chapter  5
18 Pages

Baluchistan

There is considerable controversy surrounding the origins as well as the administration and governance structures which the Baluchis have adopted. According to popularly held Baluch legends, the Baluch migrated northward from Aleppo (in present-day Syria) during the Arab conquests of the ninth century in search of pasture land and fresh water. They travelled through the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, subsequently settling in what is now Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan between the sixth and the fourteenth centuries. 3

Baluch nationalists point to their largely independent history spread over several centuries. The Greeks, Afghans, Persians and Sikhs had all made repeated though unsuccessful attempts to establish complete control. The British did manage to gain control of a considerable proportion of the region during the nineteenth century, at first through political agreements and subsidies negotiated with tribal leaders and then, by the 1870s, by direct control over Baluchi territory through four princely states. Even then, the British found it impossible to gain complete control of several parts of the Baluch territories. They found that the most practical strategy was to allow the Baluch to carryon with their lifestyles in return for a recognition of some forms of suzerainty. The British allowed the customary tribal law to be retained and enforced by tribal councils under the authority of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).