In 1545 Duki, a dependency of the Kandahar province, was conferred upon Mir Sayyid Ali by the Mughal Emperor Humayun. The province of Kandahar continued under Mughals until the year 1559 when it passed into the hands of the Safavid Kings of Persia and remained under their control until 1595. In that year it was recaptured by Emperor Akbar the Great, during Akbar’s reign the territory of Duki which was generally garrisoned, formed an eastern dependency of the Kandahar Province and provided a contingent of 500 horses and 1,000-foot (300 m) soldiers. In 1622 Kandahar again passed under the Safavids. In 1653 Emperor Shah Jahan sent a large expedition under his eldest son, Dara-Shikoh, to regain Kandahar but in vain. This was the last attempt on the part of the Mughals to regain Kandahar which was now lost to them for ever. Mir Wais Ghilzai or Khilji established Ghilzai/Khilji power in Kandahar around 1709. After 30 years of supremacy the Ghilzai/Khilji power gave way to Nadir Shah who captured after a severe struggle in 1737. However in 1747 Nadir Shah was assassinated and Ahmad Shah Durrani took over the government. The Durranis were followed in about 1826 by the Barakzai under Dost Mohammad. Almost the whole of Loralai District remained under this dynasty till 1879, when Duki and the Thal country with other parts of Balochistan passed into the hands of the British. Later Emperor Shah Jahan made great efforts to regain the province of Kandahar from the Safavids and with this end in view, in 1655, sent a large expedition of over 104,000 men under his elder son prince Dara Shikoh. After a lengthy investment, Dara Shikoh had to abandon the siege of Kandahar and returned. This was the last attempt on the part of Mughals to regain Kandahar which was now lost to them forever. The province continued to be under the rule of the Safavids, but the Afghan inhabitants had become so highly discontented owing to the persecutions by the Persian governors that there was an uprising under Mir Wais Ghilzai, who established the Ghilzai power in Kandahar in about 1709. After ruling about 30 years, the Ghilzai power gave way to Nadir Shah who in 1737 AD marched on Kandahar and after a severe struggle, Mir Husain Khan, the last of the Ghilzai rulers, submitted. In 1747, Naidr Shah was assassinated and the Afghans with a view to organize a regular government of their own, selected Ahmed Shah Durrani, a ruler of Kandahar, towards the end of the same year. Ahmed Shah at first attempted to administer the valley as a Kandahar District and appointed a governor named Agha Jan to represent him. This man irritated the Tareen tribe considerably and they murdered him. Indignant at this act, Ahmed Shah marched on Thal with a strong force. The Tareens surrendered to him. An annual tax of Rs.3,104 (Kaldar) was levied on the Tareen cultivators living on the Thal and Anambar perennial streams.
Under The Durrani's Kingdom
The Durranis were followed in about 1826 by the Barakzais under the first Amir of Afghanistan, Dost Muhammad, and almost the entire district came under the nominal rule of this dynasty. According to the Treaty of Gandamak, signed on 25 May 1879, Duki and Thal Chotiali land with other parts of Balochistan passed into the hands of the British.
The steps by which the different parts of the district came under British control have been gradual. With the increase of British influence, most of the tribes petitioned to be taken under British protection and expressed their willingness to pay revenue. By 1884 the British administration in the form of an Agency was established. During the early eighties some murderous attacks were made upon British subjects by different clans of Kakars under the influence of Shah Jahan of Zhob. Accordingly British troops were moved into Zhob and Sir Robert Sandeman held a darbar at Bori. The chiefs of the Bori valley attended this meeting and surrendered after the defeat of Shah Jehan. On 22 November 1894, the Bori and Zhob chiefs reached an agreement accepting the supremacy of the British Government and promised to put a stop to further raids and to pay a fine of R.20,000. Gradually, administrative control was strengthened. On 1 November 1887 the district was declared a part of British India. In 1947, prior to the creation of Pakistan, a referendum was held by the British in which the tribesmen of Loralai district, like other districts of the Frontier Region, opted for Pakistan.
In 1879 at the close of the first phase of Afghan war a British contingent while returning from Kandahar was opposed by a large body of tribesmen from the Zhob and Bori valley at Baghao under command of Shah Jahan (chief of Zhob). However tribal lashkar was defeated completely. In 1881 Thal Chotiali (Sibi) which included Duki was made Sub district of the Harnai political Agency. In 1881 inhabitants of Sanjavi were brought under British subjugation. In 1883 it was decided to build a cantonment at Duki and the garrison of Thal Chotiali (Sibi) leaving a detachment at Gumbaz. In October 1884 a force comprising 4800 men moved into Bori (Loralai) valley and the mission was completely successful. In the following years it was decided that a frontier road should be constructed from Dera Ghazi Khan to Pishin through Loralai. The cantonment from Duki was accordingly moved forward in 1886 to Loralai and Mil posts were stationed at Sanjavi, Mekhtar and Kingri. The headquarters of Assistant Political Agent at Duki was also changed to Loralai. In November 1887 Duki and Thal Chotiali (Sibi) were declared parts of British India and for the purpose of administration, the designation of the Political Agent was changed to that of Deputy Commissioner. In 1888 Sir Robert Groves Sandeman proceeded with a small force through Musa Khel to Southern Zhob. Ultimately this led to the occupation of the Zhob valley in 1889. Loralai town and cantonment remained under the Thal Chotiali Dist until 1894, when it was made over to the Zhob Agency.
The population of Loralai district was estimated to be over 700,000 in 2005. The vast majority of the population of Loralai district are Pashtun with major tribes such as Tareen, Kakar and Luni, while other minorities tribes like Taraki, Shinwarie and so on are majority tribes. The district offers a great blend of mixed tribes from all parts of Pakistan. Some major tribes of Loralai have migrated from the parts of Zhob like Jogezai, Jalalzai, Batozai, Sarprekarai and Musazai and some immigrant tribes from Afghanistan which called in local terminology Khorasani i.e. Nasar, Sulemankhail, Tarakai, Tokhai, Andar, Khilji, Kharoti etc..
Main tribes of Loralai
District Loralai is inhabited by predominantly Pushtoon tribes; Major tribes are;-
- Kakar: The main local tribe of Bori Hamzazai, Uthmankhail, Kudezai, Zakhpail, Younaskhel, Churmai,Marmakhail, Sargrah, Dumar, etc.
- Musakhel: Hasankhel, Kudaezai, Hamzazai, Laharzai, Jafar
- Nasar: Malezai, Yakhel, Dawod khel, Jalal khail, Ushkhel etc.
- Khilji or Ghilzai (including, Suleimankhail, Tarakai, Hottak, Tokhai,Andar, Babozai, Shamolzai, etc. (a number of different Afghan tribes are also living here as refugees)
- Syed (peachi)
- Baloch tribes settled in Loralai are Malghani, Buzdar, Qiasrani & Khetran,
- Tarakai (lilizai, badinkhel, nakhel, shabaykhel)
- Hamzazai (Sanzarkhail,Kakar)
- Fateh khail
Other tribes living in Mekhtar
- Kibzai, Kakar
Shifting of British Camp
The British camp was shifted from Duki in 1880 due to its strategic location and military importance. Loralai is an important junction coming from Afghanistan via Zhob, Fort Monroe via Punjab and Balochistan via Quetta to Ziarat. These days Loralai is the regional headquarters of paramilitary Frontier Corps.
Loralai has been the district headquarters since 1903. It has consisted of different regions in different times. Loralai currently consists of three tehsils: Tehil Loralai, Tehsil Mekhtar and Tehsil Duki. The population is approximately 0.34 million as per 1998 population. It is mostly inhabited by Kakar, Luni, Tarakai(lilizai), Tareen and Kakar tribes with many sub branches is the majority in the current district.
Before the settlement of new city, it was mostly inhabited by tribes whose occupation was animal husbandry and this 80 mile wide area was known as the Bori valley. But the British renamed it after the small river Lai and that is why it is called embankment of the (river/stream) Lai(Loralai).
Earliest signs of population in Loralai are twelve kilometers away from the city in Rana Gundy and in Duki near the ruins of the Mughal gundy. It is known from these ruins that limited populations started settling during the Iron Age in these areas. But due to flooding in mountainous streams, these areas were destroyed many times. Rana Gundy is said to have been destroyed seven times and re-populated.
Before the British Empire
Before the arrival of the British, the area from Sibi to Loralai was called Thal-Chutiali. Then It was divided into two parts through Sibi district. The rationale beyond this division was probably to govern and control the Pashtun and Baloch population separately. The present Zhob Division comprises six districts, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Sherani, Musa Khel, Barakhan and Loralai.
It is inhabited by Pashtun tribes such as Tareen, Khilji and Durrani. The Baloch tribes Marri, Malghani, Buzdar and Khetran tribes live in southern and western parts of the district, and some in Loralai city. The Tareen tribe of Pashtuns is in majority and Khiljis have arrived from the Qalat, Zabul Province, Afghanistan region at some point in time during the past. Mullazai is the sub tribe of Kakar and they live in Loralai, Qila Saifullah and Chaman.
The area has Coal mines. The terrain of the area is part of the landscape created by the Sulaiman Range. Development in city,luni tribe is settled in major area of Loralai district luni is brave and fight with other big tribes like murees luni tribe hold politics in Loralai district .
Loralai city has its own radio broadcasting station and mobile coverage of three operators. With the completion of the Loralai-Dera Ghazi Khan road, many people see a much brighter and more prosperous future for the district since the travel to DG Khan is important in many ways like the transportation of cash crops and food crops and coal loaded trucks from Chamalang coal mines. The road in under construction between Wagum Rud and khajuri since long. Now the fresh contact has been awarded to FWO and fresh date for its completion is December 2008. All coal loaded trucks heading to Punjab and other areas travel on this road.
A peculiar feature of the soil of the Loralai is that it cannot be used for baked bricks as a baked brick gets brittle. Hence most of the town is made of mud. On the northern side of the town, there exists an old cantonment established before the departure of the British Empire for the purpose of defence against the Russian Empire.
- "District Profile: Northern Balochistan – Loralai -DAWN - Herald Election 2008". DAWN. Retrieved 2010-09-25.[dead link]
- "BBC Urdu - پاکستان - سیلاب خنجر ہے کہ اژدھا !". BBC. 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- Walter A. Fairservis (2009). "ARCHEOLOGY: Archaeological Surveys in the Zhob and Loralai Districts, West Pakistan". American Anthropologist (Watson). doi:10.1525/aa.1961.63.3.02a00450 – via Wiley Online Library.