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State of Bahawalpur

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State of Bahawalpur

Template:Use Pakistani English

Template:Infobox former country/autocat
State of Bahawalpur
بہاولپور کی ریاست
Princely state of the British Raj 1758–1947
Princely state of Pakistan 1947–55



Location of Bahawalpur
Capital Bahawalpur
Languages Riasti, Majhi, Malwi dialects of Punjabi, Bagri (Choolistani) and Urdu
Religion Islam
Government Principality (1690–1955)
Nawab Amir of Bahawalpur His Highness Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi (first)
 -  1907 to 1966 His Highness General Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V (last)
Prime Minister of Bahawalpur
 -  1942–1947 Sir Richard Marsh Crofton(first)
 -  1952 - 14 October 1955 A.R. Khan (last)
Historical era Mughal Empire (1802–1858) Indian British Empire (22 February 1858-1947) Princely state of Pakistan (1947-1955) Part of West Pakistan (1955-1970) Punjab, Pakistan (1970-present) Dividing between the Bahawalpur District, Bahawalnagar District and the Rahim Yar Khan District.
 -  Established 1802
 -  Merged into West Pakistan 14 October 1955
Currency Rupee, Pakistan Rupee (after 1947)
Subdivision of Pakistan
1690–14 October 1955


Location of Bahawalpur
Map of Pakistan with Bahawalpur highlighted
Capital Bahawalpur
 -  Established 1690
 -  Disestablished 14 October 1955
Area 45,911 km2 (17,726 sq mi)
Former administrative units of Pakistan

Bahawalpur was a princely state, stretching along the southern bank of the Sutlej and Indus Rivers, with its capital city at Bahawalpur. The state was counted amongst the Punjab states. In 1941, it had a population of 1,341,209, living in an area of 45,911 km² (17,494 sq mi). The state was founded in 1802 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi after the breakup of the Durrani Empire. His successor Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi III signed the state's first subsidiary alliance with the British on 22 February 1833, guaranteeing the internal rule of the Nawab under British suzerainty. The alliance meant British control of Bahawalpur's external relations, but the state was never a British possession and until the Independence of Pakistan in 1947 was ruled by its own Nawabs. After one century of such relations, they were dissolved by the departure of the British, when the state opted to accede to the new dominion of Pakistan, with effect from 7 October 1947. It was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14 October 1955.


The Abbasi tribe from whom the ruling family of Bahawalpur belong, claim descent from the Abbasid Caliphs. The tribe came from Sindh to Bahawalpur and assumed independence during the decline of the Durrani Empire. Bahawalpur along with other Cis-Sutlej states were a group of states, lying between the Sutlej River on the north, the Himalayas on the east, the Yamuna River and Delhi District on the south, and Sirsa District on the west. These states were ruled by the Scindhia dynasty of the Maratha Empire, various Sikh sardars and other Rajas of the Cis-Sutlej states paid tributes to the Marathas, until the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-1805, after which the Marathas lost this territory to the British.[1][2][3]

As part of the 1809 Treaty of Lahore, Ranjit Singh was confined to the right bank of the Sutlej. The first treaty with Bahawalpur was negotiated in 1833, the year after the treaty with Ranjit Singh for regulating traffic on the Indus. It secured the independence of the Nawab within his own territories, and opened up the traffic on the Indus and Sutlej. The political relations of Bahawalpur with the paramount power, as at present existing, are regulated by a treaty made in October, 1838, when arrangements were in progress for the restoration of Shah Shuja to the Kabul throne.

During the First Anglo-Afghan War, the Nawab assisted the British with supplies and allowing passage and in 1847-8 he co-operated actively with Sir Herbert Edwardes in the expedition against Multan. For these services he was rewarded by the grant of the districts of Sabzalkot and Bhung, together with a life-pension of a lakh. On his death a dispute arose regarding succession. He was succeeded by his third son, whom he had nominated in place of his eldest son. The new ruler was, however, deposed by his elder brother, and obtained asylum in British territory, with a pension from the Bahawalpur revenues; he broke his promise to abandon his claims, and was confined in the Lahore fort, where he died in 1862.

In 1863 and 1866 insurrections broke out against the Nawab who successfully crushed the rebellions; but in March 1866, the Nawab died suddenly, not without suspicion of having been poisoned, and was succeeded by his son, Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV, a boy of four. After several endeavours to arrange for the administration of the country without active interference on the part of the Government, it was found necessary, on account of disorganization and disaffection, to place the principality in British hands. In 1879, the Nawab was invested with full powers, with the advice and assistance of a council of six members. During the Afghan campaigns (1878–80) the Nawab placed the entire resources of his State at the disposal of the British Indian Government, and a contingent of his troops was employed in keeping open communications, and in guarding the Dera Ghazi Khan frontier. On his death in 1899 he was succeeded by Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, who attained his majority in 1900, and was invested with full powers in 1903. The Nawab of Bahawalpur was entitled to a salute of 17 guns.[4]

Bahawalpur House in Delhi is now home to the National School of Drama.

Inpendence of Pakistan

The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Bahawalpur state. After independence of Pakistan, Nawab of Bahawalpur Sadeq Mohammad Khan V proved to be very helpful and generous to the government of Pakistan. He gave seventy million rupees to the government and the salaries of all the government departments for one month were also drawn from the treasury of Bahawalpur state. He gifted his private property to the University of the Punjab, King Edward Medical College and the Mosque of Aitchison College, Lahore. At the time of independence all the princely states of the South Asia were given a choice to join either Pakistan or India. For convincing Nawab to join India, Pandit Nehru went to him while he was in London and offered various incentives in this regard but he didn’t accept them. On 5 October 1947 he signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan according to which Bahawalpur State joined Pakistan. Thus the State of Bahawalpur was the first state that joined Pakistan. The main factor was of course the Islamic sentiments of the Muslims who were in majority in the Bahawalpur State. Moreover, Nawab and Quaid-i-Azam were close friends and they had great respect for each other even before the creation of Pakistan. The Ameer of Bahawalpur Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Fund was instituted in 1947 for providing a central organization for the relief of the refugees. The Quaid-e-Azam acknowledged the valuable contribution of the Bahawalpur State for the rehabilitation of the refugees.

In 1953, the Nawab represented Pakistan at the installation of Faisal II of Iraq and at the coronation of Elizabeth II. In 1955 an accord was signed between Nawab Sadiq Muhammad and General Ghulam Muhammad Malik according to which Bahawalpur State became the part of the province of West Pakistan and de facto Nawab began to receive yearly stipend of 32 lakh rupees, maintained the title of Nawab and protocol inside and outside Pakistan. In May 1966 Nawab Sadiq, the last ruling Nawab of Bahawalpur died in London which ended his of 59 years long reign; his dead body was brought to Bahawalpur and was buried in his ancestral graveyard of Derawer Fort. His eldest son Haji Muhammad Abbas Khan Abbasi Bahadur did succeeded his title of Nawab of Bahawalpur, but with no administrative or political power. His Nephew Salah ud-Din Muhammad Khan currently holds the title of the Nawab.


Even though with no power, Nawabs of Bahawalpur and the noble the family of is still highly respected in the region. Nawab Salahud-Din Ahmed Abbasi the grand son of the last Nawab is one of the most important political figure in the region. The major reason for remembrance and respect for the Nawabs is that even though the Nawabs were autocratic rulers, who did not allow or give political freedom but they did a lot for the development of the State, which benefited the people. The first Nawab laid the foundation of the State in 1727, with only a small locality, very soon the latter Movement for Bahawalpur Province. Nawabs started expanding the domain of the State. Not only they gained a lot of land, they also made it one of the richest states of sub-continent. A lot of development work was done in the State in all fields. Schools, Colleges and later on a University were opened. A number of scholarships were given to students even outside the State. Railway track was laid by the Nawabs in the State. Hospitals and dispensaries were established. Canals were dug and Sultej Valley Project was completed to provide water to the lands of Bahawalpur region. The State had its own administrative and judicial system.

Royal House of Bahawalpur

The Royal House of Bahawalpur is said to be of Arabic origin and claim descent from Abbas, progenitor of the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Sultan Ahmad II, son of Shah Muzammil of Egypt left that country and arrived in Sind with a large following of Arabs ca. 1370. He married a daughter of Raja Rai Dhorang Sahta, receiving a third of the country I dowry. Amir Fathu'llah Khan Abbasi, is the recognized ancestor of the dynasty. He conquered the bhangar territory from Raja Dallu, of Alor and Bhamanabad, renaming it Qahir Bela. Amir Muhammad Chani Khan Abbasi entered the imperial service and gained appointment as a Panchhazari in 1583. At his death, the leadership of the tribe was contested between two branches of the family, the Daudputras and the Kalhoras. Amir Bahadur Khan Abbasi abandoned Tarai and settled near Bhakkar, founding the town of Shikarpur in 1690. Daud Khan, the first of his family to rule Bahawalpur, originated from Scind where he had opposed the Afghan Governor of that province and was forced to flee.


17-gun salute


Sable three palm branches pale wise in fesse or. In chief four double quatrefoils argent seeded or. Crest: A star of five points resting on a crescent, both argent. Supporters: Pelicans rousant argent billed and membered or. Motto: "Dost Sadiq" (faithful friend). Lambrequins: Sable and or.

Styles & Titles

  • The ruling prince: ba-Fazlah taalah Ala Hazrat Jalalat ul-Mulk, Rukn ud-Daula, Saif ud-Daula, Hafiz ul-Mulk, Mukhlis ud-Daula, wa Muin ud-Daula, Nawab (personal name) Khan (reign numeral) Abbasi Bahadur, Nusrat Jung, Farman rawa-i-Mamlukat Khudadad Bahawalpur, i.e. By the Grace of God, His Highness Rukn ud-Daula, Saif ud-Daula, Hafiz ul-Mulk, Mukhlis ud-Daula, and Muin ud-Daula, Nawab (personal name) Khan (reign numeral) Abbasi Bahadur, Nusrat Jung, Commander of the God gifted kingdom of Bahawalpur.
  • The principal consort of the ruling prince: Nawab (personal name) Begum Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.
  • The other wives of the ruling prince: (personal name) Begum Sahiba.
  • The Heir Apparent: Nawabzada (personal name) Khan Abassi, Wali Ahad Bahadur.
  • The other sons of the ruling prince*: Sahibzada (personal name) Abassi.
  • The daughters of the ruling prince*: Sahibzadi (personal name).
  • Other male descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line: Sahibzada (personal name) Khan Abassi.
  • The senior members of the family sometimes use the title of Prince and Princess when communicating with foreigners.


Bahawalpur Province Movement

The economic and political deprivations became the major causes leading towards the demand of a separate province. The movement is lead by several political figures with support from the current Nawab. The Movement demands the restoration of Bahawalpur on same equal level as any other province in Pakistan.


The rulers of Bahawalpur were Abbasids who came from Shikarpur and Sukkur and captured the areas that became Bahawalpur State. They took the title of Amir until 1740, when the title changed to Nawab Amir. Although the title was abolished in 1955 by the Government of Pakistan, the current head of the House of Bahawalpur (Salah ud-Din Muhammad Khan) is referred to as the Amir.

From 1942, the Nawabs were assisted by Prime Ministers.

Tenure Nawab Amir of Bahawalpur[5]
1690–1702 Bahadur Khan II
1702–1723 Mobarak Khan I
1723 - 11 April 1746 Sadeq Mohammad Khan I
11 April 1746 – 12 June 1750 Mohammad Bahawal Khan I
12 June 1750 – 4 June 1772 Mobarak Khan II
4 June 1772 – 13 August 1809 Mohammad Bahawal Khan II
13 August 1809 – 17 April 1826 Sadeq Mohammad Khan II
17 April 1826 – 19 October 1852 Mohammad Bahawal Khan III
19 October 1852 – 20 February 1853 Sadeq Mohammad Khan III
20 February 1853 – 3 October 1858 Fath Mohammad Khan
3 October 1858 – 25 March 1866 Mohammad Bahawal Khan IV
25 March 1866 – 14 February 1899 Sadeq Mohammad Khan IV
14 February 1899 – 15 February 1907 Mohammad Bahawal Khan V
15 February 1907 – 14 October 1955 Sadeq Mohammad Khan V
14 October 1955 State of Bahawalpur abolished
Tenure Prime Minister of Bahawalpur[5]
1942–1947 Sir Richard Marsh Crofton
1948–1952 John Dring
1952 - 14 October 1955 A.R. Khan
14 October 1955 State of Bahawalpur abolished

See also


Further reading

  • Nazeer 'Ali Shah, The History of the Bahawalpur State. Lahore: Maktaba Jadeed, 1959.

External links

  • Rulers of Bahawalpur and some of their coinage details
  • Nawabs of Bahawalpur
  • Bahawalpur Information
  • TMA Bahawalpur City website
  • Saraiki Keyboard and Fonts

Template:Princely states of India

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