History of the Balochistan

Main article: History of Balochistan Balochistan was the site of the earliest known farming settlements upon the Iranian plateau bordering South Asia, the earliest of which was Mehrgarh dated at 6500 BCE. Pakistani Balochistan corresponds to the ancient Achaemenid province of Gedrosia. Balochistan was sparsely populated by various tribes, possibly of Dravidian and Indo-Iranian origin, for centuries following the decline of the nearby Harappa-Mohenjo-daro civilisation to the east. Over time, Balochistan was invaded by various Eurasian groups including the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Mughals, Afghans, and the British. Aryan invasions appear to have led to the eventual demise of the Elamo-Dravidian[3] with the exception of the Brahui who may have arrived much later as did the Balochis themselves. The Balochis began to arrive from their homeland in northern Iran and appear to be an offshoot of the Kurdish tribes that would mainly populate the western end of the Iranian plateau. The Balochi tribes eventually became a sizeable group rivalled only by another Iranian group where Brohis and Pashtuns came under influnces of Balochis. [edit] Islamic arrival in Baluchistan What is now Baluchistan province of Pakistan, in the 7th century was divided into two main regions, its south western parts were part of Kerman Province of the Persian Empire and north eastern region was part of the Persian province Sistan. The southern region was included in Makran. In early 644, Caliph Umar sent Suhail ibn Adi from Busra to conquer the Kerman region of Iran; he was made governor of Kerman. From Kerman he entered the western Baluchistan and conquered the region near to Persian frontiers.[4] South Western Baluchistan was conquered during the campaign in Sistan the same year. During Caliph Uthman’s reign in 652, Baluchistan was re-conquered during the campaign against the revolt in Kerman, under the command of Majasha ibn Masood, it was first time when western Baluchistan came directly under the Laws of Caliphate and gave tribute on agriculture.[5]In those days western Baluchistan was included in the dominion of Kerman. In 654 Abdulrehman ibn Samrah was made governor of Sistan, an Islamic army was sent under him to crush the revolt in Zarang, which is now in southern Afghanistan. Conquering Zarang a column moved north ward to conquer areas up to Kabul and Ghazni in Hindu Kush Mountains, while another column moved towards North western Baluchistan and conquered area up to the ancient city of Dawar and Qandabil (Bolan),[6] by 654 the whole of what is now Baluchistan province of Pakistan was under the rule of Rashidun Caliphate except for the well defended mountain town of QaiQan (now Kalat), which was conquered during Caliph Ali’s reign. [7] Abdulrehman ibn Samrah made Zaranj his provincial capital and remained governor of these conquered areas from 654 to 656, until Uthman was murdered. During the Caliphate of Ali, the areas of Baluchistan, Makran again broke into revolt. Due to civil war in the Islamic empire Ali was unable to deal with these areas until 660 when he sent a large force under the command of Haris ibn Marah Abdi towards Makran, Baluchistan and Sind. Haris ibn Marah Abdi arrived in Makran and conquered it by force then moved north ward to north eastern Baluchistan and re-conquered Qandabil (Bolan), then again moving south finally conquered Qaiqan (Kalat) after a fierce battle[8]. In 663 during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah I, Muslim lost control of North eastern Baluchistan and Kalat when Haris ibn Marah and large part of army died in the battle field against a revolt in Kalat.[9] Muslim forces latter re-gained the control of the area during Umayyads reign. It also remained part of Abbasid Caliphate’s empire. History of Baloch people Many Balochis believe that their origins are Semitic and not Iranian contrary to linguistic and historical evidence. Balochis claim that they left their Aleppo homeland in Syria at some point during the 1st millennium CE and moved to Balochistan,[10] on the other hand it is considered more likely they are an Iranian group who have possibly absorbed some Arab ancestry and cultural traits instead, it is also believed that Baloch are of Arab blood, it could be they left the Arab world when Iraq broke from Persia in 652 AD and there is historical evidence that suggests they lived in (Khuzestan) and (Bushehr) before moving to Kerman and Hormozgan. In 15th century Mir Chakar Khan Rind became first king of Baluchistan. Balochistan subsequently was dominated by empires based in Iran and Afghanistan as well as the Mughal empire based in India. Ahmed Shah Durrani annexed the region as part of a “greater” Afghanistan. The area would eventually revert to local Balochi control, while parts of the northern regions would continue to be dominated by Pashtun tribes. During the period of the British Raj, there were four Princely states in Balochistan: Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat. In 1876 Sir Robert Sandeman concluded a treaty with the Khan of Kalat and brought his territories – including Kharan, Makran, and Las Bela – under British suzerainty. After the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, the Treaty of Gandamak concluded in May 1879, the Afghan Emir ceded the districts of Quetta Pishin,Sibi, Harnai, and Thal Chotiali to the British. In 1883 the British leased the Bolan Pass, southeast of Quetta, from the Khan of Kalat on a permanent basis. In 1887 some areas of Balochistan were declared British territory. In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand negotiated an agreement with Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan to fix the Durand Line running from Chitral to Balochistan to as the boundary between the Afghans and the British. There were two devastating earthquakes in Balochistan during British colonial rule: The 1935 Balochistan Earthquake devastated Quetta and the 1945 Balochistan Earthquake, with its epicentre in Makran region, was felt in other regions of South Asia. Since the 1970s there has been some small-scale violence in the area by ethnic Balochi tribesmen (mainly Bugti, Marri & Mengal tribes) agitating for increased provincial autonomy, and control of natural resources. Additionally, a few fighters even demanded outright secession of the provinces in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in order to create an independent homeland which would not only have included ethnically Baluchi areas, but also places which had only a very tiny Balochi population, such as Karachi, Bandar Abbas, Quetta, northern parts of Pakistani Balochistan (which is inhabited by Pashtuns), central Balochistan (inhabited by Brahuis), western Sindh province, and some areas around Kandahar, Afghanistan[11]. The reasoning behind claiming such a huge swath of non-Balochi land is likely due to economics: Karachi (Mohajir & Sindhi majority) is a major economic center of about 16 million people (compared to the estimated 12 million Balochis in all countries), Bandar Abbas (Iranian Majority) is a thriving Iranian port, and Sindh (Sindhi majority) has huge deposits of natural gas. The area had been badly affected by fighting and instability in Afghanistan, with arms and refugees flooding the province. Small attacks have occurred against coal miners, oil prospectors, and energy infrastructure. The bulk of these attacks have been carried out against the Punjabi ethnic minority. There has been major attacks on Shias by Sunni extremist groups in Quetta & other cities, resulting in the death of more than a hundred people. Government crackdown on Sunni extremist groups resulted in the arrest & trial of members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi & Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorist groups including Daud Badini & his cohorts. Many of these extremists were of Baloch & Brahui ethnicity & were from Quetta, Chagai & Mastung areas. 2 terrorist attacks were conducted on a Shia Mosque/Imambargah (2004, 54 dead) & a Shia Ashura possession of Imam Hussein (2004, 70 dead) . Most of those killed were of Hazara ethnicity. On 15 June 2006, an estimated 600 fighters, led by three commanders, agreed to lay down their weapons after talks with Shoaib Nausherwani, Baluchistan’s minister for internal affairs, in Dera Bugti district.[12] On August 26, Balochistan tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in airstrikes carried out by the Pakistani military.[13] In 1998 Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in Ras Koh and in the Kharan desert, both in the Kharan District in north-western Balochistan. After Musharraf’s coup against the Nawaz Sharif Government, the separatist insurgency resurfaced, focusing mainly on attacks on innocent civilians.