Babrra massacre

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Babrra massacre
د بابړې خونړۍ پېښه
Babrra ground is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Babrra ground
Babrra ground
Babrra ground (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
LocationBabrra ground, Hashtnagar region, Charsadda District, North-West Frontier Province (present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Pakistan
Coordinates34°08′35″N 71°43′39″E / 34.14306°N 71.72750°E / 34.14306; 71.72750Coordinates: 34°08′35″N 71°43′39″E / 34.14306°N 71.72750°E / 34.14306; 71.72750
DateAugust 12, 1948; 70 years ago (1948-08-12)
TargetPashtun supporters of the nonviolent Khudai Khidmatgar movement
Attack type
Mass murder, mass shooting, drowning
DeathsAbout 600
Non-fatal injuries
More than 1000
PerpetratorsAbdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri, police and paramilitary forces of Pakistan

The Babrra massacre (Pashto: د بابړې خونړۍ پېښه‎; or Babara massacre) was a mass shooting in which about 600 unarmed Pashtuns, who were supporters of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement, were killed and more were injured on Babrra ground in the Hashtnagar region in Charsadda District, North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Pakistan. The massacre took place on 12 August 1948, on the order of the Chief Minister of the North-West Frontier Province, Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri.[1][2]


The Khudai Khidmatgar movement was a nonviolent movement initially focused on reform to the status of the Pashtuns before the British, and later focused on independence for a united India. Until 1930, the Pashtuns were not very involved in politics, but afterwards they became more important and supported the movement. In 1937, the movement won the elections for the North-West Frontier Province (present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and won an absolute majority in 1946.[2] Before the Babrra massacre, the elected provincial government of Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (Dr. Khan Sahib) in the North-West Frontier Province was terminated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Governor-General of Pakistan. A Muslim League leader, Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri, was appointed as the new Chief Minister of the North-West Frontier Province on 23 August 1947. The new provincial government imprisoned the Khudai Khidmatgar movement's leader Bacha Khan, as well as the deposed Chief Minister Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan, and some other notable figures of the region. In July 1948, the British governor of the North-West Frontier Province, Ambrose Flux Dundas, enforced an ordinance which authorized the provincial government to detain anyone and confiscate their property without giving a reason.[3][4]

On 12 August 1948, activists of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement protested against the arrest of their leaders and the new ordinance enforced by the government. The unarmed protesters marched peacefully from Charsadda to Babrra ground. However, when they reached Babrra ground, Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri ordered the police and militia forces to open fire on the protesters. They were killed in hundreds. Many dead bodies and some of the injured people were thrown into the Kabul River by the police and militia. Some of the injured drowned in the river. When the police and militia left, the bodies were recovered from the river by their loved ones and taken to Charsadda Bazar, although some dead bodies could never be recovered. About 600 or more Pashtuns were killed in the massacre, while more than a thousand of them were injured.[2][5]


In mid-September 1948, the central government of Pakistan banned the Khudai Khidmatgar movement and many of its supporters were arrested. The provincial government destroyed the center of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement at Sardaryab, Charsadda District.[1]

In September 1948, Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri, during his speech at the Provincial Assembly, said: “I had imposed Section 144 at Babrra. When the people did not disperse, the shots were fired at them. They were lucky that the police’s ammunition ran out; otherwise, not a single soul would have survived.” Then referring to four members of the opposition in the provincial assembly who were members of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement, he continued: “If they were killed, the government would not have cared.”[5]

In July 1950, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, President of the Awami League, said at a large gathering in Dhaka, East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh): “The barbarous massacre of the Red Shirts (Khudai Khidmatgars) committed at Charsadda in 1948 surpassed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre committed by the British in 1919.”[5]

Commemorative day[edit]

The massacre is commemorated every year by the Pashtun community on 12 August.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b M. Rafique Afzal (1 April 2002). Pakistan: History and Politics, 1947–1971. p. 38 OUP Pakistan. ISBN 0-19-579634-9.
  2. ^ a b c "70 years after Babrra massacre, victims' families demand justice, as deaths of 600 Khudai Khidmatgars remain buried in history - Firstpost". Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  3. ^ نن بابړه کې د وژل شوؤ سوؤنو پښتنو ورځ نمانځل کیږي - VoA
  4. ^ زه بابړه یم - Noor ul Bashar Naveed
  5. ^ a b c 12 August 1948: Remembering Pakistan's forgotten massacre at Babrra. The Nation.
  6. ^ "Unforgettable: Babra massacre remembered across K-P". The Express Tribune. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gandhi, Rajmohan (2004) Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns, Penguin Books India, New Delhi.
  • Khan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar (1969), My Life and Struggle, hind Pocket Books, Delhi.