By:Mohammad Taqi

Historically Gilgit-Baltistan was an independent state before 1840s with different names as Broshal, Dardistan and Boloristan in different point of time, ruled by their own rulers. That in ancient times Gilgit-Baltistan remained under influence of hindus, buddhist, Persian, Chinese and Tibetan eras (pre Islamic era) and became melting pot of different civilizations.
After Sikh (maharaja Ranjeet singh) occupation of Skardu and Gilgit in early 1840s the Gilgit-Baltistan came under administration of Dogra State of Jammu and Kashmir.

On March 29, 1935, the British government took possession of Gilgit Agency from the state government, through a lease agreement for 60 years. The British feared of the Soviet expansionist moves, and therefore wanted to have direct control in the region. During this period the state flag remained hoisted over residency along with the Union Jack. However by August 1, 1947, the areas were returned to the state government, because the British had decided partitioning of the Indian sub-continent. Colonel Bacon who was a Political Agent of Gilgit met Major Brown and told him that Lord Mountbatten has decided to return areas of Gilgit Baltistan to the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir on 1st August 1947. It was possible that the Maharaja could have appointed his own man as a head of Gilgit Scouts, but the British wanted to ensure that their trusted man is in control of the Gilgit Scouts – the only military force in the region.
Major Brown in his book ‘The Gilgit Rebellion’ notes, and I quote: ‘All Gilgit wanted was the peace and security afforded under the Pax Britannica and the method by which this could have been continued, despite partition, would have been to have made the Gilgit Agency an agency of the North West Frontier Province, directly under The Governor. This would have ensured continuity in administration, peace, security, and unity: infertile ground for Soviet seed. My duty was obvious. I must return to Gilgit and lead, advice and help the people over the transition period.’ Unquote
Source: Independence of Gilgit Baltistan, by Ghulam Rasool, page 133

On 30th October 1947, Colonel Bacon, after his farewell party gave briefing to Major Brown, and concluded: “I give the Kashmir Administration three months in Gilgit. Then something will happen.”

Source: Independence of Gilgit Baltistan, by Ghulam Rasool, page 124

that something happened as predicted or planned; and sequence of events is very important in this. The Pakistani government, which included the British officials on key posts, hoped that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir would join Pakistan, but once they realised that the Maharaja was not prepared to accede to Pakistan they managed the Tribal Invasion.
• Pakistani officials violated the Standstill Agreement with the Maharaja and the Tribal Invasion of Kashmir started on 22 October 1947. The tribal lashkar entered kashmir valley via muzaffarabad. Quaid –e-azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not aware of this tribal lashkar, when he heard, he got furious and angry with liaqat ali khan.Anyhow when indian army pushed back tribal lashkars, Qaid e Azam ordered Gen Gracey to intervene (C-in-C of Pak Army at that time) but he refused.

• Realising threat to his throne and his people, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir asked India for help;

• Indian government asked the Maharaja to accede to India, which he did under pressure;

• The accession was provisionally accepted and the Indian forces landed in Srinagar on the morning of 27th October.

After the ‘Provisional accession’ on 26th October the Indian forces reached Srinagar on the morning of 27th October.

In October 1947 the unofficial Kashmir war began. To preempt this Gilgit Scouts planned a rebellion the Maharaja of Kashmir decided to disband Gilgit Scouts as it was an All Muslim unit and feared a revolt.

In gilgit those who did not want to become a part of India, ready to revolt and revolutionary plane has been formed under the leadership of Col Hassan khan.

On the 30 Oct, Major brown come to know through Babur khan that the gilgit scout is ready to revolt under the leadership of Col Hassan khan. Major brown become ready to help in the revolution of Gilgit, because he wants to complete his secret mission “operation Datta khal” which was most important for British to secure their interest in the region after division of sub-continent.

Major Brown decided to help the gilgit scout in the war of independence but his loyalty was not with them. In fact he was working on his mission to cut the gilgit from the administration of state Jammu and Kashmir and accessed with Pakistan to block the way or routs between India and Russia, because the British feared of soviet expansion. It was very important for British to prevent the Russian expansion. So it was a good opportunity for major brown to complete his mission operation datta khal.

Major Brown very quickly re-established his contacts with all important rulers of different regions and officers of the Gilgit Scouts, some of them were his personal friends and trusted colleagues. He also strengthened communal sentiments within the Gilgit Scouts, Jammu and Kashmir Army and among the ruling elite. In his book, The Kashmir Rebellion, Major Brown writes an account of a meeting with a son of Ruler of Nagar, Raja Muzaffar Ul Din Shah who said, and I quote:
‘If Kashmir remains independent, well and good. We shall be independent here but we can also keep friendliest relationship with our brothers in Pakistan. If Kashmir accedes to Pakistan even better. But if the Maharaja through pig – headedness, bad advice, political pressure or attractive remuneration accedes to Hindustan, then there will be trouble here.’ Unquote

Raja Muzaffar Ul Din Shah further advises Major Brown, as to how he should handle the Gilgit Scouts the only local armed force in the event of Kashmir joining India, because some units of the Gilgit Scouts were unpredictable and 6th Battalion of the Kashmir Infantry stationed at Bunji ‘would soon put an end to an insurrection of any sort.’
One night during a drink session Captain Saeed and Captain Mohammed Khan said: ‘the Maharaja should remain independent, but if he joins India then as a true Muslims he will resign from the Kashmir Army.
The last straw was Major Brown’s disagreement over some administrative issue with Governor’s staff that came from Srinagar. The Governor sided with his staff; and Major Brown got extremely angry and locked himself up in a room to analyse the situation and plan his future action. In his book, The Gilgit Rebellion, Major Brown writes, and I quote:

I, therefore, felt it was my duty, as the only Britisher left, to follow a course which would prevent this. And further, as a liberal member of the world’s paragon of democracy, I considered that the whole of Kashmir, including Gilgit Province, unquestionably go to Pakistan in view of the fact that the population was predominantly Muslim. Partisan, traitor, revolutionary, I may have been, but that evening my sentiments dictated that if the Maharaja acceded to India, then I would forego all the allegiance to him and I would not rest content until I had done the utmost in my power to ensure that not only the Gilgit Province joined Pakistan, but the whole of Kashmir also.’
Col Mirza Hassan Khan was a military officer of British Indian Army of Kashmir sector. He revolted against Dogra rule when Maharaja Hari Singh withdrew his own administrative machinery and handed over Gilgit Agency to the British on a sixty year lease due to persistent British interest. His attempts were successful and Gilgit agency became Free State. Afterwards Raja Muhammad Ali of Roundu Baltistan requested him to send his scouts for Baltistan liberation. At the end of 1947 Gilgit Scouts under his leader ship made whole Gilgit-Baltistan free from Dogra. He was famous for his bravery that is why British awarded him by Military Cross in 1943, Tamgha-i-Jurat By Pakistani Govt and FAKHR-E-KASHMIR.

When Hassan khan returned from Second World War and was stationed at Jammu cant a revolutionary secret council was formed within state army in 1946 and Hassan khan was uninomisoly made chairman of this group, which decided that if maharaja decided to remain independent then they will not revolt but if he acceded then they will revolt.

He got himself transferred to Srinagar and left other member major Aslam (later birgadier shangrila famous) to revolt in Jammu and late saheed raja major afzal to revolt in mirpur (when time comes).Unfortunately major aslam without informing Col Hassan Khan left Jammu and transferred himself to Ranchi (undivided indian army) Col Hassan Khan could not do anything due to standstill agreement between Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and maharaja and was waiting. Gen scott and maharaja somehow got wind of Hassan khan activities (may be through major aslam) so he was considered as a danger and immediately transferred to Bunji to be away from Srinagar. But when he arrived baundipur Gen scott ordered him to return back alone to face inquiry (because his troops raised slogans while moving out from Srinagar)but his company refused to send him back and taken oath to remain with him till their lost and started marching towards bunji. when gen scott saw that Col Hassan khan has refused orders and has become rebel. He sent col majeed and major ahsan with 6 J&K battalion to chase Col Hassan khan and to arrest him.Col Hassan Khan reached earlier in end of august to bunji. on his first private visit to gilgit he met with gilgit scouts second in command major saeed durrani (he was from Jammu) and informed bad sit over there and his revolutionary plan to overthrow maharaja rule if he acceded to india. Saeed durrani took oath on Quran and promised to get all other officers and subedar major raja babur. So in Col Hassan khan second visit to gilgit saeed durrani arranged his meeting with mohammad khan jarral, liutenanant ghullam haider and raja babur khan and all of them took oath and made Col Hassan khan as their chairman and saeed durrani as their deputy chairman.Col Hassan Khan  told them that no action should be taken and we must respect standstill agreement but if maharaja decide accession then arrest  Brigadier Ghansar singh and come with gilgit scouts in bunji  (because all maharaja troops with full fire power were in bunji and not in gilgit)

Saeed durrani intiatialy came with birgadier ghansar singh to take over as commander Gilgit scouts but brown and matthison at last time took oath to maharaja that he will be loyal to him. Major Brown got air about Col Hassan khan secret liaison with gilgit scout officers and raja babur khan.

so therefore he transfered major saeed durrani to misgar (upper hunza) in mid October , muhammad khan jarral to bunji but kept only lt ghullam haider and raja babur in gilgit. who were in secret contact with hassan khan in bunji through wireless and also jawar mohammad ali and amir jahandar shah (as secret messenger on horse) maharaja kashmir acceded with India on 27th October 1947 and Col Hassan Khan ordered Ghullam haider and raja babur khan to arrest governor and brown and come for his help to bunji on 31st october both babur and haider rang up Col Hassan khan to do nothing in bunji because brown has promised them that governor will tomorrow announced being majority Muslim area he will announce accession with Pakistan .Col Hassan khan  got angry and told both to not fell prey to cunning brown and arrest governor and him (they both promised and said they have understood) and sending Gilgit scout in governor house .

The whole night governor along with his batman resisted and killed one Sepoy Amir Hayat, a member of Hunza Platoon, making him the first martyr of Gilgit – Baltistan’s war of independence. Whereas Gilgit Scouts ware totally 100 % Muslims, which cordoned his house.

Governor ordered full sickh / Dogra Company under captain Thapa singh to urgently arrive to gilgit for his help. When Col Hassan khan came to know about Thapa moving to gilgit he took pistol to his Col majeed to stop thapa and he is moving to gilgit. So he kept his company at parri and arrived gilgit early in the morning and was stuck to see his friends sitting with major brown and governor is also not arrested.


They told Col Hassan khan that they have brought petrol canisters to burn governor house. Col Hassan khan became angry with them and wrote a letter to governor that thapa has not come and i have arrived and sent latter with babur, shah sultan and governor private secretary sehdev singh and also assured governor as an army officer, he will guarantee his life.

Governor after reading letter surrendered himself and was taken to scouts line. It was the first morning of November the year was 1947.The independent Islamic republic of Gilgit, “Islami Jamhuria Gilgit”, had been founded.

Col Hassan also ordered to arrest brown and himself reached polo ground to address public. After his address he presided revolutionary council meeting in scout’s line.

Col Hassan khan was stuck to see that shah khan and some other from hunza brought brown in meeting and requested Hassan khan to pardon brown and make him as your advisor. Which he accepted (Col Hassan khan was not an officer of gilgit scouts but that of state army).when brown advised Col Hassan khan to appoint Mir Jamal Khan (Mir of hunza of hunza) as president. Col Hassan khan got angry he there and then refused and declared Raja shah raise khan as president instead of Mir Jamal Khan (Mir of hunza) and announced himself as C-in – C and head of revolutionary council,appointed Saeed durrani as his deputy , Raja Babur as Quarter Master General, Ghullam Haider as commisoner (he was LLB from Aligarh university) and Raja hameed as head of police. After this meeting he ordered to arrest brown again which he vividly confess in his diary (Gilgit Rebellion) . President son subedor raja firdoos took brown in to custody. Unfortunately there was no war trained officer to face maharaja army (full fire power and second world experienced) and left gilgit on 2nd Nov to capture bunji along with gilgit scouts left behind raja babur to look after president until he returns back. It wasn’t an ordinary occasion. The subjects had risen to reclaim their independence from the masters after decades of silence. The government of Pakistan came to their help, at later stages, and the Dogra Forces were chased out of the region. Seventy two thousand square miles of land were liberated by the poorly armed, poorly trained, semi – military organization.

During absence of Col Hassan khan, raja babur khan and ghullam haider released major brown and game started deterioting. Major brown promised both babur and shah khan to not side with Hassan khan and will promote them as liuetants.

Raja shah raise khan himself told Col Hassan khan later in life that raja babur, brown told him to not listen to Col Hassan khan because after winters Indian army will arrive in gilgit and will hang him and Hassan. So he got vacated president house and was taken by both of them to well come sardar alam khan at airport.

due to his absence from gilgit , when he left to attack bunji and release of Brown from arrest changed whole scenario. When he returned back from Astor he faced Sardar alam, Brown and Both Mirs. He tried to bring another coup against them but failed (his close associates abandoned him) and most trained world war experience muslim coy was also taken away from him and then became commander Tiger Force (volunteers from gilgit sub division/ghizar joined him) and he trained them at chilas for three month and crossed Burzil and Taragbal pass and liberated whole Gurez and also 1/3 rd of present AJK – Neelum valley reached near wular lake (gateway to Srinagar).His enemies sitting – british c-in-c and others got worried that Hassan khan  might capture Kashmir so therefore he was called by pretext for an important meeting and told him that he cannot command Pakistani troops, which were coming from Neelum valley , so he should get Pakistani commission (issb kohat).

During his absence from war front, whole Gurez, Burzil ,Kargil,Drass was lost to advancing Indian army and lost 14,000 sq km area.

GHQ got worried and he was flown back again as commander Tiger force to save present GB borders.

On November 1, 1947 Gilgit-Baltistan became a republic for 15 days through a jointly formed armed struggle of the local people, the Gilgit Scouts and the Muslim officers of the Maharaja’s army, the area was liberated on November 1, 1947 and a government constituted under Raja Shah Rais Khan.

The government of Pakistan was invited by major Brown through several telegrams to take control of the areas . Responding to these requests Sardar Muhammad Alam (A tehsildar in the NWFP government at that time) was appointed and sent to Gilgit on 16th November, as government of Pakistan’s political agent.

Some telegrams of Major Brown quoted as under:


To, Colonel Bacan

From: Major Brown 091000

“Doing utmost to keep situation under control but cannot do so indefinitely owing excessive internal intrigue –stop- imperative representative from Pakistan arrive immediately –stop- moral effect of even short visit would reassure population”.


To: Abdul Qayum khan

From: Major Brown.

“Revolution night 31st to 1st in Gilgit province entire pro-pakistan population have overthrew dogra regime –stop- owing imminent chaos and bloodshed scout and Muslim elements state force taken over law and order –stop- scouts officers and Muslim officers state forces running the administration temporarily –stop-request higher authority be approached immediately and reply through wireless-stop- can carry on meantime commandant scout-stop- message and end”.
(Same telegram is send to Bacon)


To: Major Brown

From: Abdul Qayum Khan

“Have repeated your telegram to Pakistan government whose order should be awaited –stop- meanwhile grateful for any support you can give in maintaining law and order”.


To: Major Brown

From: Bacan

Pakistan representative arriving Gilgit by air Approx .1000 Hours 16th November-stop- suggest mirs and rajas be asked to meet him in gilgit as soon as possible after his arrival.


To: Brown

From: Abdul Qayum khan

“Muhammad Alam being sent to you as soon as possible with instruction”.


William Alexander Brown was awarded MBE by the British government and he was awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian award Sitara e Pakistan on 23 March 1994.




Pakistan had sent a civilian officer here in the third week of November (1947). The purpose of this appointment should have been that he should have helped us till the achievements of the higher objectives of the liberation Jihad (Jihad e Azadi), but we were unaware that he had come to lay

down the basis of a colonial system which was in actual fact a worse copy (baadtar charba) of the very English colonial system. The temperament of the people of the area is also such – they ask for imprisonment instead of liberty!

My stay in Astore after mid December was useless. Whatsoever was to happen in Gilgit in my absence had happened. One civil servant of Pakistan had arrived. Our outfit had returned successfully from Gurez, after conducting the first raid. Bakhtawar Shah had captured the fleeing Sikhs from near Rondu (Indus Gorge) and had handed over them to me. The high altitude pass of Burzil was fully covered under snow and there was no threat of any enemy going or coming across it. From Chitral to Babusar pass (connecting Chilas and Kaghan Valley of Hazara division) and China to Burzil pass, the whole area had been liberated. Now the writer (raqim) had to pay attention towards the invitation

letter of Raja Mohammad Ali of Baltistan. In the meanwhile, the Pakistani representative from Gilgit rang me up, “Asalam-o-alaikum! I am known as Sardar Alam. I have been sent here on your request. I have to talk few important things with you. When should Icome?” I was myself preparing to go to Gilgit (par toal raha tha). So; I replied, “I am myself coming to Gilgit. We will meet there”.

After this telephone conversation and before my reaching back Gilgit; the drama which was played there was this. On the winks of Brown and Matheison, who had been freed; Babar had got Shah Raees Khan, who was President of the interim government, agreed; to vacate the presidential official residence (since then uptill now occupied by Pakistani non local PA / resident / Chief Secretary) and come down to his private home. He had taken up Sardar Mohammad Alam, who was a low ranking official of the rank of EAC (Lower then a DC and little above tehsildar); in the form of a procession to the vacant president’s residence and thus these toadies had made him their all in all ruler. (In nadeedun ne usay apna mutlaquannan hukumran bana dia tha – Nisar main teri galliun ke aey watan, kea jehan chali har rasam, kae koi na sar utha kar chalay). The ultimate aim and the highest possible desire of these subedars was to become subedar major and display utmost loyalty to all the new bosses. After attainment of this appointment, they also use to become Mirs. When Babar and Ghulam Haider were bringing down President Raja Shah Rais Khan from the presidential palace, then at that very time, Brown was escorting Sardar Alam up towards the palace. The people of Gilgit have no parallel in welcoming all new regimes. They lack the ability to differentiate between profit and loss for themselves, as well as political foresight. Babar and his cohorts were deposing his paternal cousin

Raja Shah Rais Khan from presidentship on the instigation of Mir Hunza. In this very operation many national and inherent inbuilt (Qaumi and milli) interests were sold out (sauda ho chukka tha) and in this the very question of the continuation of the liberation of Kashmir war was also included.

Afterwards Sardar Alam himself narrated this episode to me that while he was going up to pay respect and regards to the President, he was coming down with his tied up bag and baggage and in the way; they had briefly talked and the first wish (Salam udhar he say huwa tha) was said from that

side! After narrating this he became frightened (seham gaya), that perhaps I may not advise him to again house himself in the dak bungalow! When, every person there on the scene is spoiled (bigrra huwa) and colleagues have also reliablility like this then the high figment of imaginations become

Meaningless. Every colleague was a sellout at every step. Anyhow, my future and my hopes were tied up with my army. Therefore, I was able to swallow this bitter experience with not much difficulty. If only false reputation and a government in the name only was my motive then for this purpose the Azad

Kashmir government based only on “Radio Tararrkhel” was existing there for display to the World”.


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