The Baloch Regiment is Pakistan's second-oldest, after the Punjab regiment. As of 2008 the Regiment Regiment had almost 50 battalions.The Baloch Regiment is based in Abbottabad. It has participated in every major Indo-Pakistani War and last saw combat in 1971 at Qaiser-I-Hind. Lt. General Shafaatullah Shah was made Colonel Commandant of the Regiment on April 27, 2008. Contrary to its name, the Baloch Regiment is comprised of older units that were not primarily from Baluchistan; instead, they were drawn from all over India and Pakistan and represent many different ethnic groups.
The oldest ancestors of the former date back to 1798. The 10th Baloch Regiment and 8th Punjab Regiment were formed in 1922 by consolidating several Indian units that had served with distinction during the First World War. Battalions from the two also fought in the Second World War in Asia and Southern Europe, with a mixed record. In 1947, Pakistan and India split and the units of the previously unified Indian Army were divided between them. Pakistan got the 10th Baloch and 8th Punjab Regiments, and in 1957, it merged them, along with the Bahawalpur Regiment, to form the new Baloch Regiment. These units had fought within the subcontinent and in far-flung battlefields in China, Africa, and Europe in both World Wars.
The present Baloch Regiment is the result of an amalgamation of three very distinguished Infantry Regiments of Old Indian Army i.e., 8 Punjab, 10 Baloch and Bahawalpur Regiments. The amalgamation took place in 1956. Brief histories of each group are mentioned in the succeeding paras.
The history of the Regiment dates back to the year 1798 when "McLeod Ki Paltan", the present one of the battalion of the Baloch Regiment, was raised at Masulipattam. After some time, it came to be known as 89th Punjabis. Later 90th, 92nd and 93rd Punjabis (presently Baloch Battalions of the Regiment) were also raised and the group got the name of "Madras Native Infantry", as these battalions were raised at Madras.
In 1903, the original names of the battalions i.e. 89th, 90th, 91st, 92nd and 93rd Punjabis were restored by Lord Kitchner on re-organization of the Indian Army. In 1922, on adoption of the group system in Indian Army, these battalions were grouped as 8 Punjab Regiment with its Training Centre at Lahore. This Centre was designated as 10/8 Punjab Regiment and the battalions were renamed as 1/8 Punjab (1 Baloch) Regiment, 2/8 Punjab (2 Baloch Regiment) etc. Some battalions were raised during World War I and II but were disbanded after the Wars and the Centre was left with only eight battalions. In 1943, the Centre was renamed as 8 Punjab Regimental Centre. The battalions of 8 Punjab Regiment served with distinction at many places and fought many battles during World Wars I and II, winning many gallantry awards and battle honours.
The first battalion of the old 10 Baloch Regiment, presently one of the Baloch Regiment, was raised in 1820 as 2nd battalion of the 12 Regiment of the Bombay Infantry. In 1825, another battalion was raised as 2nd extra Battalion of the Bombay Native Infantry. These battalions were renamed as 24th and 26th (6 and 7 Baloch) Regiment in 1826. They fought with great distinction during World War I and became famous as Bombay Toughs. The 3rd and 4th battalions of the Baloch Regiment were raised in 1844 and 1846 respectively (presently two Baloch Regiments). In addition Jacob's men brought own rifles and equipment raised 5th battalion. This battalion was known as Jacob's Rifles (presently one of the Baloch Regiment).
The group of battalions was known as Bombay Infantry till 1891, after which these were renamed as Balochistan Light Infantry. For sometimes, only the Balochis were taken into these battalions. In 1905, these battalions were re-organized as 124th, 126th, 127th, 129th and 130th Rifle (Presently Baloch Regiments).
During World War I, 124th became famous as "War Babies", while fighting in Palestine in 1918. It was renamed as 10th battalion and stationed at Karachi as a training battalion in 1921. The battalions were renamed as 1/10, 2/10,3/10 and 4/10 Baloch etc. The 1st, 3rd and 5th battalions were the Royal Battalions. Their attire, however, was not royal blue but green and cherry, and the Regiment adopted these colours. In 1923, the training Centre shifted to Rajkot, Kathiawar but was again brought to Karachi in 1929. The group expanded during World War II, and its units fought with distinction in many theatres of War, winning awards and contributing to the galaxy of the Battle honours.
His Highness Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi IV raised the first Bahawalpur Battalion in 1826. Another battalion, the 2nd Bahawalpur, was raised in 1827. These battalions became part of Indian State Forces later and came to be known as 1st and 2nd Bahawalpur Light Infantry respectively. Both these battalions fought with distinction during the first and second Kabul Wars in 1837 and 1879 and later during the both World Wars. During World War II, two more battalions were raised. Thus the Bahawalpur Regiment had four battalions at the time of Independence. The 1st and 2nd Bahawalpur Battalions were effective in subduing Mulraj during 1848/49, which helped to restore Multan to Muslims influence later on. As a sequel to the general reorganization of the Pakistan Army, the 6th (Bahawalpur) Division was disbanded during 1955 and the four battalions of the Bahawalpur Regiment were amalgamated with the Baluch (present Baloch) Regiment in April 1956.
The Baloch Regiment played very significant role at the time of independence in 1947. A number of its battalions became famous for escorting refugee families safely to Pakistan. In Kashmir War of 1948 one of the Battalions of the Regiment captured the dominating height called "PANDU Feature" and evicted the Indians from there.
One of the battalions has the unique honour of presenting the first GUARD OF HONOUR to Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah immediately after Independence and in return being awarded the First Pakistani Flag by the Quaid-i-Azam personally.
At the time of Independence, the Centre of 10 Baloch Regiment was located at Karachi. It had nine battalions. Immediately after Independence, the Centre was moved to Quetta where it remained till April 1956, when it was shifted to Multan. On 7th May 1956, the present Baloch Regiment came into being by the amalgamation of 8th Punjab Regiment and Bahawalpur Regiment into the Baloch Regiment at Multan and this day is called the BALOCH DAY in the history. 8th Punjab Centre and Bahawalpur Centre were closed at Quetta and Dera Nawab Sahib respectively and their records were brought to Multan. The 8th Punjab Regiment added eight battalions.
The Bloch Centre moved to Abbottabad in the last week of December 1957 and there it has remained ever since. The Regimental Centre was last to arrive in Abbottabad. Today, it has added into the glories of Abbottabad. The Centre has magnificent buildings, which depict its history and culture. The Balochis, as painted by R D Mackenzie, a British artist of the late Nineteenth Century, are fierce looking, stern featured, eagle eyed, turbaned horsemen with long hair and flowing beards, all armed with guns.
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