Mianwali District

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ضِلع مِيانوالى
District
Mianwali District
Map of Punjab with Mianwali Districtمِيانوالى highlightedLocation of Mianwali within Punjab.
Map of Punjab with Mianwali District
مِيانوالى highlighted
Location of Mianwali within Punjab.
Country Pakistan
Province Punjab
Headquarters Mianwali
Government
 • District Coordination Officer Muhammad Khan Ranjha
Area
 • Total 5,840 km2 (2,250 sq mi)
Population (2010-11)
 • Total 14oooo0
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Number of tehsils 3
Thal Canal

Mianwali District (Urdu: ضِلع مِيانوالى‎), (Pashto,Punjabi: ضلع میانوالی), is a district in the northwest of Punjab province, Pakistan. It is capital is Mianwali city. Mianwali is historically known for two prominent migrant clans namely Niazis (Pashtuns) and Awan. Over the years some Baloch made Mianwali their home and Awans. The Niazi Tribe dominates the politics of the district. This region is known for the very Peculiar Punjabi dielects that are four in number. The most prominent are Shahpuri and Doabi Dielects associated with Salt range and Soon Valley regions.

Administration[edit]

The district is administratively divided into three tehsils and 56 union councils:[1]

Name of tehsil No. of union councils
Isakhel 14
Mianwali 28
Piplan 14
Total 56
Grave of Lt. Col. A J O'Brien, 1st Deputy Commissioner of Mianwali district, at Brompton Cemetery, London

Deputy commissioners served as the head of the district until 2004. The first deputy commissioner was Captain A. J. O'Brien and the first district judge was Sardar Balwant Singh. The system continued even after the creation of Pakistan as a sovereign nation. It was not until the year 2000 that the new local government system was introduced and three basic changes were implemented:

  • Divisions which used to be the third tier of the government were abolished and more autonomy was given to the districts with the aim of decentralization of power.
  • With this new status of the districts, nazims were to become the administrators of the districts, with more authoritative powers.
  • The post of D.C. was abolished with the aim of putting an end to bureaucratic rule; however, the bureaucracy was offered an olive branch by creating the new post of District Coordinating Officer. The nazim remained the main elected representative and administrator while the D.C.O.s served as representatives of the government.

It borders eight district: Attock District in the north, Chakwal District in the northeast, Khushab District in the east, and Bhakkar District in the south, while Lakki Marwat lies to the west, Kohat and Karak districts to the northwest and Dera Ismail Khan District to the southwest.

In November 1901, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was carved out of Punjab and the present-day towns of Mianwali, Isa Khel, Kalabagh, and Kundian were separated from Bannu District (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa); hence a new district was made with the headquarters in Mianwali city and placed in Punjab province.

Language[edit]

Dialects of Punjabi

As per the 1998 census of Pakistan, the following are the demographics of the Mianwali district, by spoken language:

Though Mianwali is claimed an integral part of Seraiki speaking belt by the Seraiki language activists but Punjabi-Seraiki division seems to hold little influence on common people in this district. Awans, Jats, Ghakkars with various subclans living in Mianwali and Khushab always associate themselves with Punjabi identity. According to 1998 census three fourth (74.2 percent) of the population named their spoken language as Punjabi while only 12 per cent answered that they speak Seraiki.[2]

Inhabitants of Mianwali district speak a great variety of Punjabi dialects.

Other Languages include:

  • Pashto which is also spoken by sizeable population in the KPK province border areas and in the cities. Khattak tribes, Chapri, Bhangi Khel, Sultan Khel, Makarwal and Bani Afghan are bilingual and Pashto is their primary language but they can easily communicate in Punjabi as well.
  • Urdu is mother tongue of few people but being national language is spoken and understood by the sizeable population.
  • English is also understood and spoken by few, mainly educated elite.

Demographics[edit]

According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, the district had a population of 1,056,620,[3] out of which 20.39%[4] (i.e., 85,000 inhabitants) lived in the district capital Mianwali. The Niazi (Pathan) tribe is the most dominant tribe of this district, with an estimated 40 percent of the total population. The Niazi tribe exists in all parts of the district but most notably live in Mianwali City, Shahbaz Khel, Hotu Ram Kalra, Naiku khaillanwala,Trag, Kamar mashani, Musa Khel, Sohrabwala, GuddiKhelan Wala, Mochh, Sawans and Isakhel. Another tribe known as the Jats live mostly in Ding Khola, Uttra kalan, New Ding Sharif, Saeed Abad, Hashim Naggar/Lal Wala (Saifun Pull), KhanQah Sirrajia, Bakharra/Kacha Kalo, Kacha Paar, Khita-e-Atlas, Kacha Gujrat, Kacha Shahnawaz Wala, Phaati, Hurnoli, Alluwali, Duaba, Jaal Janub/Shumali, Piplan, Wan Bahhchran, Wichveen Bala, Kundian, Moosa Khel and Shadia. Awan tribe is predominant in pakhar or salt range.

Geography[edit]

Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Amir Muhammad Khan(1910–1967), ex-Governor West Pakistan

Mianwali district covers an area of 5,840 square kilometres. The area in north is a continuation of the Pothohar Plateau and the Kohistan-e-Namak. The district consists of various towns, including Kalabagh, Isa Khel, Kundian, Paikhel, Piplan sharif, Kamar Mushani, Mochh, Swans, Bori Khel, Rokhri, Harnauli, Musakhel , Alluwali, Wan Bhachran, Daud Khel, Uttra Kalan and the district capital, Mianwali city.

  • Mianwali city is the capital of Mianwali district. It is the district's largest city, with a population of about 85,000 people. It is also the economic and commercial hub of the district.
  • Kundian is the second largest town, at a distance of 15 km from the city of Mianwali. Important sites such as Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (Chashnupp), Chashma Barrage, Kundian-Jehlum or Chashma-Jehlum Link Canal are located here.
  • Piplan is another important town and tehsil headquarters located in the southern part of the district.
  • Kalabagh is famous for the Kalabagh Dam, the Nawab of Kalabagh, the red hills of the salt range, and scenic views of the Indus River.
  • Isa Khel is another important town and tehsil headquarters located in the west of Mianwali. It is a historical town named after Isa Khan, a famous Niazi chief. It is also the home town of famous folk singer Attaullah Khan Essa Khailwi
  • Kamar Mushani is famous for its trade and minerals.
  • Tabbi Sar is another important town and the headquarters of Bangi Khel Tribe located in the northern part of the district. Missar wala is the main village of Tabbi sar. Missar Wala is located from Tabbi sar south side.
  • HERNOLI is a very famous town located south part of district. Known for production on peanut and grams. The judicial complexes of Piplan and Danish school system are prominent features of Hernoli.
  • Uttra kalan is famous for his Agriculture areas. People are educated & civilized.
  • Musakhel famous due to Niazi tribe and personnel like Dr Ghulam Akbar Khan Niazi, Maulana Kausar Niazi and Dr Ajmal Niazi.
  • [piplan sharif] famous due to Peer Mazhar Qayum sahib.
  • [Bori Khel] is famous tribe of Niazi (Pathans)

Education[edit]

Mianwali district has several educational institutions from elementary up to post-graduate level, affiliated with the University of the Punjab. A private Engineering College named as NAMAL College is affiliated with University of Bradford. There are numerous other private schools and colleges in the district. Recently the University of Sargodha opened a sub-campus in Mianwali.

Weather[edit]

Mianwali district has an extreme climate, with a long, hot summer season and cold, dry winters. Summer lasts from May to September and winter lasts from November till February. June is the hottest month with average temperatures of 42 °C (highest recorded temperature 52 °C); in winter, December and January monthly average temperatures can be as low as 3 to 4 °C. The average rainfall in the district is about 385 mm.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °C 19 21 26 33 38 42 39 37 37 33 28 21 31
Avg low temperature °C 3 6 12 17 22 27 27 26 23 16 9 4 16
Rainfall in. (cm) 1.6 2.1 4.1 2.4 1.9 1.8 7.6 11 4.5 0.7 0.1 0.9 38.5
Source: Weatherbase

History[edit]

Mianwali District was agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture that invaded from Central Asia and settled in Punjab region. The Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Madras, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas and Kurus invaded, settled and ruled ancient Punjab region. After overrunning the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BCE, Alexander marched into present-day Punjab region with an army of 50,000. The Mianwali was ruled by Maurya Empire, Indo-Greek kingdom, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, White Huns, Kushano-Hephthalites and Shahi kingdoms.

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 Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region.

Syed Mian Ali Sahib migrated from Baghdad, Iraq, who was a great spiritual saint laid the foundations of Mianwali. In those days it was called "Mian Ali Wali", which later was converted to Mianwali. After him, his son HAZRAT SYED SULTAN MUHAMMAD ZIKRIA remained the holly leader and saint of the PATHAN Tribes and Other Tribes of the area for a long period and settled all the disputes among the tribes successfully. He is known as SAHIB E KARAMAT wallee. His descendants are still respectable and have political influence in the area too.

Mughal era, rule of Ghakkars and invasion of Nadir Shah[edit]

Historically, all major rulers of South Asia governed this area in their turn. Mughal emperor Babur mentioned Isakhel while he was fighting against the Pakhtuns as part of his campaign to conquer the Punjab during the 1520s (ref. Baburnama). Prior to the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1738, there is little to relate concerning the history of the northern part of the district. The upper half of the district was ruled by the Gakhars, who became feudatories of the Mughal Empire, of which the district continued to form a part until the invasion of Nadir Shah. In 1738 a portion of his army entered Bannu, and by its atrocities so cowed the Bannuchis and Marwats that a heavy tribute was raised from them. Another portion of the army crossed the Darra Pezu and worked its way down to Dera Ismail Khan. Contingents raised from the neighbourhoods of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan marched under Nadir Shah's banner to the sack of Delhi. In 1739 the area west of the Indus was surrendered by the Emperor of Delhi to Nadir Shah, and passed after his death to Ahmad Shah Abdali.

In 1748 a Durrani army under one of Ahmad Shah's generals crossed the Indus at Kalabagh, and drove out the Ghakkars, who still ruled in the cis-Indus tracts of the district, owing nominal allegiance to the Emperor at Delhi. Their stronghold, Muazzam Nagar, was razed to the ground, and with their expulsion was swept away the last vestige of authority of the Mughal Emperor in these parts. The armies of Ahmad Shah marched repeatedly through the district, the cis-Indus portion of which was, with the rest of the Punjab, incorporated in the Durrani Kingdom in 1756, and for the next sixty years a precarious hold was maintained on their eastern provinces, including this district, by Ahmad Shah and his successors to the throne of the newly created Kingdom of Kabul. Source:[1]

Sikh era and British Raj[edit]

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikh invaded and occupied Mianwali District. The Muslims faced severe restrictions during the Sikh rule. During the period of British rule, Mianwali district increased in population and importance.

During British rule, the area was subdivided into province, divisions and districts. divisions remained the third tier of government until 2000). The British had made the towns of Mianwali and Isa Khel tehsil headquarters of Bannu District then part of Dera Ismail Khan Division of Punjab province.

Modern history[edit]

The current district of Mianwali was created in November 1901, when the North West Frontier Province was carved out of Punjab and the towns of Mianwali, Isa Khel, Kalabagh, and Kundian were separated from Bannu District. A new district, named Mianwali district, was created with its headquarters in Mianwali city and placed in Punjab, and it became a part of Multan Division. Mianwali originally contained four tehsils: Mianwali, Isa Khel, Bhakkar, and Layyah. In 1909 Layyah was transferred to Muzaffargarh District. The district became a part of Sargodha Division in 1961. In 1982 Bhakkar Tehsil was removed from Mianwali and became a separate district of Sargodha Division.

The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Mianwali District.

Tribes and clans[edit]

The populations of the district are split into four main groups: the predominant Niazi and Awan tribes who are mainly present in riverain Mianwali Tehsil and Isakhel Tehsil, Awan who are dominant mainly in the Salt Range and Kalabagh in Isakhel Tehsil. The Thal desert portion is held by Jats - Baloch - kundi and sumbal tribes. The city of Mianwali and town of Wan Bhachran is also home to the Miana-Qureshi - Makhdooms- Bhachar - Janjua and Ghanjera tribes respectively. The district also has descendants of refugees from East Punjab and Haryana in India, who settled here after the independence of Pakistan in 1947.

There Are Many Jat Tribes Are Living In Mianwali District (Ding Khola Talokar) (New Ding Sharif, Saeed Abad (Sharqi and Gharbi), Lal Khelan wala, Zaman Kelan wala, Hashim Naggar, Tahir Abad, Uttra kalan, Shahbaz Khelanwala and Khanqah Sirrajia. The Famous Jat Tribes Are, Lato Khel, Shahbaz Khel, Baqir Khel, Yaroo Khel, Shadoo Khel, Masti Khel, Fojay Khel, Bakhshy Khel, Mehar Khel, Jewaye Khel, Jamal Khel, Dost Khel, Jalal Khel, Sahalat Khel, Sher Khel, Niaz Khel, Wareyam Khel, Uttra jats, Mekan jats, Sial, Kalyar, Darhaal, Awan and many more.Jaura tibes (jauray khel).

Immigration[edit]

The district has been settled by triple immigration from opposite directions: Niazis from the northwest of Pakistan, Awans from the northeast, and Jats and Balochs up the valley of the Indus from the south.

Niazi immigration[edit]

Imran Khan Niazi, retired cricketer turned Politician, Chairman PTI

The Niazis, who some hundred and fifty years later spread from Tank over the plain that was sparsely inhabited by pastoral Jats. The Niazi arrived into Marwat at first and occupied the hills of Salghar, until a feud with the Ghilzais compelled them to migrate elsewhere. Marching southeast, they found a temporary resting place in Tank. There the Niazais lived for several generations, occupying themselves as traders and carriers, as do their kinsmen the Lohani Pawindahs in the present day. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, numbers spread north into the plain, and squatted there as graziers and cultivators, on the banks of the Kurram and Gambila. There they lived in peace for about fifty years, when the Marwat Lohanis, a younger branch of the Lodi group, swarmed into the region after them, and drove them across the Kurram at Tang Darra, in the valley beyond which they found a final home. The most important sections of the expelled Niazais were the Isakhel, Mushanis and a portion of the Sarhangs. The first took root in the south of the new area and shortly developed into agriculturists ; the second settled further to the north at Kamar Mushani, and seem for a time to have led a pastoral life. Some Sarhangs took up their abode at Sultan Khel, while others, after drifting permanently established themselves cis-Indus on the destruction of the Ghakkar stronghold of Muazzam Nagar in 1748 by Niazis. The Niazis were drove out by Balochis and Jats, the remainders stayed behind as their subjects, with this the long connection of the Gakhars with Mianwali was terminated. The remains of Muazzam Nagar, their local capital, were visible on the left high bank of the Indus about six miles south of Mianwali, until the site was eroded by the river about the year 1870.

Immigration of Awans[edit]

Watercolour of an Awan sepoy, painted by Major A.C. Lovett, circa the early 20th century

In Mianwali, Awans are mostly known as Maliks. Awan are Syed and relate them to the Qutab Shah descended from the lin of Hazarat Ali, who had Arab ancestry thus giving a proof to their Arab origin. The Awans now occupy part of the district which lies east of the Dhak Spur of the Salt Range and is known as Khudri, Pakhar, or Awankari. "Men of Mianwali mostly know the name Pakhar; but residents of the Kacha and Isakhel generally speak of the tract and parts beyond as utrad. i.e., the high country.".[5]"DHAROEE" family lying in the alluwali village are also from awan family and known as a warrior family.

The Awans were among those who formed an important part of the British Indian army, serving with distinction during World Wars I and II. Along with Rajputs, Awans occupy the highest ranks of the Pakistani army.Also jaura Awans tribes are settled in central and western salt range.Some of Jaura Awan tribes belong to Musakhel,ghundi and Swans.Mostly jaura tribes came from central salt range khushab in place of Jaura kalan.

Jat and Baloch immigration[edit]

Before the fifteenth century, the lower parts of the district were probably occupied by a few scattered tribes of Jats, depending on their cattleship. After these came the Balochis. They also came from the south direction. It is probable that the Jat immigration continued for sometime after the Balochis first came into this area. However it may have been, all the Kachha, immediately adjoining the Thal bank, seems to have been parcelled off to Jat families. Each block was accompanied with a long strip of Thal to the back. These estates are the origin of the present mauzas as far north as Kundian in the Mianwali Tehsil. They are almost all held by Jats except few which are occupied by Sumbals and The Kundi tribe. Both of theese tribes are Pashtun. Here and there, shares are held by Balochis, but these have mostly been acquired in later times by purchase. In the same way the unoccupied lands towards the river were divided off into blocks, and formed into separate estates; and sometimes; where the hads first, formed had too much waste land, new hads were formed in later times by separating off outlying portions of the old estates. This division into hads extended right up to Kundian. In course of time, as the Balochis settled down in the area, individuals acquired plots of land for wells, but generally in subordination to the head proprietors or lords of manors. Here and there a small clan settled down together, but this was the exception. Balochis are still numerous all through the southern part of the Kachha, up to Darya Khan; but though they were originally the ruling race, still, as regards proprietary rights in the land they hold a position inferior to that of the Jats and Sayyals, by whom the superior proprietorship of hads is generally held. North of Darya Khan there are very few Balochis. In Thal, the population is almost entirely Jat. A few families of Balochi Pashtuns came across the Indus River from the Paniala Hills. Of these, one became dominant at Piplan, while the others moved on into the Thal and took up their abode eventually in and around Jandanwala.

Notable personalities[edit]

Places of interest[edit]

A view of Namal Lake in Mianwali Salt range
"Days of Yore" PR ZE. class 230 en route to Lakki Marwat from Mari Indus in frosty winter morning circa 1987. (Mianwali was the only district in Punjab with about 80 km of narrow gauge section, which was closed in 1992.)
  • Kalabagh Dam is located about 40 km north of Mianwali city. The proposed dam site is located between beautiful mountains narrowing down on the River Indus at an ancient town known as Kalabagh.
  • Chahshma Barrage and Lake is located south of Mianwali city and is a beautiful lake.
  • Jinnah Barrage
  • Namal Lake: Namal or (Nammal) lake is a place of interest located at the foot of Namal mountain near Musakhel, Punjab and Chakrala. It is a beautiful scenic place frequented by hikers and holiday-makers. In 2008, Namal College was established by Namal Lake at the base of the Salt Range.
  • Thal Desert: It is a large area which is mostly desert and semi-arid. It is located between the Jhelum and Indus river (The Sindh-Saagar Doab). The boundaries of the old district established in 1901 included almost 70% of this great area, but after the separation of Layyah and then Bhakkar Tehsils, only about 20% remains in this district. First deputy commissioner A J O'Brien wrote in his memoirs: "In 1901 the District of Mianwali was formed out of the two Punjab halves of two older districts, and I had the good fortune to be put in charge. It was a lonely District with, as my Assistant Mr. Bolster called it, 'three white men in a wilderness of sand'."[6]
  • River Indus
  • Kalabagh Old Town
  • Ruins at Mari Indus and Mari City: At Mari in the Mianwali Tehsil, there is a picturesque Hindu ruin, crowning the gypsum hill, locally called Maniot (from Manikot, meaning fort of jewels), on which the Kalabagh diamonds are found. The ruins themselves must once have been extensive. It appears that the very top of the hill was built over with a large palace or fort.
  • Architectural objects and remains: In the southern part of the district the general absence of antiquarian remains tends to prove that it can never have been the site of a rich and populous government. In the Kachhi tract, of course, such remains could not survive the action of river floods, and this tract must, at one time, have been much wider than it is now. The Thal, however, is admirably suited for the preservation of antiquarian relics, had any such ever existed, but there are none that date from earlier than the fourteenth century.
  • Ruins of Sirkapp Fort: Overlooking the village site of Namal in the Khudri is a ridge of great natural strength, cut off on three sides by hill torrents. On the top of this ridge there are extensive ruins of what is said to have been the stronghold of Sirkapp, Raja of the country, who was a contemporary of Raja Risalu of Sialkot, by whom he was vanquished. The outer wall of the fort still exists in part in a dilapidated condition, but the enclosure, which must once have contained accommodation for a fairly large garrison, is now one mass of fallen houses and piles of hewn or chiselled stones. The series of lifts, made for carrying water from the bed of the stream to the top of the hill, have left their marks.
  • Other antiquities: The above, together with two sentry-box like buildings, supposed to be dolmens, midway between Namal and Sakesar, and several massive looking tombs, constructed of large blocks of dressed stones in the Salt Range, comprise all the antiquities above ground in the district. No doubt many remain concealed beneath the surface. The encroachments of the Indus and even of the Kurram near Isakhel often expose portions of ancient masonry arches and wells. The only other antiquity worth mentioning is a monster baoli at Wanbhachran, said to have been built by order of Sher Shah Suri. It is well preserved and similar to those in Shahpur District.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Gazzeter of the Mianwali district 1915" by Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, Pakistan
  • "Tareekh-e-Niazi Qabail"
  • "Tareekh-e-Alvi Awan"
  • "Wichara Watan" By Harish Chander Nakra, New Delhi, India
  • "Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan" by Major Henry George Raverty, Indus Publications, Karachi, Pakistan.

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 32°00′N 71°30′E / 32.000°N 71.500°E / 32.000; 71.500