Khanate of Kalat
کلاتءِ ھانات ، خانات کلات
Flag of Kalat
Balochistan in the year 1789, including the Khanate of Kalat and states that are under its suzerainty.
Balochistan in the year 1789, including the Khanate of Kalat and states that are under its suzerainty.
Khanate of Kalat (dark green) in Baluchistan Agency (1931)
Khanate of Kalat (dark green) in Baluchistan Agency (1931)
Court languagePersian[1]
Spoken languagesBrahui (dynastic), Balochi, Jatki, Dehwari
GovernmentHereditary monarchy
• Khan
Ahmad Yar Khan
Historical eraEarly Modern Period
• Established
• Disestablished
1835560,000 km2 (220,000 sq mi)
1940139,850 km2 (54,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mughal Empire
Afsharid Iran
Balochistan States Union
Qajar Iran
Emirate of Afghanistan
Today part ofPakistan

The Khanate of Kalat was a Brahui Khanate that originated in the modern-day Kalat region of Pakistan. Formed in 1666 due to the threat of Mughal expansion in the region,[3][4] it controlled the wider Balochistan at its greatest extent in the mid-18th century,[2] extending from Kerman in the west to Sindh in the east and from Helmand River in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south.[5] The Khanate of Kalat lost considerable area to Qajar Iran and the Emirate of Afghanistan in the early 19th century,[2] and the city of Kalat was itself sacked by the British in 1839. Kalat became a self-governing state in a subsidiary alliance with British India after the signature of the Treaty of Kalat by the Khan of Kalat and the Brahui Sardars in 1875, and the supervision of Kalat became a task of the Baluchistan Agency.[6] Kalat was briefly independent from 12 August 1947 until 27 March 1948, when its ruler Ahmad Yar Khan acceded to Pakistan, making it one of the Princely states of Pakistan.


The Khanate of Kalat was the first unified polity to emerge in the history of Balochistan.[2] It took birth from the confederacy of nomadic Brahui tribes native to the central Balochistan in 1666 which under Mir Ahmad Khan I declared independence from the Mughal suzerainty[2] and slowly absorbed the Baloch principalities in the region. Also known as the Brahui Confederacy,[7][2] it was ruled over by the Brahui Ahmadzai dynasty till 1948.[8][2]



According to Brahui traditions, Kalat was ruled by a Hindu ruler named Sewa when they first conquered it.[9] Historically, the regions surrounding Kalat were part of the Mughal province of Kandahar during 17th century. During the reign of Shah Jahan, Mughal expansion reached its high point, and caused the emergence for first time a strong, unified "Brahui Confederacy" or the Khanate of Kalat.[2]


The first ruler of the Brahui Confederacy was Mir Ahmad Khan I (r.1666–1695). He was strong enough to capture Quetta, Mastung, and Pishin from the Mughal governor of Kandahar.[2] He spent his life fighting the Afghans and Kalhoras of Sindh, and became an ally of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.[10] During the reign of his successor, Mir Samandar Khan (r.1697–1714), a Safavid army under Tahmasb Beg invaded western Balochistan. Safavids were defeated, and Tahmasb was killed. Samandar Khan was rewarded by Mughals with the gift of port of Karachi.[10][11] Under Mir Abdullah Khan I (r.1714–34), the state expanded from Upper Sindh and Kandahar to Persia till the port of Bandar Abbas.[10][2] He was later killed while fighting against allied army of Hussain Hotak of Hotak dynasty and Kalhoras in 1734. His son and successor, Mir Mehrab Khan (r.1734–1749), was given the region of Kacchi, then under Kalhoras, by Nader Shah as blood compensation of his father.[10]

The Khanate reached its peak during the reign of Mir Nasir Khan I (r.1749–94), who had unified the Kalat region and conquered cities of Khash, Bampur, Qasr-e Qand and Zahedan in the Iranian Balochistan.[2][5] Since 1748, Kalat was a vassal state of Durrani Empire, and assisted in the campaigns of Ahmad Shah such as in the Durrani Campaign to Khorasan. However, in 1758 Mir Nasir Khan I revolted against Ahmad Shah. The Afghans were dispatched under Shah Wali Khan to Kalat, but were defeated. As a result, Ahmad Shah marched himself with an army and defeated the Baluch armies in battle. Ahmad Shah laid siege to Kalat for over 40 days, and attempted to storm it, however it was unsuccessful. In the ensuing 1758 treaty of Kalat, the exact agreements are disputed. Some sources state that the Khanate of Kalat attained a sovereign status.[12][13][14][15] According to some other accounts, Mir Nasir Khan had recognized suzerainty of Ahmad Shah, who guaranteed non-interference in the matters of Kalat.[16][10][17][18][19] Nevertheless, Kalat did not pay any tribute to Durrani Empire thereafter, and provided military contingents in exchange of money only.[10] Following the collapse of the Durranis, any trace of Afghan influence over Kalat ended after the death of Sher Dil Khan, the ruler of the Principality of Qandahar, in 1826.[20][21][22]

Mir Nasir Khan, known to the Brahuis as "The Great",[4] undertook 25 military campaigns during his reign, and forced the Talpur dynasty of Sindh to pay tribute.[10] He was the first Khan of Kalat to establish a centralized bureaucracy and issue own currency.[23] He established the office of Grand Vizier to look after the affairs of the state, as well as a standing army. He had also established diplomatic relations with Ottoman Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Sultanate of Oman.[24] In 1784, he gave refuge to the future Sultan of Oman, Sultan bin Ahmad, and gifted him the port of Gwadar. Gwadar continued to be part of Sultanate of Oman until it was purchased by Pakistan in 1958.[10] Due to his achievements, he is considered a central figure and hero among Brahuis as well as Baloch.[23][4]


Palace of Mir Khudadad, Khan of Kalat.

The Khanate of Kalat declined in the early 19th century, losing much of its territory to Qajar Iran and Emirate of Afghanistan.[2] The internal weakness of the state forced Khan of Kalat to sign the Treaty of Kalat (1876) with the British Agent Robert Sandeman in the late 19th century.[2] Parts of the state to the north and northeast were leased or ceded to form the province of British Baluchistan, which later gained the status of a Chief Commissioners province. The Iran–Kalat Border was demarcated in 1896, and the former territories of Kalat Khanate now form part of Iranian province of Sistan and Balochistan.[2]


The political centralization of the Khanate of Kalat failed to survive through the colonial era and did not lead to the standardization of the Baloch language.[25] However, with the withdrawal of the British from the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the Indian Independence Act provided that the princely states which had existed alongside but outside British India were released from all their subsidiary alliances and other treaty obligations. The rulers were left to decide whether to accede to one of the newly independent states of India or Pakistan (both formed initially from the British possessions) or to remain independent outside both.[26] As stated by Sardar Patel, "On the lapse of Paramountcy every Indian State became a separate independent entity."[27]

The Instruments of Accession made available for the rulers to sign transferred only limited powers, namely external relations, defence, and communications. The Shahi Jirga of Baluchistan and the non-official members of the Quetta Municipality, according to Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, stated their wish to join Pakistan on 29 June 1947;[28] however, according to the political scientist Rafi Sheikh, the Shahi Jirga was stripped of its members from the Kalat State prior to the vote.[29]

Kalat remained fully independent from 15 August 1947 until 27 March 1948, when its ruler, Ahmad Yar Khan (1904–1979), finally acceded to Pakistan, becoming the last of the rulers to do so.[30] Show elections were held during this period and a bicameral parliament was established.[31][32] On the night of 27 March, All India Radio carried a story about Yar Khan approaching India with an unsuccessful request for accession in around February.[33] The next morning, Yar Khan put out a public broadcast rejecting its veracity and declaring an immediate accession to Pakistan — all remaining differences were to be placed before Jinnah, whose decision would be binding.[33]

Dushka H. Saiyid emphasizes that Yar Khan lost all of his bargaining chips with the accession of Kharan, Las Bela, and Makran, leaving Kalat as an island.[33] Salman Rafi Sheikh largely concurs with Saiyid's assessment: multiple other Kalat sardars were preparing to accede to Pakistan and Yar Khan would have hardly any territory left, if he did not accede.[29]: 80

On 3 October 1952, the state of Kalat entered into the Baluchistan States Union with three neighbouring states, Kharan, Las Bela, and Makran, with Yar Khan of Kalat at the head of the Union with the title of Khan-e-Azam. The Khanate came to an end on 14 October 1955, when it was incorporated into West Pakistan.[30]


The Khanate of Kalat covered the area of 139,850 km2 (53,995 sq mi).[34] The territories of the Khanate of Kalat flactuated throughout its history. At the time of death of Mir Nasir Khan I in 1794, it comprised the Iranian province of Sistan and Balochistan, parts of Sindh and Afghan Balochistan as far as the Helmand river. Significantly reduced in the late 19th century, the princely state of Kalat occupied the central part of the territory of modern-day Balochistan province in Pakistan. To the north was the Baluchistan (Chief Commissioner's Province), part of British India.


Kalat state was divided into following sub-divisions:

Rulers of Kalat

The rulers of Kalat at first held the title of Wali but in 1739 also took the title of (Begler Begi Khan), usually shortened to Khan. The last Khan of Kalat (Balochi: خان قلات) had the privilege of being the President of the Council of Rulers for the Baluchistan States Union. They also had the title of beylerbey.

Tenure Khan of Kalat [5]
1656–1666 Mir Altaz Sani Khan Qambrani II
1666–1695 Mir Ahmad I Khan Qambrani III (Changed his Royal family name from Qambrani to Ahmadzai )
1695–1697 Mir Mehrab Khan Ahmadzai I
1697–1714 Mir Samandar Khan Ahmadzai
1714–1716 Mir Ahmad II Khan Ahmadzai
1716–1731 Mir Abdullah Khan Ahmadzai
1731–1749 Mir Muhabbat Khan Ahmadzai
1749–1794 Mir Muhammad Nasir Khan I Ahmadzai
1794–1817 Mir Mahmud Khan I Ahmadzai
1817–1839 Mir Mehrab Khan Ahmadzai II
1839–1841 Mir Shah Nawaz Khan Ahmadzai
1841–1857 Mir Nasir Khan II Ahmadzai
1857–1863 Khudadad Khan Ahmadzai (1st time)
1863–1864 Mir Sherdil Khan Ahmadzai (usurped throne)
1864–1893 Mir Khudadad Khan (2nd time)
1893–1931 Mir Mahmud Khan II Ahmadzai
1931–1933 Mir Mohammad Azam Jan Khan Ahmadzai
1933–1955 Ahmad of Kalat (Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Ahmadzai);
declared independent on 12 August 1947; acceded to Pakistan on 27 March 1948, while keeping internal self-government
14 October 1955 State of Kalat merged into One Unit of West Pakistan[36]
1955–1979 Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Ahmadzai (titular)
1979–1998 Mir Dawood Jan Ahmadzai (titular)
1998–2006 Mir Agha Sulaiman Jan Ahmadzai (titular)
2006–present Prince Mir Mohammad Khan Ahmadzai (titular)

See also



  1. ^ Spooner, Brian (2011). "10. Balochi: Towards a Biography of the Language". In Schiffman, Harold F. (ed.). Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors. Brill. p. 320. ISBN 978-9004201453. The medium of administration in this state, which became known as the Khanate of Kalat, was Persian, as was customary down to the 19th century throughout south and central Asia and beyond (see Spooner, this volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Brahui". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  3. ^ "Treaty of Kalat between Balochistan and Afghanistan in 1758" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Baluchistan" Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol. 6, p. 277, from the Digital South Asia Library, accessed 15 January 2009
  5. ^ a b c Naseer Dashti (8 October 2012). The Baloch and Balochistan: A Historical Account from the Beginning to the Fall of the Baloch State. Trafford Publishing. pp. 190, 280. ISBN 978-1-4669-5897-5. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Balochistan Archives – Records of the Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan". Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  7. ^ Swidler, Nina (1992). "Kalat: The Political Economy of a Tribal Chiefdom". American Ethnologist. 19 (3): 553–570. doi:10.1525/ae.1992.19.3.02a00080. ISSN 0094-0496. JSTOR 645201.
  8. ^ Siddiqi 2012, p. 53: "The Brahui Khanate of Kalat sits at the apex of Baloch nationalistic struggle".
  9. ^ Khan, Sabir Badal (2013). Two Essays on Baloch History and Folklore: Two Essays on Baloch History and Folklore. Università di Napoli, "l'Orientale". p. 68.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Baluchistan". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  11. ^ Breseeg 2004, p. 117.
  12. ^ Breseeg 2004, p.120: However, the Afghan attitude towards the Khan provoked Mir Nasir Khan to declare the complete independence of Kalat in 1758. As a result, the Afghan forces under the command of Ahmad Shah himself invaded Balochistan and besieged the Kalat fortress for forty days. Ultimately they came to an amicable agreement and the Afghan troops were withdrawn. The agreement known as the “Treaty of Kalat” (1758), recognised the sovereign status of Balochistan..
  13. ^ Skutsch, Carl (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1. However, in 1758 Nasir I Khan of Kalat proclaimed his independence from the Afghani rulers.
  14. ^ Webb, Matthew J. (4 October 2016). Separatist Violence in South Asia: A comparative study. Taylor & Francis. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-317-39312-2. Baloch separatism, for example, can be traced back to 1758, when Nasir Khan of Kalat won sovereign status from the Afghan empire...
  15. ^ Banuazizi, Ali; Weiner, Myron (1 August 1988). The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics: Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Syracuse University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-8156-2448-6. Once he had established his army on a solid basis, however, Nasir Khan took on the Afghans militarily, fighting Ahmad Shah Durrani's forces to a standstill in 1758. Thereafter, Kalat enjoyed sovereign status until the arrival of the British...
  16. ^ Lee, Jonathan (2019). Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present. Reaktion Books. p. 126. ISBN 9781789140101. Following the loss of the Punjab, Nasir Khan, beglar begi of Kalat, convinced that these defeats marked the beginning of the end of Durrani power, declared independence. Sardar Shah Wali Khan was sent to put down the revolt, but when he was defeated Ahmad Shah set out in person to deal with the troublesome governor. He eventually defeated the Baluch army but was unable to take Kalat by storm. Instead, he agreed to allow Nasir Khan to remain as governor of Kalat in return for his resubmission to Durrani sovereignty
  17. ^ Khan Durrani, Ashiq Muhammad (1991). "The People of Afghanistan: Relations between the Sadozais and the Ahmadzais of Qalat". Proquest: 139 – via Google drive. The Afghan army besieged the Qalat fort and the siege lasted for forty days. The Afghans failed to capture it. Ultimately through the good offices of the Wazir Shah Wali Khan a peace treaty was concluded. Mir Nasir Khan came to Ahmad Shah and apologized for his misdeeds. According to the treaty Mir Nasir Khan accepted the suzerainty of the Afghan king. Ahmad Shah agreed that Mir Nasir Khan should pay no tribute, but should furnish, when called upon a contingent of troops sending them at his own cost to the royal camp.
  18. ^ Hasan Dani, Ahmad (2003). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. UNESCO. p. 289. ISBN 9789231038761. Nasir Khan had accompanied Ahmad Shah in three campaigns in India and is said to have performed his duties well and loyally. But in 1758, on hearing the Marathas had conquered Punjab and ousted the Afghans from that province, he declared his independence. In the summer of 1758, Ahmad Shah advanced into Baluchistan. He met considerable resistance. According to a local chronicle, the small fortress of Kalat detained the Shah for 40 days. Ultimately, Nasir Khan was forced to submit. He was allowed his domains on condition he acknowledged the shah's sovereignty and furnished contingents for his campaigns. The Baluch chief was exempted from the annual tax and tribute.
  19. ^ Siddiqi 2012, p. 53: "However, in 1758, he declared independence which caused the Afghan-Baloch war. Though the Baloch were successful in the initial stages of the conflict, Ahmad Shah Abdali and his forces were able to subdue the Khan by invading Kalat".
  20. ^ Balland, D. "AFGHANISTAN x. Political History". Encyclopaedia Iranica. The political convulsions of the last years of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century had led to the empire's dismemberment. A Qajar offensive resulted in the loss of western Khorasan (1209/1795) and a direct threat to Herat, which was besieged in 1249/1833 and in 1253/1837. To the north of the Hindu Kush, various Uzbek principalities entered the orbit of khanate of Bokhara. In the south, the khanate of Kalāt became independent.
  21. ^ Gulzad, Zulmay (1994). External Influences and the Development of the Afghan State in the Nineteenth Century. P. Lang. p. 31. ISBN 9780820424576.
  22. ^ Khan Jalalzai, Musa (2003). The Foreign Policy of Afghanistan. Sang-e-Meel Publications. p. 33. ISBN 9789693513998.
  23. ^ a b Breseeg 2004, p. 118.
  24. ^ Breseeg 2004, p. 121.
  25. ^ Spooner, Brian (2011). "10. Balochi: Towards a Biography of the Language". In Schiffman, Harold F. (ed.). Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors. Brill. p. 320. ISBN 978-9004201453. Although a Baloch state was established at Kalat (located now in Pakistan) in 1638 (cf. Spooner 1984, 1989), under a dynastic Khan, this political centralization did not survive through the colonial period and did not lead to standardization of the [Baloch] language.
  26. ^ Ishtiaq Ahmed, State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia (London & New York, 1998), p. 99
  27. ^ R. P. Bhargava, The Chamber of Princes (Northern Book Centre, 1991) p. 313
  28. ^ Pervaiz I Cheema; Manuel Riemer (22 August 1990). Pakistan's Defence Policy 1947–58. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-1-349-20942-2.
  29. ^ a b Sheikh, Salman Rafi (2018). The Genesis of Baloch Nationalism: Politics and Ethnicity in Pakistan, 1947–1977. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-351-02068-8.
  30. ^ a b Siddiqi 2012, p. 58–62.
  31. ^ Harrison, Selig S. (1981), In Afghanistan's Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, p. 24, ISBN 978-0-87003-029-1, Pakistani leaders summarily rejected this declaration [of independence], touching off a nine-month diplomatic tug of war that came to a climax in the forcible annexation of Kalat... But it is clear that Baluch leaders, including the Khan, were bitterly opposed to what happened... Moreover, the Pakistani version of the accession debate is discredited by a study of the discussion of the Kalat Assembly on the accession issue and by interviews with a variety of Baluch leaders that confirm the authenticity of the official assembly proceedings.
  32. ^ Amirali, Alia (2015), "Balochistan: A Case Study of Pakistan's Peacemaking Praxis (Volume III)", in Rita Manchanda (ed.), SAGE Series in Human Rights Audits of Peace Processes, SAGE Publications, pp. 22–23, ISBN 978-93-5150-213-5, Seven months later, on 27 March 1948, Kalat acceded to Pakistan. Whether it was a willing accession or a coerced one is a disputed matter, with pro-state historians arguing that the Khan willingly made the decision to accede, and nationalist scholars maintaining that Balochistan was annexed. However, what is certain is that it was an unpopular decision, and sparked the first revolt led by the Khan of Kalat's brother (see also the next section in this chapter). The Pakistan Army, which had already been sent in to Kalat, put down the rebellion.
  33. ^ a b c Saiyid, Dushka H (2006). "The Accession of Kalat: Myth and Reality". Strategic Studies. 26 (3): 26–45. ISSN 1029-0990. JSTOR 45242356.
  34. ^ Joseph Whitaker, Whitaker's Almanack 1951, vol. 83 (1951), p. 754: "the following States have also acceded to Pakistan : Kalat, area 53,995 square miles [139,850 square kilometres], pop. 253.305..."
  35. ^ IDSA News Review on South Asia/Indian Ocean. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. 1987.
  36. ^ Siddiqi 2012, p. 62.

Further reading

29°01′33″N 66°35′24″E / 29.02583°N 66.59000°E / 29.02583; 66.59000