The princely state of Bhawalpur was a part of British India and later Pakistan. It existed from 1802 to 1955 and was a part of Punjab States Agency. The capital of the state was the town of Bhawalpur. It was under the political control the government of Punjab in the pre-Independence era. In 1802, after the breakup of the Durrani Empire the Bhawalpur State was founded by Nawab Bahawal Khan Abbasi. On 22 February 1833, his successor Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi III entered into a subsidiary alliance with the British which admitted the state as a princely state of British India. When India became independent of British rule in 1947 and partitioned into two states India and Pakistan, Bahawalpur joined the Dominion of Pakistan. Bahawalpur remained an autonomous entity till 14 October 1955 when it was merged with the province of West Pakistan.

The Abbasi Daudputras, from whom the ruling family of Bahawalpur has sprung, claim descent from the Abbasid Khalifs. The tribe originally came from Sind, and declared independence during the dismemberment of the Durrani Empire. As part of the 1809 Treaty of Lahore, Ranjit Singh was confined to the right bank of the Sutlej. The first treaty with Bahawalpur was negotiated in 1833, the year after the treaty with Ranjit Singh for regulating traffic on the Indus. It secured the independence of the Nawab within his own territories, and opened up the traffic on the Indus and Sutlej.

During the first Anglo-Afghan war, the Nawab rendered assistance both in facilitating the passage of troops and in furnishing supplies. For his active co-operation in the expedition against Multan, he was rewarded by the districts of Sabzalkot and Bhung, together with a life pension of one lakh. On his death, his third son succeeded him but was deposed by his elder brother. He obtained asylum under the British and died in 1862.

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