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History of the Balochs in Punjab, Pakistan

19 Jul

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A significant number of Baloch tribes have over time settled in the Punjab province of Pakistan. These Baloch are often referred to as the Punjabi Baloch.

History and origin

There are 2.5 million Baloch in Punjab, making it the largest Baloch province in the world. In addition to that the main Punjabi tribe of Rajputs have a close genetic resemblance to Baloch, especially the Alpial clan living in Potohar region. Opposition leader Chawdhry Nisar Ali Khan is from Alpial Rajputs and one of the Alpial ancestors was Rai Baloch Khan. The belt between river Jhelum and Indus, north from Islamabad down to Muzzafargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan was formerly called as Rabalistan. If so than the Baloch hold a strategically important territory in Pakistan, surrounding the capital Islamabad, down from Potohari speaking regions to the Siraiki areas. The Baloch claim a mixed ancestry, asserting that they are descended, on the one hand, from Amir Hamza an uncle of the Prophet Mohammed and from a fairy (Pari), and on the other, from the Kurds living in the area of Aleppo, Syria from which they were expelled in A. D. 580 by the Sasanian Persian King Chosroes I Anoshervan. Their migration took them first to the area of Alborz Mountains and Qazvin to Kerman, then Sistan, and finally into Makran. In time, most of the territory of Makran has come to be known as Balochistan–“Land of the Baloch.” In the 13th century, some of the Baloch moved into Sindh (where they are known as the Sindhi Baloch) and also into Punjab. Many Baloch tribal warriors were hired by the sultans of Oman and other emirs in the Persian Gulf as their body guards and soldiers, carrying them as far off as east Africa. There a large number of these Baloch in the Arabian Peninsual now, where the family name “al-Balooshi” (The Balochi) is commonly the small emirates in the Persian Gulf—from Bahrain to Qatar, the UAE and Oman. There, they form a well-to-do class of people. These have, as of late, tried, for obvious reasons, to join the origins of the Baloch to the Arabs. Historically and linguistically, this is untenable if not impossible.
About the beginning of the 16th century the Balochis were driven out of the Kalat valley by the Brahuis and Turks. Yielding to pressure they moved eastward into the Sulaimans, drove out the Pathans, and settled along the banks of the Indus. Three Baloch adventurers Ismail Khan, Fatteh Khan, and Ghazi Khan, founded the three Dehras that bear their names, and established themselves as independent rulers of the Lower Derajat and Muzaffargarh, which they and their descendants held for nearly 300 years. The three brothers founded the settlements of Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan and Darya Khan. Thence the southern Balochis gradually spread into the valleys of the Indus, Chenab, and Sutlej, and in 1555 a large body of Balochis, under their great leader Mir Chakar, accompanied the Emperor Humayun into India. It is probable that many of the Baloch settlements, in the Eastern districts of the Punjab, were founded by Humayun’s soldiers. Mir Chakar settled in Sahiwal and his tomb still exists at Satgarha, where he founded a military colony of Rinds.
Long before Mir Chakar’s time, Mir Jalal Khan was one of the Baloch historical rulers, and from his four sons— Rind, Lashar, Hot and Korai — spring the four main Baloch tribes. The Jatoi are the children of Jatoi, Jalal Khan’s daughter. These main sections are now divided into innumerable septs. Throughout the Punjab the term Baloch denotes any Muslim camel-man. The word has come to be associated with the care of camels, because the Baloch settlers of the Western plains have taken to the grazing and breeding of camels rather than to husbandry, and every Baloch is supposed to be a camelman and every camel-man to be a Baloch.

Present circumstances
The Baloch of the Punjab plains is now altogether separated from the Baloch tribes of Balochistan and the Derajat, although the same tribal names are still found among them. Long residence in Punjab and inter-marriage with the Jats has deprived them of many of their characteristics, and they have now forgotten the Baloch language and have abandoned the Baloch dress. They now speak Seraiki in the south of Punjab, while those in the districts of Faisalabad , Sahiwal, Jhang, Sargodha and Khushab speak Punjabi.
They are good Muslims, fair agriculturists. In character they are brave, chivalrous, and honourable. In physique they are tall, thin, wiry, hardy, and frugal in their habits.

Distribution and Main Clans
The Baloch are found mainly in the districts of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan districts in sothern Punjab and Jhang, Sargodha, Khushab and Sahiwal districts of central Punjab.

The following clans are those most commonly found of the Punjab:
Korai, Jatoi,Gopang, Mashori, Rind, Khushk, Gurmani, Dashti, Jatoi, Gishkauri, Mazari, Hot, Pitafi and Zangeza, Jalbani, Gurchani.
The Rind, Jatoi and Korai are numerous in Multan, Jhang, Sahiwal, Sargodha and Muzaffargarh districts. While the Gopangs and Dashtis, both are found in the Muzaffargarh district. The Hot are found in Jhang, Multan and Muzaffargarh, and the Gurmanis, Khushik, Giskhauris, Pitafis in Muzaffargarh and Rahimyar Khan. While the Mazaris in Jhang,Jaccobabad,Rajanpur,Kashmore and Rahimyar khan. The Magassi Baloch, who are found in Multan, Muzaffargarh, Mianwali and Jhang, appear to be a “peculiar people” rather than a tribe.Jalbani tribe is concentrated in D.G.Khan and Rajanpur districts in the Punjab. Both Sunnis and Shias are found among them and they have several peculiar customs not to be found among other Balochis.

The Zangeza
The Zangeza are met with in the Mianwali and Sargodha districts. They are Shias, while most Baloch are Sunni.

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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Baloch People

 

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