Nawab Nauroz Khan Zehri

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Nowroz Khan’s early years. He was born some time in the 1870s or 1880s (sources disagree on the date) at a time when Kalat was a princely state within the framework of the British Raj. By 1887 the British had reached a settlement with Kalat agreeing on limited autonomy in exchange for British authority in military affairs and external relationships, but the country remained instable, with periodic fighting against the authorities or between tribal groups.

Nauroz Khan became Nawab and leader of the Zehri tribe in the Jhalawan area of Kalat at a time before the introduction of electricity or motor vehicles, head of a largely nomadic people in a harsh mountain / desert environment, but with a rich tradition of Baluchi, Persian and Muslim culture. The First and Second World Wars were distant events in this world, but the creation of the state of Pakistan in 1947 was disruptive.

 

In 1955 the various states of Balochistan were dissolved and merged into the province of West Pakistan under the “One Unit” policy. In 1958 the Khan of the largest state, Kalat, Ahmad Yar Khan organized a rebellion to secede from West Pakistan. The Pakistan army took control of the Kalat palace and arrested the Khan for sedition on October 6, 1958. The next day, the presidentIskandar Mirza declared martial law. This led to disturbances in parts of Balochistan that lasted for about a year.[1] Nawab Nowroz Khan was one of the leaders.

Nowroz Khan’s band of fighters, which may have numbered as many as 1,000 at times, was involved in several sharp skirmishes with forces led by Lt. Col. Tikka Khan. Nowroz agreed to surrender on May 15, 1959 in exchange for amnesty and settlement of the Baluchi grievances. Tikka Khan was said to have agreed to the terms of the surrender through an oath on the Quran. However, when Nowroz Khan came down from the hills, he and about 150 of his followers, including his sons and nephews, were arrested for armed rebellion against the state. On July 15, 1960 five of the leaders were executed by hanging in Hyderabad Jail. Nowroz was spared execution on account of his age, but died in Kohlu Jail in 1964.

 

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