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July 25, 2010

Political Conspiracies in Pakistan


July 25, 2010

A banker by profession, Salim Ansar has a passion for history and historic books. His personal library already boasts a treasure trove of over 7,000 rare and unique books. Every week, we shall take a leaf from one such book and treat you to a little taste of history.

BOOK NAME: Political Conspiracies in Pakistan

AUTHOR: Jamna Das Akhtar

PUBLISHER: Asia Publishing House — Delhi


The following excerpt has been taken from Page: 47-51


“No Pakistani statesman has ever admitted that Akbar Khan had led an attack on Kalat. But the facts are otherwise. The ruler of the State of Kalat wanted to declare independence. He was instigated to do this by his British Prime Minister, who intended to turn the State into a strategic base for Britain. The British Government was already in possession of Kalat’s port Gawadar. Control over Kalat would have enabled the British Government to maintain dominance over Persia, Kuwait and other states situated in the Gulf area. An important British Oil Company wanted to secure the rights of oil exploration in the coastal areas of the State. The British Prime Minister of the State succeeded in persuading a number of tiny states in Baluchistan to join the federation sponsored by the ruler of Kalat.

“Chaudhary Mohammad Ali has not told his readers that the invasion did take place. However, he says:

“ ‘The Baluchistan States, although extensive in area, were sparsely populated and poorly developed. Their combined population was about half a million and their financial resources meager in the extreme. The Khan of Kalat wanted to stake a claim to Independence. He employed an Englishman, Dougles Fell, as Prime Minister. It was reported that Fell was negotiating with foreign countries for oil prospecting and was possibly seeking support through them. It was also alleged that the Khan’s brother and uncle sought aid in Kabul.

Negotiations for accession (of Kalat to Pakistan) dragged on, although the Khan confessed the highest veneration for Mr. Jinnah. Meanwhile, the rulers of Las Bela, Makran and Kharan, over whom the Khan of Kalat claimed suzerainty, got restive and decided, early in March, 1948 to offer accession directly to Pakistan. The acceptance of that accession isolated Kalat, now entirely surrounded by Pakistani territory. Under these circumstances, the Khan saw the path of wisdom and acceded to Pakistan before the end of March, 1948.’

“Chaudhary Mohammad Ali has tried to keep the people of his country in the dark by withholding an important secret in order to belittle the exploits of Akbar Khan. However, Major General Akbar Khan disclosed the details of his aggression on Kalat after 13 years. He wrote an article in Daily Anjam of Karachi in 1960 and told his country-men that he had led an invasion on Kalat in 1948. According to his statement:

“The Khan of Kalat was evading the questions of accession. He persuaded his brother, Prince Abdul Karim to declare Kalat an autonomous State. He recruited a few thousand tribesmen and after declaration of independence of his State, appointed an Englishman as his Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He appointed Major General Elderman (another Englishman) as his Commander-in-Chief. An ex-Army officer (still another Englishman was appointed as Inspector-General of Police. I (Major General Akbar) was provided four battalions from Lahore and Karachi in order to attack Kalat. I was told that, simultaneously Pakistani Navy would land army on the coast while the Air Force would be bombing the State’.

“Major General Akbar Khan further says in his column in Daily Anjam of Karachi:

“ ‘Mr. Jinnah called me for discussions. I placed before him my plan (of invasion). According to this plan, Mr. Jinnah declared Baluchistan and its States as disturbed areas. I was appointed Commander of the 8th Army. This happened during the Ramzan month. I ordered the 7th Baluch Battalion to march upon the State. Acting upon my instructions, Colonel Gulzar Ahmed collected a few camels. We loaded war material on them and decided to enter the State in such a way that nobody could suspect us. In this way our soldiers entered the State in the guise of traders. In the meantime, the State Forces had entered Jalu Valley after we had passed through the main Kalat Road. Khan of Kalat had deliberately left his palace there so that Prince Abdul Karim may occupy it and declare the independence of the State.’

Akbar Khan never revealed his motives. He says:

“‘In order to befool the Khan, I participated in a dinner which the Khan had arranged in honour of Pakistan Army. The State authorities had arranged food dance and music. During the celebrations, I left the function at the instance of Major Bukhari. I motored straight to the royal Guest House and then left the place through a back door. I left that place on a military jeep. The State Army had received the reports of invasion during that evening. Its soldiers were in position at the height of a hill. They were observing Ramzan (fast). All of a sudden the Pakistani Army attacked the State Forces. Fighting went on for four hours. In the meantime, Col. Gulzar’s battalion started advancing. When Mr. Dougles Fell came to know of my plan, he issued orders for my liquidation. When I joined my forces at mid-night, I found that the Pakistani Brigadier had not achieved any significant success because he was consulting his English political officer at every step. He (the Englishman) was not doing justice to his role. I dismissed him and appointed Mohammed Zaman Khan in his place.’

“Major General Akbar Khan admits that the Pakistan Air Force bombed Kalat. Prince Abdul Karim was defeated. He surrendered and was taken into custody. According to Akbar Khan, several important documents were recovered from Abdul Karim. It seems that the Pakistani authorities raided the residence of the State’s Prime Minister. Akbar Khan says that they recovered a receipt of a large amount which Fell had sent to England through a bank. Mir Hyder, a resident of Peshawar who commanded a battalion of the defending army, ran away.

“It is interesting to note that although the Khan of Kalat was forced to sign the document of accession and was nominated as a member of the Central Cabinet in 1957, he raised his banner of revolt when the Pakistan Government merged his State into the West Pakistan. The Khan charged the Pakistan Government with flouting the accession agreement. He threatened to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court and declared independence during the first week of October 1958. Again the Pakistan Army attacked his State. His palace was surrounded and he was taken prisoner. Ayub Khan has mentioned this incidence in his book. He says:

“ ‘The situation was further complicated by the Khan of Kalat who, taking advantage of the general confusion, started conspiring to bring about the secession of Kalat from Pakistan. It was seriously suggested at that time that he was encouraged by Iskander Mirza, who was setting the stage for his final action. The Khan of Kalat was arrested on 6 October 1958 and deprived of all distinctions, privileges and amenities.’

It is interesting to note that the British diplomacy played a dual game in regard to the affairs of Kalat.

American author Wayne Ayers Wilcox tells us in his book ‘Pakistan’ that:

“ ‘The Khan was not turned from his aspirations, especially since Burmah Oil Company was anxious to conclude prospecting agreement in Sibi and Bolan regions. Under the Indian Independence Act, these “leased areas” reverted to the princess who rented them to the British Government. To forestall this, a special agreement was negotiated in New Delhi in which Kalat was excluded from the category of an Indian State. On August 12, 1947, eight days after the accord, the New York Times reported: ‘Under the agreement, Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign State with a status different from that of the Indian States’. The next day, the Times printed a map of Kalat and Makran as independent states. On the fifteen, the Khan proclaimed Kalat independent and appointed Dougles Y. Fell, I. C. S., as his Foreign Minister.’

An independent Kalat would have implied a united Baluchistan and the British diplomacy would have used Kalat and its forces in Iran where the situation was going from bad to worse as far as the British Government was concerned.

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