History of Sibi District

History of Sibi district of Balochistan.

The History of the district center chiefly round Sibi, or as it was sometimes written, Siwi which owing to its position at the mouth of the Bolan Pass has always been place of considerable importance and has figured prominently in the annals of the country. cut off from the rest of Baluchistan by belts on intervening hills, Sibi itself during the earlier part of its history appears to have followed the fortunes of Kachhi and Multan rather than those of Khurasan. In  the older maps the country between the Bolan Pass and the Derajat is marked as Sewistan, but this name has been now passed out of common use among the natives of Balochistan and authorities differ as regards the accurate defination of its boundires. It is difficult at this period to arrive at any correct solution, as alterationsin the course of the Indus river have modified the local divisions of territory, districts have become intermingled and names have been inaccurately applied in the narratives of the earlier Writers. It is held that the name of Sewistan is erroneously given to this part of the country, which was a dependency of the extensive province of Sewistan of Tatta or Sindh. The name however has been generally adopted in earlied histories and in the absence of conclusive proof th the contrary, it would seem desirable to retain it. All local traditions assert that the former rulers of this part of the country including Kalat were Hindus who were called Sewas. As history shows that Muhammadan dynasties have held Baluchistan from about the Seventeenth century, an earlier period must be looked for the date of these Sewas and it is not improbable that they were connected with the Rai Dynasty of Sindh whose genealogical tables include two rulers named Sihra.

Early History

A tribe known as Sibi or Sibia is mentioned in the histories of Alexander’s invasion of India, but beyond a similarity of names there is nothing to show that they were connected with the modern town of Sibi. Prior to and at the time of the rise of islam, Sibi seems to have formed a portion of an extensive Hindu kingdom on the Indus, which at the time of its first contact with the Arabs was ruled over by Sihra Rai, whose capital was Alor a populous city near Bhakkar. This monarch was killed in Makran in a battle with Arabs and after the death of his successor Sahsi, the kingdom passed into the hands of rai Chach, the Brahman who ruled Sindh for forty years. Chach is said to have marched from Armabela ( apparently Bela ) through the Jhalawan country to Kandabil ( possibly the modern Gandava), and to have afterwards encamped on the banks of the river Sini or Sibi which may be identified with the Nari of the present day. He is described as having compelled the inhabitants of this part of the country to pay him a tribute of a hundred horses and a thousand Durhams of money.

First Muhammadan invasion in 711 A.D. 

 The first Muhammadan invasion under Muhammad Bin Qasim the Arab general of the Caliph Walid, took place during the reign of Dahir, the son of Chach. The seizure of an Arab ship at a Sindh and conquered the country up to and including Multan.

Second Muhammadan Invasion in 978 A.D. 

In the interval that elapsed before the next Muhammadan invasion nothing is known of the history of the district but at the beginning of  the eleventh centruy, Sibi and the neighbouring country formed part of the Ghaznivid empire under Sultan Mahmood Ghaznvi, who captured Multan in 1004 A.D.

Year 10004 A.D.

In the time of Nasiruddin Kabacha who assered his independence in Sindh during the reign of Altamash, the slave king of Dehli, Sibi is mentioned as forming one of the seven kingdoms of Sindh tributary to Multan and as being ruled by Rana Wakija son of Punnun Channun, a petty Muhammadan feudatory of Hindu descent.  

YEAR 1250 A.D.

The subsequent history is obscure but about 1250 the town of Sibi and its dependencies are said to have been held by Rai Sihra, the head of the Langah tribe of Multan who according to Tod, were Hindus by descent and a branch of the Solanki Rajputs but according to native writers a branch of the Jats. In the confusion which followed the withdrawal of Timur after the sack of Delhi, Multan became independent under the Langahs and Sibi seems to have been recognized as a dependency of that province though the actual possession appears to have alternated between the rulers of that province and those of Kandahar.

Year 1470 A.D.

In 1470 Sultan Hussain Mirza of Herat is said to have made over the territories of Shal ( Quetta) Pushang ( Pishin ) and Sibi to Amir Shujauddin Zunnun, the Arghun but according to the Ain-i-Akbari the “Siwi Fort” was conferred as a fief in 1488 on Shah Beg, the son of Shujaudin Zunnun by Jam Nizamuddin of Sindh generally known as Jam Nanda.

Arghun Dynasty 1511 A.D. 

About 1511 Shah Beg marched against Sibi to resume his fief and captured the town after a severe struggle. After rebuilding the Fort, which he strongly garrisoned, Shah Beg returned to Kandhar.

Sibi Fort
Sibi Fort
He was however compelled to retire before Baber and evacuating kandhar made his head- quarter at Shal and Sibi. In 1517 he led an expedition into Sindh and defeating Jam Feroz, the son of Jam Nanda captured and sacked Tatta in January 1519. Shah Beg died in 1522 When leading another expedition against Gujrat and was succeeded by his son Mirza Shah Husain.
Entrance Gate Fort of Sibi
Entrance Gate Fort of Sibi
In 1513 Shah Hussain bestowed the Government of Sibi on Sultan Muhammad (sometimes written Sultan Mahmud) son of Mir fazal, Kokaltash, a favorite of his father. According to Mir Masum Sultan Muhammad “took several forts which had been held by Balochis for many years. He severely twisted the ears of these vicious people of Kohistan, bringing them under subjection”. It was about this time (1543) that Humayun passed through Sibi on his retreat from India.

Mirza isa Tarkhan Year 1554 A.D.

Shah Hussain died in 1554 and after his death his territory was divided between Mirza Isa Tarkhan, who had been appointed Governor of Tatta and Sultan Muhammad, the latter retaining the territory of Bhakkar. In 1573 Sultan Muhammad tendered his allegiance to the Emperor Akber, and his territory, hitherto held by him independently, was confirmed to him as a fief.Sultan Muhammad died in the following year and was succeeded as Governor of Bhakkar by one Saiad Muhammad. At this period Sibi appears to have come into the possession of the Panri tribe of Ghurgusht Pathans or Afghans, who had first begun to acquire power on the decay of the Arghun rule.

Panri ( panni) Tribe of Sibi 

In 1576 an expedition was sent against Sibi under Saiad Abul Fazal, the son of the governor who captured the fort in spite of a valiant resistance by the Panris. Shortly afterwards the Mughal contingent was withdrawn and the Panris again took possession of the country. This led to another expedition in 1587 which was repulsed with loss and in 1595 there was a third expedition which resulted in the capture of the fort. Mir masum of Bhakkar the historian of Sindh who was then appointed as governor has left this following description of Sibi as it appeared in this time “The territory of Siwi and Ganjabah (Gundawa) is thus situated. The range of Sitpur stetching along the lands of kin, places dependent on kandhar, lies between. From this place the territory (Siwi) having assumed the shape of a complete semi-circles again approaches the banks of the river.
Panni Tribe History
Panni Tribe History
This intermediate space is all dusht (open plain) and the route leading to Kandhar rus through the midst of this dusht. The length of the territory from the river to Siwi, is one hundred kuroh (kos) and the breadth is sixty kurah. Over the greater part of this tract the samum blows for a period of four months in the year and the period during which it prevails is the hot season. In the dusht of Siwi there used to be forts and inhabited places but they are gone to ruin.”

Mughals Rule of India

In the time of Akber, Sibi was assessed to revenue as a mahal of the Bhakkar Sarkar of the Multan suba and paid 1,381,930 dirams in cash and furnished a contingent of 500 cavalries and 1500 infantry. During the reign of Jehangir and Shahjahan the province of Siwi seems to have been kept in the disturbed state of the reign of Aurangzeb “On account of the disturbed state of the frontier districts of the Multan suba and the excesses of the marauding Baloch tribes” the Shahzada Muhammad Muizzuddin grandson of the emperor was appointed as governor or nazim of the Multan suba. “At this time Sibi and its dependencies were held by the chief of the Panri tribe Mirza Khan Barozai, who had received the title of nawab and also administered the affairs of Upper Sindh.

Nawab Bakhtiar Khan Barozai in Year 1700 A.D.

His son Nawab Bakhtiar Khan Barozai who had been entrapped into opposing the nazim’s forces was killed in 1700 and “a farman of congratulation was dispatched to the Prince together with a dress of honor and a jeweled dagger for his services in rooting out the rebel Bakhtiar.”

Kalhora Dynasty of Sindh 1712 A.D.

In 1712 Yar Muhammad Kalhora of Sindh was appointed governor of Bhakkar by Muizzuddin who had succeeded to the throne of Delhi as Jehnadar Shah and received the title of nawab and afterwards that of Khuda Yar Khan Abbasi.
In 1730-1, Abdullah Khan, the Brahvi Khan of Kalat was killed while fighting with Nur Muhammad, the son of Yar Muhammad.

Nadir Shah 1739 A.D.

In 1739 the province west of the Indus were annexed to the Persian empire by Nadir Shah and Nur Muhammad was delivered over into the hands of Mohabat Khan of Kalat that he might avenge the death of his father. The Brahvi chief however declined the commission of murder and Nadir Shah compelled the Kalhora prince to cede Kachhi or Kach Gandava to the Khan as an equivalent or atonement for the blood of his father. Kachhi is accordingly always spoken of as having been acquired for Kalat by the blood of Abdullah Khan.

Durrani Dynast 1747 A.D.

After Nadir Shah’s death, the Panri seized the opportunity to again acquire Sibi and Sangan and Durranis found it convenient to confirm the Barozai chiefs in the position which they established but as Hakims or governors rather than as independent rulers. The Barozais were never able to assert their authority in Zawar (Harnai valley) or in Thal and it would appear that for purposes of revenue these two districts were worked or occasionally raided by agents from Pishin or by Durranis of Quetta.

British Arrival 1839 A.D.

The Barozais retainded their position during the ruler of the Barakzais and at the outbreak of the first Afghan war in 1839, Misri Khan Barozai, the head of Panri tribe tendered his services to Shah Shuja and was taken into British service with a number of his followers who were styled the “Baloch Levy”.

Anglo Khajjak Battle 1841

In March 1841 Mr. Rose Bell the Political agent in upper Sindh deputed one of his assistants with a detachment of troops, under the command of Colonel Wilson of the Bombay Cavalry, to collect the arrears of revenue due from Khajjaks of Sibi on behalf of Shah Shuja Durrani. The detachment was accompanied by Misri Khan and on the Khajjaks refusing to comply with the demands, attacked the town but were repulsed with heavy loss, losing fifty-three men killed and wounded and four officers including Colonel Wilson. Reinforcements from Bhag were sent up under General Brooks but before they could arrive the Khajjaks abandoned their town, the defenses of which were then demolished. The Khajjaks were permitted to return during the following year and the town was rebuilt.
From November 1841 to September 1842 an Assistant Political Officer resided at Sibi.
Anglo Khajjak battle 1841
Anglo Khajjak battle 1841

Around 1500 it was taken by Shah Beg of the Arghun Dynasty from Samma Dynasty of Sultan Of Sindh and so came under the control of Kandahar.
However, during the period of Mughal rule the territory was once again ruled from Multan.
In 1714 the territory was conquered by the Kalhoras Amirs of Sindh, but they were then displaced by the Durranis. During the short rule of the Durranis the local administrators were nominated from the Barozai Sub clan of the Panni Tribe.

Sibi Sub Division Jirga memebers
Sibi Sub Division Jirga memebers

In the 19th century it fell under Marris and Bugtis hand. To finish rebellion in the area as raised by Marri & Bugti Tribes, the British signed the treaty with Khan of Kalat in late 19th century where under the Sibi, Shalkot and Chagai territory leased out to British India.
The District of Sibi was established in 1903 during British Rule its area was larger than the current district and lay between 27°55′ and 30°38’N and 67°17′ and 69°50’E lying south of Loralai District, north of the Upper Sind Frontier District, west of Dera Ghazi Khan District and east of Kachhi, Bolan Pass and Quetta- Pishin.

Political Agent Sibi
Political Agent Sibi

The total area of the district was 11,281 square miles (29,220 km2), but this included Marri Bugti county (7,129 square miles) which not directly administered by the British, leaving 4,152 square miles (10,750 km2) that were directly administered by the British  The population according to the 1901 census of India was 74,555 or 18 persons per square mile.

Governor House Sibi
Governor House Sibi
Sibi Tehsil
Sibi Tehsil

Nawab Ghous Bakhash Barozai with District administration and Pakistan army cantt Sibi

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