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Marri relations with the British commenced in 1840 with attacks made on the communications of Sir John Keane's army, after it had passed through the Bolan Pass. An attempt was made to punish the tribe, which ended in disastrous failure. Major Clibborn was repulsed in an attempt to storm the Naffusak Pass, with 179 killed and 92 wounded out of 650. Many of his force died of heat and thirst. The fort of Kahan, which he was trying to relieve at the time, was forced to capitulate with the honours of war. The Marris, however, joined the British against the Bugtis in 1845. After the annexation of Sind by the East India Company in 1843, the Marris gave much trouble, but were pacified by the policies of General John Jacob and Sir Robert Sandeman.
In 1880, during the Second Afghan War, the Marris made frequent raids on the British lines of communication, ending with the plunder of a treasure convoy. A force of 3070 British troops under Brigadier-General Macgregor marched through the country, and the tribe submitted and eventually paid 25,000 Rupees (£2,500) out of a fine of 200.000 Rupees (£20,000); they also gave hostages for their future good behaviour.
In February 1973, the Pakistani government intercepted an arms shipment from Iraq intended for delivery to Marri tribe militants. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dismissed the Balochistan government and put the province under the central government's rule. The result was that large numbers of Marri tribesmen took to the hills in 1974 in an armed insurgency, and Khair Bakhsh Marri, formed an organization called the Baluch People's Liberation Front. It took four years for the Pakistani army to bring the situation under control.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is one of the current insurgent groups in Balochistan, tracing its origins to the Baloch People's Liberation Front. It appears to have divided leadership between members of the Baloch and Marri and Bugti tribes, and to operate across the border between Afghanistan and Balochistan.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Marri". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- The Social Organization of the Marri Baluch by Robert H. Pehrson, Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. 43, Published by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 1966
- PAK Institute for Peace Studies 19-04-2006: Baloch Insurgency – A backgrounder
- Newsline Sept 2004: Edging Towards Anarchy?
- New York Times April 2, 2006: In Remote Pakistan Province, a Civil War Festers