Barkhan is derived from Baro Khan, the founder of the Barozai family of Pannis, who either ruled this area on behalf of the Governors of Sibi or owned it himself. Baro Khan was represented by a Naib, who used to visit the Khetrans each year and on one occasion the Naib was killed by Khetrans on account of violating the chastity of some Khetran women. After that incident, Khetrans say, no more Barozais come to Barkhan.
The early history of the Barkhan district is obscure. It is however said that this area more or less remained under the political control of the Muslim Rulers and conquerors of Kandahar and India.
The Khetrans country was one of the sub-districts of Sewistan and of the Hind Province of Tatta. In Akbar’s time it was called Janjah. This area was inhabited by a jat community of Hindus, who, apparently, had mixed with a small Pathan tribe which had migrated from Vihowa (Dera Ghazi Khan district) under Muhammad Khan, who assumed the title of the Khetrans.
When the Lath-Afghans were ousted from Barkhan, it is said the descendants of Isa ruled, but they were not good administrators and after a good deal of fighting among the Khetrans for many years, at last Girazo Khan Mazarani was made Sardar of the Khetrans. He was succeeded by his son Bakhtiar Khan and Bakhtiar Khan was succeeded by Mir Haji Khan, whose rule is memorable among the Khetrans for a defeat which he inflicted on the Zhob Kakars. Mir Haji Khan was succeeded by a few nominal chiefs. Mir Haji Khan was a strong man and the Khetrans prospered under him. He also took revenge on the defeat of the Khetrans from Marris by destroying. The fort at Mawand of Karam Khan Bijrani Marri. Haji Khan died leaving three sons: Umar Khan, Nawab Khan and Balu Khan. Yet he was succeeded by his brother Sayed Khan, who was elected by the Khetrans. He too died, leaving three sons: Dost Muhammad, Sorni Khan and Kadir Bakhsh. Syed Khan was succeeded by his brother Balul Khan. Babul Khan was however opposed by Nawab Khan and Kadir Bakhsh. Kadir Bakhsh went to the Marris and gave his stepmother in marriage to Gazan, the Marri Chief and led Marris Lashkar against the Khetrans, who lost a lot of lives and property during the fights.
Sir Rober Sandeman (then Deputy Commissioner, D.G. Khan), however, intervened and made peace between Kadir Bakhsh and Babul Khan. Babul Khan was a weak Sardar. He was succeeded by his son Baluch Khan. The two cousins: Nawab Khan and Kadir Bakhsh also remained hostile at Baluch Khan and led a Marri Lashkar against the Khetrans and this fighting lasted for several months. Baluch Khan, however, made peace with Nawab Khan by marrying his mother, but he was still weakened by the hostile attitude of Kadir Bakhsh and many lives were lost on both sides.
In 1880, the Khetrans submitted a petition to the British authorities at D.G Khan, offering to pay revenue and to be taken under British protection. The Khetrans country remained under the political control of the British authorities of D.G Khan from 1878 to 1883. In 1883, Sardar Baluch Khan met Mr. Bruce, the Political Agent of Thaal Chotiali, with a Jirga of his tribesmen and the dispute between the Khetrans, Luni and Marris was settled.
In 1884, the Khetrans came under the authority of the Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan. The Leghari Burkhan circle, comprising two valleys Barkhan and Vitakari, was transferred from Punjab control to Balochistan control in 1884. This district was brought under the direct administration of Balochistan in 1887, when work on the construction of D.G Khan - Pishin Road was started and a Tehsildar was posted at Barkhan. In 1889, Barkhan tehsil was transferred to the Zhob Agency with headquarters at Loralai. This tehsil however was transferred again to Thal Chotaili Agency in 1892. In October, 1903, the Thal Chotaili and Zhob Agencies were remodelled and three new agencies; Sibi, Loralai and Zhob were created and the Barkhan Tehsil was transferred to the Loralai Agency.
In 1887, Sardar Mehrab Khan (born about 1853) succeeded his father Sardar Baluch Khan as Chief of the Khetrans. Owing to grave misconduct he was suspended as Sardari for two years and in the meantime his brother Barkhtiar Khan acted as Sardar. He was however restored to his former position after the two years had passed. Mehrab Khan was succeeded by his son Shah Ghazi Khan. Shah Ghazi Khan was a strong man. He used force in taking possession of agricultural lands belonging to other Khetrans. As a result, many leading Khetrans, including some Mazaranis, left Barkhan area as protest and went to D.G. Khan district in 1892. They however came back in 1933.
Shah Ghazi Khan died in 1942 and his elder son Muhammad Anwar Jan was made Sardar (Tumandar) of the Khetrans. He was elected member of the Provincial Assembly in 1970.