The conquest of Balochistan by Shah Hussain Hotak

In 1733 the ruler of Kalat encroached upon the Pashtun territories and succeeded in capturing the fort at Shal (Quetta). When the news of the invasion reached the ears of Shah Hussain Hotak (king of Kandahar), he set out from Kandahar with an army to dislodge Balochs from Shal and to reduce them to submission. His force was composed of Pashtun and Hazara levies. He first crossed the Khojak Pass and reached Pishin. He put the fort at Pishin into an efficient state of defence and left a garrison there to hold it. Then he crossed Kotal-I-Gaz into Shal (the present-day Quetta district). Balochs sallied out from the fort of Quetta under their leader Salar Khan and clashed with Hotak army but were defeated. After few days, they made another sally which was also unsuccessful. After some days Balochs evacuated the place under the cover of night and made for Mastung and Kalat. Shah Hussain Hotak left a force of 500 jezailchis and a body of 200 cavalry under the command of Sherdil Khan Babuzai and then pushed on to Mustang.

Balochs were retiring before the Afghan army; they abandoned Mastung and fled towards Ganjaba-Kachhi area and Kalat. Shah Hussain Hotak occupied Mastung and issued orders to pursue Balochs. A body of the Baloch fugitives was overtaken by the Afghans on the boundary of the Kalat district. Baloch men took to the hills and left their families, cattle, flocks and other property in the hands of the Afghan force under Asadullah Khan Ishakzai Hotak. The latter left the women and children unmolested but took possession of the cattle and flocks.

When a body of Baloch fugitives reached Kalat, Mehrab Khan (the Khan of Kalat) expecting that the next movement of Afghans would be against the Kalat, tendered his submission and sent offerings of horses and other presents to Shah Hussain Hotak. Sher Khan Baloch (the ruler of Nauhski) and Mohabat Khan (chief of Ganjaba) also submitted and tendered their allegiance to the Hotak king. The Khan of Kalat agreed to restore the cattle he had carried off from Pishin and Shorawak and to make the losses sustained by the people of Shal. He also had to furnish a contingent of 5,000 men whenever the sovereign of Kandahar required troops; and to give up some chiefs as hostages for the performance of these terms. This ratified, Shah Hussain Hotak returned to Kandahar, taking five chiefs along with him as hostages. 

Shah Hussain Hotak
Quetta fort, 1839. Source
History of Hotak dynasty
An imaginary portrait of Shah Hussain Hotak


1- Raverty, “Notes on Afghanistan and Balochistan:
2- Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans, Vol-III



Leave a comment