Bolan Pass

Bolan Pass

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The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

 through the Toba Kakar Range
Toba Kakar Range
The Toba Kakar Mountains are a Southern offshoot of the Himalayas in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. The historical route through the mountains is known as the Bolan Pass....

 of Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 province in western Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 border.

Strategically located, traders, invaders, and nomadic tribes have also used it as a gateway to and from the South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. The Bolan Pass is an important pass on the Baluch frontier, connecting Jacobabad
Jacobabad
Jacobabad or Yaqubabad is the capital city of Jacobabad District, Sindh, Pakistan. The city is also the administrative centre of Jacobabad Taluka, an administrative subdivision of the district, the city is subdivided into 8 Union Councils...

 and Sibi
Sibi
Sibi is a city of Balochistan province of Pakistan. The city is located at 29°33'0N 67°52'60E at an altitude of 130 metres and is headquarters of the district and tehsil of the same name.. According to the 2001 census of Pakistan the population of Sibi is 52,100...

 with Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, which has always occupied an important place in the history of British campaigns in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

Traditionally, the Brahui
Brahui people
The Brahui or Brohi are ethnic Baloch group of about 2.2 million people with the majority found in Kalat, Baluchistan, Pakistan, but they are also found in smaller numbers in neighboring Afghanistan and Iran. The Brahuis are almost entirely Sunni Muslims.-Origins:The ethnonym "Brahui" is a very...

 of the Baluchi
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 ethnic group are in charge of the law and order situation through the Pass area. This tribe is still living in present day Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and they still preserve their Dravidian Language.

In 1837, threatened by a possible Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n invasion of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 via the Khyber
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 and Bolan Passes, a British envoy was sent to Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 to gain support of the Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

, Dost Mohammed. In February 1839, the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 under Sir John Keane took 12,000 men through the Bolan Pass and entered Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, which the Afghan Princes had abandoned; from there they would go on to attack and overthrow Ghazni
Ghazni
For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni ProvinceGhazni is a city in central-east Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people...

.

In 1883, Sir Robert Groves Sandeman
Robert Groves Sandeman
Sir Robert Groves Sandeman, KCSI , Colonial British Indian officer and administrator, was the son of General Robert Turnbull Sandeman, and was born on the 25th of February 1835. He was educated at Perth and University of St Andrews, and joined the 33rd Bengal Infantry in 1856...

 negotiated with the Khan of Kalat
Khan of Kalat
Khan of Kalat or Khan-e-Qalat is the title of former rulers of State of Kalat. Kalat state is now part of Balochistan, Pakistan. The rulers in Kalat were always subject to the political authority of a larger state, after the Mongol invasion they were subject to the Mughal emperors in Delhi, then...

 Khudadad Khan
Khudadad Khan (Kalat)
Khudadad Khan was the Khan of the princely state of Kalat in what is now the Balochistan province of Pakistan from 1857 to March 1863 and May 1864 to 15 August 1893...

 and secured British control over the pass in exchange for an annual fee.

Bolan Pass railway



From Sibi the line runs south-west, skirting the hills to Rindli, and originally followed the course of the Bolan stream to its head on the plateau. The destructive action of floods, however, led to the abandonment of this alignment, and the railway now follows the Mashkaf valley (which debouches into the plains close to Sibi), and is carried from near the head of the Mashkaf to a junction with the Bolan at Machh
Machh
Machh, or Mach, is a small town and union council of Bolan District in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The town has an altitude of 1006 metres and is located at 29°52'0N 67°19'60E, - some about 50 km southeast of Quetta, the provincial capital...

. An alternative route from Sibi to Quetta was found in the Harnai valley to the N.E. of Sibi, the line starting in exactly the opposite direction to that of the Bolan and entering the hills at Nari
Nari
Nari may refer to:*Narfi, a Norse god also known as Nari*Nari Family, a family name*Typhoon Nari, the name of two tropical cyclones*Nari , a creature featured in the game Legendary...

. The Harnai
Harnai
Harnai is one of the two sub-divisions of Sibi District in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The name Harnai refers to an influential Hindu personality, Harnam Das. It is located in the north east of Balochistan province...

 route, although longer, is the one adopted for all ordinary traffic, the Bolan loop being reserved for emergencies. At the Khundilani gorge of the Bolan route conglomerate cliffs enclose the valley rising to a height of 800 ft., and at Sir-i-Bolan the passage between the limestone rocks hardly admits of three persons riding abreast. The temperature of the pass in summer is very high, whereas in winter, near its head, the cold is extreme, and the ice-cold wind rushing down the narrow outlet becomes destructive to life. Since 1877, when the Quetta agency was founded, the freedom of the pass from plundering bands of Baluch marauder
Marauder
A marauder is a bandit, outlaw, raider or such like who moves about in roving fashion looking for plunder.Other uses of marauder, usually derived from the above include:in " Football"...

s (chiefly Marris) had been secured by the British Indian Army
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

.

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