Gilgit conspiracy

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Copy of express letter No. 1344- ctb./ 33/1., dates the 28th November 1938, from Norwef, Peshawar, to Foreign New Delhi.

___________

Action against the Jalkotis.

…………..

Reference correspondence ending with Foreign express letter No. F. 248-F/38, dated the 2nd November 1938.

  1. A copy of letter No. 871- s.t../ 27/14-Pol., dated the 16th October 1938, from the Deputy Commissioner, Hazara, is enclosed. The local Administration are, prima facie, in agreement with the views expressed therein.

Before atempting a surprise ” baramta” it will be more satisfactory for the general progress of Government’s relations with the Jalkotis to try other methods of recovering dues from them in the first instance, such as:-

(i)           Persuation through the Kagan Syed Jagirdars.

(ii)          Applying such means of pressure as denying them access to the Sapat Summer grazing ground next year or to excluding them from British Territory and Chilas.

The Deputy Commissioner, Hazara, has recently seen Syed Munawar Shah, the most influential of the Kagan jagirdars, and is confident that he can persuade the Jalkotis to pay up as soon as the passes open next May. He says that they had promised the Assistant Political Agent, Chilas, when he demand the animals in September last, to hand over half then and there, and  the other half next summer. He believes that they are thoroughly frightened as a result of the punishment they received at the hands of the Gilgit Scouts.

 

Copy of a letter No. 871- st/ 27/14/Pol., dated the 16th October 1938, from the Deputy Commissioner, Hazara, to the Chief Secretary to the  Government,  North West Frontier Province, Peshawar.

____________

Action Against the Jalkotis.

__________

With reference to correspondence ending with my endorsement No. 839-s.t., dated 4th October 1938 and the enclosed copy of a confidential express letter No. 182-C/38, dated the 29th September 1938, from the Political Agent, Gilgit to the Resident in Kashmir on the subject of a recent encounter between the Gilgit Scouts and the Jalkitis in connection with a barampta of the  latter’s animals which was to be carried out by  the Scouts if the Jalkotis failed to pay up by the 1st September last a fine imposed on them at the joint Jirga held last summer at Naran, I have the honour to say that in my opinion the suggestion that further action against the Jalkotis should be taken next year by the Gilgit Scouts and Frontier Constabulary working in co- operation requires careful consideration from the point of view of this Administration in view of the probable effect on our ralations with the Jalkotis and the peace of our border.

The Jalkotis were placed under the Political control of the Deputy Commissioner, Hazara, as recently as 1933. Prior to that they were under the Political Agent, Gilgit, who admittedly had little or no control over them. We are gradually establishing contact with them but owing to their remoteness it is a difficult and slow progress. A great advance was made last summer when they were presuaded to come in to Joint Jirga at Naran and a large number of cases were decided and for the first time Jalkotis claims were also considered.

The attempted barampta which was the cause of the recent encounter was in respect of an old claim the Chilasis had against the Jalkotis. The Jalkotis were warned at the Jirga that it would be carried out if they did not hand over the animals by the 1st September last. It was agreed that the Scouts should carry out the operation as the area was more accessible to them. Unfortunately they did not attempt it until the 24th September by which time the Jalkotis normally move down from the higher grazing grounds. Hardly any animals were found. Now the Political Agent desires a barampta on a larger scale next summer and it appear that he considers this necessary not only in order to settle the claim  of the Chilasis but as a retaliatory measure for the attack on the patrol of Gilgit Scouts who incidentally had to abandon their camp.

Whether retaliation in the circumstances is necessary or desirable appears to me to be doubtful. Two Jalkotis were killed in the encounter and this might be considered sufficient punishment. I find it hard to find justification to open hostitities with the tribe after a lapse of 8 or 9 months on these grounds. If a surprise baramta can be carried out next summer by Gilgit Scouts without risk of general hostilities with the Jalkotis I see no objection, but I do see serious objection to our Frontier constabulary taking part in an operation which will almost certainly result in raids into the kagan valley if we are identified with it. The Frontier constabulary detachments in the Kagan would require to be strengthened considerably and even then it would be well nigh impossible for them to protect the whole area which is full of Gujars and their herds and flocks in the summer season. We succeeded in establishing a very good atmosphere at the last Joint Jirga and the effects of this would be destroyed extremely uncivilized people.

In short my opinion is that, while I am anxious to co- operate with the Political Agent, Gilgit, as much as possible, I do not think we would be justified in action as he suggests in this case. The case arose, after all, out of a claim of the Chilasis, and it would seem hard on the inhabitants of the Kagan Valley if their peace was disturbed on account of something they react against out interests if occasion arose for us to ask for the co- operation of the Gilgit Scouts, but I hardly think that such a narrow view could be taken. The fact is that the Kagan Valley is much more vulnerable than the Thak Valley.

 

 

Air Mail

Fortnightly Report of the Kashmir Residency for the fortnight ending the 31st October 1945.

The Palace.

213. His Highness the Maharaja went to Jammu on the night of the 14th October, returning to Srinagar 3 days later. At Jammu he personally welcomed the 4th Jammu and Kashmir Infantry on their return to the State after having given a very good account of themselves on the Burma front.

214. The Dussehra festivals was celebrated on the 16th October with the usual war time curtailed ceremony . His Highness being absent at Jammu Her Highness the Maharani attended the Review, which formed part of the day’s proceedings.

Kashmir Government.

215. Reference paragraph 158 of the report for the first half of August 1945. Mr. Niaz Ahmed (formerly Law Secretary and Legal Remembrance) has been appointed Chief Secretary vice Mr. M.A. Shahmiri, appointed Director of Civil Supplies in the place of captain wreford who has accepted a post under the Government of India in the Food Department before completing his full tenure of service under the Kashmir Government.

All India Affairs.

216. Workers of the State Silk Factory at Srinagar, have recently held several meetings under the auspices of the National conference. Their chief demand is that 90% of the Factory’s earnings should be distributed amongst the workers. An attempt was also made by the workers early this week to take out a procession in the City but the timely arrival of the police prevented it.

Muslim Conference.

218. On the opening day of the autumn Session of the State Praja Sabha (cf. paragraph 212 of the report for the first half of October 1945) Ch. Hameed Ullah, leader of the Muslim Conference Party in the Praja Sabha tabled an adjournment motion to discuss acts of oppression and suppression against the Muslim rank and file over since Rai Bahadufr R.C. Kak become Prime Minister. The motion was according to the Press disallowed on technical grounds.

216. The local Muslim conference Party, talking advantage of the recent visit of the Hon’ble Sir J.P. Srivatava, Food member , to the State, arranged to send a deputation to wait on him but the interview was not granted

 

No. B (29)/ 45.                                                                          SECRET.

SRINAGAR,

4th July 1945.

My dear Griffin,

I should like to make the following points in amplification of the  appreciation given in my express letter No. B (29) 45 of 3dr July.

(a) Balance between Kashmir and Jammu Provinces. The ” horizontal”  Hindu- Muslim cleavage in Kashmir politics, though highly important, is in my opinion not fundamental or basic. The real underlying cleavages are the ” vertical”  ones: they are economic, regional , and racial rather than religious. I believe (without verification from records) that it is correct to say that the 1930 troubles started on these lines and actually spread to the Dogras of Jammu, but soon fizzleo out after they had been exploited by Indian Muslim organisations.

(b) To require the Maharaja now to substitute a Minister approved by the Crown Representative must I think be be regarded as tantamount to curtailment of powers- and requiring the same justification in the internal situation of the State. Nothing like such justifications appears to exist at present, though it might of course arise if Kak miuses his power.

2.       A minor point- I should have mentioned that Mekhri who has taken over Khan Bahadur Mirza Jafar and a Sunni Muslim to boot  (Zafar Ali is a Shia). This is well; but Mekhri, though an amiable person and shrewa enough is not a man of weight, and it remains to be seen whether he can win the public confidence undoubtedly enjoyed by his predecessor. It is understood he was previously in State service (in Mysore?) without any particular credit; but there seems to be no information on this point in this Residency.

Yours sincerely

Sd/- J.G. Acheson.

L.C.L. Griffin, Esquire, C.I.E.,

Secretary to His Excellency the

Crown Representative,

political Department,

New Delhi.

 

 

 

LATE MAJOR WILLIAM

ALEXANDER BROWN

Award: Sitara- Pakistan (postumous)

Field  : Services to Pakistan

The late Major William Alexander Brown, MBE was a King’s Commissioned Officer of thd 12th Frontier Force Regiment from 1943 to 1947. He served with the South Waziristan Scouts. Gilgit Scouts. Tochi Scouts and Chiral Scouts. He was commandant of the Gilgit Scouts during the critical period following the independence of Pakistan when the people of Gilgit Agency rose in a popular uprising against the Dogra Ruler of Kashmir and in favour of accession to Pakistan. When the Ruler of Kashmir announced his decision to accede to India on 29th October 1947, Major Brown took the courageous step of joining the people of Gilgit to overthrow Dogra Rule (After effectively neuralising hostile elements of the rulers force deployed in the Area) Major Brown raised the Pakistani flag over Gilgit on 3rd November 1947. He remained in complete control of the situation till the arrival of the first Pakistani Political Agent in Gilgit on 16th November 1947 . Major Brown was thus instrumental in bringing about the orderly transfer of Gilgit Agency to Pakishtan.

Major Brown was committed to the idea of Pakistan was deeply attached to Gilgit and its people and was sensitive to their wish to opt for Pakistan. As a young officer. only twenty- four years of age at the time. Major Brown acted with an extraodinary sense of duty. loyalty and devotion to the land and people of Gilgit even at great risk to his own personal safety. Till his death in December 1984, Major Brown never sought any recognition, reward or acknowledgement of his services to  Pakistan which letifies to his sterling qualities as an officer and a gentleman.

In recognition of his outstanding services to Pakistan the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been pleased to confer on late Major William Alexander Brown the award of  ” Sitara-i-Pakistan (posthumous)

 

CITATION

Major William Alexander Brown

The late Major William Alexander Brown, MBE was a king’s Commissioned Officer of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment from 1943 to 1947. He served with the South Waziristan Scoutsl, Gilgit Scouts, Tochi Scouts and Chitral Scouts.

Major Brown was commandant of the Gilgit Scouts during the critical period following the independece of Pakistan  when the people of Gilgit  Agency rose in a popular  uprising against the Dogra Ruler of Kashmir and in favour of accession to Pakistan.

When the Ruler of kashmir announced his decision to accede to India on 29 October 1947, Major Brown took the courageous step of joining the people of Gilgit to overthrow Dogra rule. After effectively neutralising hostile elements of the Ruler’s forces deployed in the area, Major Brown raised the Pakistani flag over Gilgit on 3rd November 1947. He remained in complete control of the situation till the arrival of the first pakistani Political Agent in Gilgit on 16 November 1947. Major Brown was thus instrumental in bringing about the orderly transfer of Gilgit Agency to Pakistan.

Major Brown was committed to the idea of Pakistan, was deeply attached to Gilgit and its  People and was sensitive to  their wish to opt for Pakistan. As a young officer, only twenty- four years of age at the time, Major Brown acted with an extraordinary sense of duty,  loyalty and devotion to the land and people of Gilgit, even at great risk to his own personal safety.

Till his death in December 1984, Major Brown never sought any recognition, reward or acknowledgement of his services to Pakistan- which testifies to his sterling qualities as an officer and a gentleman.

In recognition of outstanding services to Pakistan, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to posthumously confer the award of Sitara-i-Pakistan on Major William Alexander Brown.

 

 

To,

The Political Agent Gilgit.

Sir,

The following is a summary of events leading up to the overthrow of the Dogra regime in Gilgit and the establishment of Pakistan administration.

On Kashmir Government taking over the Gilgit Agency from the Government of India, three officers preceded from the Kashmir forces to replace the British Officers who were leaving the Scouts. All the three sending Hindu Officers in a purely and lead to trouble By August 9 all these officers were in Gilgit.

The 6th Kashmir Infantry was detailed this year for Frontier duty. Captain Hassan Khan, who belonged to this Battalian came up with his company to Bunji. He came to Gilgit and wet, this Scout Officers. At an informal meeting the Pakistan problem came up. All of us were muslims. Every body wanted Pakistan. But not every body was ready to struggle for it. Subh was captain Mohd. Khan. He was definitely pro- Pakistan. But he dare not be disloyal to  Dogra. It seems, he has a mind which cannot imagine a revolution. We were disappointed with him when we saw him lose his wits at the suggestion of overthrowing the Dogra regime in Gilgit. He talked alright but for the needed action he was a dud. So we three got aside and left him alone.

Having made an agreeable group we discussed the Pakistan issue and finally agreed, “that Dogra regime in Gilgit shows overthrown and the Agency handed over to Pakistan. As the country is muslim, the Scouts the same and one half of Bunji Battalion also Muslim, there is no reason why we should not succeed. About hindu troops coming up from Kashmir, the last of proper wears of transport, the terrain from Bandipur to Gilgit, and the fact that entire country muslim made such an enterprise practically futile. We three then were decided as to our future role in Gilgit, What next? We started feeling for comrades. Our first, and perhaps the last success in this direction was, when we found the Subedar Major quite willing to join us. It was a great success indeed . The Scouts corpse. all locals, could be safely relied . This group of 4 then started the work which was completed with the overthrow of the Dogra regime in  Gilgit.

All four of us were clear to us our object- Pakistan. To make the group more solid we decided to have an oath taking the sacrifice everything may be our lives for the achievement of Pakistan. (2) We will not divulge the secret till our sacred object Hassan Khan will personally be incharge of Bunji and Captain Sayed  incharge  of Gilgit.

Now starts a campaign of canvassing and converting. The object is Scouts I.os and men. The Scouts corps is going to be our chief weapon in the whole show. Hassan is pretty sure of the Bunji Battalion Muslims. Success is again achieved. The I.Os and will the Pakistan Government agree to out action and will they accept us? On being assured by us they whole heartedly throw in their lot. All the credit however goes to Subedar Major.

The time factor now assumes importance. It is decided that (1) if the state Joins Pakistan we will drop the scheme (8) If it  joins Hindustan we will strike at once (6)  If State remains neutral we will wait  till the pas as are closed with snow and then strike our blow.

Meanwhile one of the Scout officers is found to be extra and is to be sent back. Who will it be do not know. Haidar refused to go to Chilas on Governer’s orders. Moreover his mother unit, 6th K.T. ordered to report to 6th K.T. After Jalsa Captain Mohd Khan leaves Gilgit and the Pakistan group has a free atmosphere to breath in.

Captain Hassan Khan who was at Gilgit during Jalsa has also left for Bunji. The Pakistan group in Gilgit have communication by letter, telephone with Hassan. A code is arranged to signal the D-day to captain Hassan so that his attack on sikhs at Bunji  and our blow at Gilgit are synchronized.

The Kashmir events help us in making our decision as to D- day. The Maharaja, by his stupidity, has helped us a lot. The accession to Hindustan makes our section very clear. Meanwhile Saeid is ordered to proceed to Kalamdarchi. Even if this thing means that the Dogra administrative valcono and dare not stir. Saeed leaves for Kalamdarchi.

Meanwhile the Dogra Governor visits Bunji. He is to investigate slogans shouted by Hassans company. The Pak group in Gilgit is ready to act if something untowared happens in Bunji.

It is a last week of October. Hassan is at Bunji, Haidar and Subedar Major Gilgit, Saeed on the Kalamdarchi journey.

Major Brown meanwhile has been pre-sing for a referendum on the object. The Governor however tells Major Brown that the Mir of Hunza has assured him of his loyalty. Major Brown on hearing this telephones to Mir of Hunza. When Brown is on the phone Haidar is waiting in Scout lines for him to go. Haidar has sent s wire to Captain Hassan about Friday 1st October belong fixed as a D-Day. Hassan wires back that he is ready and further wants telephone. Haidar informs Hassan of the Gilgit situation but Hassan in reply says that Governor is listening and therefore next time. Haidar has however spoken a lot. Haidar’s plans, strike out blow on Friday 1st October. Orders issued accordingly. The Subedar Major and I.os want to feel Brown attitude. It is decided that if he agrees O.K. if not we strike without him.

The telephone conversations took place on 29th October. On 30th October the Governor ordered that nobody will use the telephone without his permission. This day evening the Subedar Major tells Haidar that the Governor had heard all the telephone conversation of yesterday and that plans were made to crush the plot. The Governor, on telephone, had ordered colonal Majid Khan of 6th K.I. to come up to Gilgit. Our action being pretty clear we started preparations.

On 31st evening Subedar Major, Haidar and Brown met at Subedar’s Banglow. The Subedar Major showed readiness to overthrow the Dogra administration. This was done as Brown did not know of the Pakistan group. No we told him a bout it. Meanwhile Scouts were placed on tactical points to guard against local it. Sikh attack. The Subedar Major administered the Pakistan oath to the Scouts.

31st October evening we strike our below. After the oath ceremony. Haidar occupies the P &T office, the ……..   station is guarded and ………….. the Governor  instead of surrendering starts shooting in a franzey. Kills a scout and ammunition on him but continues the ….. scouts till he surrenders. It is midnight now and news arrives that Captain Hassan … his troops is at Pari, a place in Gilgit. This news is much welcomed especially .. scout .

1st November-        It HH is morning and the Governor had not surrendered. At about  3 a.m. Hassan meets Haidar and Brown at farmer’s Bunglow. They leave after some time. … green very light goes off from Governor’s Bungalow and every body knows that Governor has surrendered. Some  ex- officials had been sent in and had …him to surrender. He is kept in the I.O.s mess. This day Captain Hassan goes back to Phoop Singh …. to guard against any attack from Bunji. The Scouts sent for the same purpose are under his command.

2nd November –     A general meeting is held to discuss the setting up of administration. Hassan is back to Gilgit. Shah Rais Khan who had helped a lot in handling the mobs in included . All Officers present are i…. the meeting. It is decided that Shah Rais will be head of the provisional administration Captain Hassan Khan will command the troops and Haidar will run the civil administration.  Major  Brown was to be advisor to the head of the …….Government. This day a guard had to be put on Major Brown  as some Mullahs resented his taking part in the show and their was a danger to his person. Chilas scouts under Captain Mathison are advancing towards Partabpul. Colonel Majid and Captain Ahsan Ali of 6th K.I. are put under arrest while on their way to Gilgit.

3rd November –      Hassan who has left Gilgit is in communication with Muslim elements of 6th  K. I. He  informs Muslims troops to attack magzine ¾ November. Hassan a……….. and friends the Partabpul aflame. He then rushes to  Jaglote to cross the river by boat. The boat was sunk under orders of Captain Mathison. This day the non- muslims in Gilgit are moved in to Scout lines to ensure their safety. Governor wires Kashmir premier of peaceful handing over to provisional Government.

4th November-      Mir of Hunza and Mir of Nagar’s accession to Pakistan wired to Peshwar . Hassan sents an ultimatum to Sikhs to surrender. He decides to cross the river on rafts. The sikhs get panicy and alarmed of the empending attack. Saeed arrives with his platoon. Pakistan. Brown and Subedar Major leave for Juglote.

5th November –      Wire to N.W.F.P. premier to send a Muslim administrator. Sikhs at Bunji ….towards mountains capture Astor. Ramghat bridge occupied and platoon sent to Astor to capture stocks and Treasury there and cut off Sikh’s line of retreat.

6th November-       Another reminder wire to Peshawar. The Bunji Sikhs start surrendering in batches. Some of them wondering in the mountains. All of them scattered. 8th K. I., arms and ammunition captured. Brown and Mathieson and Subedar Major arrive at Gilgit. Subedar Major assures the 8 that if they are behave properly will be safe.

7th November –      Wire from Abdul Qayum Khan that our matter being considered. A wire sent to Abdul Qayum Khan and external affairs Pakistan. All India Radio reports fighting on bridge.

8th November –      Wire to Pakistan contradicting All India news. Governor’s wire to Kashmir  premier that he and all non-muslims are safe in custody provisional Government.

9th November-       Colonel Majid who insisted on being  ………. to proceed to  his home leaves to-day. Hussan …. Troops to Astor and Gorikit and occupies to …..

11th November-      It is decided that servants of the previous administration Mulslims and non- Muslim all should be paid upto 31st October.

12th November –    Captain Saeed and Subedar Major leaves for  Bunji.

13th November-      Hassan  pushes a troops to curez. Gurez. Via Gamri and Burzil across Agency borders to capture Kashmir Government retions lying there which were being … to Srinagar.

14th November-      A message from Peshawar the Sardar Mohd Alam will be ….. at Gilgit.

15th November-      Wire ……

16th November –     Mohammad Alam arrives. All offices and people give him an enthusiastic reception. Today our efforts have been our object.

 

 

 

“A SHORT NOTE ON CURRENT EVENTS IN GILGIT”

BY

MAJOR WILLIAM BROWN

COMMANDANT GILGIT SCOUTS

(1947)

 

 

 

(Contains decisions regarding Gilgit taken in a conference presided

Over by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan on 3 December 1947)

 

 

A SHORT NOTE ON CURRENT EVENTS IN GILGIT

At a conference in Rawalpindi  on the 3rd December  1947, at which the Premiere Pakistan Presided, and at which the other members presents were Col. Iskander Mirzam Defence Secretary of the Pakistan Government, Col. R.N. Baoon, P.A., Khyber, (ex-P.A. Gilgit) and Maj. W.A. Brown, Commandant Gilgit Scouts, the following decisions were readed.

A-         That the entire territory of the Gilgit  Agency should be held by Pakistan at all costs against possible invanion by the  Indian Army.

B-         That in order to achieve this, the present strength of the Gilgit corps of Scouts (i.e. 600) should be increased to 1500 (i.e. an additional 900).

C-        That the Muslim element of the 6th Kashmir Infantry should be organised as a separate Azad Forces Unit, to be used as a possible striking force as and when the situation may demand, and should in no way be connected with the Gilgit Scouts.

D-        That all ex-Kashmir Army Officers in Gilgit should immediately Join this Azad Forces Unit, and should assist in the formation of said striking force.

E-         That certain deserving  Local Officers of the Gilgit Scouts should be granted Pakistan Commissions.

On his return to Gilgit, Maj. W.A. Brown based and proceeded with his future programme in accordance with those orders. Pakistan Commissions were given to the two most deserving Local Officer and large-scale recruitment commenced.

Towards the end of December, the Political Agent Gilgit received a message from Norwef to the effect that Major W.A. Brown, Commandant Scouts, and Capt. A.S. mathieson, 2 i/ o Scoute, would shortly be relieved by Maj. Mohd. Aslam and Capt. Mohd Khan respectively.

On the 10th January, the two relieving officers arrived in Gilgit under the nomeclature  of Col. Pasha and Major Nadir Shah respectively.

Complete charge of the Golgit Scouts and allied matters was duly handed over by Maj. W.A. Brown to Maj. Aslam,  Alias Col.  Pasha, on 12th January, with full information given and received.

Having taken over charge of the Gilgit Scouts, Major Aslam, Alias Col. Pasha, them made it clear to all that had come to Gilgit as a representative of the Azad Kashmir Govt., and that area. It is understood that he produced credentials to the P.A. Gilgit which has been received by him from, and signed by, the Azad Kashmir Government.

Col. Pasha’s immediate action after taking supreme command was as follows.

A-    He declared that the Gilgit Scouts and the Muslim element of the 6th K.I. would be amalgamated as one force.

B-    He recalled all the remaining ex- Kashmir  Army Officers from Bunji to Gilgit.

C-    He gave certain of these officers command over the Gilgit Scouts under his amalgamation scheme.

D-    He declared that this force would be entirely independent of the P.A. Gilgit.

E-    He gave out preliminary warning orders for the removed of the entire Corps of Scouts from Gilgit Agency to Bunji.

F-    He made it quite clear that the intended role of the Gilgit Scouts was on an offensive, and not defensive, nature, his plan being that one third of the entire force should capture and hold Skardu, list the reminder should advance on and capture Bundipur.

If the above is in accordance with the policy of the Pakistan Govt., then the matter need not be discussed further, but, as shown in comparison with the decisions of the Rawalpindi conference, if it onflicts with the policy of the Pakistan Government, the matter is forwarded herewith for information, with the remor that continuation of Col. Pasha’s present policy may have unfortunate rep….. It is pointed out that the decisions readed at the Rawalpindi conference were done no after full consideration of the peculiar political as well as strategic conditions prevalent in the Gilgit Agency. Under the foresaid conditions, the positions of the Political Agent, Gilgits is being jeopardised to the extent of being almost untenable.

It may also be of interest to the Pakistan Government that on the 14th January, a British Air Force Officer, one F/Lieut Leater, arrived in Gilgit from Rishalpur, bringing with him … No. 19 wireless set, with which it is Col. Pasha’s intention to establish wireless contact between Gilgit and Risalpur, and Gilgit and the Azad Force in Kashmir . It in not Known if this was done with the concurrence of the Pakistan Government.

 

REPORT ON RECENT  EVENTS IN GILGIT

On the 1st August 1947 the Government of India formally handed over charge of the Gilgit Agency to the Kashmir Durbar. A high ranking Hindu Kashmir State Army Officer was appointed Governor who attempted to model his administration on that of the political agents of the imperial Government.

It soon become apparent that the whole country from the Rulers of the small states of Hunza and Nagir down to the humblest villager loathed this new regime regarding it as Hindu domination. An understandable loathing in light of the fact that the population that the population of the Gilgit Agency is 100% Muslim. However it seemed that the people were prepared to endure this new regime provided the state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to Pakistan, but as time passed it became increasingly obvious that the sentiments of the Maharajah lay with Hindustan. A capital with Hindustan; R.C. Kak the Prime Minister, General Scott, Chief of the Military Staff and Mr. powell, Chief Police resigned —- or were asked to resign, ———– it being believed generally that their resignations came about owing to their pro-Pakistan Proclivities.

The situation in Gilgit became tense and the people more ostentatious in their claims to join Pakistan. Pakistan slogans were in the streets and a general unrest set in among the Scouts both in Gilgit and Chilas. The Commandant, Major Capt. A.S. Mahieson in chilas, warned the Governor that the situation was becoming serious and daily placed all the facts before him. The Governor however paid little attention to these warnings, either through stubbornness or through mistrust of the Commandant; probably the latter as subsequent. events showed. About the beginning of October there was a disturbance in the 6th kashmir Infantry stationed at Bunji, which resulted in a clash between the Muslim and Sikh elements, each shouting their respecticve slogans and resorting to fighting among themselves although without arms. The Colonel managed to bring the situation under control but not before the news had reached the Kashmir capital, but whence orders were received for Capt. Hassan the company Commander of the Muslim company concerned to be sent to Srinagar under arrest. The Governor after consultation with the colonel, managed to get these orders an already serious situation. Major Brown was not informed of this incident but later found out about it indirectly through an untrustworthy and thoroughly incompetent personal assistant.

Major Brown and Capt. matheson soon realised that an under ground movement was at work, the members of which and the actual probable that certain people were aspiring towards political power in the quise of pro- Pakistan activities unfortunately the actual strength of this movement could not be gauged though at the time there was no reason to consider it dangerous.

On the 26th October the accession of Kashmir to Hindustan was announced. The news was received quietly though the atmosphere in the lines of the Gilgit Scouts and  in the Gilgit bazaar was extremely tense. This quietness however was not apparent in Chilas.  The A.C.S. informed the C.S. that it was extremely difficult to restrain the Scouts, who backed by the locals wished to declare for Pakistan and raise the Star and crescent. The C.S ordered the A.C.S. to do his best to restrain them meantime.

On the 28th of October confirmed reports were received that the wali of Swat had moved into Tangir and was moving up the Hindus towards Chilas. Further reports were received that the mehtar of Chitral was collecting an army in Mastuj with a view to taking over Kuh Ghizr and Yasin as a step towards annexing the country up to Gilgit. The Governor called the C.S. and asked his advice. The C.S. asked the Governor what the State policy was Loward Darel and Tangir? The Governor replied that he did not know. The Commandant therefore suggested that before any action could not take it was necessary to ascertain the State policy. The fact which should naturally have been ascertained long message to the Prime Minister. The C .S. impressed upon the Governor the seriousness of the situation. The Governor appeared quite apathetic and attempted to make it clear to the C.S. that he, the Governor, was quite capable of handling any eventuality, himself and that his power of appreciation and judgment were wavering. That evening a further message was received from the A.C.S. that pro- Pakistan fervour in Chilas was reaching an uncontrollable pitch.

On the 29th of October the Governor declined to discuss the situation with the C.S.  A further report was received from chillas in the nature of an ultimatum that unless something  was done declare Major Mohd Baber Khan, who was not helpful but said that he had been in touch with the Mirs whose advice was to refrain from violence and remain quiet meantime. The C.S. informed ….. The situation in Gilgit was still tense but quiet.

on the 30th it was obvious that the Governor was completely incapable of coping with the situation further and that unless . Something was done quickly the result would be bloodshed and….

The C.S. therefore went to the Governor and as asked him whether he had received any replies from the Prime Minister as to what policy he should adopt. The Governor stated that he had sent .. by messages to the Prime Minister asking what policy should be adopted under the circumstances but that no replied more ever  received.

The C .S. therefore gave a verbal appreciation to the Governor of the Situation in Gilgit Province. The appreciation was as follows.

1. That since the Population of Gilgit  provinces was Predominantly Muslim it objected strongly to the fact that the Maharajah acceded to Hindustan.

2. That the Province was slowly being surrounded by Swat and Chitral which had already acceded to Pakistan and that an attack in the quise of the liberation of Gilgit seemed imminent . That there were not sufficient troops this side of the Buja… it was unlikely such an attack and that under the circumstances it was unlikely that the Scouts would take up arms ……….

3. That Khan Abdul Qayums speech of the previous evening declaring on behalf of all Pathans that they pledged all their support to help liberate the people of kashmir had a profound effect on the people of Gilgit.

4. That the use of Indian troops in Kashmir to suppress the will of the people had shocked Muslims the world over and no less so in Gilgit.

5. That world opinion on broadcasts of the previous evening had hinted at the exploitation of tyranny in Kashmir.

6. That the people of Gilgit had lost all faith in the Governor as he as a bastion of Dogra rule was in no position to stem attacks from Swat and Chitral in the name of Islam or attacks  from Darel and Tangir for loot  in the general upheaval.

7. That unless the Governor pulled himself together and took action on his own initiative Gilgit would be plunged into a bloodbath like Kashmir.

8. That the will of the people must be acceded to immediately i.e. a referendum must be held and that the Gilgit Province must accede to the Dominion the majority of the people desired.

9. That delay in holding a referendum had brought civil war to Kashmir. That it was the Governor’s duty as the person into whose hands had been placed the welfare of the Gilgit Province to act on his own initiative and by holding an immediate plebiscite nip the bloodshed in the bud.

10. That the Governor General of India had made it quite clear that a referendum would be held in Kashmir as soon as the situation was under control there, so that there was no reason why the referendum could not be held immediately in Gilgit.

11. Finally that the alternative was chaos, either through an invasion from outside or through internal upheaval in the form of a jehad in the name of Pakistan, in the confusion of which, military discipline and oaths of allegiance would be forgotten, and Muslims on the one hand and Sikhs and Dogras on the other would fight with one another to the extermination of the opposing party.

The Governor appeared to agree to this proposal and said that he would immediately put three questions to the Mirs and Governors of the Political District.

Do you and your people wish to accede to

(a)                         Pakistan

(b)                         Hindustan

Or do you wish you country to become Yaghistan?

He said he would put the questions to the Mirs and Governors of Koh Ghizr, Yasin and Ishkoman on the telephone and a post haste letter to the Rajah of   Punial by mounted levy. In the meantime he would ascertain the wishes of the people of Gilgit sub-division and Chilas through the Revenue Assistant and Assistant Governor, respectively.

In the evening the C.S. approached the Governor again and asked him what action had been taken.  ……………Hunza had told him that he and his people were quite prepared to carry on under the present regime; that the Mir of Nagi: was out shooting and thinking that his reply would be the same as that of the Mir of Hunza, he had nottroubled  to contact him; and that before holding to discuss the matter with the Rajah of Punial who he had called to Gilgit and was due to arrive the following day. The C.S., knowing the sentiments of the Mir of Hunza and his people considered the reply incredible. Realising that this was now a matter of life and death for everyone, the C.S. contacted the Mir on the telephone and through the S.M. who spokde in Burashuski explained the situation both in Gilgit and chilas. The Mir then made it quite clear that he and his people wished to accede to Pakistan and that the statement regarding his desire to continue under the present regime was false, nor had he received a call from the Governor that day. The telephone line was tapped by the Governor who heard the conversation and although he could not have actually understood the dialogue he must have guessed the  purport of the call.

On the 31st October the C.S. informed the Governor that he had advised  and helped him to the best of his ability and since  the Governor  appeared to disregard the advice he (the C.S.)  could not be held responsible in any way for subsequent events although he might be  forced to take steps on his own initiative to maintain law and order and prevent bloodshed. That day the wireless operator,Mr. Limbuwala,showed the C.S. a message from the Mehtar of Chitralbreaking off all relations with the Maharajah of Kashmir  and stating that  neither his state nor Gilgit  could accept the accession of Kashmir to Hindustan.

On the evening of the 31st at about 6 P.M. the C.S. was warned that an attempt was being made on his life by the local Sikhs,at the  instigation so it was said of the   Governor. The C.S. left his bungalow by a back entrance and made his way to the Lines by a devious route. As he left the bungalow he noticed several armed Sikhs moving round the perimeter wall. The situation in the bazaar was serious. Armed bands or Muslims on the one part and Sikhs on the other were moving about the bazaar and streets and locals were pouring in from the surrounding villages. It appeared that he Mullah had preached a Jehad at evening prayers and had exhorted the people to kill the Governor and all Sikhs and Hindus. On arrival at the lines the C.S. life had been forestalled too. Evidently, at  about 6. p.m. the personal assistant to the Governor, had called the S.M. to his house. As he was about to leave the Lines he was warned that a band on Sikhs were lying in ambush for him, an route, so he returned. At about 7p.m. a report was received that a band of Sikhs was about to enter the Lines and attempt to blowup the Magazine. Precautions were taken and several armed Sikhs were seen retreating from various points round the perimeter wall. Subsequent Searching of Sikhs and their houses on the following day proved that this report was probably true as large quantities of primed   gun cotton, gelignite etc. was found in their possession.

A message was then received from Chilas that the Scouts and populace were about to declare a Jehad unless a declaration for Pakistan was made immediately.

The C.S. then appreciated the situation which was very grave and decided that it was his duty to take what action he considered necessary to prevent the wanton destruction of life and property. He issued the following orders;

  1. A platoon under the S.M. was to proceed to the Governors house and request him to come to the Lines, under   escort for protection. The S.M. had a letter to this effect.
  2. A section was to take over the P.  & T. office to ensure that telegrams likely to create panic and despair were not dispatched.
  3. Two sections were to be sent to the Wireless Operators bungalow to protect it.
  4. A platoon was to be sent to Bhup Singh Parri to hold the road and to prevent movement of any sort towards Gilgit.
  5. A section was to be sent to the Basin Bridge to prevent movement and a section to the Gilgit Bridge.
  6. Two platoons were to be sent from Chilas immediately, one of which was to hold the Partab Pul and prevent movement, and to the other to hold Jaglote.
  7. Constant gashts were to move about the bazaar and prevent looting, arson, and murder  etc. and to disperse crowds by reassuring people that the situation was well in hand, and small standing gashts were to be sent to the Hindu quarters.
  8. The remaining strength was to standby in the Lines as a mobile reserve. All permanent guards were doubled.

The repercussions brought about by these orders will now be explained.

Order1. The platoon proceeded to the Governors, house which seemed deserted. The platoon halted in the garden.  It was bright moonlight. The S.M. accompanied by Jamadar Shah Khan entered the house which still seemed deserted. They called to the Governor and on receiving no reply began a systematic search of the rooms. When they entered the bedroom the Governor suddenly flashed a torch on them and fired at them with a rifle. They retreated outside. The Governor then went to the window and fired a fusillade into the middle of the Scouts in the garden. One Scout was killed and one wounded. The Scouts then took up technical positions round the bungalow whilst fire continued. It should be repeated that it was a bright moonlight night and there could be no question of the Governor thinking that he was being attacked by goondas. By this time about a thousand armed ( mostly swords and axes)  locals had  appeared   on the scene and the Scouts and locals together demanded an immediate rush on the bungalow, to set it on fire and murder the Governor and other occupants in revenge  for the death of the Scout. The S.M. exerting the most remarkable power of calmness and personality steadied the Scouts and crowd and managed to keep them under control. During a lull in the Governors fire the S.M. again moved forward and attempted to persuade the Governor that the Scouts had come for his protection and that he must come out immediately as a mob was after his blood. The announcement was greeted by another fusillade followed by weird animal noises from which it seemed probable that the Governor was out of his senses. This seemed justifiable later when he took to firing through the roof and braking up the interior of the bunglow. During a burst of fire from the Governor,. The office Superintendent who for some unaccountable reason was om the vicinity of the bungalow, was hit in the … died instantly. A machine gun was used, firing high, to force the Governor into submission, before further loss of life or destruction of property, but this proved useless. The C.S. therefore ordered ceasefire and the platoon in tactical ……..first light. Through the S.M. he managed to move the local mob down to the polo ground where local ghushpur ex-Subedar Shah Rais Khan, a man of considerable influence, managed to pacify them meantime. At first light the Governor surrounded and was taken to the Scout Lines and put under protective custody, with full respect to his rank and position. His appearance suggested madness. The fact that the Governor reached the Lines without being attacked pays a high tribute to S.M. and the Scouts.

Order 2. Carried out without incident. Telephone wires in both directions had perforce to be cut, but these were repaired later, as soon as the situation was under control.

Orders 3,4 and 5. Carried out without incident.

Order 7. The A.C.S. was informed of the situation and he agreed with the C.S. that the only way to prevent chaos was to abide by the will of the people. He immediately collected all non- Muslims in the fort as the people of Chilas, irresponsible enough under normal circumstances, were seething for a Jehad. With admirable skill and foresight he sent messages off to the mullahs as well as Darel andTangir, exhorting the people to remain calm and do nothing without a signal from him. It says much for his skill and personality and that of the that of the Rajah orderly Gr.  Muzaffar ud Din Shah that the fanatical tribesmen of Yaghistan were held in… He crushed with a firm hand the looting of theChilas bazaar which has already begun and then as per orders. He himself remained in Chilas with his finger on the nerve centre and soon had the locality in a state of siege. A declaration for Pakistan by the entire sub-province including Dartel and Tangir was accepted, the alternative beingaJehad by allthefanatical  tribesmen as already pointed out. Telephone wires were cut for the same reasons as in Gilgit.

Order 8. It has been conclusively proved in the light of subsequent events that this order prevented the wholesale massacre of non- Muslims in Gilgit .

At first light the C.S. accompanied by his adjutant.  Lt. Ghulam  Haider  who although young and inexperienced, did  much useful work, toured the affected area. It was then perfectly obvious that Dogra rule in Gilgit was finished. At least two or three thousand people armed with efe4rything from modern sporting rifles to daggers were  gathered on the polo ground,  shouting Pakistan slogansand demanding immediate accession and the murder of the Governor and other non- Muslims. At least another thousand were patrolling the streets in bloodthirsty excitement, restrained from violence by the influence of the Scouts only. The entire Corps of Scouts from the State officers attached and the S.M. down to the latest joined recruit, were pro- Pakistan and nobody in the world could have made them fire one round in defence of the Dogra regime. This fact coupled with the knowledge that  the states of Hunza and Nagir and the Political Districts were pro-Pakistan made the  C.S. realize that his theories were correct and that to abide by  the will of  the will of the  people was the only way to  prevent frightful massacre.

All non- Muslims were then rounded up for their own protection, and put in a refugee camp in the Lines. The number of weapons and instruments of a dangerous nature found in their possession was remarkable and the explosives etc. were sufficient to have caused a great deal of damage and loss of life.  The C.S. then reinforced that gasht  at Bhup Singh Parri, intensified the patrolling in the Bazaar and streets, posted  guards  on all the Officers bungalows to  prevent looting, received and gave sub achcha to Chilas and Gupis, dispatched a platoon form Gupis to Yasin in  case the disgruntled Khushwaqt element there should take advantage of the confusion to harm the Rajah, and then called a conference of the Adjutant, the S.M. and ex Subedar Shah Rais Khan who through strong personality and power had done so much to restrain the locals from  violence. The results of the conference were extremely interesting.

The suspicions of the C.S. and A.C.S. regarding an underground pro- Pakistan movement were peoved to be correct. The members of the conference now made it quite clear to the C.S. what had been afoot. The scheme was roughly this. Those concerned were,

Captain Husain 6th K.I.

Captain Mohd. Said ,attached to Gilgit Scouts,

Lt. Ghulam  Haider, attached to Gilgit Scouts. This offier was working for Pakistan only, and  had no personal ambitions, as had  the others.

Subedar Major Mohd. Babar Khan,  Gilgit Scouts,

Ex- Subedar Shah Rais Khan

80% of the  Indian officersof  the Scouts,

75% of the Other Ranks.

The scheme was that on a certain day, the Muslim element of the 6th K.I. in Bunji, the Scouts and the Gilgit sub- division should declare a Jehad in favour of Pakistan, and having murdered all non- Province and set up an independent state with the entire political power in their own hands, backed by the Scouts and the Muslim element of the 6th K.I. Those platoons of the Scouts not willing to serve on should be disbanded and another platoons enlisted from the Gilgit sub- division to replace them.

This then was the position. Any effort to oppose this party on the 1st November would have been suicide. The C.S. therefore accepted the situation and continued his efforts to maintain law and order and to impress upon the party the necessity for non- violence.

The C.S. then contacted the Wireless operator who agreed to send a message to the Prime Minister of the North West Frontier Province, explaining how a revolution, pro- Pakistan had taken place and how the country was being provisionally run by the Scouts. A reply was received, addressed to the C.S. that the message had been passed on to higher authority and that the P.M. would be grateful meantime for assistance in the maintenance of law and order.

Now the position and actions of the 6th K.I. stationed at Bunji Must be given consideration. It seems that on the 31st October about three hundred of the Muslim troops, i.e. 75% left for Gilgit under the command of Capt. Hussain. This force on reaching Bhup Singh Parri on the 1st Nov. made it clear to the Scout gasht that it had foregone to a man all allegiance to the Maharajah and that as a Jehad Battalion who had remained behind in Bujni. They therefore took up positions there and sent a message to the O.C. Bunji, in the name of the Governor that as many Sikh and Dogra troops as possible should proceed to Gilgit to stamp out a revolution. The plan was that the force should be ambushed at Bhup Singh Parri and killed to a man. The plan however miscarried. On 1st Nov. the O.C. Batt. Lt. Col. Abdul Majid left Bunji and proceeded towards Gilgit with a small Muslim escort, having, it is said locked the magazine and taken the key with him to Gilgit. To be brief the dispositions of the Batt. On the 1st Nov. were as follows;

Lt. Col. Majid and Capt. Husain with three hundred Muslim troops en route to Gilgit.

Capt. S Mohd. Khan, Baldev Singh, Sandev Singh, and Rughon ath Singh with the Sikh and Dogra troops numbering about three hundred on the far side of the Indus in Bunji except far picquets at Partab put and Jaglote the keys of the magazine in the Colonel, pocket.

In this connection another interesting fact is this. On the night of the 31st October, as soon as the shooting started in Gilgit, one Naib Khan crossed the Gilgit bridge and made his way to Bunji via the Chumagarh and Partab bridge. There is every reason to believed that the warned the garrison in Bunji that a revolution was taking place in Gilgit.

On the morning of the 2nd November at 9a.m. the Pakistan Flag was raised on the tower in the Scout Lines with all due ceremony and amidst great excitement. To have delayed in hoisting the flag would without a doubt resulted in a regrettable incident. The ceremony was followed by prayers and then dancing and festivities, but this was cut short as it soon became obvious that the crowd was becoming over excited. It was dispersed with difficulty.

In order to ensure that the routine administration of the sub division continued to work, the leaders of the underground formed themselves into a Cabinet which they called a provisional Government and which consisted of:

President: Ex- Subedar Shah Rais Khan

Commander in Chief: Captain HUSSAN

Chief of Military Staff; Capt. Mohd. Said

Commissioner: Lieut. Ghulam Haider

Chief of Police: Sub. Inspector Hamid

It was agreed that all matters of importance should be referred to this cabinet for decision, which sounded well in theory but was in fact useless in practice since the aims of the Majority of the members were to gain political power only. The C.S. pointed out the futility of attempting to form an independent state of Gilgit and that affiliation to Pakistan was the only way to ensure the future prosperity and safety of the country. After much deliberation it was decide to join Pakistan and to request that a represent a.. be sent from Pakistan as soon as possible.

In the meantime, a certain mullah, although  all mullahs had been exhorted to impress upon the people the necessity for keeping  law and order, in a fanatical address urged the people to kill all non-Muslims in general and the C.S. in particular, as unwanted outsiders in this latest addition to the Islam World. But for the timely intervention of ex- Subedar Shah Rais Khan and the S.M. there might well have been a regrettable incident. The mullah was instructed in no uncertain terms that he had better certain from such exhortations.

The 3rd passed without incident. Under the guidance of the C.S. the general administration started again, the telephone lines were repaired and conditions seemed normal. In the evening the C.S. telephoned the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir and reassured them that all was well. They both expressed their wholehearted desire on behalf of their states to accede to Pakistan and requested that this information should be forwarded to higher authority by the C.S. It was done accordingly. The Governors of Koh Ghizr and Yasin sent similar messages.

On the 4th Gilgit seemed quite normal. Crowds crased to calls effort to prevent this in case the Sikhs should manage to escape fire was brought to bear on them by the section in the hope that they would double back.  But the range was long and the fire had no effect. An immediate message was sent to the C the C at Jaglote explaining the situation and frequesting an extra Scout platoon and MMG.  The C in C declined to fulfil the request. Had he done so it is probable that the entire Sikh force would have been wiped out or forced into surrender by the end of the day.

Meanwhile the Cin C at Jaglote was planning a frontal attack on Bunji with the Scouts and Muslim troops of the battalion which had moved up from Bhup Singh Parri, plus the first Chilas gasht. This attack would have been nothing more than suicidal. Fortunately it was not necessary. At first light a message was signal … over the river from a Muslim in Bunji to the effect that all Sikhs and Dogra, including officers, had absconded from Bunji and made for the hills. Rafts were then collected and the C in C and his force crossed the Indus andoccupied Bunji without resistance. As soon as the C.S. heard this news, and since he had received no reinforcements or supporting weapons, accompanied by the A.C.S. and the S.M. , he moved up to Jaglote. After endouraging the Scouts there whose morale was fair, and ordering the burial of the Sikh corpses, the C.S. and A.C.S. moved across to Bunji. The general confusion of the aftermath was very apparent, but the C in C on the advice of the C.S. and A.C.S. soon arranged perimeter protection for night. Desultory sniping continued thought the evening and night from Sikhs in position in the hills above the camp. There were no casualties. The C.S. talked to all Scouts there and encouraged and reassured them. This without a doubt helped morale a great deal. During the night the C.S. and A.C.S. pointed out to ht C in C that in was essential that all Sikhs and Dogras should be rounded up to the 6th so that all troops would be read for action in the event of reinforcements being sent from Kashmir . The C.S. suggested that a 3 “Mortar should be sent to Ramghat  picquet during  the night and an MMG to Theliche. Under the covering fire of these weapons an attack could be made on the covering fire of these weapons an attack could be made on the Sikhs on the Shaitan Nullah ridge at first light. The Sikh would undoubtedly surrender without a fight as they were trapped there. Also, during the night, a gasht should be sent out to quietly circumvent the Sikhs in position above Bunji, so that they would be caught in the rear when frontally attacked at first light. The C in C unwisely did not act on this advice. Had he done so it seems probable that all the Sikhs and Dogras, along with their arms and ammunition and supporting weapons would have been captured that day. The result of not acting on this advice was that some Sikhs managed to get through to Astore and over the Burzil Pass to Kashmir Others destroyed their arms and took to the hills to die of starvation and exposure. Others ravaged local villages in attempts to get rations and a small percentage surrendered but without arms. Or ammunition.

On the morning of the 6th the C.S., A.C.S, and the S.M. crossed to Jagloteand after arranging rations and amenities for the Scouts there proceeded to Gilgit, Along with their staff and mounted escort and preceded by the Pakistan Flag they were afforded a triumphal welcome when they arrived at Gilgit, late in the evening.

The situation in Gilgit was unsatisfactory. It appeared that on the 5th Lt. Ghulam Haidar, seeing how intrigue and faction feeling was increasing has sent a wireless message to the Prime Minister of N.W.F.P and to Lt. Col. Bacon, Political Agent Khyber to fly to Gilgit immediately.

The C.S. ably assisted by the A.C.S. then worked out schemes for the defence of the country in the event of an invasion from Kashmir.

On the 4th Gilgit seemed quite normal. Crowds ceased to collect in the streets, the Bazar was open and the people went about their normal work. A certain under current was however apparent. Those who had in no way assisted in the coup d”etat made it clear that they too wanted jobs in the provisional government and the age old Sunni Shiah ‘badi’ raised its head again. Partybazi and intrigue were at work.

In the afternoon the son of the Rajah of Punial arrived with a written instrument of accession signed by the Rajah.

At about 6p.m. the C.S. received a message from the A.C.S. which made it clear that message had not been getting through and that the A.C.S. was held up in Theliche for lack of information on the general situation.

The C.S. accompanied by the S.M. left Gilgit at 7p.m. arrived at Jaglote Chowki at 11p.m. which was deserted and at Theliche at 1a.m. on the 5th. An immediate exchange of information took place.

It seems that the gasht left Chilas at 5a.m. on the 1st November. It consisted of one I.O., 60 rifles, and one MMG. It arrived in the vicinity of Jaglote during the night 2/3rd November. Milap was made with the local ex-Scouts of the area from whom the strengths and habits of the garrisons of Jaglote was one Dogra Subedar and 12 Sikh O.R.S, and 8 Sikh O.R.S. at Partab Pul. The I.O. appreciated the situation and made the following plan. At first downstream. In the meantime half the gasht under the havildar should be in position above Paratab Pul, whilst the other half, under the I.O. and convered by the MMG should be   in position close to Jaglote Chowki. At first light the gashts would call on the garrisons to surrender and both positions would be occupied. The operation went according to plan. Both garrisons refused to surrender and brought heavy fire to bear on the gashts. One Subedar and 7 O.R.S. of the Jaglote garrison were killed as the Scouts moved in and captured the Chowki by force. 3 O.R.S. escaoed. They were later killed by locals. Scout casualties amounted to 1 killed and 1 ex-Scout wonded. The engagement took little over an hour. At Partab Pul 6 O.R.S of the garrison were killed or committed suicide by jumping into the river. Two managed to escape across the bridge and took the news to Bunji. Scout casualties were nil. The engagement took little over an hour. Not long after the Scout gasht had occupied the bridge a large force of Sikhs was seen approaching from the direction of Bunji. The gasht commander, realizing that havoc would ensue should this force cross the river and enter Gilgit, set the bridge on fire with intention of destroying it partially. The presence of mind of the havildar undoubtedly saved the situation.

On the 2nd at 6.30 a.m. the A.C.S. set off with a reserve gasht of 50 rifles and arrived at Theliche at 7a.m. on the 3rd. The C.S. had not issued orders to hold the Ramghat Bridge as he had been informed by the Commander in Chief of the Provisional Government that Muslim troops of the 6th K.I. had already done this. However, when the A.C.S. arrived at a Theliche he noticed that Ramghat was not held so he immediately sent 2 sections there via the Raikot Bridge and true left hand bank of the Indus. Positions were occupied on the 4th and it was discovered that the bridge had been burnt and was impassable. It has not yet been discovered who destroyed the bridge though it must have been done by locals. The A.C.S. then fortified Theliche and built MMG sangars covering the road Bunji to Ramghat. After that he awaited further orders.

On the morning of the 5th at first light the C.S. and A.C.S. carried out a recee, and saw about 150 Sikhs on the far side of the river, climbing into the Bridge Ramghat and Shaitan Nullahs. In an….

 

 

PRECIS OF EVENTS IN GILGIT SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF SARDAR MOHD ALAM, POLITICAL AGENT.

_______________

On the 16th November, 1947, Sardar Mohd. Alam arrived in Gilgit bearing letters from the Pakistan Government to the effect that he had been appointed Political Agent of the Gilgit Agency. He was given an enthusiastic welcome by the local population and escorted in triumph to the Agency House. In a few well chosen words he exhorted the people to cast aside their faction feeling and to unite as one in the cause of Islam. This short speech was greeted with further burst of enthusiasm before the crowd gradually dispersed.

On the 17th November at 9.30 a.m. the Pakistan was hoisted on the flag pole at the Agency House whilst a Guard of Honour from the Gilgit Scouts paid full honour, and the pipes and drums played the Royal Salute. Large crowds turned out to watch the ceremony and the intense approval of all was very noticeable. After a short speech by the Political Agent, S. Mohd Alam, on the lines of the previous day, there was dancing and other festivities as is the custom of the country on joyous occasions, and the happy atmosphere in contrast to the tension of the past fortnight was very marked. During the afternoon Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson gave S. Mohd. A brief deseription of conditions in the Agency and of the events which led up the coupd ‘ etat and aftermath. They also handed over to him the confidential files and papers which they had kept in safe custody during the time of the provisional Government.

On the 18th November the political Agent accompanied by Major W.A. Brown and local notables inspected the Agency offices, hospital, Scout  lines, bazaar and other public institutions and the manner in which he was greeted at each left little doubt as to the sentiments of the people. He seemed somewhat astonished that the entire place was intact and that the bazaar was functioning normally with Muslims Sikhs and Hindus living in communal harmony whilst the various departments carried on the general administration as usual.  In the afternoon the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir and the Governors of Punial, Koh Ghizr, Ishkomen and Gasir arrived in Gilgit in response to a call made by Major W.A. Brown on the suggestion of Lt. Col Bacon when S. Mohd. Alam’s departure for Gilgit was announced. Captain Mirza Hissain also arrived from Bunji. or from the air, and as many tactical positions  as possible were occupied with the strength at  their disposal. The ammunition coming from Bunji was dispersed in the various picquets in Gilgit as was the petrol supply, to ensure reserves in the event of an air bombardment. This work was apply carried out by the A.C.S. The morale of the Scouts was high and all were in good spirits. From day to day, meetings of the so-called cabinet were held but for reasons already explained, it was with the greatest difficulty that a decision could be reached on any point. The civil Administration however seemed to work sufficiently to prevent complete chaos and this was due to the efforts of Lt. Ghulam Haidar who had seen appointed Commissioner in the provisional government. He did his best in a job the duties of which he was completely ignorant.

But it soon became apparent that such a state of affairs could not last indefinitely. The C.S.  and A.C.S. did their best to keep the peace among the ambitions political aspirations but soon it seemed that Yagistan would be formed as the people began to doubt whether Pakistan was prepared to accept the accession of Gilgit. Soon the situation was such that all agreed that unless a representative arrived from Pakistan there was going to be trouble. The C.S. and A.C.S.  realizing this only too well dispatched a wireless  message to Col. Bacon, P.A. Khyber on 13th November to the effect that they could not keep the peace indefinite lowing to the excessive internal intrigue, and that it was imperative that immediately as even a short visit would do much to treasure the people.

On the 14th November the C.S. received a message from the Prime Minister of N.W.F.P. that a representative was being sent immediately with instructions and this was received with great relief. On the 16th November K.S. Mohd. Alam arrived to take up duties as Political Agent.

The latter lost no time in assembling the so called cabinet of Provisional Government who it seems were by this time prepared to forego their personal ambitions and accept the establishment of the agency by Pakistan. It should be noted that Lieut. Ghulam Haider refused to attend this meeting. It is understood that Captain Mirza Husson pointed out the members of the cabinet that their entire hopes of political supremacy had been thwarted by the arrival of S Mohd. Alam and that to accept this power as Political with the able help of Captain Mohd Said to sway the other rather reluctant members over to his side and the following nefarious plot was hatched.

On the following day the Provisional Government should announce the fact that it still held paramount power in Gilgit despite the arrival of S. Mohd. Alam and that the latter should take no step or make any decision without the approval of the members of the cabinet. It was also agreed that Lieut Haider Ali of Nagir should be removed from his position of Commissioner and that Wilayat Ali of Nagir should be appointed in his place. Finally it was agreed that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson should be removed from their appointments of Commandant. Scouts and Assist. Commandant Scouts respectively and that to ensure that this was fulfilled the Gilgit Scouts should be informed immediately that on the following day yjr two officers concerned should not be paid their due respect and should be denied access to the Scout Lines. However the loyalty of the Gilgit Scouts to their Commadant and Assistant Commandt. ensured the complete miscarriage of this dastardly scheme and on the following day allegiance never wavered.

On the 18th November the Mirs of Hunza ………… the Governors of Punial, Koh Ghazir, Ishkoman and Yasin were introduced to S. Mohd. Alam by major W.A. Brown and successful interviews were completed in the course of which both Mirs signed Instruments of Accession to Pakistan. The Government expressed their sincerest loyalty to Pakistan on behalf of them selves and their people and the interviews concluded in an atmosphere of cordiality and good will

In the afternoon the so- called Cabinet of the Provisional Government requested and was granted an interview with S. Mohd. Alam. The  members lost no time in telling the Political ……………… the Provisional Government still held complete power in Gilgit and that he must not only consult  it before making any decision but must also accept what ever recommendation was put up  to him by it. Led by Captain Mirza Husson and Captain Mohd Said, with the other member rather reluctantly concurring , the recommendation was then put forward that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson should be remove from their appointment immediately, and the two spokesmen appointed in lieu. They strengthened their recommendation by saying that if it was not accreted they would instigate chaos in Gilgit . S. Mohd Alam then made it cuite clear to this bunch of trouble markers that so long as he as in Gilgit ….. was paramount and that under no circumstances would ………. to by the Provisional Government or any other unrecognized Govt. He continued that he had not the slightest intention of even considering  the … of Major Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson as both were officers for whom he held the highest respect and who, he considered, had devoted the utmoust disinterested service in the welfare of the Gilgit Agency, and the cause of Pakistan. He sarcastically compared the two British Officers to the ambitious political aspirants with whom he was holding an interview. S. Mohd Alam concluded or saying that if the Provisional Government wished to remain in power or contemplated instigation trouble in Gilgit the solution was very easy. He, along with the British Officers would leave immediately and the Gilgit Agency would be left to its own fate.  He pointed out, however, that in the event of this taking place it would not be long before faction feeling would reduce the country to internal strife where upon interested parties outside would take the opportunity of annexing the whole area. The members of the Provisional Government appeared to have overlooked this possibility as they then earnestly requested the Political Agent not to leave under any circumstance. It was obvious that the Political Agent had conducted the interview in such a way that he now held the whip hand and the Provisional Government departed realizing that it was powerless. The strong position adopted by S. Mohd Alam showed that he was not a man to be trifled with and undoubtedly solved an awkward problem once and for all and in such a way that….. It seems that in a last vain attempt to regain their position the members of the Provisional Government approached the Mir of Hunza with the request that he would put their case up to the Political Agent. From all accounts the Mir of Hunza declined to talk to them but sent out a message that they had better leave his garden immediately or he would order his bodyguard to throw them out. This was the last that was heard of the provisional Govt.

In the evening S. Mohd Alam called Major W.A. Brown and Capt. A.S. Mathieson and explained to them about the interview in the afternoon. Major W.A. Brown explained to S. Mohd. Alam that the most important task at the moment was  to get the condition of the Scouts back to normal and to eradicate the unsteadying effects caused by their first operation; that to do so it was essential that the ringleaders of all the trouble, Captain Hussan and Captain  Mohd. Said, and other Muslim officers of the 6th KI sould be sent across the Indus to Bunji and not allowed to enter the Gilgit Agency without the Political Agent’s permission. It was feared that low morale and bad discipline of the Muslim element of the 6th KI might prove a bad influence on the Scouts under the difficult circumstances, so it was suggested that these troops should also be sent to Bunji under the same conditions as the officers. It was also pointed out that the condition of the sub-division was somewhat unstable and that to prevent a regrettable incident it was essential that a strong personality should be appointed Rajah, who would control the people and who could be held responsible in the event of an uprising of any sort. It was pointed out that the present Rajah, Rajal Jaffar Khan, was usless, so it was suggested that he might be asked to retire an individual and ex- Subedar Gr. Shah Rais Khan appinted in his place- an individual who certainly held the necessary qualifications as well as right. The Political Agent agreed to give the suggestions due consideration.

On the 19th November S. Mohd. Alam held a conference at which Major W.A. Brown, Captain A.S. Mathieson, the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir, Captain Hussan, Captain Said and Subedar Major Mohd Baber Khan were present. The Political Agent announced that he had decided to make Captain Hussan Military Governor of the Gilgit. Wazarat i.e.the country on the true left hand bank of the Indus from Bunji to Bunzil Pas which was formerly under Kashmir and not part of the Gilgit Agency. Captain Mohd. Khan was appinted his second in Command and he was ordered to take the entire Muslim element of the 6th KI with him for garraison duties. The Sikh and Dogra element including the officers was also made his responsibility, and it was stressed that these prisoners quite agreeable to this arrangement but pointed out that the position of Military Governor merited a rank higher than that of Captain and he requested the Political  Agent that he might retain the rank  of General which had been conferred  on him by the ex-Provisional Government. S. Mohd Alam told Captain Hussan that he might assume any rank he wished but that he would only draw the pay of a Captain. Captain Hussan then decided he would prefer to be an acting Lt. Cot to which the Political Agent agreed.

The conference ended in a private interview with Subedar Major Mohd. Baber Khan in which the Political Agent  pointed out to him in front of the Mirs how foolishly he had been behaving ih  allying  himself with Captain Hussan and that he must control his gullible nature and appreciate situations properly in discerning between right and wrong. He was admonished to return to his post as Subedar Major immediately and to refrain from medling in other affairs. It should be noted here that it was decided at the conference that in future the designation of the 6th KI would be the Gilgit Azad Forces.

On the 20th November Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson spent the entire day in the Scout Lines and their best to restore conditions to normal by the resumptions of parades and general administrative duties. This they made their main aim and object during the next few weeks.

On the 21st an interesting incident took place which is worthy of note. At about 7 p.m. Major W.A. Brown inspected his daily situation reports and noted that the Sikh and Dogra officers from the Azad Forces had been sent to Theliche under an escort led by Subedar Sher Ali. Major W.A, Brown having the Political Agents orders regarding these officers immediately contacted Subedar Sher Ali at Thelikhe and asked for an explanation. Subedar Sher Ali explained that he had received orders that morning from Gilgit Headquarters that the Commadant’s orders were that he should take over all the Sikh and Dogra officers from Captain Mohd. Khan in Bunji and escort them to Chilas where further orders would be received. Major W.A. Brown ordered Subedar Sher Ali to take the prisoners back to Bunji immediately and leave them there. He then carried out an investigation as to how these orders have been passed. It seems that in the morning Captain Mohd. Said and Captain Hussan had entered the Scout telephone exchange and the former had told the Signal Havildar that the Commandant had passed orders that a message should be sent to Subedar  Sher Ali in Bunji that he should take over charge of the Sikh and Dogra officeres immediately and escort them to Chilas. From information received later it seems that the intention of these two officers was to send a further message in the name of the commandant Scouts to Subedar Sher Ali as soon as he had reached Jallipur to the effect that the Sikh and Dogra Officers should escort and their bodies thrown in the river. Both officers on being questioned denied that  they had ever issued such orders until confronted by the evidence at the Political Agent’s disposal, when they  grudgingly  admitted they had S Mohd Alam  then ordered Captain Mirza Hussan to leave for Bunji immediately and on no account to enter the Gilgit Agency again without his permission. Not long after Captain Hussan had reached Bunji it became increasingly obvious that he was holding up the caravans of cloth sugar and other imported commodities which were destined for Gilgit. The Political Agent sent repeated message that the goods should be released immediately and forwarded of Gilgit; but no action was taken either through a policy of non-cooperation by Captain Hussan or because he wished to dispose of the commodities privately. Accordingly on the 23rd November a strong Scout patrol under a Subedar was sent to Astore with orders to bring the caravan to Gilgit immediately. This patrol after a great deal of difficulty succeeded in its object and arrived back in Gilgit about the middle of December with large stocks of cloth and sugar.

On the 24th November Major W.A. Brown realizing that the danger of an attack by Indian troops was out of the question, owing to the heavy snow fall on the passes, closed all wings on their respective headquarters and started the task of re- equipping and reorganizing the strength which has been so long in the field. Morale seemed high and all ranks were in good spirits.

On the 26th November Major W.A. Brown flew to Peshwar on orders from the Chief Secretary in order to report to the authorities regarding the recent events in Gilgit. Captain A.S. mathieson officiated as Commandant Scouts.

At about 2 pm on the morning of the 28th November Captain Mathieson received a message from the Subedar major that the Gilgit Bazaar was being looted by the local population on and asked what action should be taken. The Subear major further informed captain mahieson that he should on no account proceed to the scene of the looting until the crowd was under control as his life would be in serious danger and that he (the Subedar Major) would immediately double all officer’s guards. Captain Mathieson ordered the Subedar Major to proceed to the bazaar forthwith and make every effort to get the situation in hand. He then went and reported to the Political Agent who decided that no useful purpose could be served by their presence in the bazaar and that to move down would only mear. Taking unnecessary risks. He therefore advised that the subedar Major should be left in control. After about half an hour Captain Mathieson after great deal of delay managed to contact the Subedar Major on the telephone and demanded a situation report. The Subedar Major reported that the strength of the …………………. was being systematically looted. Abortive accepts at arson were also reported. Captain Mathieson then issued orders that Scouts should be ordered to fire high over the crowds in the hope that the alarming effects of this might disperse the looters. After receipt of this order seversal volleys fired as well as bursts from a machine gun but it seems that this had little effects. Captain Mathieson wisely did not pass “shoot to kill” orders as it is extremely doubtful if the Scouts would have obeye! Them under the circumstances and a refusal would have been disastrous. At first light the Subedar Major reported to the Political agent and Assistant Commandant and made the following report. At about 1 a.m. he had received a report from the Police that the locals were looting the bazaar and that crowds were pouring in from the outlying villages to take part. He immediately turned out the chigha party and proceeded to the bazaar. On arrival there he discovered that the bazaar was completely blocked by a crowd of at least three thousand Gilgits and had already been completely looted. In his opinion the affair must have started at about 11 p.m. on the 27th November. He, therefore, called up the remaining available strength and attempted to clear the bazaar and prevent easy proved, however, extremely difficult as it became obvious that the Scouts were not prepared to use violence of any sort against their fellow coutryment. The “high firing” too had no effect, as the locals were fully aware of the sentiments of the Scouts and knew that a “shoot to kill: order would never have been obeyed. As soon as the shops had been stripped the crowds began to disperse gradually and that was the position when the report was made.

On the strength of this report the Political Agent after consultation with Captain Mathieson sent a message to the Govt. of the N.W.F.P. to the effect that the Gilgit bazaar had been completely looted and requesting that six platoons of the Frontier constabulary should be sent to Gilgit immediately by air as it had been proved that when action against locals was required the Scouts could not be trusted.

The Political Agent accompanied by Captain Mathieson then toured the affected area and supervised clearing operations.  It then became apparent  that the Muslim shops had been left untouched and only the Hindu and  Sikh shops, about half a dozen at the most , had been looted and that the property of the Hindus and Sikhs in the residential area had also suffered. The temple which had so far remained intact had also been destroyed by those, it is said who arrived on the scene too late to gain a share of the loot. An amendment was then sent to the previous message to the effect that only Sikh and Hindu shops had been looted but still stressing the need for Frontier Constabulary The Political Agent then departed and left Captain Mathieson in charge of operations.

Captain Mathieson’s first action  was to re-eatablish the refugee camp in the Scout Lines where all Sikhs and Hindus were once again put under protective custody. Warm clothing and comforts were collected and distributed to those who had suffered and adequate ration arrangements were soon under way. Captain Mathieson then organized the Scouts into search parties and ordered a systematic search of Gilgit proper and the surrounding villages in an effort to recover looted property. This operation proved entirely successful and by midday, thanks to the personal leadership and resource of this office, it was estimated that practically all the looted property had been recovered.

The Political Agent attempted to hold an investigation into the circumstances under which the bazaar had been looted. As anyone with knowledge of he country will appreciate the enquiry proved a failure since, as usual, no body would come forward to give evidence. It was however clear that the whole affair was pre-arranged and the Police and Scouts were fully aware of what was going to happen and accordingly took no action until the Hindu and Sikh property had been looted. Whether the Police and Scout actually took part in the looting is a matter for conjecture though under present conditions, it seems likely that they did as the general chaos in the bazaar must have made control extremely difficult. At the investigation influential quarters attempted to lay the blame on the Police on the grounds that the Scouts were not warned until the looting was well under way, but it was obvious that this was merely an unjust attempt to use the Police as scapegoats. It is also understood on good authority that the Political Agent was forewarned but he dismissed the warning as an idle rumour.

Meanwhile the Political Agent had sent Wilayat Ali of Nagir a retired Tehasildar of Kashmir State, to Bunji with orders to check the Bunji Astore Treatsuries and report on their correctness or otherwise with the help of the Kashmir Naib Tehasildar  in Astore, who is reported to be honest, Wilayat Ali discovered that Captain Hussan had made several dishonest transactions and that there were definite discrepsoncies in the accounts of bothe treasuries. When in fronted by this report Captains Hussan and Mohd Khan both admitted their guilt. The Political Agent therefore issued strong orders that in future no transaction would take place in either treasury unless the bill had been previously countersigned by him.

Owing to the general unrest caused by recent events faction feeling – the Shiah Sunni question- again made itself apparent but to such an extent this time that there was serious danger of a clash. Captain Mathieson therefore devoted his time in an effort to restore normal conditions and amongst other things re- started polo, the national game of the country. To an outsider this would seem a futile method of establishing the country but those with experience of Gilgit will fully appreciate that a better course could not have seen adopted Captain Mathieson’s efforts undoubtedly had the desired efforts and saved an awkward situation. On the December Major W.A. Brown arrived back in Gilgit by air with the following instructions from the Pakistan Govt.

  1. That the Gilgit Agency must be held at all costs against aggression by Indian troops.
  2. That to facilitate this the strength of the Gilgit Scouts should be raised to 1500.
  3. That to cope with the increased strength a limited number of Pakistan Commissions might be granted to deserving local Indian officers.
  4. That the Muslim elements of the 6th Kashmir infantry should concentrate in Bunji and should on no account enter the Gilgit Agency
  5. That all officers of the Kashmir State Forces should join this force.
  6. That the Sikh and Dogra elements of the 6th Kashmir infantry should be dispersed in groups throughout the Gilgit Agency.

On arrival at the Gilgit landing ground on the 8th December Major W.A.

Brown was met by Captain Mohd Said whose intention was to fly to Peshwar in the returning plane. It seems that the Political Agent had given him the necessary permission. Major Brown explained to Captain Said that he had brought certain important instructions from the Pakistan Govt. Which affected him (Mohd Said) and ordered him not to leave until he (Major Brown) had spoken to the Political Agent on the telephone. Major Brown then proceeded to the telephone which was some distance away and whilst talking the plane became sir borne. On arrival back at the landing ground it was discovered that Captain Said had left contrary to orders. An immediate code message was wirelessed to Colonel Bacon at Peshawar for forwarding to the necessary authorities.

After consultation with the Political Agent it was decided that the first step which should be taken was the award of a Pakistan Commission to sub: Maj or Mohd Babar Khan on the grounds that the Subedar Major of all the other Frontier corpe had been granted commissions on the change of power and that this  would serve  a reward to the entire Gilgit Scouts for the part they had placed during the coup ditat as Babar Khan would be the first local officer of the Scouts to rise above the rank of Subedar major. At a ceremonial parade on the 9th December the Political Agent after a short address to all ranks presented Mohd Babar Khan with the ensignia of a Lieutenant of the Pakistan   Army. As later during the afternoon the majority of the Sikhs and Hindus embraced Islam and though this was in no way done under duress they obviously considered it the safest policy to pursue under the circumstances.

Meanwhile tension increased on the chitral Border and repeated reposts were received from Koh Ghizar that the mehtar of chitral’s army was about to march from Mastuj and invade the Northern Political Districts of the Gilgit Agency. The Political Agent kept the Government of the N.W.F. Province fully conversant with the situation.

During the recent disturbance Captain Hussan had not seen idle in Bunji. Evidently he was not prepared to see his hopes shattered by the Political Agent’s final decision and had once more started to instigate trouble. It is understood that he collected the entire Azad force and told all ranks that they must swear on the Qoran Sharif that they would obey him implicitly if he gave them the order to march and capture Gilgit and liquidate the Political Agent, the Commandant Scouts and the Assistant Commandant. The Azad Force unanimously refused.

On the 31st November Major Mohd Aslam alias colonel pasha of the Azad Kashmir Forces arrived in Gilgit by air with  the  intention of  organizing the Azad Forces in the area. He collected all officers of the Azad Force in Bunji and very rightly pointed out that their  primary task was the capture and consolidation of  S Kardu in Baltistan as this position might  well be a spring board for an attack. On Gilgit . He then called for volunteer to lead the expedition but no one came forward. To a man the officers refused, each expressing some fultile excuse. The officers concerned were:-

Captain Ihsan Ali

Captain Mirza Hussan

Captain Mohd Said

Captain  Mohd Khan.

Major Aslam did not attempt to conceal his disgust at this display of cowardice and proceeded to call in the V.C,os of the Azad force. It is understood that the V.C. os expressed a complete lack of confidence in their present officers i.e. Captain Mirza Hussan and Captain Mohd Khan and appealed that these officers should be removed immediately. It was during this conference that the nefarious plot referred to in the previous paragraph came to light. Captain Hassan and Captain Mohd Khan were then ordered to return to Bunji.

 

even to showed this move proved completely justifiable and popular throughout the Agency.

Major Brown and Captain Mathieson then started the immense task of raising the strength and reorganizing the Scoute according to the scheme which they has prepared and which has been accepted in principle by  the Pakistan Govt. The Mirs and Governors were approached and they promised to send the necessary numbers of recruit when required. Ration requirements were astimated and communicated to the Political Agent and after consultations the 1st January 1948 was fixed as target date for the start of enlistment.

Meanwhile reports were being repeatedly received that an attempt was going to be made to loot the Muslim shops in the bazaar on the grounds that prior to the previous looting the Hindustan and Sikhs had lodged the bulk of their valuables with the Muslim shopkeepers. Major Brown and Captain Mathieson again urged the Political Agent to depose the present Rajal of Gilgit and appoint ex-Subedar Shah Rais Khan in his place as this act would undoubtedly have established the Sub- division once and for all. The Political Agent however did not agree on the grounds that his position was not strong enough to risk any repercussions caused by such action. He also refused to credit the possibility of further looting.

On the 11th December Captain Mathieson flew Chilas as it was obvious that the sub- Agency and the Scout Detachment there were getting out of control owing to the continued absence of the Assistant Political Agent.

On the 13th December at about 10 p.m. Major W.A. Brown received information that the local intended looting the Muslim shops in the Gilgit bazaar that night. He proceeded to the bazaar immediately and discovered a general exodus of all local shopkeepers in progress, along with their goods. On being questioned they admitted they were removing their were to their homes were unable to furnish any reasonable excuse for doing so. Major W.A. Brown then ordered them to return to their shops immediately along with their goods, and on no account to leave the bazaar. Picquate were then posted at various tactical positions in the area and intensive patrolling resumed. Major Brown himself remained in the bazaar till the early hours of the morning and when conditions seemed normal went and reported the night’s proceedings to the Political Agent.

On the night of the 14th December the Political Agent on behalf of the Pakistan Government gave a dinner party to the entire Corps of Scouts. He himself attended the party in Gilgit with was followed by dancing, singing and other festivities, whilst similar entertainments took place in the outpost of Chilas and Gupis under the auspices of Captain Mathieson and the Post Commander respectively. This gesture was much appreciated by all ranks and was a befitting reward for the part the Scouts had played during the recent Coup d’etat.

It should be added here that on the morning of the 14th December K,S. Azad Khan, former Tehsildar of Gilgit, arrived by plane to take over the duties of Assistant Political Agent. He was accorded the usual reception and with his previous experience and knowledge, soon had the Agency office administration back to normal.

Meanwhile reports from Bunji made it declare that the officers there were still intent on creating trouble. It is understood that Captain Mohd Khan with the connivance and able assistance of Captain Hussan, abducted the daughter of the Hindu Postmaster and forcibly married her. It is said that the unit Mullah downrightly refused to perform the ceremony on the grounds that the marriage was illegal but later a local Mullah agreed to solemnize the proceedings. On the 20th December Captain Mathieson returned to Gilgit after successfully fulfilling his object in Chilas. Towards the end of the month it became obvious that it would be impossible to start recruiting on 1st January as the Political authorities had taken no definite action regarding the collection of rations. Major W.A. Brown approached the Political Agent several times in this connection but a part from vague that a marked difference in the attitude of S. Mohd.  Alam became apparent. In contrast to his previous strong headed policy his attitude   now appeared to be that of apathetic disinterest. He seldom left his bungalow, he refused to take any step or make any decision on the grounds that he was not yet strong enough to counter repressions, and he appeared to be generally looking his grip on the administraton.

The effect of this …… outlook soon had very apparent effects. The Scouts became tense and upset owing to the Political Agent’s refusal to approve certain important promotions recommended by the Commandant. Daily public meetings were held in the bazaar at which the administration was oriticised and which invariably ended in large deputations invading the Agency House garden with futile requests. All officials with past experience of conditions in Gilgit advised the Political Agent to take definite steps to eradicate this lawlessness otherwise astate of anarchy would ensure, as it is well known to all that the Gilgit people must be ruled with affirm hand.

After a great deal of persuasion the Political Agent agreed to the Scout promotions which when published proved very popular and the condition of the Scouts became excellent with moral very high. Although the Political authorities had not yet collected the rations for the increased strength. Major W.A. Brown realisning the urgency of the situation, decided to start recruiting with effect from the 7th January and to ration the new recruits from the reserve stock. It was thought that this action might bring home to the Political authorities the necessity for taking immediate action and it did in fact have the desired effect.

By the 10th January some four hundred recruits had been enlisted from the states of Hunza and Nagir and though conditions were adverse owing to a depleted staff and lack of proper Medical arrangements, nevertheless the programme was being completed according to plan, thanks to the untiring efforts of captain Mathieson, 2/ Lieut. Shah Khan, and the Compounder Hamayun Beg. It might be mentioned that the daily working hours of this small staff were averaging about 18 hours. The physical standard and high sense of discipline of the recruits was remarkable and the latter did much to facility to the sqadding and organizing.

Orders had previously been received from the Govt. of the North West Frontier Province to effect that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson would be relieved by Major Aslam and Captain Mohd Khan during January, the reason being that the Government of Pakistan desired to avert any possibility of the British Officers fighting against Indian Troops and action seemed not far distant in which the two officers would have been morally bound to lead their men.

Major Aslam and Captain Mohd Khan arrived on the 10th January by Mir and Maj or W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson handed over their respective charges on the 12th January. Captain Mathieson flew to Peshwar on the 13th December and Major Brown on the 14th and both officers were accorded a memorable and touching farewell from the Corps of Scouts and people of the Gilgit Agency.

To conclude this précis a copy of the report on current events in Gilgit which was submitted to the Prime Minister to the Pakistan Government by Major Brown and Captain Mathieson on their arrival is attached.

 

OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER

FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM,

PESHAWAR, N.W.F.P.

December 8TH 1947.

Dear Sir Laurence,

I enclose a copy of a report which I obtained from Major W.A Brown, Commandant of the Gilgit Scouts who was recently on a visit here, of events in Gilgit leading up to the repudiation of allegiance there to the Kashmir Government and the accession of this territory to Pakistan.

2. As Commandant of the Scouted, Major Brown was technically an employed of the Kashmir Government, as was also his second- in- command Captain Mathieson. But for these officers to have attempted to hold this remote area for the  Kashmir Government would not only have been —- from their own point of view but could not possibly  have successes . As it was it seems to me that they deserve credit for  giving the  lives of most of the non- Muslims in Gilgit,l including the Kashmir Dogra Governors, and maintaining the peace , thereby giving  the Gilgit Bazaar from wholesale looting and avoiding a general breakdown in any form of ordered administration. In dealing with the orisis of October 31st and November these young officers (Major Brown is I believe 24 and Capt. Mathieson 23) showed sense and sound judgment and by their steadiness saved a very dangerous situation.

3. The Colonel Bacon to whom reference is made in the report was the last British Political Agent in Gilgit until July 1947, and is new in Peshawar as Political Agent, Khyber. The Pakistan representative, Khan Sahib Muhammad Alam, who is performing the functions of Political Agent at Gilgit on behalf of Pakistan , is apparently  a good at a Gilgit on situation under control and has restored confidence all round. The Pakistan Government have not yet announced their attitude towards Gilgit and the adjoining States of Hunza and Nagir.But I understand  that at a recent conference in Rawalpindi  presided over  by Liaqat Ali Khan, Premier of Pakistan, Major Brown was confirmed in his actions and appointment, sent back to Gilgit with instructions to raise the normal strength  of the Gilgit  Scouts from 60 men to 1500, and promised arms  and equipment to resist any attempt by the Kashmir forces to restore the Maharajah’s authority in this area. In view of its extremes reset ness and the wild and mountainous terrain and absence of communication against the entire populace would seem so futile that even the Maharajah would be unlikely to try them, even if he could keep the support of the Indian Army for the purpose.

4. These developments to Gilgit, Hunza and Nagir, which   ………..between them account for about one third of the total nominated ….. area of Kashmir   State, may well influence the Government……… India in the negotiations with the Pakistan Government which…… are believed to be in progress for a settlement of the Kashmir…. dispute. Presumarily the Indian Government have some knowledge… of what has happened, and with Poonch now practically in the……… of the Azad Kashmir organization, as well as other …. Parts of the State, there would seem to be little that the Maharajah are the Indian Government  can do except to seek to save face, unless they pin  their hopes on a renewal of the offensive by the Indian Army in the spring and summer.

5. In conclusion I should add that  I asked Major Brown if he had seen any indication of  Russian activity in the Gilgit area, either by way of  stimulating  the recent disturbances or otherwise. Major Brown has been with the Gilgit Scouts for about 3 years altogether, though he had only fairly recently gone back to command them. He said that there had been no signs of any Russian infiltration of agents nor any Russian propaganda . He had heard, he said , of Russian roop movements …. Of the Sinking border, but believed that the Chinese central Government forces were still in as much control there as they ever had been. The mail was passing normally to Kashmir. But major Brown mentioned that Russian Muslims have been coming down through Gilgit to on the pilgrimage to Mecca. This is normal, but may account for stories which have been published of a large numbers of Maulvis coming in to Kashmir doing Russian propaganda. Whether they have or not, they would provide a very convenient vehicle for such propaganda, since presumably  Russian Maulvie pilgrims are not allowed to travel without official approval and assistance. If these were a complete breakdown in relations between India and Pakistan and Russia were to seek to take advantage of the opportunity to invite Pakistan, the Gilgit route from Turkeestan might provided a possible line of advance for light Suerrill troops, especially is the way had been prepared by progaganda and the sympathy of the local population had been won. Major Brown mentioned that caravans returning towards kashgar are taking only loads of iron, steel and lead for which they were paying very high prices, and it was rumored that these materials might be for Russian tribal arms factories. Caravans normally took ten, salt and other rations.

6. When I was recently in Lahore to meet Mr. Vernon Bailey  of the high Commissioner’s staff in Delhi I mentioned Major Brown’s story to  him and he asked if a copy could  sent to him, if you saw no objection. I am therefore enclosing an extra copy.

 

Yours Sincerely

C.B. DUKE.

 

(C.B. Duke.)

 

Sir Laurence Graffiev-Sinith K.B.E. C.M.C.

High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Pakistan,

Karanchi

 

 

PRECIS ON RECENT EVENTS IN THE GILGIT AGENCY

  1. On the 1st of August, 1947, charge of the Gilgit Agecy was handed over to the Kashmir State under the orders of the Government of India. A high ranking Hindu State army officer was appointed as Governor who attempted to model his administration on that of the previous British Political Agents.
  2. It soon became apparent that the whole country, from the Rulers of the small states of Hunza and Nagir down to the humblest villager, loathed this new regime, regarding it as Hindu domination, an understandable loathing in light, of the fact that the population of the Gilgit Agency is 100% Muslim. However, the people seemed to be prepared to endure this new regime provided the State of Kashmir and Jammu acceded to Pakistan, but as time passed it became increasingly obvious that the sentiments of the Maharajah lay with Hindustan, for the following reasons:-

(a)A new motor road was in the course of preparation connecting Srinagar, the Kashmir capital, with Hindustan via pathankot.

(b)Mr kak, the State Prime Minister, had been dismissed. He was although a Hindu in favour of the accession to Pakistan.

(c) General Scott and Mr. Powell, British State employees, who were Chief of the General  Staff and Inspector General of Police respectively resigned or were  asked to resign it being believed generally that the their resignations came about owing to their pro- Pakistan leanings.

  1. The situation in Gilgit became tense and the people more ostentatious in their claims to join Pakistan. Pakistan slogans were shouted in the streets and chalked on the walls and buildings and a general unrest set in amongst the Corps of Gilgit Scouts, the local Militia, both in Gilgit and Chilas, one of the outposts. Major W.A. Brown, Gilgit Scouts, who was in close touch with his second in command. Captain A.S. Mathieson in Chilas, warned the Governor that the situation was becoming serious and daily placed all the ………………however paid little attention to these warnings either through the mistrust of Major Brown or through  stubbornness, probably the former as subsequent events showed.
  2. About the beginning of October, there was a disturbance in the lines of the 6th Kashmir State Infantry stationed at Dinji some thirty miles S.E. of Gilgit, which resulted in a clash between the Muslims and Sikh elements each shouting their respective slogans and all resorting to fighting amongst themselves without arms. The Colonel managed to bring the situation under control but not before the news had reached the Kashmir capital, whence orders were received for Capt Hasan, the commander of the Muslim company, to be sent to managed to get this order annulled on the grounds that such an order would aggravate an already serious situation. Major Brown was not informed of this incident but later found out about it through an untrustworthy and incompetent assistant to the Governor.
  3. Major Brown and Captain Mathieson soon realized that an underground movement was at work, the members of which and the actual power of, which could not be ascertained. It seemed that certain local people, under the guise of pro- Pakistan activities, were aspiring to political power, but the strength of the movement could not be gauged accurately nor could it be considered dangerous.
  4. The news of the accession of Kashmir to Hindustan was received quietly in most parts of the Agency, though the atmosphere in the lines of the Gilgit Scouts and in the Gilgit Bazaar was lines.  In Chilas, however, the situation appeared to be serious and Captain Mathieson, who was in command there, informed Major Brown at Gilgit that he was finding it difficult to restrain the Scouts, who, backed by the locals, wished to declare for Pakistan and raise the Star and Crescent. Major Brown ordered Captain Mathieson   to do his best to restrain the Scouts and to maintain law and order.
  5. On the 28th of October, reports were received that the Wali of Swat had moved into Tangir and was marching up the Indus River to Chillas. Other reports were received that his  Highness the Mehtar of Chital was collecting an army at Mastuj  with the intention of taking  over the two political districts of Kur Chizar and Yasin as a step to annexing all the  territory up as far as Gilgit.
  6. The Governor called Major Brown and asked him for his advice, Major Brown once again impressed on the Governor the seriousness of the situation and suggested that before taking any action the Governor should ascertain from the Kashmir Government what their policy was towards places like TANGIR, a matter in which he (the Governor) displayed complete ignorance. The Governor appeared quite apathetic and tried to make it clear to Major Brown that he was capable of dealing with any situation. It was oblivious, however, that the Governor was losting confidence in himself and that his power of appreciation and judgment were wavering.
  7. On the evening of the 28th of October, a further message was received from Chilas to the effect that pro- Pakistan forour was reaching an uncontrollable pitch.

On the 29th of October, the Governor declined to discuss the situation with Major Brown. Another report was received from Chilas that unless something was done quickly the Scouts, populace and the people of DAREL and TANGIR would declare a holy war. Major Brown discussed the matter with Subedar Major Baber Khan of the Gilgit Scouts, who was not helpful but said that he had been in touch with the Rulers of HUNZA and NAGAR whose advice was to refrain from violence and to remain calm. This advice was passed on to Chilas. The situation in Gilgit was still tense but quiet.

  1. On the 30th of October, the Governor showed that he was quite incapable of coping with the situation and it was clear that unless something was done quickly, the result would be bloodshed and chaos.
  2. Major Brown went to the Governor and asked him whether he had received any reply from the Kashmir Government as to what policy should be adopted and was told that no reply had been received. Major Brown then gave the Governor a verbal appreciation of the situation as follows:-

(a)      That since the population of Gilgit was predominately Muslim, the people objected strongly to the fact that the Maharajah had acceded to Hindustan.

(b)      The Gilgit was slowly being surrounded by the Rulers of Swat and Chitral States, who had already acceded to Pakistan and that an attack in the guise of liberation of Gilgit imminent. That there was a not sufficient troop on this side of the Indus River to stem such an attack and that in the circumstances it was unlikely that the Scouts would take up arms against their Muslims fighting in the cause of Pakistan.

(c)      That the Frontier Premier’s speech of the Previous evening, declaring on behalf of all Pathans that they pledged all their support to liberate the people of Rashmir, had a profound affect on the people of Gilgit.

(d)      That the use of Indian Troops in Kashmir to suppress the will of the people had shocked Muslims throughout the world and no less so in Gilgit.

(e)      That world opinion on broadcasts of the previous evening had hinted at tyranny in Kashmir.

(f)       That the people of Gilgit had lost  all faith in the Governor because he, as a bastion of Hindu rule, was in no position to stem attacks from Swat and Chitral in the name of Islam,  or to protect the Agency from other outside aggression.

(g)     That unless the Governor took some action on his own initiative, Gilgit would be plunged into blood baths like Kashmir.

(h)      That the will of the people should be ascertained and the question of a referendum be considered, failing which serious trouble would be sure to follow.

(i)       Finally, that failure to take action would result in chaos, either in the form of an invasion from outside or through an internal upheaval i.e. a holy war, in the confusion of which military discipline and oaths of allegiance would be forgotten and Muslims on the side and Sikh and Hindus on the other would fight with one another with tragic results.

(j)       The Governor appeared to  agree generally with the above appreciation and he said he would put three questions immediately to the Mirs and Rajas:

(a)   Do you and your people wish to accede to Pakistan?

(b)   Do you and your people wish to accede to Hindustan?

(C) Do you wish your country to become Yaghistan?

  1. On the evening of the 30th of October, Major Brown approached the Governor and asked him what action had been taken and was told that the Ruler of Hunza had  declared that he and his people were quite prepared  to carry on under the present regims, that the Ruler of Nagir was out shooting, and assuming that his answer would be the same as the Ruler of Hunza the  Governor had not troubled to contact him; that before ascertaining the wishes of the people of the Political districts, he would prefer to discuss the matter with the Raja of who was in Gilgit the following day.

Major Brown, knowing  the sentiments of the Hunza people, considered the reply increditable and contacted the Ruler of Hunza on the telephone through the Subedar- Major,  who speaking in the Hunza language, explained the whole situation to the Ruler. The Ruler in reply stated that neither had the Governor spoken to him on the subject nor had he ever expressed a desire to carry on under the present regime. The telephone line was tapped by the Governor who, although not understanding the Hunza language, must have realized the purport of the call.

  1. On the 31st of October, Major Brown informed the Governor that he had advised and helped him to the best of his ability but since the Governor disregarded his advice, he could not be responsible in any way for subsequent events and he might be compelled to take steps on his own initiative to maintain law and order and to prevent bloodshed.
  2. That same day the Gilgit wireless operator, Mr. Limbuwala, showed Major Brown a message from the Mehtar of Chitral breaking off all relations with the Kashmir State and saying that neither his State nor Gilgit could accept the accession to Hindustan.
  3. On the evening of the 31st of October, Major Brown was worried that an attempt on his life was contemplated by the local Sikhs and at the instigation of the Governor. Major Brown left his house by the back entrance and made his way to the Scouts by devious routs. As he left his house, he noticed several armed Sikhs moving round the wall of his garden.
  4. The situation in the bazaar was serious. Armed bands of Muslims and Sikhs were reaming about the bazaar and people were pouring in from the surrounding villages. This Mullahs has preached Holy was (Jehad) at the evening prayers, exhorting the people to kill the Governor and all Sikhs and Hinuds.
  5. On arrival at the Scouts Lines, Major Brown was told that an attempt had been made on the life of Subedar- Major but had been forestalled at about 6 p.m. the Subedar- Major had been called to the Governor house but fortunately, as he was about to leave, he was warned that a band of Sikhs was lying in ambush for him.
  6. At about 7p.m. a report was received that some Sikhs were about to enter the Scouts Lines and blow up the magazine. Precautions were taken and several Sikhs were noticed retreating from various points round the perimeters wall. Subsequent searches proved the report to be correct and large quantities of primed guncotton and Gilgit were found in possession of the Sikhs.
  7. On the same day, the 31st of October, a message was received from Chilas that a declaration of a Holy war about to be made by the Scouts and the local people unless and accession to Pakistan was made immediately.
  8. Major Brown then appreciated the situation, which was very grave and decided that it was his duty to prevent wanton destruction of life and properly. He issued the following orders:-

(a)      One platoon under the Subedar- Major to proceed to the Governor’s house and ask him to come to the Scouts Lines for protection. The subedar- Major had a letter to this effect.

(b)      A Section to take over the Post and Telegraphs office to ensure that telegram likely to create panic were not sent.

(c)      Two Sections to be sent to the wireless operator’s house tro protect him and his set.

(d)      One Platoon to be sent to the Bhup Singh Pari on the road to Bunji to prevent any movement towards Gilgit.

(e)      One Section each to the Basin and Gilgit bridges.

(f)        Two platoons to be sent from Chilas to hold the Partab Pul Bridge over the Indus River and to occupy jagote.

(g)      Patrols to move about in the vicinity of the Gilgit Bazaar to prevent looting and to re- assure the people. Sentries to be posted on the Hindus quarters.

(h)      The remaining strength was to stand by as a mobile reserve and all permanent guards were doubled.

  1. The repercussions to these orders will now be explained. Order (a) – The Platoon visited the Governors House which seemed deserted. It was bright moonlight. The Platoon halted in the garden and the S.M. and another Scout officer entered the house, calling on the Governor to come forward. Receiving no reply, a systematic search of the house was begun. When he entered the Governor’s bedroom, he flashed a torch on the Scouts and opened fire on them with a rifle. The Scouts retreated outside and the Governor taking up a position at a window fired a fusillade into killing one and wouding another. The Scouts then took up a tactical position around the house and firing from both sides continued. Being bright moonlight, there was no excuse for the Governor to think that he was being attacked by bandits.

By this time about a thousand locals armed with guns, swords and axes, had arrived in the   vicinity of the Governor’s House and both the Scouts and the locals demanded an immediate rush on the house with the objects of setting it on fire and murdering the Governor and the other occupants in revenge for the killing of the Scout’s sepoy.  The Subedar- Major, however, displaying considerable calmness and control, steadied the crowd and prevented and unfortunate incident. During a temporary lull in the firing, the S.M, moved forward and tried to persuade the Governor that the Scouts had come for his protection and that he should come out at once as the mob was after his blood. This announcement was answered by another fusillade followed by weird animal noises from which it appeared that the Governor was out of his senses. Later he took to firing through the roof and breaking up the interior of the bungalow, during a burst of fire by the Governor the office superintendent, who for some unaccountable reason was in the vicinity of the bungalow, was hit in the back and died instantly. A machine gun was fired high to force the Governor into submission before further less of life or destruction of property, but in vain. Major Brown therefore ordered a cease fire and posted the platoon round the bungalow to wait for first light. Through the S.M. he managed to move the local mob down to the Polo Ground, where a relative of the Raja of Gilgit, ex Subedar Shah Rais Khan, a man of considerable influence, managed to pacify them. At first light her Governor surrounded and was taken to the Scouts Lines and put under protective custody, with full respect to his rank and position. His appearance suggested madness. The fact that he reached the lines safely reflects great credit on the S.N. and the Scouts.

Order (b)          Carried out without incident. Telephone lines in both directions had to be cut but were repaired later when the situation became under control.

Order (e.d.e & h) carried out without incident.

Order (f)           Captain Mathieson was informed of the situation and agreed with Major Brown that the only way to prevent chaos was to abide by the will of the people. All non- Muslims were collected in the Fort at Chilas, as the local population, irresponsible enough in normal times, was seething for a Holy War. With admirable foresight, Capt Mathieson sent messages to the various valleys of Chilas and Darel anf Tagir, exhorting the people to remain calm and not do anything without a message from him. It says much for the courage and personality of this officer and that of the local Assistant, Muzaffar- Ud-Din Shah, that the fanatical tribesmen of this part of tribal territory (yaghistan) were held in check. Capt Mathieson, with a firm hand crushed the looting of the Chilas Bazaar and then dispatched his men according to orders. He himself remained at his post at Chilas and did his best to maintain law and order. A declaration in fovour of Pakistan was accepted as a fait accompil by Captain Mathieson, the alternative being a Holy War.

Order (g)          It has been proved conclusively in the light or subsequent event that this order prevented the wholesale massacre of all non-Muslims in Gilgit.

  1. On the 1st of November at first light, Major Brown accompanied by his Adjutant, Lieut Ghulam Haider, toured the effected area. It was obvious that Hindu rule in Gilgit and come to an end. At least two or three thousand people, armed with anything from modern sporting rifles to daggers were gathered on the  Polo Ground shouting Pakistan slogans and demanding immediate prossion and the murder of the Governor and non- Muslims. At least another thousand were patrolling the streets in the blood thirsty excitement retrained only by the influence of the Scouts. The Whole Corps of Scouts from the States officers attached and the S.M. down to the latest joined recruit were pro- Pakistan and no-body in the world could have made them fire a round in defence of the Hindu regime. This fact, coupled with the knowledge that the Rulers of Hunza and Nagir and the political districts were pro- Pakistan, convinced Major Brown that his theories were correct and the only solution was to abide by the will of the people and so avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
  2. All non- Muslims were rounded up for their own protection and put into a refugee camp in the Scout Lines. The number of weapons and instrument of a dangerous nature was remarkable and explosively sufficient to have caused considerable damage to life and property.
  3. Major Brown then reinforced that Scouts at the Bhup Singh Pari, posted guards on all officer’s houses and intensified patrolling in the Gilgit Area. One Platoon was sent from Gupis to Yasin to prevent any of the disgrunted elements there harming the Governor. He then called a conference of the Adjutant, S.M. and ex Subedar Shah Rais Khan who through his strong personality and his influence in Gilgit had done so much to restrain the locals from violence.
  4. The results of the conference were extremely interesting. The suspicions of both British officers regarding an underground pro- Pakistan movement proved to be correct. Those attending the conference new made clear to Major Brown what been a foot.

The movement comprised:-

Captain Hassan                      Kashmir State Forces.

Capt. Mohd Said                     attached Gilgit Scouts.

Lt. Ghulam Haider                  attached Gilgit Scouts (This officer was working for Pakistan only and had no personal Ambitions, as had the others)

Sub – Maj Mohd Baber Khan   Gilgit Scouts.

Ex- Sub Shah Rais Khan.

80% of the Indian Officers of the Gilgit Scouts.

70% of the other ranks.

  1. The Scheme of the underground movement was that the Muslim element of the 6th Kashmir Infantry in Bunji, the Scouts and the people of Gilgit sub- division should declare a Jehad in favour of Pakistan and having murdered all non- Muslims up to the Burzil Pass should set up an independent State comprising of the former Gilgit Agency and Astor, with all political power in their own hands, backed by the Scouts and the Muslim elements of the 6th Kashmir Infantry. Scouts not willing to serve should be dismissed, and others should be enlisted from the Gilgit sub- division.
  2. To oppose the wishes of this party on the 1st of November would have been suicidal. Major Brown therefore accepted the situation and helped to maintain law and order and advised all concerned to avoid any resort to violence.
  3. Major Brown then persuaded the wireless operator to sent a message to the Prime Minister of the N.W.F.P. at Peshawar that a……….. in favour of Pakistan had taken place in Gilgit and that Provisional Government had been set up. In reply Major Brown was informed that his message had been passed to higher authority and that in the meantime he should help to maintain law and order.
  4. Meanwhile there had been the following developments is Bunji. On the 31st of October about 300 (75%) of the Muslim State troops there left for Gilgit under one of their officers, Capt Hassan. This force met the Scouts detachment on the 1st of November at the Bhup Singh Pari and made it clear to them that they repudiated all allegiance to the Maharajah and intended killing all the Hindu and Sikh soldiers who had remained with the Battalion at Bunji. A message was then sent by this force in the name of the Governor ordering all Hindu and Sikhs from Bunji to proceed to Gilgit to stamp out a revolution, the idea being to ambush them on the way. The plan, however, miscarried.
  5. On the 1st of November the Commanding officer from bunji, Lt- Col Abdul Majid, moved towards Gilgit, having, it is said, locked the magazine and pocketed the key. The disposition of the Bunji Battalion on the 1st of November was:-

Colonel Abdul Majid and Capt Hasan with 300 Muslim troops enroots to Gilgit.

Capt Mohd Khan Baldev  Singh, Sehdev Singh and Ranghunat Singh with Sikh and Hindu troops numbering about 300 on the left bank of the Indus in Bunji with picquets at the  Partab Pul Bridge and at jaglote.

The keys of the magazine were in the Colonel’s pocket.

An interesting  fact is that on the night of the 31st of October, as soon as the shooting started in Gilgit, a man named Naib Khan  crossed the Gilgit bridge and made his way to Bunji by the left bank of the river with  the obvious intention of warning  the garrison that a revolution had taken place in Gilgit.

  1. On the morning of the 2nd of November at 9 a.m. the Pakistan Flag was raised on the tower in the Scout’s  Lines in Gilgit with all due ceremony and amidst great rejoicing. The ceremony was followed by prayers, dancing and festivities, but was cut short when it was realized that the crowd was getting out of hand
  2. To ensure continuity in the administration, the leader of the underground movement formed themselves into a Provisional Government consisting of:-

President                           Ex- Subedar Shah Rais Khan.

C in C.                               Captain Hasan.

C.G.S.                               Captain Mohd Said.

Commissioner.                   Lieut Ghulam Haider.

Chief of Police                    Sub Inspector Hamid.

It was agreed that all matters of importance should be referred to this Cabinet. This sounded all very well in theory but it was in fact useless in practice since the aim of each member was to gain power for himself. Major Brown pointed out the futility of attempting to form an Independent State of Gilgit and that the affiliation to Pakistan was the only way to ensure the future prosperity and safety of the country.

  1. At this stage, a certain Mulla, in a fanatical address urged the people to kill all non- Muslims in general and Major Brown in particular. But for the timely intervention of Sub- Maj Shah Rais Khan, a regrettable incident might have taken place. This Mulla…………
  2. The 3rd passed without incident. Under the guidance of Major Brown the general administration started again, telephone lines were repaired, and the conditions seemed normal. In the evening Major Brown telephoned the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir and reassured them, that all was well. They both expressed their wholehearted desire on behalf of their Stated to accode to Pakistan and requested that this information should be forwarded to higher authority by Major Brown. This was done. The Governors of KUB CHIZN and YASIN sent similar messages.
  3. On the 4th Gilgit seemed quits normal. Crowds ceased to collect in the streets, the Bazaar was open and the people went about their normal work. A certain undercurrent was however apparent. Those who had in no way assisted in the coup …. Made it clear that they too wanted jobs in the Provisional Government and the old feeling between Sunnis and Shiya raised its head again. Intrigue and local party rivalry was at work.

In the afternoon the …………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. At about 6 p.m. Major Brown received a message from Captain Mathieson which made it clear that messages had not been getting through and that Captain Mathieson was held up in Thalichi for lack of information on the general situation. Major Brown accompanied by the Sub- Maj left Gilgit at 7 p.m. arriving at Juglot at 11 p.m. finding it deserted, and at Thalichi at 1 a.m. on the 5th. An immediate exchange of information took place.
  2. It seemed that the patrol left Chilas at 5. a.m. on the 1st of November . It consisted of one Indian Officers and 60 rifles with one machine gun. Arriving  in the vicinity of Jaglot during  the might  2/3rd November communication was established  with the local ex- Scouts of that area from whom the strength and habits of the Sikh and Hindu garrisons at jaglot and partab Pul. The Indian Officer in charge of the Scouts patrol appreciated the situation and made the following plan:-

At first light the ex- Scouts should seize the ferry boat at Jaglot and move itr down …………. The Indian Officer and covered by the Machine Gun should take up a position close to Jaglot Chowki. At first light the Sikh and Hindu garrisons should be called upon to surrender and both positions should be occupied. The operation went according to plan. Both garrisons refused to surrender and heavy fire brought to bear on the Scouts. One Hindu Subedar and 7 other ranks were killed from the Jaglot garrison as the Scouts moved in the captured the Choki by force. Three other ranks escaped. They were later killed by the locals. The Scouts lost one killed and one wounded. The engagement lasted little over an hour. At Partab Pul, 6 other ranks of the garrison were killed or committed …………. The patrol commander realizing what havoc would ensure should these Sikhs cross the river and enters Gilgit, set the bridge on fire, only partially destroying it. This action undoubtable saved the situation.

  1. On the 2nd of November at 6.30 a.m. Captain Mathieson set off with a reserve patrol of 50 rifles and reached Thalichi at 7 a.m. on the 3rd. Major   Brown had not issued orders to hold the Ramghat Bridge, as he had not been informed by the c in c if the Provisional Government thst Muslim troops from Bunji had already done this. However, when Captain Mathieson arrived at Thalichi he found that Ramghat was not held, so he immediately sent two sections there via the Raiket bridge and true left bank on the Indus. Positions were occupied on the 4th when it was discovered that the bridge had been burnt  was impassable. It has not yet been discovered who destroyed the bridge, though it must have been done by locals. Capt Mathieson then fortified Thalichi and made M.M.G. positions to cover the track from Bunji to Ramghat on the far side of the river and awaited further orders.
  2. On the morning of the 5th of November, Major Brown and Captain Mathieson carried out a reconnaissance and saw about 150 Sikhs on the far side of the river climbing on to the bridge between Ramghat and Shitan Nalas. In order to prevent this and in order that the Sikhs should not escape, fire was brought to bear on them in the hope that they would double back. The range was however long and the fire had no effect. An immeiste message was sent to the C in C at jaglot explaining the situation and requesting for an extra Scouts platoon and an M.M.G. The C in C declined to grant the request. Had he done so it is probable that the whole Sikh force would have been wiped out or forced into surrender by the end of the day?
  3. Manwhile the C in C was planning a frontal attack on Bunji from Jaglot with the Scouts and Muslim troops of the Bunji Battalion. These troops had moved up from the Bhup Singh Pari and the first Chilas patrol was also with him. Such an attack would have been disastrous. Fortunately it was not necessary as a message was received from Bunji that the Sikh and Hindu troops had during the might left Bunji and taken to the hills. Rafts were then collected and the C in C and his force crossed the Indus and occupied Bunji without resistance.
  4. As soon as Major Brown heard the news, he had with Captain mathieson and the Sub- Maj moved up to Jaglot from Thlichi, having received no reinforcements or supporting weapons. After encouraging the Scouts at whose morale was fair, and ordering their disposal to the Sikh corpases, Major Brown and Captain Mathieson moved across to Banji . In Bunji there was general confusion but the C in C acting on advice of Major Brown arranged perimeter protection for the night. Desultry sniping continued throughout the night from the Sikhs in position in the hills above the camp. There were no casualties Major Brown talked to all the Scouts present, encouraging them and reassuring them, with the result that morals very soon rose.
  5. During the night the two British Officers pointed out to the C in C that it was essential to round up all the Sikhs and Hindus so that all the troops would be ready for action in the event of help being sent from Kashmir. Major Brown suggested that a 3” Mortar should be sent to Ramghat and an M.M.G.  to Thailichi. Under covering fire from these two weapons, and attack could be made on the Sikhs on the Shaitan Nala ridge at first light and as they would be trapped, they would have to surrender. Also during the night a patrol should be sent to quietly get behind the Sikhs in position above Bunji so that they would be caught in the rear when frontal, attacked at first light. Unfortunately the C in C did not act on this advice. Had he done so, it is probable that all the Sikhs and Hindus with their arms and ammunition and supporting weapons would have been captured that day. The result o the delay was that some of the Sikhs got through to Astor and over the Burzil Pass to Srinagar. Others destroyed their arms and took to the hills to die of exposure and starvation. Other ravaged local villages in attempts to get rations and a small percentage surrendered but without arms and ammunition.
  6. On the morning of the Sixth, Major Brown, Capt mathieson and the Sub- Maj crossed to Jaglot and after arranging rations and amenities for the Scouts there proceeded to Gilgit. Along with their staff and a mounted estcort they were given a triumphal welcome then they arrived at Gilgit late in the evening.
  7. The situation in Gilgit was unsatisfactory. On the 5th Lieut Ghulam Haider , seeing how intrigue how intrigue and faction feelings were increasing had sent a wireless message  to the Prime Minister of the N.W.F.P. and to Lt . Col Bacon, Political Agent, Khybe, to rely to Gilgit immediately.
  8. Major Brown, ably assisted by Captain Mathieson, then worked out schemes for the defence of the country in the event of an invasion from Kashmir or from the air. As many tactical positions as possible were occupied with the strength at their disposal. The ammunition from Bunji was dispersed in the various picquets in Gilgit, as was the petrol supply, to ensure reserves in the event of air bombardment. The morale of the Scouts was high and all were in good spirits. Daily meetings of the so-called Cabinet were held, but for reasons already given it was with the greatest of difficulty that a decision could be reached on any point. The civil administration however, seemed able to prevent complete chaos and this was due to Lieut Chulam Haider who had been appointed Commissioner in the Provisional Government. He did his best in a job with which he was completely unfamiliar.
  9. It soon became apparent that such a state of affairs could not last indefinitely. Major Brown and Captain mathieson did their best to keep the peace between the various political aspirants but in spite of all efforts it seemed that a state of anarchy would be the outcome as the people began to doubt whether Pakistan was prepared to accept the accession of Gilgit. Eventually all agreed that unless a Pakistan representative arrived there was going to be trouble. The two British Officers, realizing this danger only too well, sent a wireless message to Colonel Bacan at Peshawar on the 13th of November saying that they could not keep the peace for ever owing to excessive internal intrigue and that it was imperative that he or another representative should come to Gilgit immediately, as even a short visit would do much to reassure the people.
  10. On the 14th of November Major Brown received a message from the Prime Minister at Peshawar that a representative was being sent at once with instructions. The message was received with immense relief and on the 16th Khan Sahib Mohammed Alam arrived to take over the duties of the Political Agent.

 

 

Situation in Gilgit.

In a demi- official letter the U.K. Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi quotes from Delhi newspaper of 8th November those tribesmen from Swat had marched into Gilgit with the support not only of the Wali of Swat but also of the rulers of Chitral and Dir. The Government of India professes ignorance of the true state of affairs in Gilgit (28th November). Press reports also state that Chitral, Dir, Hunza and Nagir have acceded to Pakistan.

The Daily Telepgraph report of 1st December does not confirm this reported attack by “tribesmen”. On the contrary all seems quiet in Gilgit.

 

Pol. Dept. Have you any further information?

War Staff.(S.G.S) To see

 

 

OFFICE OF THE  DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER

FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM

PESHAWAR

No. 451/48

SECRET                                                                       February 2nd 1948

Dear Sir Laurence,

I write in continuation of my letter no. 451/48 dated January 19th 1948 regarding the situation in Gilgit.

2. So serious a view of the differences of opinion between the Political Agent, Gilgit, and the new Commandant of the Gilgit Scouts did the Pakistan Government take that Lt. Colonel Khurshid, Political Resident for the Tribal Areas on the North- West Frontier, and Lt- Colonerl Bacon, now Political Agent, Khyber, but lately Political Agent Gilgit, were flown up to Gilgit on January 30th. They were given a most enthusiastic welcome, particularly Colonel Bacon of course, by the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir, the Gilgit Scouts and the local populace generally.

3. They found that while the Political Agent, Khan Sahit Muhammad Alam, had orders from the Pakistan Government in the regular way to continue the administration on the same lines as before but in the name of Pakistan, the Commandant of the Scouts, Major Muhammad Aslam, had orders of a different sort from the Azad Kashmir organization. I have seen s copy of his instructions, which bore the name of General Tariq, Commander of the Azad Kashmir forces, were to the effect that while the populace of Gilgit should be encouraged to believe that Gilgit had been taken over by Pakistan, in fact it was Azad Kashmir territory of which Major Aslam was in sole charge, and the Gilgit Scouts were to be  regarded as Azad Kashmir forces.

4. It was pointed out to Major Aslam that his instructions were contrary to the orders of the Pakistan Government and that the Political Agent was the supreme authority in Gilgit while the Scouts were under his control in matters of policy, though the Commandant was in operational command of them. He was advised to refer his instructions back to General Tariq if he felf any obligation to do so and in the mean time to defer to the Political Agent, since it was essential to maintain at least an appearance of unity of control and it was the authority of the Political Agent which was recognized by the Mirs and the local population and indeed the Scoute themselves. The   personal relations between Muhd. Alam the commandant seemed to be cordial and they agreed to cooperate. The Political Agent was reminded of his responsibility for the peace and good government of Gilgit and advised to maintain his position and the previous practices, which were also acceptable to the local peple.

5. This division of authority in Gilgit is typical of the anomalous position of the Pakistan Government in relation to the Azad Kashmir organization. The result is that a regular Pakistan army Officer, posted to an appointment of a perfectly normal type by the Pakistan Government and Army Headquarters, receives orders from the Azad Kashmir Commander which are contradictory to those of the Pakistan Government and Political Agent had previously been in the Kashmir fighting and both agreed that the important thing in Gilgit was to maintain the peace and keep the territory for Pakistan.

6. The Mir of Hunza alos met the government representative from here and promised support to the Political Agent in maintaining the old system. It appears however that the Mir has resumed relations with the Chinese. Which he dropped while there was a British Political Agent in Gilgit, through the Amban  of Tashkurgan. The Mir has received recognition by the ….

 

 

PRECIS OF EVENTS IN GILGIT SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF

SARDAR MOHD ALAM, POLITICAL AGENT.

On the 16th November, 1947, Sardar Mohd Alam arrived in Gilgit bearing letters from the Pakistan Government to the effect that he had been appointed Political Agent of the Gilgit Agency. He was given an enthusiastic welcome by the local population and escorted in triumph to the Agency House. In a few well chosen words he exhorted the people to cast aside their faction feeling and to unite as one in the cause of Islam. This short speech was greeted with further bursts enthusiasm before the crowd gradually dispersed.

On the 17th November at 9.30 a.m. the Pakistan flag was hoisted on the flag pole at the Agency House whilst a Guard of Honour from the Gilgit Scouts paid full honours and the pipes and drums played the Royal Salute. Large crowds turned out to watch the ceremony and the intense approval of all was very noticeable. After a short speech by the Political Agent, S. Mohd Alam, on the lines of the previous day, there was dancing and other festivities as is the custom of the country on joyous occasions, and the happy atmosphere in contrast to the television of he past fortnight was very marked. During the afternoon Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson gave S Mohd a brief description of conditions in the Agency and the events which led up to the coupd ‘etat and aftermath. They also handed over to him the confidential files and papers which they had kept in safe custody during the time of the provisional Government.

On the 18th November the Political Agent accompanied by Major W.A. Brown and local notables  inspected the Agency officers, hospital, Scout Lines, bazaar and other public institutions and the manner in which  he has greeted at each left little doubt as the sentiments of the people . He seemed somewhat astonished that the entire place was intact and that the bazaar was functioning normally with Muslisms Sikhs and Hindus living in communal harmony whilst the various departments carried on the general administration  as usual. In the afternoon the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir and the Governors of Punial, Koh Ghizr, Ishkomen and Gasir arrived in Gilgit in response to a call made by Major W.A. Brown on the suggestion of Lt. Col, Bacon when S. Mohd Alam’s departure for Gilgit was announced. Captain Mirza Hussain  also arrived from Bunji.

The latter lost no time in assembling the so called cabinet of the Provisional Government who it seems were by this time prepared to forego their personal ambitions and accept the establishment of the Agency by Pakistan. It should be noted that Lieut. Ghulam Haider refused to attend this meeting. It is understood that Captain Mirza Husson pointed out to the members of the cabinet that their entire hopes of political supremacy had been thwarted by the arrival of s. Mohd Alam and that to accept this power as Political Agent was their swan song. After further exhortations he   managed with the able help of Captain Mohd Said to sway the other rather reluctant members over to his side and the following nefarious plot was hatched.

On the following day the Provisional Government should announce the fact that it still held paramount power in Gilgit despite the arrival of S. Mohd. Alam and that the latter should take no step or make any decision without the approval of the members of the cabinet.  It was also agreed that Lieut Haider should be removed from his position of Commissioner and that wilayat Ali of Nagir should be appointed in his place. Finally it was agreed that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson should be removed from their appointments of Commandant Scouts and Assist. Commandant Scouts respectively and that to ensure that this was fulfilled the Gilgit Scouts should be informed immediately that on the following day the two officers concerned should not be paid their due respect and should be denied access to the Scout Lines. However the loyalty of the Gilgit Scouts to their Commandant and Assistant Commandant. ensured the complete miscarriage of this dastardly scheme and on the  following day allegiance never wavered.

On the 18th November the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir and the Government of Punial, koh Ghazir, Ishkoman and Yasin were introduced to S. Mohd Alam by Major W.A. Brown and successful interviews were completed in the course of which both Mirs signed Instruments of Accession to Pakistan. The Covernors expressed their sincerest loyalty to Pakistan on behalf of them selves and their people and the interviews concluded in an atmosphere of cordiality and good will.

In the afternoon the so-called Cabinet of the Provisional Government requested and was granted an interview with S. Mohd Alam, The members lost no time in telling the Political Agent that the Provisional Government still helo complete power in Gilgit and that he must not only consult it before making any decision but must also accept what ever recommendation was put up to him by it. Led by Captain Mirza Hussan and Captain Mohd Said, with the other members rather reluctantly concurring, the recommendations was then put forward that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson should be removed from their appointments immediately, and the two spokesman appointed in lieu. They strengthened their recommendation by saying that if it was not accepted they would instigate chaos in Gilgit. S. Mohd Alam then made it quite clear to this bunch of trouble makers that so long as he as in Gilgit his word was paramount and that under no circumstances would he be dictated to by the Provisional Government of any other unrecognized Govt. He continued that he had not the slightest intention of even considering the removal of Major Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson as both were officers for whom he held the highest respect and who, he considered , had devoted the almost disinfested service in the welfare of the Gilgit Agency, and the …. of Pakistan . He sarcastically compared the two British Officers to the ambitious Political …………… holding an interview. S. Mohd Alam concluded of saying that if the Provisional Government wished to remain in power or contemplated instigating trouble in Gilgit the solution was very east, He, along with the British Officers would leave immediately and the Gilgit Agency would be left to its own rate. He pointed out, however, that in the event of tois taking place it would not be long before faction feeling would reduce the country to internal strife where upon interested parties outside would take the opportunity of annexing the whole area. The members of the Provisional Government appeared to have overlooked this possibility as they then earnestly requested the Political Agent not to leave under any circumstance. It was obvious that the Political Agent had conducted the interview in such a way that he now held the whip hand and the Provisional Government departed realizing that it was powerless. The strong position adopted by S. Mohd Alam Showed that he was not a man to be trifled with and undoubetedly solved an awkward problem once and for all and in such a way that repermissions were impossible.

It seems that in a last vain attempt to regain their position the members of the Provisional Government approached the Mir of Hunza with the request that he would put their case up to the Political Agent. From all accounts the Mir of Hunza declined to talk to them but sent out a message that they had better leaves his garden immediately or he would order his bodyguard to thrown them out. This was the last that was heard of the Provisional Govt.

In the evening S. Mohd Alam called Major W.A. Brown and Capt. A.S. Mathieson and explained to them about the interview in the afternoon. Major W.A. Brown explained to S. Mohd. Alam that the most important task at the moment was to get the condition of the Scouts back to normal and to eradicate the unsteadying effects caused by their first operation; that to do so it was essential that the ringleaders of all the trouble, Captain Hussan and Captain Mohd Said, and other Muslim officers of the 6th KI should be sent across the Indus to Bunji and not allowed to enter the Gilgit Agency without the Political Agent’s permission. Iw was reared that the low morale and bad discipline of the Muslim element of the 6th KI might prove a bad influence on the Scouts under the difficult circumstances, so it was suggested that these troops should also be sent to Bunji under the same conditions as the officers. It was also pointed out that the condition of the sub- division was somewhat unstable and that to prevent a regrettable incident it was essential that a strong personality should be appointed Rajah, who would control the people and who could be held responsible in the event of an uprising of any sort. It  was pointed out that the present Rajaj, Rajal Jaffer Khan, was useless, so it was suggested that he might he asked to retire honorably and ex-Subjected Gr.Shah Rais Khan appinted in his place an individual who certainly held the necessary qualifications as well as right. The Political Agent agreed to give the suggestions due consideration.

On the 19th November S. Mohd. Alam held a conference at which Major W.A Brown , Captain A.S. Mathieson, the Mirs of Hunza and Nagir, Captain Hussan, Captain Said and subedar Major Mohd  Baber Khan were present. The Political Agent announced that he had decided to make Captain Hussan Military Governor of the Gilgit Wazarat i.e. the country on the true left hand bank of the Indus from Bunji to Bunzil Pass which was formerly under Kashmir and not part of the Gilgit Agency. Captain Mohd Khan was appointed his second in Command and he was ordered the take the entire Muslim element of the 6th KI with him for garrison duties. The Sikh and Dogra element including the Officers was also made his responsibility, and it was stressed that these prisoners what on no account enter the Gilgit Agency. Captain Hussan seemed quite agreeable to this   arrangement but pointed out that the position of Military Governor merited a rank higher than that of Captain and he requested the Political Agent that he might retain the rank of General which had been conferred on him by the ex- Provisional Government. S. Mohd Alam told Captain Hussan that he might assume any rank he wished but that he would only draw the pay of a captain. Captain Hussan then decided he would prefer to be an acting Lt. Col to which the Political Agent agreed.

The conference ended in a private interview with Subedar Major Mohd Baber Khan in which the Political Agent pointed out to him in front of the Mirs how foolishly he had been behaving  in allying himself with Captain Hussan and that he must control his gullible nature and appreciate situations properly in discerning  between right and wrong. He was admonished to return to his post as Subedar Major immediately and to refrain from meddling in other affairs. It should be noted here that it was decided at the conference that in nature the designation of the 6th KI would be the Gilgit Azad Forces.

On the 20th November Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson spent the entire day in the Scout Lines and their best to restore conditions to normal by the resumption of parades and general administrative duties. This they made their main aim and object during the next few weeks.

On the 21st an interesting incident took place which is worthy of note. At about 7 p.m. Major W.A. Brown inspected his daily situation reports and noted that the Sikh and Dogra Officers from the Azad Forces had been spent to Theliche under an escort led by Subedar Sher Ali. Major W.A. Brown having the Political Agents orders regarding these officers immediately contacted Subedar Sher Ali at Thelikhe and asked for an explanation. Subedar Sher Ali explained that he had received orders that morning from Gilgit Headquarters that the Commandant’s orders were that he should take over all the Sikh and Dogra officers from Captain Mohd Khan in Bunji and escort them to chilas where further orders would be received. Major W.A. Brown ordered Subedar sher Ali to take the prisoners back to Bunji immediately and leave them there. He then carried out an investigation as to how these orders have been passed. It seems that in the morning Captain Mohd Said and Captain Hussan had entered  the Scout telephone exchange and the former had told the Signal Havildar that the Commandant had passed orders that a message should be sent to Subedar Sher Ali in Bunji that he should take over charge of the Sikh and Dogra officers immediately and escort them to chilas. From information received later it seems that the intention of these two officers was to send a further message in the name of the Commandant Scouts to Subedar Sher Ali as soon as he had reached Jallipur to the effect that the Sikh  and Dogra Officers should a shot and their bodies thrown in the river. Both officers on being questioned denied that they  had ever issued such orders until confronted by the evidence at the  Political Agent’s disposal, when they grudgingly admitted they had S. Mohd Alam then ordered Captain Mirza Hussan to leave for Bunji immediately and on no account to enter the Gilgit Agency again without his permission. Not long after Captain Hussan has reached Bunji it became increasingly obvious that he was holding up the caravans of cloth sugar and other imported commodities which were destined for Gilgit. The Political Agent sent repeated messages that the goods should be released immediately and forwarded to Gilgit; but no action was taken either through a policy of non- cooperation by Captain Hussan or because he wished to dispose o the commodities privately. According on  the 23rd November a strong Scout patrol under a Subedar was sent to Astore with orders to bring the caravan to Gilgit immediately. This patrol after a great deal of difficulty succeeded in its object and arrived back in Gilgit about the middle of December with large stocks of cloth and sugar.

On the 24th November Major W.A. Brown realizing that the danger of an attack by Indian troops was out of the  question, owing to the heavy snow fail on the passes, closed all wings on their respective headquarters and started the task of re- quipping  and recognizing the strength which had been so long in the field . Morale seemed high and all ranks were in good spirits

On the 26th November Major W.A. Brown flew to Peshawar  on orders from the Chief Secretary in order to report to the authorities regarding the recent events in Gilgit. Captain A.S. Mathieson officiated as Commandant Scouts.

At about 2 p.m. on the morning of the 28th November Captain Mathieson received a message from the Subedar Major that the Gilgit Bazaar was being looted by the local population and asked what action …….Major  further informed Captain Mathieson that he should o no account proceed to the scene of the looting until the crowd was under control as his life would be in serious danger and that he (the Subedar Major) would immediately double all officer’s guards. Captain Mathieson orders the subedar Major to proceed to the bazaar forthwith and make every effort to get the situation in hand. He then went and reported to the Political Agent who decided that no useful purpose could be served by their presence in the bazaar and that to move down could only mean taking unnecessary risks. He therefore advised that the Subedar Major should be left in control. After about half an hour Captain Mathieson after a great deal of delay managed to contact the Subedar Major on the telephone and demanded a situation report. The Subedar Major reported that the strength of the looters was so large that he was making no headway and that the entire bazaar was being systematically looted. Abortive attempts at arson were also reported. Captain mathieson then issued orders that the Scouts should be orders to fire high over the crowds in the hope that the alarming effects of this might disperse the looters. After receipt of this order several volleys were fired as well as bursts from a machine gun but it seems that this had little effect. Captain Mathieson wisely did not pass “shoot to kill” orders as it is extremely doubtful if the Scouts would have obeyed them under the circumstances and a refusal would have been disastrous. At first light the Subedar Major reported to the Political Agent and Assistant Commandant and made the following report. At about 1 a.m. he had received a report from the police that the locals were looting the bazaar and that crowds were pouring in from the outlying villages to take part. He immediately turned out the chigha party and proceeded to the bazaar blocked by a crowd of at least three thousands Gilgits and had already been completely looted. In his opinion the affair must have started at about 11p.m. on the 27th November. He, therefore, called up the remaining available strength and attempted to clear the bazaar and prevent more people from entering it. This task which should have been easy proved, however, extremely difficult as it became obvious that the Scouts were not prepared to use violence of any sort against their fellow countrymen. The “high firing” too had no effect, as the locals were fully aware of the sentiments of he Scouts and knew that a “shoot to kill” order would never have been obeyed. As soon as the shops had been stripped the crowds began to disperse gradually and that was the position when the report was made.

On the strength of this report the Political Agent after consultation with Captain mathieson sent a message to the Govt. of the N-W.F.P. to the effect that the Gilgit bazaar had been completely looted and requesting that six platoos of the Frontier Constabulary should be sent to Gilgit immediately by air as it had been proved that when action against locals was required the Scouts could not be trusted.

The Political Agent accompanied by Captain Mathieson then toured the affected area and supervised clearing operations. It then became apparent that the Muslim shops had been left untouched and only the Hindu and Sikh shops, about half a dozen at the most, had been looted and that the property of the Hindus and Sikhs in the residential area had also suffered. The temple which had so far remained intact had also been destroyed by those, it is said, who arrived on the acene too late to gain a share of the loot. An amendment was then sent to the previous message to the effect that only Sikh and Hindu shops had been looted but still stressing the need for Frontier Constabulary. The Political Agent then departed and left Captain Mathieson in charge of operations.

Captain Mathieson’s first action was to re-establish the refugee camp in the Scout Lines where all Sikhs and Hindus were once again put under projective custody. When warm clothing and comforts were collected and distributed to those who had suffered and adequate ration arrangements were soon under way. Captain Mathieson then organized the Scouts into search parties and ordered a systematic search of Gilgit proper and the surrounding villages in an effort to recover looted property. This operation proved entirely successful and by midday, thanks to the personal leadership and resource of this office it was estimates that practically all the looted property had been recovered.

The Political Agent attempted to have and investigation into the circumstances under which the bazaar had been looted. As anyone with knowledge of the country will appreciate the enquiry proved a failure since, as usual, no body would come forward to give evidence. It was however clear that the whole affair was prearranged and the Police and Scouts were fully awae of what was going to happen and accordingly took no action until the Hindu and Sikh property had  been looted. Whether the Police and Scouts actually took part in the looting is a matter for conjecture though under present conditions it seem likely that they did as the general chaos in the bazaar must have made control extremely difficult. At the investigation influential quarters attempted tolay the blame on the Police on the grounds that the Scouts were not warned until the looting was well under way, but it was obvious that this was merely an unjust attempt to use the Police as scapegoats. It is also understood on good authority that the Political Agent was a forewarned but he dismissed the warning as an idle rumour.

During the afternoon the majority of the Sikhs and Hindus embraced Islam and though this was in no way done under duress they obviously considered it the safest policy to pursuer under the circumstances.

Meanwhile tension icreased on the Chitral Border ad repeated reports were received from Koh Ghizar that the Mehtar of Chitral’s  army was about to march from Masuj  and invade the Northern Political Districts of the Gilgit Agency. The Political Agent kept the Government of the N.W.F. Province fully conversant with the situation.

During the recent disturbance Captain Hussan had not seen idle in Bunji. Evidently he was not prepared to see his hopes shattered by the Political Agent’s final decision and had once more started to instigate trouble. It is understood that he collected the entire Azad Force and told all ranks that they must swear on the Coran Sharif that they would obey him imlicitly if he gave them the order to march and capture Gilgit and liquide the Political Agent, the Commandant Scouts and the Assistant Commandant. The Azad Force unanimously refused.

On the 31st November Major Mohd Aslem alias Colonel Pasha of the Azad Kashmir Forces arrived in Gilgit by air with the intention of organizing the Azad Forces in the area. He collected all officers of the Azad Force in Bunji and very rightly pointed out that their primary task was the capture and consolidation of S Kardu in Baltistan as these positions might well be a spring board for an attack. On Gilgit. He then called for volunteers to lead the expedition but no one came futile excuse. The officers concerned were:

Captain Ihsan Ali

Captain Mirza Hussan

Captain Mohd Said

Captain Mohd Khan.

Major Aslam did not attempt to conceal his disgust at this display of cowardice and proceeded to all in the V.C., os of the Azad Force. It is understood that the V.C.os expressed a complete lack of confidence in their present officers i.e. Captain Mirza Hussan and Captain Mohd Khan and appealed that these officers should be removed immediately. It was during this conference that the nefarious plot referred to the previous paragraph came to light. Captain Hassan and Captain Mohd . Khan was then ordered to return to Bunji.

 

Meanwhile the Political Agent had sent Wilayat Ali of Nagir a retired Tehsildar of Kashmir State, to Bunji with orders to check the Bunji and Aster Treasuries and report on their correctness or otherwise with the help of the Kashmiri Naib Tehsildar in Astore, who is reported to be honest, Wilayat Ali discovered that Captain Hussan had made served dishonest transactions and that there were definite discrepancies in the accounts of both treasuries. When in fronted by this report Capotains Hussan and Mohd Khan both admitted their guilt. The Political Agent therefore issued atriot orders that in future no transaction would take place in either treasury unless the bill had been previously countersigned by him.

Owing to the general unrest caused by recent events faction feeling- the Shiah Sunni question – again made itself apparent but to such an extent this time that there was serious danger of aclash. Captain Mathieson therefore devotedhis time in an effort to restore normal conditions and amongst other things re-started polo, the national game of the country. To an outsider this would seem a futile method of establishing the country but those with experience of Gilgit will fully appreciate that a better course could not have been adopted Captain Mathieson’s efforts undoubtedly had the desired efforts and saved an awkward situation. On the 8th December Major W.A. Brown arrived back in Gilgit by air with the following instruction from the Pakistan Govt.

  1. That the Gilgit Agency must be held at all coste against aggression by Indian troops.
  2. That to facilitate this the strength of the Gilgit Scoute should be raised to 1500.
  3. That to cope with the increased strength a limited number of Pakistan Commission might be granted to deserving local Indian officers.
  4. That the Muslim element of the 6th Kashmir infantry should concentrate in Bunji and should on no account enter the Gilgit Agency.
  5. That all Officers of the Kashmir State Forces should join this force.
  6. That the Sikh and Dogra element of the 6th Kashmir infantry should be dispersed in groups throughout the Gilgit Agency.

On arrival at the Gilgit landing group on the 8th December Major W.A. Brown was met by Captain Mohd whose intention was to fly to Peshawar in the returning plane. It seems that the Political Agent had given him the necessary permission. Major Brown explained to Captain Said that he had brought certain important instructions from the Pakistan Govt. which affected him (Mohd Said) and ordered him not to leave until he (Major Brown) had spoken to the Political Agent on the telephone. Major Brown then proceeded to the telephone which was some distance away and wilst talking the place became air borne. On arrival back at the landing ground it was discovered that Captain Said had left contrary to orders. An immediate code message was wirelesses to Colonel Bacon at Pashawar for forwarding to the necessary authorities.

After consultation with the Political Agent it was decided that the first step which should be taken was the award of a Pakistan Commission  to Sub: Major Mohd Babar Khan on the grounds that the Subedar Major of all the other Frontier Carps had been granted commissions on the  change of power and that this would serve are ward to the entire Gilgit Scouts for the part they had placed during the coup detat as Babar Khan would be the first local Officer of the Secouts to rise above the rank of Subedar Major. At a ceremonial parade on the 9th December the Political Agent after a short address to all ranks presented Mohd Babar Khan with the ensignia of a Lieutenant of the Pakistan Army. As later events showed this move proved completely justifiable and popular through out the Agency.

Major Brown and Captain Mathieson then started the immense task of raising the strength and reorganizing the Scouts according to the scheme which they had prepared and which had been accepted in principle by the Pakistan Govt. The Mirs and Governors were approached and they promised to send the necessary numbers of recruits when required. Ration retirements were estimated and communicated to the Political Agent and after consultations the 1st January 1948 was fixed as target date for the start of enlistment.

Meanwhile reports were being repeatedly received that an attempt was going to be made it loot the Muslim shops in the bazar on the grounds that prior to the previous looting the Hindu and Sikhs had lodged the buld of their valuables with the urged the Political Agent to depose the present Rajal of Gilgit and appoint ex- subedar Shah Rais Khan in hisplace as this act would undoubtedly have stabilized the sub-division once and for all. The Political Agent however did not agree on the grounds that his position was not strong enough to risk any repercussions cursed by sudi action. He also refused to credit the possibility of further looting.

On the 11th December Captain Mahieson flew to Chilas as it was obvious that the sub- Agency and the Scout Detachment there were getting out of control owing to the continued absence of the Assistant political Agent.

On the 13th December at about 10 p.m. Major W.A. Brown received information that the locals intended looting the Muslim shops in the Gilgit bazaar that night. He proceeded to the bazaar immediately and discovered a generale xodus of all local shopkeepers in progress, along with their goods. On being questioned they admitted they were removing their wares to their homes were unable to furnish any reasonable excuse for doing so. Major W.A. Brown then ordered them to return to their shops immediately along with their gtoods, and on no account to leave the bazaar. Piquet’s were them posted at various tactical position the area and intensive patrolling resumed. Major Brown himself remained in the bazaar till the early hours of the morning and when conditions seemed normal went and reported the night’s proceedings to the Political Agent.

On the night of the 14th December the Political Agent on behalf of the Pakistan Government gave a dinner party in Gilgit while was followed by dancing, singing and other festivities, whilst similar entertainments took place in the outposte of chilae and Gupis under the auspices  of Captain Mathieson and the Post Commander respectively. This gesture was much preciated by all ranks and was befitting reward for the part the scouts had played during the recent coup dietat.

It should be added here that on the morning of the 14th December K.S. Azad Khan, former Tehsildar of Gilgit, arrived by plane to take over the duties of Assistant Political Agent. He was accorded the usual reception and with his previous ……………… upon had the Agency Office administration back to normal.

Meanwhile reports from Bunji made it dear …….the officers there were still intent on creating trouble. It is understood that Captain Mohd. Khan with the connivance and able assistance of Captain Hussan, abducted the daughter of the Hindu postmaster and forcibly married her. It is said that the unit Mullah downrightly refused to perform the ceremony on the grounds that the marriage was illegal but later a local Mullah agreed to solemnise the proceedings. On the 20th December Captain Mathieson returned to Gilgit after successfully fulfilling is objects in Chilas. Towards the end of the month it became obvious that it would be impossible to start recruitingon the 1st January as an the Political authorities had taken no definite action regarding the collection of rations. Major W.A. Brown approached the Political Agent several times in this connection but a part from vague promises, he received little satisfaction. It was at this stage that a marked difference in the attitude of S. Mohd Alam became apparent. In contrast to his previous strong headed policy his attitude now appeared to be that of a pathetic disinterest. He seldom left his bungalow, he refused to yet strong enough to counter reperassions, and he appeared to be generally loading his grip on the administration.

The effect of this lack adaiscal outlook soon had very apparent effects. The Scouts became tense and upset owing to the Political Agent’s refusal to approve certain important promotions recommended by the Commandant. Daily public meetings were held in the bazaar at which the administration was oriticised and which invariably ended in large deputations invading the Agency House garden with futile requests. All officials  with past experience of conditions in Gilgit advised the Political Agent to take definite steps to eradicate this lawlessness otherwise a state of anarchy would  ensure as it is well known to all that the Gilgit  people must be ruled with afirm hand.

After a great deal of persuasion the Political Agent agreed to the Scout promotions which published proved very popular and the condition of the Scouts became excellent with morale very high. Although the Political authorities had not yet collected the rations for the increased strength.  Major W.A Brown realizing the urgency of the situation, decided to start recruiting with effect from the 7th January and to ratio the new recruits from the reserve stock. It was thought that this action might bring home to the Political authorities the necessity for taking immediate action and it did in fact have the desired effect.

By the 10th January some four hundred recruits had been enlisted from the States of Hunza and Nagir and though conditions were adverse owing to a depleted staff and lack of proper medial arrangement, nevertheless as the programmed was being completed according to plan, thanks to the untiring efforts of Captain Mathieson, 2/ Lieut. Shah Khan, and the compounder Himayun Beg. It might be mentioned that the daily working hours of this small staff were averaging about 18hours. The physical standard and high sense of discipline of the recruits was remarkable and the latter did much to facilities, the squadding codorganisin.

Orders had previously been received from the Govt. of the North-West Frontier Province to the effect that Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson would be relieved by Major Aslam and Captain Mohd Khan during January, the reason being that the Government of Pakistan desired to avert any possibility of the British Officers fighting against Indian troops and action seemed not far distant in which the two officers would have been morally bound to lead their men.

Major Aslam and Captain Mohd Khan arrived on the 10th January by ….and Major W.A. Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson handed over their respective charges on the 12th January. Captain mathieson flow the Peshawar on the 13th December and Major Brown on the 14th and both officers were accorded a memorable and touching farewell from the Corps of courts and people of the Gilgit Agency.

To conclude this precise a copy of the report on current event in Gilgit which was submitted to the prime Minister to the Pakistan Government by Major Brown and Captain mathieson on their arrival is attached. Chinese of his claims to certain disputed grazing grounds on his border with Sinkiang, and has also been granted the right to issue Chinese passports for travel to Sinkiang. The Mir however asserts that if there were any sign of a return of communists influence in Sinkiang he would again sever his connections with them. At present he considers that the Chinese Central Government is in a stronger position there than it has been for some time, it has better troops there than before and Southern Sinkiang, which of course is all that concerns Hunza, is generally quiet, and free from Russian interference. The Mir is maintaining the mail runner service to Miagar for Sinkiang, on which the British consulate-General at Kashgar is also dependent, thought he has not received the payment which used to be made by the old Government of India for this service and he does not know who will be responsible for payment now.

 

Yours sincerely,

C.B. DUKE.

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Next articleGilgit uprising 1947
Abdul Hamid Khan is the chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), which Pakistan had purposefully named as Northern Areas to keep its disputed status obscured. Chairman Khan started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan, after the year 1988. However, in the depoliticized region under the Pakistani bureaucratic establishment he faced many difficulties.

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