperialism in the East. According to Baloch (1987), the Baloch delegation was headed by Mir Misri Khan Baloch who after the congress came to Afghanistan in search of material support for the Baloch struggle against colonialism. Janmahmad (1989) observed that although the Baloch never got any support from the revolutionary government of Soviet Union or Afghanistan, these endeavors, nevertheless, greatly influenced further political developments in Balochistan in the coming years and decades. ANJUMAN-E-ITEHAD-E-BALOCH-WA-BALOCHISTAN

A small group of educated Baloch serving in the bureaucracy of the Khanate of Kalat had been politically active clandestinely. This was because open political activities were strictly forbidden, particularly for government employees in the state. This secret organization under the name of „Young Baloch“ was led by Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd (Naseer, 1979). This underground movement came to the surface when in 1928, Mir Yusuf Magsi, son of the powerful Magsi tribal chief, joined the political struggle for the Baloch national cause (Baloch, 1987; Bizenjo, 2009). Magsi began to mobilize opinion against the British colonial rule in Balochistan and called for the unity of the Baloch in the struggle for national liberation. In his writings and other activities, he exploited the grievances of the Baloch masses under the despotic rule of prime minister of the Khanate of Kalat,

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