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Sibi Cantonment

Sibi lies 163 Kms - 3 hrs drive to the south east of Quetta at the mouth of the famous "Bolan Pass". It has great historical importance. It derives its name from Sewa race. The name of Alexander and the Muslim conquers like Muhammad Bin Qasim, Mehmood Ghaznavi and Nasir-ud-Din Kabacha are associated with this place. Mir Chaker Khan Rind, the legendary Baluch hero, built a massive fort in the 15th century near Sibi, the remains of which are found near the town.

In January 2007 Security forces rounded up around 80 suspected terrorists in Sibi district and continued their search operation in parts of Balochistan. Sources said the suspects were arrested carrying weapons from the Babar Kuch area of Sibi district. In February 2009 Three security forces personnel were killed on Sunday morning after Baloch insurgents ambushed them near a water tank in Sibi district. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the killings. The incident occurred in Karmo Wadh area, where the troopers were fetching water from a water tank located close to their camp.

During the British rule a residency and Victoria Memorial Hall known as Jigra Hall were built where annual Jigras were held until Pakistan came into being. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ail Jinnah also presided over the annual Darbar at Sibi as first Governor General of Pakistan. The Jigra Hall is now converted into a museum. It has a collection of pieces found at the archaeological sites of Mehrgarh, Nasshero and Pirak.

The annual Sibi festival marks the famous horse and cattle Show with other festivities held in the month of February. Fairs are celebrated everywhere in the world with great cultural and historical backgrounds, sometimes to commemorate a special event or seasonal change. This fair, held in the small but historic town of Sibi. SIBI MELA, where tribesmen flock from all over Baluchistan, parts of Sind and Punjab with their animals. The salient features of this "Mela" are horse and cattle and cultural shows, tent pegging, camel races. Animal markets and exhibitions o handicrafts, tribal dresses and folk dances. Britishers quote in 1885 that a horse fair was first held at Sibi in the month of February, which was fully availed by them during the Afghan war. Whatever the hypothesis, the Sibi Mela provided a greater opportunity for people to get together and the increasing items of games and events aggrandized the interest of the common masses into the festivals of Sibi. The cooperation of the people of the adjoining areas in the sale and purchase of cattle's was also vitally important in its organization.

Sibi district was established in October 1903 then covering the present districts of Sibi, Ziarat, Dera Bugti, Kohlu, and Nasirabad. The district is named after its headquarters, the town of Sibi. The district borders on Ziarat district in the north, and in the north east on Loralai district. In the east and south east it borders on Kohlu district. To the south and south west lies Bolan district and in the north west it borders on Mastung district and Quetta district.

The British colonial influence started extending to Sibi region in the late forties of the 19th century, when in 1839, Misri Khan, the head of Panri tribe, tendered his services to Shah Shuja, and was taken into British service with a number of his followers, who were styled the Baloch Levy. Subsequent events are a story of long and intense tribal wars that paved the way for ultimate annexation of the Sibi region to the British colonial empire. An entertaining account of the political events after Misri Khan's induction into British service is given in an old (undated) Gazetteer of Sibi; of which relevant excerpts are presented below:

"In March 1841, Mr. Ross Bell, the Political Agent in upper Sind, deputed one of his assistants with a detachment of troops, under the command of Colonel Wilson of the Bombay Cavalry, to collect the arrears of revenue due from Khajaks of Sibi on behalf of Shah Shuja. The detachment was accompanied by Misri Khan, and on the Khajaks refusing to comply with the demands, attacked the town, but were repulsed with heavy loss....... Reinforcements from Bagh were sent up under General Brooks. But before they could arrive the Khajaks abandoned their town, the defence of which were then demolished. The Khajaks were permitted to return during the following year and the town was rebuilt. From November 1841 to September 1842 an Assistant Political officer, resided at Sibi. When the British troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan on the termination of the war, the district was handed over by the British to the Khan of Kalat, but it does not appear to have been occupied by him, and in 1843 again came under the Baruzai rule ----. up to the second Afghan war Sibi continued to be held by the Baruzai chiefs as governors of the Afghan rulers; but owing to the constant raids and encroachments of the Marris, the country was, at the request of the Sardars and people, occupied at the commencement of the war by a detachment of troops from Jacobabad...... In November 1887 the Kach-Kowas and Harnai valleys, Sibi, Duki and Thal-Chotiali were declared parts of British India...... Owing to the disputes between the Zarkuns and the Marris, Kohlu was brought under the British protection and added to the Thal-Chotiali district in 1892. In February 1891 Sanjawi was again transferred to Thal-Chotiali, and Barkhan was added in April 1892. On reconstruction of the district in October 1903, the Barkhan, Duki and Sajawi tehsils were transferred to the new Loralai district, and the name of the Thal-Chotiali district was changed into that of Sibi district."

The district underwent reorganization in the post-independence period to create Nasirabad division, Dera Bugti district, Kohlu district and Ziarat district. Following the post-1947 administrative re-organisation, the district's territorial jurisdiction has shrunk from 11,390 sq. miles as it was in 1903, to 7.796 sq. miles. The old description of it being a district covering vast and varied climatological zones, as it once was, is no longer true.

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