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Marri (Balochi: مری ) is one of the largest Baloch tribes in Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan. The Marri are considered to be a clan of the Rind tribe in the early history of Baloch and Balochistan. Since the times of the British Raj, they have been noted for their fierce struggle for independence and clashes with authorities. Currently, some leading members of the tribe do participate in the local, provincial and national elections of Pakistan.
After the end of the Baloch civil wars a group of Rind tribesmen in the command of Mir Bijar Khan preferred to stay in mountains instead to go with Mir Chakar Khan Rind in a migration towards Punjab. In a ferocious mood Mir Chakar called Mir Bijar Khan "Marri" and left that group of Rinds there which later on become known as Marri. Mir Bijar Khan was killed by Buledis in 1520 CE. His people are now called Bijarani, a sub-tribe of Marri.
The Marri tribe has a tradition of incorporating people of Baloch origin while expanding into their territory. Of the three main Marri divisions, the Gazini contains sections of various origins, 25% of the Loharani trace their origin to the Pashtun Shirani tribe, and most of the Bijarani are Rind in origin. All these people now speak Balochi. The process of incorporation followed a pattern of assisting the Marri in a feud, admission to use of the tribal land, and finally marriage into the tribe. The total population of the Marri tribe in Balochistan today is reportedly around 98,000.
In Balochistan the Marri tribes are settled in the Kohlu, Sibi, Jaffarabad and Nasirabad districts. These districts are on the floor or the neighboring hills of a broad, dry valley that slopes gradually upward from the Sindh plains to the Bolan Pass, a route through the mountains to Quetta and Afghanistan. SibiCoordinates: is the gateway to the Bolan Pass. The Marri are also settled in the Sanghar, Mirpurkhas and Shikarpur districts of Sindh. The Marri-Bugti country is classed as a tribal area in Balochistan, politically controlled from Sibi, but enjoying a large measure of autonomy under its own chieftains, with a total area of 7,129 square miles (18,460 km2). It consists of the Sibi, Kohlu and Dera Bugti districts. The total population in 1901 was 38,919, almost equally divided between the two tribes of Marris and Bugtis. In the census of 1901 the Marri in the adjacent Dera Ghazi Khan District, now in Punjab, numbered 19,161 with a fighting strength of about 3,000.
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 1/4 lakh rupees (£2,500) out of a fine of 2 lakhs 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, chief of the Marri tribe, 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 Bugti and Marri tribes, and to operate across the border between Afghanistan and Balochistan. The guerillas are said to have been trained in Afghanistan, and were led by Nawabzada Balach Marri, son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, an electronics engineer trained in Moscow who was killed in November 2007. Sporadic fighting continues.