Educated at the universities of Warwick and Southampton (UK), Ilyas Chattha is a historian of South Asia. Prior to his LUMS, he was based at the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, University of Southampton, he has also been associated with the University of Warwick and SOAS, University of London. He has written extensively on late colonial Punjab and the legacy of the 1947 partition for the early post-colonial Pakistan state. He is author of The Punjab Borderland: Mobility, Materiality and Militancy, 1947-1987 (Cambridge, 2022); and Partition and Locality:  Violence, Migration and Development in Gujranwala and Sialkot, 1947-1961 (Oxford, 2012). His third upcoming monograph, Traitors: An Untold Story of Bengali Internment in Pakistan, 1971-1974 (Cambridge, 2024) is on the 1971 wartime experiences of Bengalis in West Pakistan. In addition, Dr Chattha has published extensively in reputed academic journals such as Modern Asian Studies, History Workshop Journal, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, Indian Economic and Social History Review and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, as well as in numerous edited volume and other publications. His current teaching work is focused on the people’s history, archives, and the legacies of the violent partitions of 1947 and 1971 and methods in collective violence as well as topics within borders and borderlands studies. His current course offerings include: A People’s History of Pakistan; Partition and Its Aftermath; Civil War in 20th Century; Communal Violence in South Asia; Conceptual Understanding of Borders and Borderland Studies; and Archives and Narratives.




Selected peer-reviewed Journals Articles

• ‘Prisoners of Pakistan: Bengali Civil and Military Personnel in West Pakistan, 1971-1974’, Modern Asian Studies (Forthcoming 2024).

• ‘Australian Press Representations of the 1947 Partition Violence in Punjab’, Sikh Formations, (2023), pp. 189-200.

• ‘Meos’ Community’s Post-Partition Experiences in Pakistan’, South Asian: Journal of South Asian Studies, 2023.

• ‘Border Bureaucracy and Discourses: Demarcation and Surveillance of the Punjab Border in the Wake of Partition’, Critical Pakistan Studies, (in press 2024)

• ‘Communalized Force: The 1947 Partition Violence in Punjab and Role of Law Enforcers’, India Review, 21:1 (2022), pp. 1-20.

• ‘City of ‘Red Assassins’? Crime, Control, and Resistance in Colonial Lahore’, History Workshop Journal 94, (June 2022), pp. 22-50 (with co-author Dr Ali Usman Qasmi)

• ‘Partition's Abandoned and Orphaned Children’, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 59:1 (April 2022), pp.1-20.

• 'Looting on the NWFP and West Punjab in the Partition Violence’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 44.6 (Oct; 2021), pp.1075-1089.

• ‘Partition and the History of Evacuee Property in Pakistan’, Journal of Migration Affairs, 4: 1 (Sept 2021), pp.36-53.

• ‘After the Massacres: ‘Nursing Survivals of Partition Violence in the Pakistan Punjab Camps in 1947’, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, V28: 2, (2018), pp. 273-293.

• ‘Faction—building in Pakistan: Sir Francis Mudie and Punjab Politics, 1947-49’, Contemporary South Asia, 22:3 (2014), pp. 225-39.

• ‘Partisan Reporting: Press Coverage of the 1947 Partition Violence in the Punjab’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 36:4 (2013), pp. 608-625.

• ‘Economic Change & Community Relations in Lahore’, Journal of Punjab Studies, 19:2 (2012).

• ‘Competitions for Resources: Partition’s Evacuee Property and the Sustenance of Corruption in Pakistan’, Modern Asian Studies, 46:5 (Sept; 2012), pp. 1182-1211.

  • ‘From Mistri to Tycoons: Historical Advancement of Surgical Instruments and Sports Goods in Pakistan’, Journal of Historical Society, 34:1 (Jan-Jul 2021), pp.1-18.

  • ‘Thana First Information Reports (FIRs) and the Forms of Partition Violence at District level’, Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan, 58:1 (Jan-July 2021), pp.22-44.
  • 'The Politicisation of Religion in Pakistan: A Case Study on Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)’, Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 9:4 (Dec; 2020), pp. 164-175.
  • 'What is the use of Bengal without Calcutta’? Jinnah’s Advocacy for an Independent Bengal, 1947’, Journal of Historical Society, 33:1 (2019), pp.1-29.
  • After the Massacres: ‘Nursing Survivals of Partition Violence in the Pakistan Punjab Camps in 1947’, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, V28: 2, (2018), pp. 273-293. 
  •  ‘Refugee Resettlement and Centre-Province Relations in Pakistan, 1947-49’, Journal of Historical Society’, 32:2, (July - December 2019), pp. 1-15.
  • 'Artisanal Towns: A comparative analysis of industrial growth in Sialkot and Jalandhar’, Journal of Policy History, 6:1 (2016), pp.27-46.
  • ‘Countdown to Chaos: Urgency of Mapping up the Punjab Borderlines and Partition Violence and Mass Migrations’, Journal Historical Society29:2 (July 2016), pp. 83-102.
  •  ‘Terrible Fate: ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Jammu’s Muslims in 1947’, Pakistan Vision, 10:1 (2009), 117-140. 

  • ‘Commonwealth Diplomacy and Partition of India’, History and Culture, 25:1 (2006), pp. 1-50.

  • ‘The Politics of History in British India: On Some Contours of the Historiography of Colonial India’, South Asian Studies, 19:2 (July 2004), pp. 63-86.

  • The Dalits in Colonial India’, Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan, 31:2 (2004), pp.29-54.

  • ‘Sir Owen Dixon: The UN Representative for Mission on Kashmir’, Pakistan Vision, 3:1&2 (Jan-July 2002), pp. 7-22.

Book Chapters

• ‘Partition and the History of Evacuee Property in Pakistan’, in A. Ranjan (ed.) Migration, Memories, and the ‘Unfinished’ Partition (London: Routledge 2023).

• ‘The Long Shadow of 1947: Partition, Violence and Displacement in Jammu and Kashmir’, in Amritjit Singh et al (eds.), Revisiting India’s Partition: Memory, Culture, and Politics (London: Lexington Books, 2016), pp. 143-156.

• ‘Impact of the Redistribution of Partition’s Evacuee Property on the Patterns of Land Ownership and Power in 1950s Pakistani Punjab’, in R.D. Long et al (eds.), State and Nation-building in Pakistan: Beyond Islam and Security (Routledge, 2015), pp. 1-44.

• ‘Patterns of Partition Violence in West Punjab: A Study of Police Records’, in I. Talbot, The Independence of India and Pakistan (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 58-89.

• ‘Escape from Violence: The 1947 Partition of India and Migration: Experience of Kashmiri Muslim Refugees’ in P. Panayi and P. Virdee (eds.), Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration during the Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2010), pp. 196-218.

• ‘Ethnic Cleansing of Jammu’s Muslims in 1947’, in Qalb-i-Abid (eds.), History, Politics and Society: The Punjab (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, 2009), pp. 236-256.

• ‘The Muslim League’s Response to the Partition Violence and Arrival of Muslim Refugees in West Punjab’ in R. Ahmad (ed.), The Centenary of Muslim League 1906-1947 (Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam University Press, 2006), pp. 139-170.

Policy Reports

• 2012: ‘Refugee Resettlement from Pakistan: Findings from Afghan Refugee Camps in the NWFP’ (Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole).

• (2010) ‘Indian and Pakistani Irregular Migrants in the UK’ (LSE collaboration with FCO).

Book Reviews

  • 2020: Pippa Virdee, From the Ashes of 1947: Reimagining Punjab (2018), Round Table 70.
  • 2017: Review of A. Rehmani, Lahore: History and Architecture of Mughal Monuments (Karachi, 2016), Journal of Punjab Studies (JPS). 
  • 2014: Review of I. Ahmed, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed (Karachi, 2012), JPS.
  •  2009: Review of Y. Khan, The Great Partition (Yale, 2007), JPS, 16 (2).
  • 2008: Review of I. Talbot with D.S. Tatla, Epicentre of Violence: Partition Voices and Memories from Amritsar (New Delhi, 2006), JPS, 14 (2).

Recent Media Contributor

• ‘An Obituary of Seth Abid’, BBC Urdu, 10 Jan 2021

• ‘Contraband as a form of resistance at the India-Pakistan border,’ Oxford’s Routed Migration Magazine, 8 May 2021.

  • Contributor in BBC history documentary about Indian partition and independence (2017, for Yasmin Khan & Emily Harris) 

My recent conference invited talks

• 15-16 June 2023: Oxford, Conference on ‘Christians in Pakistan’, presented a paper on 'Neutral: Role of Christian Missionaries during the 1947 Partition-related Humanitarian Crisis’.

• 16-17 June 2023, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, conference on ‘The Contemporary Challenges of the Partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947’, presented a paper on Meos’ Post- Partition Experiences in Pakistan.

• 8 December 2022: South Asian Institute, University of Heidelberg, ‘New Interventions in the History of Partition, presented a paper, ‘Partition Violence in Punjab: Opportunistic Characteristics and Political Imperatives’.

• 10 September 2022: Michigan University conference on ‘the Partition of India and the Sikhs: New Perspectives’, presented a paper on ‘Property and Violence in Partition of 1947’.

• 10 June 2022: Royal Holloway, Conference ‘Citizenship & Migration in South Asia: Looking Beyond Partition’ presenting a paper on ‘Citizen Internees: Bengali Servicemen in Pakistan, 1971-1974’.

• 2 August 2022: the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, Annual Conference ‘75 Years of Partition: Rupture and Connectivity’, presenting a paper on ‘The Impact of Partition on Divided Institutions’.

• 15 March 2022: The 1947 Partition Archives ‘Sunday Live Stories’ live talk on Partition's Abandoned and Orphaned Children’.

• 22 March 2022: ISAS, University of Singapore, ‘Bookshelf’, talked on The Punjab Borderland.

• 7 Dec 2021: University of Warwick, my book launch event, The Punjab Borderland

• 11 July 2012, New York University, conference on the 50th Anniversary of 1971, presented a paper on ‘Prisoners of Pakistan: East Bengali Military Personnel and Civil Servants in West Pakistan, 1971-74’.

• 24 March 2021: Oxford’s Conference on ‘Border Histories’ presented a paper on ‘Punjabi Border Ballads and Contraband Solidarity at the Punjab Borderland, 1947-1965’