Chahbahar “Tiz” Makran territory of Pakistan.
By Naveed Tajammal
In 1897 large quantity of arms were being smuggled into Afghanistan via the, Western Makran coast, which attracted serious attention of the British Indian Government, a naval blockade, was eventually established and it was by end of 1909,the traffic had been considerably reduced. A small field force was sent to Makran in 1911 to deal with the arms traffic on land that attacked and defeated Mir Barkat who had, since 1908, established himself as the chief of Be-aban district in the Persian Baluchistan. The conditions were such that, in the spring of 1908 Mir. Bahram khan Baranzia of Dizak, an upstart Wazir of the Buzurg’zada Hakim of Jalk and Dizak had also ejected the Persian governor of Bampur, and established his independent rule.
In September 1915 the German agents entered the region with their gold coins; the whole region because of total chaos became a hotbed of warlords, and a grey area between the British Empire and Persian state. The Germans succeeded to the extent that they managed to force the shutdown of British consulate in Kirman and the British Trader community had to vacate Kirman. Seeing the conditions, Mir Bahram Khan Raided Gawattur, a sea port between Gawadar and Chahbahar; part of Makran but the Nazim of Makran drove him back from Gawattur.
In 1916 the British were forced to send in General Percy Sykes with South Persia Rifles to restore order in the current Persian Baluchistan region, though it has been part of old Makran sea coast as would be described later. The Region along the sea coast was very vital to the British as the Telegraph Posts and lines had been installed all along the coast line, as a double check a submarine cable too had been laid. In 1863 a treaty was signed between Turkey and Persia, in relation to Telegraph lines to connect, British India and England. As the borders between British Empire and Persia were still not defined, therefore a special Telegraph line was laid between Bushire and Khanikin only for international messages vide a treaty between Persia and Britain, in 1865.
The Germans were not worried of the recent set back, they renewed their efforts in later part of 1916, this region was termed as Sarhad (border) between British Indian Empire and Persia. General Dyer was dispatched with a force and Major Keyes joined him from Makran side, to pacify the tribes on the sea coast and borders of Makran. The Commandant and Adjutant of Makran levy Corps had been murdered, while operating in the Sarhad region. In 1918 on very urgent basis the Rail- line, Spezand-Nushki section of North Western Railways in British Baluchistan Agency was extended to Duzdap, to help send the supplies to the British Cordon Field Force that operated till 1931.
The point to note is from 1908 till 1928 and later after the final settlement of the borders between our Makran, and Persian Baluchistan [Sarhad Region] the Bampur Ruler remained independent, and, was well taken care of by British, to keep their vital Telegraph line post at Chahbahr operational. The other reason was that in 1915 one Khair Mohammad a Pushtun of Sirhingi, known as ‘Khalifah’ had attacked Chahbahr and Jask Telegraph Stations. He was repulsed by British south Persia Rifles-and the lines repaired, but again in 1916, the ‘Khalifah’ returned with Fury and raided the same stations at Chahbahr and Jask, though again repulsed by the British South Persia Rifles. Keeping in view these repeated attacks, a sea-cable was laid along the sea coast of Chahbahr and Jask, as an alternative, to the land line. [Ref: A collection of Treaties/Engagements/Sanads, by C.U. Atchison, updated till 1930,volume xiii, Foreign Department, Govt. of India].
Even if we revert back in Time, and study the volume ll of the Shah Nama of Firdausi, translated with footnotes by A.G. Warner 1906,which covers the 4 main dynastic ruling houses of Iran, narrating about the second dynasty Kiani, in his footnotes, the author explains that, during the rule of Kai Kaus,[p-79/80],when the monarch decided to wage a war with the kings of Berber, Miser [Egypt],and Hamararan, Kai Kaus marched from Nimroz to the, Makran sea coast in the south, there he built a large fleet, and sailed along the coast of Arabia, onward to his destination…and that Tiz [Chahbahr] was the only sea port which goes in antiquity ,directly in line with Zaranj the capital of Nimroz, Even later in recent times, the whole region from Chahbahar [western makran] till Northern inter-linking Nimroz [Seistan] had been a bone of contention between Persia and Mughal empire, as in the Mughal administrative set up the southern parts of Qandahar province over lapped Makran under Multan Suba, However after the fall of Qandahar fortress in 1648 AD to Persians, the Administrative boundaries are seen re-adjusted. And encroachments in Qandahar province continue under the Rule of Aurangzeb, The warden of forward marches of the Mughal empire, in the South west, were the Barrohi Khans of Kalat and of Central Marches to the west, were the Kalhora of Khudabad. As can be seen by the, Arz-dast from Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhora warden of central marches of the Multan suba [province] sent to Prince. Muizz ud din,the future Jahandar Shah of the Mughal empire, but, then the Subadar [Governor of Multan] and copies sent to the court at Delhi, dated from the proceedings of the year 1703 AD, The year Mir. Summandar Khan Barrohi attacked Qandahar fort and defeated the Persian commander in a pitched battle and killed his Son.
[Ref : Guldasta i Nauras Bahar of Sheikh abdur Rauf, compiled by Muhammad Wafa Swistani. Library of Syed Hussam ud din Rashidi Ms.p-111-113].
Even in the recent times the sovereignty of Persia over seistan [Nimroz] and lower Western sea coast of Makran overlapping that of Persian Baluchistan remained in dispute, Hence the south Persian Rifles of the British, in the years 1862/1863,constant wars are seen between Dost Muhammad Khan and Persian court-The British diplomatically declined to interfere in the matter-and left both sides to make good the possession by force of their arms, a typical old Mughal empire policy of Watch and Wait the outcome, as both parties exhausted themselves.
In the end Persians requested the British to help them out as per the Treaty of 1857, No. xviii [signed between British and Persia], and asked the British minister at Tehran to help them out, by a arbitration to settle the borders of Nimroz with Kabul Government, and General Goldsmid gave his award in 1872,however again in 1902-The shah of Persia once again asked for a review of the same, and this time Colonel. McMahon, drew the new border lines, which was accepted.
Re-Conquest of old Khurassan geographic entity has been the favourite Dream of all past Iranian Rulers, and thereby indirectly establishing their influence across the Roh’ into the Indus Region. To put forth our claim for return of Chahbahr, in a historical perspective a glimpse of past is must. The geographic entity of Makran has always been part and parcel of the Indus valley civilization, Since ages and now forgotten Makran land routes were the main highways connecting by sea along its coast line as well through the land, East to West, It was only because of the ruthless destruction of the region by Turks and Tartars that cities were sacked and whole populations transported out, and so Makran lapsed in a mere geographical expression, However all kudos goes to the old Arab Geographers who gave full account of the region and its ports, however it were the extra-ordinary hydro-graphical changes in the last one thousand years that have changed the region, the drying up of old rivers, dependent upon certain natural laws, destruction of cities by invaders who depopulated the region, resulting in removal of guilds who maintained the ancient underground water channels, and the ever varying alterations of the sea coast line, has left large tracts mentioned in the old books not recognizable on ground, as given very graphically by the Arab Geographers.
Men like Ibn Haukal [d. 988 AD]. Istakhari [d.957 AD] and Idrisi [d.1161 AD] give graphic accounts of the fertility and greatness of the Makran region its vibrant cities and distances from each Caravan station to the next, and cities enroute towards Sindh river. The pen-picture is so vivid that it leaves little for imagination, along with maps and their general observations as they saw the route, and the traffic on the highway. The Later Great port for Arabs on the Makran coast, and old sea capital of Makran was Tiz [Chahbahr], about 100 miles west of present Gawadar port. Where lay a city, which held the Arabs spell bound by its Grandeur and Magnificence, the convenient sheltered harbour, Even till late 19th century, as narrated by Colonel. Sir Thomas Holdich, in his book Gates of India,1910,enormous heaps of debris were seen in the old ruins of Tiz, with broken pottery ,suggesting that old inhabitants of Tiz, had devoted a lot of time in production of Ceramics art works, and every fresh rain unsurfaced fragments of new curiosities in Glass ware and china, Here along the coast line cities, was seen a special class of pottery, of very fine texture and finished with a light sage-green glaze-said to have possessed the property of detecting poison by cracking if poisoned food or drink was served in them.
The most obvious reason why Tiz [Chahbahr] was taken as the port of Debarkation for onward journey to Sindh river cities, was that monsoon winds did not affect the coast so far west, especially in the heavy monsoons, when all seaports of Sindh delta were rendered unapproachable in heavy rains and gales. Next in old days when Nimroz flourished in its glory it was a straight route up and onward to the Central Asia across the Oxus [ammu darya] River.
According to Idrissi, the distance between Tiz and Kiz [Kej] was 160 miles and that Kej in those times was as large as Multan, and the largest in Makran, in between lay ‘Firabuz’, Sir H. Elliot refer’s it as Kanazbun, modern, punjgur, 110 miles east of Tiz after which one of the major cities enroute was Armail [las bela] after which according to Istakhari, it took two days to reach Kambali, which has been identified as later Sonmaini port.
The fall and decline of these routes or highway has been attributed to opening up of high sea routes around the southern coast of Africa and much later in 19th century came the Suez Canal and rise of Aden seaport, which died shortly after the advent of Air travel took vogue.
Now Gawadar port once again, shows a light in this dark region once the centre of the world trade. judging from the maps attached [That in colour from the book. Fathnama i Sindh, institute of Islamic history, culture and civilization.1983] and the one in black and white, is from vol. l page-32,”History of India” by Sir H. M. Elliot]
There remains no doubt that Tiz [Chahbahar] as depicted in the Map shows clearly that it is part of Makran and Hence Pakistan.