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The Gabol is a Baloch tribe having a distinct identity through the centuries, and not a branch of any other Baloch tribe. During the reign of Mir Jalal Khan Baloch, the Gabol joined the Rind Federation. Eventually, they joined Mir Chakar Khan Dombki as an ally against the Lasharis.[2] At present, the Gabol tribe is largely settled in Karachi, and interior Sindh with significant numbers in Balochistan as well as Punjab.


According to a narrative گبول بچھ دیزک, found among the Gabols of Kirthar (کير ٿر جبل), the word Gabol means "castellated".[3] M.K. Pikolin translated it as "valiant" or "strong".[4] If we explore the etymology of this word, it belongs to the Aramaic language, meaning "big" or "mighty".[5]

In this context, Edward Lipinski, an authority on Arameans, writes:[6]

"There is no reason why 'Gambulu' (a powerful Aramean tribe at Iran-Iraq border), which shows either dissimilation bb>mb in 'Gabbol' or simply epenthetic(طُفیلی) 'm' appearing before 'b'."

Similarly, Dr. Mir Alam Khan Raqib states:[7]

"The letter 'm' in word 'Gambol' seems redundant and hard. So, due to its hardness the letter 'm' obsoleted and the word transformed to Gabol, still a well-known baloch tribe."

According to the Bible, Gabol was the great-grandchild of Ibrahim (Abraham). Gabol's descendants lived in the land of Babylon.[8]

Ancient Chaldo-Aramean tribes[edit]

The Bible first mentioned Gabol during 1600 BC, being a great-grandchild of Ibrahim by his third wife Keturah, daughter of Yaqtan the Canaanite. Madyan was a son of Ibrahim by Keturah mentioned in the Quran and other historical sources.[9] Madyan had five sons, Ephah (عیفا), Epher (عفر), Hanoch (حنوک), Abida (عبیداع ), and Eldaah (الدّعا).[10] Gabol was one of the four sons of Eldaah.[11] He and his people migrated to Babylonia.

The tablets of the Assyrian antiquities in the British Museum mention Gabol continuously, from 745 BC (Tiglath-Pileser III تگلیتھ پلیسرسوم) to 562 BC (Nebuchadnezzar II بخت نصر), as an anti-Assyrian rebellious tribe.[12] Assyrian sources call them a powerful Aramean tribe.[13] "Aram" has been an alternative name for Syria (especially the region between the Euphrates and Balikh rivers). This region is also known as Aram-Naharaim. The Gabol tribe migrated from this part of Syria to southern Mesopotamia, and for this particular reason, Assyrians affirm them as Arameans (people from Aram Naharaim). The second largest migration of Arameans into Mesopotamia is entitled as Chaldeans. The autonomous state of Gaboli was one of the six states of Chaldea.[14] It was the headquarters of the Gabol tribe residing near the border of Elam and the Persian Gulf. The fortified city Shapi'bal was the capital of Gaboli.[15] The forefront troops of Mardukh-Baladan were composed of Gabols. They fought the Assyrians from 745 BC to 626 BC, leading to the formation of the Medean Empire along with other allies.

Sennacherib (703-681 BC) accounts the Gabol tribe as:[16]

"Pastoral Nomad tribes who dwell on the bank of Tigris, the Garmu, the Ubulu, the Damunu, the Gabol, the Khindaru, the Ruh'ua, the Bugati or Bugutu who dwell on the bank of Karkh, the Hamaran, the Hagaran, the Nabatu, the Li,tau. Arameans who were not submissive, who take no heed of death. Chaldean, Aramean, Mannai (Medians) who had not been submissive to my yoke, I tore away from their lands."

The third important source of information[citation needed] regarding the Gabol tribe is the research of Muslim historians. Historians support Assyrian archaeological sources maintaining their Aramaic origin. The remains of Assyria's specified autonomous state of Gaboli were present until 1833 A.D. These archaeological sites were gradually demolished by flash floods of the river Tigris. What is common in the analysis of all three sources is that the Gabol are an Aramean tribe of Arab Bedouins.

It has often been said in the history of the Baloch people that they belong to the lineage of Arameans who lived in Aleppo and Babylonia, and that the Kurds and Baloch are groups of one split nation. Firdousi in the Shahnameh and Ibn e Hauqal in Surat Al Ardh (Arabic: صورۃ الارض) maintain these claims. Wadi Al Baloos was the first homeland of the Baloch people as claimed by various Baloch researchers. The Gabol tribe has been living in this specific territorial region through centuries at Gabol Village (Persian: روستائی گبول) near Lake Al Gabol (Arabic: Sabkhat al-Jabbul). They are included in the Bedouin tribes of Syria. Those who migrated to Kurdistan (Iraqi and Turkish) are included as Kurds, while other who moved to Iran (Persia, Sistan) are found as Baloch people. Factually, these are major stages of Arab Bedouin tribes to be transformed as Balochs and Kurds. In Assyrian archaeological accounts, almost 40 Kaldo-Aramaic tribes are mentioned, but there are four specific tribes recorded in each rebellious activity, namely: Gabol, Bugti, Kalmati and Marri. The most important and populous tribes were the Gabol and Bugti. The location of the Bugti tribe was bordering the North of the autonomous state of Gaboli. Both Gabol and Bugti have been recorded as inhabited tribes in the outskirts of Urfa at the bank of the Tigris, in Assyrian letters. Until today, one of the dwellings of these tribes is Urfa in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kalmati have been residing in Al-Raqqah.

Historians have described the Gabol tribe. Their observations are investigative while Western historians benefited from the archaeological excavation documents. Both groups agree that Gabol belongs to the Chaldo-Aramean association of Arab nomads. They are first mentioned in the twelfth century BC. The tablets of Assyrian archaeology describe their mettle and bravery. The ancient autonomous state of Gaboli[17] and the Gabol region[18] near Aleppo have been recorded by Qudama Bin Ja'far (قدامہ بن جعفر), Ibn E Rusta (ابنِ رُستہ), Soomer (سُومر), Yaqoubi (یعقوبی), Ibn E Haukal (ابن حوقل), Majeed Zada (مجید زادہ،), Ibn E Abdul Munim Hameri (ابن عبدالمنعم حمیری), Al Kindi (الکندی), Ibn E Wasil (ابنِ واصل), Muqaddasi (مقدسی), Al Balazri (البلازری) Gazi (غزی), Sadir (صادر), Yaqout (یاقوت) and others in their writings.

History and folklore[edit]

The History of the Baloch people has been based on oral traditions transferred from one generation to another. Firstly, it was accounted by English writers. They did not analyse the facts but recorded what was revealed by informers. As a result those baseless revelations could not have any historical significance. One such common folklore is that the Baloch (including the Gabol) are the generation of Hazrat Ameer Hamza. But the fact is that all descendants of Hazrat Ameer Hamza (R.A) were martyred in the cause of Allah. Contrary to the above telling, some historians are of the opinion that the man Ameer Hamza was of (Halab Arabic: ﺣﻠﺐ ) or (Homs Arabic: حمص ) (Syrian Desert) but not the uncle of Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H).

Desert dwelling Chaldo-Aramean tribes are derivatives of Midianites vastly known as the League of Nomad Tribes. Three major ethnic groups, Medes, Kurds and Baloch, came into evolution from the League of Nomad Tribes of Midianites. Conforming to reliable historical attestations and chronology, they retain similar ethnicity but distinctive identity. That is why Kurds are found among Balochs and Baloch clans among Kurds. Not only restricted to their presence among each other but also interpret each other's culture attributes and traits. Testifying to this assertion is Shahnama E Firdousi, where Kurds and Balochs had the same commander (Ash'kash) and the same flag.

Baloch researcher's viewpoint[edit]

Mir Alam Khan Raqib writes in his book:

"A marshland bordering Elam was known as Gabol or Gaboli, where the Baloch tribe of the Gabols had their inhabitations, dwelling Like-Fish, in the midst of waters-doubtless much after the fashion of the modern Khuzeyl and Affej-Arabs, the later of whom inhabit nearly the same tract. The Sheikh of this tribe had revolted against the Assyrians. They were incredible at war & bravery. For this reason, Merodach Baladan had selected them as commanders & forefront warrior in his army. Gabols are still a leading baloch tribe. At that time, when Esarhaddon was king of Assyria, Gaboli state was ruled by Bal Basha (بعل باشا), a sovereign & independent tribal chief. His state was safe from enemy. First because it was marshy and impervious, secondly, because they were brave. No one could dare to encounter with them, even Esarhaddon was scared of their force. That's why, he was reluctant to attack Elam because Gabol were intent on helping their ally."[19]

Mirza Qaleech Baig writes:

"Buledi or Burdi is a baloch tribe descended from Zaindi Khan son of Mir Aali Khan son of Harein. Harein being the ancestor of all balochs. Zaindi Khan had two sons: Haji Khan & Sundar Khan. Hajija are Haji Khan's offspring while the descendants of Sundar Khan are divided into twenty-two clans, of whom Sundrani, Bijarani, Gabol, & Jagirani are worth mentioning."[20]

Nabi Bux Khan Baloch writes in his Sindhi dictionary:

"Gabol is a baloch tribe & a clan of Buledis."[21]

Shah Muhammad Marri documented in his book that:

"Gabol tribe was Chakar's ally. Mir Chakar Rind's allies are known as Rind. Gabol fought against Lasharis stoutly."[22]

Mazhar Ali Lashari wrote:

"Gabol being the oldest clan of balochs. It has been a warrior tribe and most probably a clan of Lasharis."[23]

Rahimdad Khan Moulai Shedai records in his book:

"Gabol & Buledi have been fighting with each other for a long time. At last, Buledis dominated & dispersed Gabols in various parts of Sindh."[24]’’

Gabol, a Kurdish clan of Kurdistan[edit]

Arshak Safrastian in his book Kurds and Kurdistan narrates a tribal war of Gabols of Turkish Kurdistan as:[25]

"By then, many young Kurds were studying in growing numbers at the Turkish schools in Constantinople and some of them like Badar Khan Princes and 'Babans' went further to Swiss and French universities. A newspaper in Kurdish language and Arabic script bagan to appear in Egypt (Kurdistan, editor, Prince Midhat Badar Khan), and a periodical appeared in Geneva in French under the same name. For several reasons the idea of independent Kurdistan grew but slowly and on lines totally dissimilar to all other national movements. First of all, most of the hereditary fighting tribes were in fact independent long before they were aware of it and long before they formulated their programme. This peculiarity of the Kurdish movement was no doubt due to the social organisation of the tribes.

But lack of a common medium of national education and most of the means essential for the expression of racial sentiment have considerably retarded the development of cohesion and political co-operation. Intense particularism and excessive jealousy among the hereditary tribes and their leaders regarding precedence and rights have been the bane of the Kurdish race. The most trivial disputes, inseparable from the social life of any community, which could be smoothed over in a face to face talk in a few minutes have usually led to bloodshed and long drawn-out hostilities between parties. Mutual rancour and intolerance have kept the wounds festering from generation to generation, thus causing a disastrous waste of energy, of time, and of limited financial resources available. Any tribe which considered itself aggrieved in any way would never be satisfied until it had wrecked vengeance on the opposing party, very often a sub branch of the same clan. Perhaps a personal experience will best illustrate the way these conceptions of honour and superior personal bravery operate in practice. The recklessness of the tribes and the sanguinary temperament of the people is captured in the essence in the following sketch:

The city of Bitlis stands in a trough of northern spurs of the Armenian "Taurus". It is the natural bridgehead between the range of mountains leading to Diyarbakir and the plains of Mesopotamia. Here were two Kurdish clans: the "Gabols" and the "Zeidans" with headquarters in the city but drawing their strength and recruits from the mountains as far south as Diyarbakir. The warmest friendship had prevailed between the two clans for several years. They inter-married, hunted together and often joined in organising raids on the herds and flocks of defenceless Armenian and kurdish peasants.

Suddenly hostilities broke out between them in Spring of 1910 because of an impromptu horse race. During the race a Levantine acclaimed the Gabol champion while expressing contempt for the Zeidan rider. The real 'war' began next day and, on and off, went on for eight months; tribes friendly to either side joined in from the districts of Motkan and Kharzan, thus carrying the war to those parts of the mountains. For two hours brisk rifle fire was heard in the southern suburbs of the town in which many people were killed and a large number wounded. As usual Turkish police and troops kept a benevolent neutrality: Often they were not strong enough to overcome with the situation.

I had known the Gabol chief for many years, a middle aged svelte and delightful person, mild at normal times but ferocious and bloodthirsty when I saw him during war at his headquarters. He had lost his usually serene and charming ways. He threatened to fight the Zeidans to the last drop of his and his tribe's blood unless the enemy withdraw the insulting words spoken within the hearing of his men.

"Finally, Sheikh Mahmood of Kharzan (half way between Bitlis and Diyarbakir), a greatly loved and respected chief, effectively interceded and brought the quarreling parties together.

The war between two tribes broke out again in 1912 after I had left the city. Tribal wars and bloodsheds are occasioned also by old blood feuds, the kidnapping of women, the seizure of flocks and arms, disputes regarding ownership of pasture-grounds and other similar causes."

Civil wars[edit]

After the Rind and Lashari civil war (1456-1486), Gabol migrating with Mir Chakar Khan Dombki to southern Punjab had no elders. They were dispersed in southern Punjab particularly in Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and Ali Pur. Some of them joined Mir Chakar Rind till Montgomery, then migrated to Bhakar and Khushab districts. The majority of Gabols, however, travelled to Sindh and resided in the Kirthar Mountains. This unit was blessed with capable leadership who kept the whole tribe unified. After residing in the Kirthar Mountains, they were known as the Gabols of Kirthar (Urdu: کیر تھرائی گبول ). According to historical clues, the Kalmati Gabol were not involved in the Rind and Lashari civil war. They had already settled in their contemporary locations. In this context, Gul Hassan Kalmati writes: "Before Arghons, during Samma rule, all the powerful tribes in Sindh were against Arghons. Baloch had considerable importance at that time. Even commander Darya Khan allotted the Baloch tribes in Thatta and its outskirts of whom Kalmati, Gabol & Lashari were renowned. They were also welcomed in Jam Nizam ud Din's army."

During Mughal rule, Gabol was a powerful tribe between Hub and Keti Bandar (District Thatta). When the Mughals defeated the Portuguese, they encountered the Kalmati tribe of Thatta. Shahenshah Akbar planned a conspiracy to suppress the Kalmati tribe through other Baloch chiefs but failed. At that time there were more than 20,000 warriors (including the Kalmati Gabol Clan) in the Kalmati tribe. Consequently he changed his policy to deal with them after trying all other tactics. In 1654 A.D., he allotted them the estate (Urdu: جاگیر ) of Chachkin and ceded them the security of coastal areas. Similarly, Aurangzeb Alamgir awarded them the estate of Mirpur Sakro, which is still their dominion. In those days, they established a powerful Baloch Unity between Shah Bandar (Urdu: شاہ بندر ) and Hub along with other Baloch tribes (particularly the Lashari tribe), so that they ruled mountains and sea at the same time. From the Mughals, the Kalmati Chieftains used to hold a tax amounting to 9,600 in return for safe passage of trading convoys along the coastal areas.

During the Talpur rule in Sindh, the Gabol tribe was delegated to secure the coastal area of Karachi, recalled as the "War with Pirates" (Urdu: اُتمیوں والی جنگ). Corsairs used to loot ships near Karachi Port; once they invaded the port itself. Gabols are also mentioned in the 10th century A.D. in the outskirts of Karachi as fighting Arghons and Mongols. Nabi Bux Khan Baloch described the following wars and tribal disputes of the Gabol tribe in his books.[26]

  • Gandba Mandani Attacks Burfats (Urdu: گندبہ مندانی کےبرفتوں پر حملے)
  • War Between Jakhars & Gabols (بھنبھور والی جنگ)
  • War Between Kalmati Gabols & Kalhoras (کلمتی گبولوں اور کلہوڑوں کی جنگ)
  • War Between Kalmati Gabols & Jokhyas (کلمتی گبولوں اور جوکھیوں کی جنگ)
  • War Between Gabols & Gadro (گبولوں اور گڈروں کی جنگ)
  • First War Between Gabols & Burfats at Kirthar Mountains (چھورڑے والی جنگ)
  • First War Between Kalmati Gabols & Jokhyas at Makli (مکلی والی پہلی جنگ)
  • Second War Between Kalmati Gabols & Jokhyas at Makli (مکلی والی دوسری جنگ)
  • War at Qadman (قدموں والی جنگ)
  • War at Gha'ghi (گھگھی والی جنگ)
  • Tribal Dispute Between Gabols & Burras (گبولوں اور بروں کی جنگ)
  • War Between Magsi & Rind Clans (رندوں اور مگسیوں کی جنگ)
  • Second War Between Gabols & Burfats at Kirthar Mountains (چھورڑے والی دوسری جنگ)
  • War Between Gabols & Jokhyas With Bludgeon at Sukhan (سکھن ندی کے پاس لٹھ بازی والی جنگ)
  • War Between Gabols & Corsair (Pirates) at Karachi Port (کراچی بندر پر اُتمیوں کا حملہ)
  • War with Jamoots[27] (جاموٹ قبیلے کے ساتھ جنگ)
  • War Between Gabol & Mahar[28] Tribe (گبول اور مَہر قبیلہ کی جنگیں)
  • Tribal Dispute Between Gabol & Banglani[29] (بنگلانی اور گبول قبائلی تصادم)
  • Tribal Dispute Between Gabol & Bozdar Tribe[30] (گبول بوذدار قبائلی تصادم)

Background of Gabol chieftainships[edit]

The first known chief of the Gabol tribe was Mir Jalal Khan Baloch, also being chief of other Baloch tribes. After the reign of Mir Chakar Khan Dombki in Balochistan, clans of the Gabol tribe who did not leave their homeland, Sibbi, remained as a clan of Dombkis in Lehri. Others who migrated to the Kirthar Mountains were led by Ameer Hamza Khan, who was lately known as the Hamzani clan of Gabols of Kirthar. At the start of the 20th century, chieftainship of the Gabol tribe was divided into many parts. During this period the Akhwani clan of the Gabol tribe dominated chieftainship. Sardar Khudadad Khan Gabol (great-grandfather of Sardar Nabil Ahmad Khan Aakhwani Gabol) was the first known chief of the Aakhwani clan. At present Sardar Nabil Ahmad Khan Gabol is unanimously regarded as chief of the Gabol tribe.

Under Chief Sardar Nabil Ahmad Khan Gabol, Sardar Qadir Bux Khan Gabol represents the Gabol tribe of the interior Dadu area, while Sardar Khalil Ahmed Khan Gabol represents the Gabols of Sukhar Division.

Chief of Gabol (چیف سردار گبول قبیلہ ) Era
Sardar Khudadad Khan Gabol 1900 – 1930
Sardar Khan Bahadur Allah Buksh Gabol 1934


Sardar Ahmed Khan Gabol 1972– 1993
Sardar Nabil Ahmed Khan Gabol 1993-Present

Chief of Kirthar Era
Sardar Hamza Khan (Hamzani) 1500–1550
Sardar Madhaan Khan Gabol (First) 1550 - 1600
Sardar Hamza Khan Gabol 1600–1665
Sardar Sahib Khan Gabol 1700–1750
Sardar Bulandah Khan Gabol 1800 -1850
Sardar Rasool Bux Khan Gabol 1850 –1875
Sardar khair Khan Gabol 1875 – 1915
Sardar Madhaan Khan Gabol (Second) 1900 – 1930
Sardar Rasool Bux Khan Gabol 1930– 1970
Sardar Acher Khan Gabol 1970 – 2008
Sardar Qadir Bux Khan Gabol 2008-Present

Chief of Ghotki (Sukkur Division) Era (Approximate)
Sardar Shadi Khan Sherlani Gabol (First) 1650-1690
Sardar Sher Ali Gabol 1690-1730
Sardar Khayali Khan Gabol 1730-1770
Sardar Shadi Khan Gabol (Second) 1770-1810
Sardar Pir Bux Khan Jamalani Gabol 1920-1960
Sardar Illahi Bux Khan Gabol 1960-1975
Sardar Ahmed Ali Khan Gabol 1975-1985
Sardar Alam Khan Gabol 1985-2000
Sardar Khalil Ahmed Khan Gabol Present


  1. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan "Population Statistics" p.205 , Authority For Research & History, Alipur (2014).
  2. ^ Marri, Dr Shah Muhammad "Baloch Qoum-2", Gosha E Adab, Jinnah Road Quetta (2014)
  3. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan, "Etymology of the word Gabol" p. 15, Authority for Research & History, Alipur (2014).
  4. ^ Pikolin, M.K, "The Baloch", Takhleeqat, 5-Begum Road Mozang Lahore
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lipinski, Edward, Studia Phoenicia: Volume 18, p.32
  7. ^ Raqib, Dr. Mir Alam Khan, Balochi Dunya, may 1966 p.35, Qasr Al Adab, 29-Writers Colony, Multan
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ The Book of Jasher Chapter 25 Verse 13 (25-13)
  12. ^ Rawlinson, Sir H C Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol-18 p.78
  13. ^ Bill T. Arnold, Aramean Origins: The Evidence from Babylonia, p.181
  14. ^ الکلدان في التاریخ، الفصل الأول
  15. ^ Porter, Barbara N, Images, Power, and Politics: Figurative Aspects of Esarhaddon's Babylonian Policy p.31
  16. ^ M.A, Sidney Smith, Assistant in the department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum London, The Assyrian text .
  17. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan Autonomous State of Gabols p.42
  18. ^ Bryce, Trevor, The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia p.64
  19. ^ Monthly Balochi Dunya p.35, Qasr ul Adab 29-Writers colony Multan (May 1966).
  20. ^ Baig, Mirza Qaleech, Qadeem Sindh p.27, Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro Sindh
  21. ^ Baloch, Dr Nabi Bux Khan, Sindhi Dictionary, Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro, Sindh.
  22. ^ Marri, Dr Shah Muhammad, Baloch Qoum-2 p.40, Gosha E Adab Jinnah Road Quetta, Balochistan (2014).
  23. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan, Baloch Researcher's Viewpoint p.77
  24. ^ Moulai Shedai, Rahimdad Khan, Jannat Ul Sindh , Sindhica Academy Karachi, Pakistan
  25. ^ Safrastian, Arshak, Kurds And Kurdistan p.64-66, Harvill Press London (1948).
  26. ^ Baloch, Dr Nabi Bux Khan , Jang Nama, Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro Sindh.
  27. ^ Baloch, Dr Nabi Bux Khan, Belaen Ja Bol (Sindhi), Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro, Sindh Pakistan.
  28. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan, Tribal Wars p.270
  29. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan, Tribal Wars p.275
  30. ^ Gabol, Muhammad Irfan, Tribal Wars p.276

Other sources[edit]

  • Reports papers, Political, Geographical and commercial Submitted to English Government By Sir Alexander Burnes, Bo. N. I.; Lieutenant Leech, Bo. E.; Doctor Lords, Bo. M. S.; and Lieutenant Wood, I. N.; Employed on mission in the years 1835-36-37 in Sindh Baluchistan Afghanistan and Adjacent countries. Printed in Calcutta G. H Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press 1839.

External links[edit]