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Part2    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.