Baffa

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This article is about the town in Pakistan. For the town in Cyprus, see Paphos.

Coordinates: 34°26′24″N 73°13′15″E / 34.44000°N 73.22083°E / 34.44000; 73.22083

Along the Siran River in Baffa

Baffa is a town and Union Council of Mansehra Tehsil in the Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa province of Pakistan.[1] It lies to the north of the district capital, Mansehra.[2]

History[edit]

Baffa may date back to Sikh rule or earlier.[3] Baffa was given the status of a municipality in 1873 during British rule. It was a principal market town in Northern Hazara and of the neighbouring independent tracts.

The population in 1901 was 7,029. A vernacular middle school was maintained by the municipality and the District board. Baffa remained the educational hub for Pakkhal valley, Konsh valley and Siran Valley because of accommodation facility (hostel) with Government Higher Secondary School Baffa. At that time this was only high school for these three big valleys i.e. Pakkhal, Konsh and Siran. Municipal Committee Mansehra took credits from Municipal Committee Baffa to fulfill it's expenditures because Municipal Committee Baffa's income and revenue was more than Mansehra's.[4]

Location[edit]

Baffa is situated in the Pakkhal valley of Mansehra District. The town is located on the right bank of the Siran river in the northern corner of the Pakkhli plain. Traveling via the Karakorum Highway, Baffa is 13 kilometres north-west of the district capital, Mansehra.

It is the headquarters of the historical “Pakkhal Valley”, also known as "Pakkhal Plain". This valley is the last biggest plain area between Pakistan and China. The Deosai National Park is the biggest plain on the Pak-China Himalayan frontier, covering an area of 3000 km². Beyond Pakkhal Valley is the continuous chain of the world highest mountains, the Himalayas.

Baffa is the resting place of Mulana Ghous Hazarvi and historically the rally point of the Turks who had established their main cantonment at the village of Guli Bagh.

The major tourist attractions are Nanga Baba shrine located at the top of a hillock overlooking the Pakhal Maidan (plain), Khar Maidan, Guli Bagh and Mount Tingalai. The scenery is beautiful due to the Baffa's river, lush green trees and the surrounding mountains covered with snow.[5]

A number of crops are harvested, including paddy rice and vegetables, especially tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Fine quality Virginia tobacco is grown here which has a major impact in improving local economic conditions. A bridge constructed by the British government in 1935 links the small town Inayat Abad to Baffa. In 2002, floods damaged it badly; however, it has now been reconstructed.

Religion[edit]

Nearly the whole population is of the Sunni Muslim sect, with exception of a family or two, who are of the Shia sect. The people of Baffa are mostly religious, moderate, and give great respect to religious customs and culture. There are many notable Ulamas in the town who are recognized nationwide.[5]

Demography[edit]

The tribes of the town are mostly the Swatis, Awans, Gujjars, and a few Turks[citation needed]. The total population of the town is about one million[citation needed].

Education[edit]

The overall literacy rate in Baffa is satisfactory, and there are several education institutions serving Baffa and the surrounding areas. The town has one government Higher Secondary School for boys and one for girls. Recently a Graduate level college for girls was established. There are also privately owned schools for boys and girls as well. The female literacy rate for the elderly population is now growing to satisfactory. Recently a new university, Hazara University, has been established just few kilometers away from Baffa. Educated Baffa women are mostly engaged in teaching at government and private schools. At a time before the partition of the country Baffa remained an educational hub for people of the northern Hazara division, The Government Primary School Baffa was established in 1873, Government Middle School Baffa in 1906 and the Government Higher Secondary School of Baffa was established in 1934 before the partition. At that time, in northern part of Hazara division Baffa was the only town that had an intermediate level institution. Panorama Detail

Agriculture[edit]

Agricultural Lands of Baffa yield vegetables, wheat, maize, rice, sugarcane, and tobacco. Tobacco produced in Baffa is of superb quality. “Super Virginia” Tobacco produced in the area is considered as the second best quality tobacco in the world. Two multinational Tobacco companies, “Lacson Tobacco Company Limited” and “Pakistan Tobacco Company”, are operating in the area. Tobacco farming is very tedious as well as very risky. Farmers may earn large profits or may suffer from a huge loss. Some families find it immoral to cultivate Tobacco so they turn to vegetables. Tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables are cultivated in large numbers. The climate of Baffa is very suitable for tea farming. Research about tea production in Pakistan was first initiated by a local Farmer of U/C Baffa. There were privately owned tea farms in Baffa even in late 70s. Owner of the world leading tea company “Brook Bond” Mr. David Brooks visited Baffa in early 80s and admire the research work of the local farmer on tea production. Government of Pakistan established Pakistan’s first tea research centre “National Tea Research Institute (NTRI)” in Baffa later on it was shifted to a neighboring village. Pakistan's first tea plant was planted at Baffa. Baffa is the agricultural hub and is leading town of the district producing different crops and vegetables. The Agricultural Extension department and Agricultural Research System department both are established in the town.

Development[edit]

Little development has occurred in the last two decades, which may be considered unusual for a town of Baffa's size. For example, despite being a top quality cultivator of tobacco[citation needed], Baffa does not have high quality tobacco leaf roasting facilities using natural gas. Baffa was also affected by the October 2005 earthquake, although not as much as the surrounding areas, and as such has not received the same level of development investments.

Electricity projects were started in the mid 1950s. The telecommunication sector of Pakistan, PTCL, started its services in mid 70's. There is one public hospital in Baffa. Given the stability and weather conditions of Baffa, there is potential for further tourism investment.[citation needed] Local commerce is carried out in the city centre specially Adnan Plaza which provides one of the best single stop commercial center available within a radius of 12 km2.

Sports[edit]

Different sports activities carried in Baffa Town include football, volleyball, swimming and cricket. Every year a number of tournaments are held at the Boys High school ground Baffa.The most popular game is cricket.

References[edit]

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