Balakot

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This article is about the town in Pakistan. For the village in Nepal, see Balakot, Nepal.
Balakot
بالاکوٹ
Pictured prior to earthquake
Pictured prior to earthquake
Balakot is located in Pakistan
Balakot
Balakot
Coordinates: 34°32′N 73°21′E / 34.54°N 73.35°E / 34.54; 73.35
Country  Pakistan
Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Number of towns 1
Number of Union Councils 1

Balakot (Urdu: بالاکوٹ ‎) is a town in Mansehra District in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The town was destroyed during the 2005 earthquake and was later rebuilt with the assistance of the Government of Pakistan and Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims (SPAPEV),[1] a Saudi relief organisation. A separate project, initiated by the Government of Pakistan 'New Balakot City' is being developed near Mansehra, with plans to relocate the population of two Union Councils of Balakot, demarcated as a Red Zone.

Location[edit]

Balakot is located at 34°33′N 73°21′E / 34.550°N 73.350°E / 34.550; 73.350Coordinates: 34°33′N 73°21′E / 34.550°N 73.350°E / 34.550; 73.350 about thirty-eight kilometres north-east of the city of Mansehra, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It is a historical town, a famous tourist destination of the region and the gateway to Kaghan valley of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan. The river Kunhar, originating from Lulusar lake, runs through the city and merges with Jhelum River just outside Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir.

History[edit]

In 997 CE, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, took over the Ghaznavid dynasty empire established by his father, Sultan Sebuktegin, In 1005 he conquered the Shahis in Kabul in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikhs invaded and occupied Mandi Bahauddin District. Bhangi Misl was the first of many Sikh bands to invade and plunder the Mughal Lahore and other cities in Punjab. Many visitors to Lahore during this era noted that much of the city was in disrepair and many of its Muslim monuments and Mosques were pillaged and desecrated by the Sikhs. The land, palaces and houses of Muslim nobility were confiscated by the Sikhs Sardars. Marbles and precious stones were pillaged from Muslim buildings, including Shalimar Gardens, and homes by the Sikhs to build Golden Temple in Amritsar and the other Sikh holy places. Syed Ahmad Barelvi a Muslim nationalist received desperate pleas of help from the persecuted Muslims of the Punjab region. The Muslims were prohibited to call Azan and lands belonging to the waqf endowments which provided financial support to Muslim institutions were confiscated by the Sikhs. Syed Ahmad Barelvi in 1821 with many supporters and spent two years organizing popular and material support for his Punjab campaign. He carefully developed a network of people through the length and breadth of India to collect funds and encourage volunteers, traveling widely throughout India attracting a following among pious Muslims. In December 1826 Sayyid Ahmad and his followers clashed with Sikh troops at Okara but with no decisive result. In a major battle near the town of Balakot in 1831, Sayyid Ahmad and Shah Ismail Shaheed with volunteer Muslims were defeated and martyred by the professional Sikh Army. The Muslims faced severe restrictions during the Sikh rule.

Climate[edit]

Balakot has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cool winters. Rainfall in Balakot is much higher than in most other parts of Pakistan. The heaviest rainfall occurs either in late winter (February–March) associated with frontal systems, or in the monsoon season (June–August); however, all months see significant rainfall on average.

Climate data for Balakot
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.4
(75.9)
25.2
(77.4)
31.1
(88)
36.0
(96.8)
43.3
(109.9)
42.1
(107.8)
41.2
(106.2)
39.7
(103.5)
35.2
(95.4)
33.9
(93)
29.0
(84.2)
24.7
(76.5)
43.3
(109.9)
Average high °C (°F) 13.9
(57)
15.2
(59.4)
19.3
(66.7)
25.9
(78.6)
31.3
(88.3)
35.5
(95.9)
32.3
(90.1)
31.2
(88.2)
31.0
(87.8)
27.4
(81.3)
22.2
(72)
15.9
(60.6)
25.09
(77.16)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.1
(46.6)
9.5
(49.1)
13.5
(56.3)
19.3
(66.7)
24.3
(75.7)
28.1
(82.6)
26.8
(80.2)
25.9
(78.6)
24.0
(75.2)
19.3
(66.7)
14.2
(57.6)
9.5
(49.1)
18.54
(65.37)
Average low °C (°F) 2.2
(36)
3.8
(38.8)
7.6
(45.7)
12.7
(54.9)
17.4
(63.3)
20.7
(69.3)
21.2
(70.2)
20.6
(69.1)
17.1
(62.8)
11.3
(52.3)
6.1
(43)
3.1
(37.6)
11.98
(53.58)
Record low °C (°F) −3
(27)
−2.2
(28)
−1
(30)
3.9
(39)
8.0
(46.4)
10.0
(50)
15.0
(59)
13.3
(55.9)
10.0
(50)
5.2
(41.4)
1.7
(35.1)
−1.3
(29.7)
−3
(27)
Precipitation mm (inches) 105.4
(4.15)
156.1
(6.146)
195.9
(7.713)
122.5
(4.823)
80.5
(3.169)
107.3
(4.224)
384.3
(15.13)
311.4
(12.26)
100.8
(3.969)
48.9
(1.925)
44.0
(1.732)
87.5
(3.445)
1,744.6
(68.686)
Source: NOAA (1971-1990) [2]

Administration[edit]

Administrative subdivisions of Mansehra District.

Balakot is one of the main cities of Mansehra District. It serves as the chief city of Balakot Tehsil, which is the largest Tehsil of Mansehra District. It has also a Union Council and administers the many surrounding smaller towns and villages.[3]

History[edit]

The town or village of Balakot is occupied mainly by Khankhel Swati family, Gujjar, Awan, Swati, Syed, Turk, Mughal and Hanki tribes. It is located on the banks of the River Kunhar before it enters the Kashmir Valley. The Sikhs tried to free Mansehra in the 1818 but were met with resistance from the occupying army. As the Mansehra region fell under Sikh control, it was annexed to Punjab. The movement placed Waziristan, the Mohmand country beyond Kunhar, Chitral and Yusufzai tribes within the control and responsibility of the Indian government. Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed, with the help of the Mujahadeen, including the local tribes of tehsil Balakot from Kaghan to Garhi Habibullah led many revolts and attacks against the Sikhs. At last on 6 May 1831, during a fierce battle, Syed Ahmad Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed along with hundreds of their followers were killed.[4] The central mosque of Balakot is named after Syed Ahmed Shaheed. The areas includes diverse groups, the spoken language is Hindko .

Earthquake 2005[edit]

Kunhar river near Balakot during July

The town was completely destroyed in the massive earthquake on 8 October 2005. The United Arab Emirates has volunteered to rebuild this town into an improved one with housing colonies, schools, hospitals, and other civic facilities. However the Pakistan government has announced that the city will be relocated.[5] The town will be reconstructed about 20 km away at a safer spot with more earthquake-proof buildings.

References[edit]

External links[edit]