Arab Rule -Part 11

During the period of Rajput supremacy in north India i.e., 7th to 12th century A.D. another event occurred in the history of Pakistan which ultimately brought about a profound change in its entire composition and character. The great Muslim soldier Mohammad Bin Qasim conquered Pakistan early in the 8th century (712 A.D.) and extended the Umayyad Muslim rule to the Indus Valley. Strangely indeed, like Alexander he travelled and subdued the whole of Pakistan from Karachi to Kashmir. The only difference between the two was that while Alexander entered Pakistan from the north, Mohammad Bin Qasim came from the south. “With a force of 6,000 men Mohammad Bin Qasim, a youth of 20 conquered and reorganised the whole country from the mouth of the Indus to the border of Kashmir, a distance of 800 miles, in 3 years. The country of Sind in those days also included the Punjab.” (The making of India, by Dr. Abdulla Yusuf Ali).

But Mohammad Bin Qasim’s conquests up to Kashmir could not be sustained by Muslims for long. The Umayyad rule had stretched too far straining its nerves and exhausting its resources to the breaking point. From Lisbon in Portugal to Lahore in the Punjab was too long a distance to bear the strains and stresses of communication and administrative control. After Mohammad Bin Qasim’s departure, therefore, Muslim rule shrinked to Sind and southern Punjab. Even in these areas several small non-Muslim kingdoms still held sway. However, from this period (8th century A.D.) onward Pakistan was divided into two parts for a long time; the northern one comprising of the Punjab and NWFP under a non-Muslim Raja and the southern one comprising of Multan, Sind and Baluchistan under various Muslim rulers. This state of affairs continued till 1000 A.D. when Mahmud Ghaznavi appeared on the scene. During this 300-year period also (712 A.D.-1000 A.D.) as can be observed from the above facts, Pakistan had hardly anything to do with India. Both the northern and southern parts were having their own independent governments — the latter owing nominal allegiance te the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs, again looking westward. We shall discuss the 300 year Arab rule in Pakistan in some detail later on!

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