Kalabagh, on the bank of Indus River, was a state ruled by the Nawabs for nearly 900 years, since the time of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. During the British Raj Kalabagh was not made a princely state by the British. It was a jagir that had been ruled by the Nawabs since 1100, while most of the other states were mere inventions of the British. The state was captured by his ancestors who were Awan of Arabs origin. He was very proud of his Awan origin. He always maintained that he was descended from an individual named Qutb Shah, a ruler of Herat and a general in the army of Mahmud of Ghazni, who himself was a Hashemite descendant of the Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali (but by a wife other than the Prophet's daughter, Fatimah). As Sir Lepel Henry Griffin states:
"All branches of the tribe (Awans) are unanimous in stating that they originally came from neighourhood of ghazni to India, and all trace their genealogy to Hazrat Ali the son-in-law of the Prophet. Kutab Shah, who came from Ghazni with Sultan Mahmud, was the common ancestor of the Awans…….It was only in the Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Shahpur districts that they became of any political importance……. In Shahpur District the Awans held the hilly country to the north west, Jalar, Naoshera and Sukesar, where the head of the tribe still resides. ”
—From ''Sir Lepel H. Griffin, The Panjab Chiefs' (1865 Edition) p.570-571.