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Marri relations with the British commenced in 1840 with attacks on the communications of Sir John Keane's army after it passed the Bolan Pass. The British tried to punish the tribe, which ended in disaster. Major Clibborn was repulsed in an attempt to storm the Naffusak Pass; of his force of 650 men, 179 were killed and 92 wounded. Many of his force died of heatstroke and thirst. The fort of Kahan, which he was trying to relieve, was forced to capitulate. The Marris, however, joined the British against the Bugtis in 1845. After the annexation of History of Sindh 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 3,070 British troops under Brigadier-General Macgregor marched through the country. The tribe submitted and eventually paid 25,000 Rupees (£2,500) 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 went to the hills in 1974 for an armed insurgency, and Khair Bakhsh Marri formed an organization called the Baluch People's Liberation Front. It took the Pakistani army four years 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 its leadership between members of the Baloch, Marri, and Bugti tribes and operates 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