Saturday, 14 March 2015

Conquest of Balochistan by Shah Hussain Hotak

According to G.B. Malleson, (History of Afghans p-233) Mir Wais Hotaki after having captured Kandahar sought and enlisted the support of the Balochs and Tarins of Kalat and Quetta region. But during the lifetime of Shah Hussain Hotaki (son of Mirwais Hotak and last ruler of Hotaki dynasty) , Khan of Kalat began encroachments on the Afghan area of Shal (Quetta) and took possession of its town and Kot or fort, situated on a high mound in the middle of a plain; and such a mound the Afghans of the Kasi or Kansi tribe, to whom the tract belonged, call "kwata'h" in their language. Shah Hussain Hotak, the King of Kandahar, determined to recover the lost territories and reduce rebellious Balochs to submission. In the beginning of July 1733,  Shah Hussain Ghilzai set out from Kandahar with a force composed of Afghans and Hazara levies. He first crossed the Khojak Pass and reached Pushang or Pishin. The Ghilzai King put the fort in Pishin into an efficient state of defense, left a garrison to hold it , after which he crossed Kotal-i-Gaz into Shal (Quetta). The Balochs had taken position within a fort (on a mound or Kawatah) and sallied out under their leader Salar Khan, however, he was defeated. After another sally having again been unsuccessful some days after,  the Balochs 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 Dil Khan Babuzai and then pushed on to Mastung.

On his arrival, Shah Hussain found the Baloch had abandoned Mastung and had fled with the others from Shal towards Ganjaba Kachhi area and Kalat. Orders were given to pursue them and a body of the fugitives was overtaken 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, who left the women and children unmolested, but secured the rest.

According to the chronicler;
 "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 to the 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 Kandahar 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." (Raverty , Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan, p-612)

Ruins of Kalat fort

It is also stated that during this expedition, the Marlani Balochis of Dera Ghazi Khan also suffered. Some of the Shah Hussain's troops having entered the boundary of the territory held by Ghazi Khan, the Marlani, these Baluchis foolishly molested and harassed them, upon which the Ghilzai Shah gave orders to sack the Dera of Ghazi Khan, which was done. Many of these Baluchis were killed in this affair ; and from that time the downfall of Ghazi Khan's family commenced (Raverty, Notes, p-612). Hayat-i-Afghan says that entire family of Ghazi Khan perished in this affair.


1- Raverty, "Notes on Afghanistan and Balochistan:, p-612
2- Haroon Rashid, "History of the Pathans, Vol-III,  p-272
2- Muhammad Hayat Khan : "Afghanistan and its inhabitants", p-7

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