Batkhela

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Coordinates: 34°37′N 71°58′E / 34.62°N 71.97°E / 34.62; 71.97

Batkhela
بټ خيله
City
Tahsil Batkhela (Malakand District)
Location of Malakand District (highlighted in yellow) within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.
Location of Malakand District (highlighted in yellow) within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.
Country  Pakistan
Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
District Malakand
Capital/Tehsil Batkhela
Established March 1895 (British)
Government
 • Type Tehsil, City
 • Governing body Union Council (3 Seats)
 • Tehsil Nazim Mulana Naeem (JUI)
 • District Member Lower Batkhela Amjad Ali (JI)
 • Middle Batkhela Nasir Khan (PTI)
 • Upper Batkhela Saddam Hussain (Independent)
Area
 • City 1,001 km2 (386 sq mi)
Population (1998 est.)
 • Urban 38 222
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Website nwfp.gov.pk

Batkhela (Pashto: بټ خيله‎, Urdu: بٹ خیلہ‎) is the main tehsil, city and capital of Malakand District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. According to the 1998 census, the population of Batkhela is 38,222,[1] and it is estimated to be 39,703 according to the World Gazetteer.[2] Batkhela is a popular business city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. One water canal that pours into a small dam in Jaban area is main source of electricity production.

Batkhela General Civil Headquarters Hospital is main hospital of the district Malakand. Batkhela main bazaar is more than 2 kilometres long; there are no intersections (junctions) so no traffic lights. Therefore, it is the longest bazaar in Pakistan also in Asia that has no traffic lights or junctions (intersections) on it.[3][4]

History[edit]

Etymology[edit]

During the Ashoka and Kanishka Empires Batkhela was ruled by a leader named Butt hence city has given the name Batkhela.

Batkhela water canal
District Headquarters Hospital Batkhela OPD
District Headquarters Hospital Batkhela Casualty

Early History[edit]

Batkhela Rural side

When Mahmud of Ghazni (997-1030) was attacking India against the Hindus, during this time one of his army leader Pir Khushal assailed Batkhela, during the course of this assault most of his soldiers were sunk in big marsh at a place called Ghelai in Batkhela. However, soldiers of his army that survived have preferred to stay in this region. They have not only changed the culture and customs of the local inhabitants but also exert a strong influence on them to make them convert to the religion of Islam.

Amandara Head Works (water flow on floor)

Early in the 17th century an Afghan tribe Yusufzai (Yusufzai Pathan) invaded Swat region [5] under the leadership of Malik Ahmad Khan, during this period Batkhela was part of Swat valley. At the time Swat was ruled by a ruler named Raees and Swati tribe was permanent inhabitant here. After the invasion most of Swati tribe’s men quit this area and escaped to Hazara region. It gives Yusufzai an opportunity to settle here permanently and they declared Thana region (currently part of Batkhela tehsil) is their administrative headquarters.

In the beginning three family classes of Yusufzai tribe were settled in Batkhela (Husain Khel, Ibrahim Khel and Nazrali Khel).

In March 1895 the British Empire invaded this region including Batkhela. Malak Mir Azam Khan of Ibrahim Khel was leading the army of Batkhela. A new political agency for Dir, Swat and Chitral was established.[6] The first officer to be placed in charge of the new Malakand Agency was Major Harold Arthur Deane(1854–1908),[7][8][9][10][11] later on 9 November 1901 Lieutenant Colonel Sir Harold Arthur Deane also became the first Chief Commissioner on the formation of the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).[8][10][11][12][13] Whose dexterous dialogue had been influential in obtaining the release of Lieutenants S.M. Edwardes and J.S. Fowler after both had been perfidiously captured by Mahomed Isa at Reshun, Chitral.[6] Even people are unaware of his contributions to this region however the popular Deane’s Hotel (Now Deane’s Plaza) in Peshawar always brings his name to mind.[11]

Amandara Head Works (Batkhela Water Canal Bridge)

This year when Batkhela was stormed by the 45th Sikhs after a fierce resistance Lieut.-Colonel McRae was the very first British army personnel to enter Batkhela.[14] Before 1895 Batkhela was invaded by different outsiders including Khan of Dir Rahmatullah Khan in 1869 and Wali-i-Dir/Nawab Muhammad Umara Khan as well as Swatis. On capturing Malakand Agency British army have decided to prevent this area permanently from these outside aggressions. The British rulers declare this area as ‘Malakand Protected Area’ (same as present) and so they prepared a police force called Malakand Levies.

Between 1895 and 1912 British made huge impact on developmental works and infrastructure. Many main contributions are still telling the story of their successful governance. They build roads (Batkhela to Chakdara), raised Chakdara and Malakand Ports, set up Levies posts all over Malakand Agency, dug Upper Swat Canal and The Benton Tunnel (locally known as Tandail) and construct Headwork’s scheme at Batkhela, Churchill Picket and Jabban Power House. The most important of all is the Amandara (part of Batkhela) Irrigation Scheme (bridges) which were designed and built by British firm Ransomes & Rapier, Ltd. Makers of Ipswich in 1912, which is still irrigating a vast land of Sama Tehsil, Mardan and Sawabi Districts and Chakdara area.

The British was ruling this area till the independence of Pakistan 14 August 1947. All matters of the Tribal system was settled through ‘Jirga System’. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) system or status was established in 1974 here. Furthermore, regular laws prevailing and the settle laws of district were also extended. Under the FCR Political Agent exercised his powers as a supreme authority while regular courts were established (Civil & Crime courts) after the year 1974.

Governance[edit]

Police in district Malakand are known as Levies and their head or commandant is District Coordination Officer (DCO). Current Tehsil Nazim of Batkhela is col ibrar [ANP]

Geography[edit]

Batkhela is green city and Swat River is flowing in the middle of the city alongside N45. Batkhela is covered by tall hills from all sides and the most of famous peak of them is named ‘Barcharai’.

Batkhela water canal alongside the main G.T. road (N45)

Division[edit]

Politically Batkhela is divided into three union councils e.g. Upper, middle and lower Batkhela.

Demography[edit]

At the time of the Pakistan Census 1998, according to the World Gazetteer, Batkhela had a total resident population of 39,703.[2] Data on religious beliefs across the town in the 1998 census show that 100% declared themselves to be Muslim.[citation needed]

Batkhela Water Canal alongside N45

People and Culture[edit]

More than 95% of Batkhela residents are Pakhto speaking Pashtuns, who are the indigenous inhabitants of the region, who follow the Pashtun code of conduct Pukhtunwali in its modern form.

Education[edit]

A primary school was opened in Batkhela in 1915 by British while High school was opened in Thana (part of Batkhela tehsil) in 1935. Presently one degree college for boys, One degree college for women, two secondary schools for boys and one High Secondary School for girls are functioning. All the schools and colleges are affiliated with BISE Malakand.

Media[edit]

District Press Club Malakand at Batkhela has been functional since 1988 in a rented building while reporters attached with national, regional and local Print and Elictranic media organizations have been performing their duties with devotion and sincerity. At the time the Press Club chairman Ran Nawaz Saghir works for Daily Express, Express News TV channel; General secretary Gohar Ali Gohar works for Daily Dawn, Daily Mashriq and Daily Nawa I Waqt; vice chairman Mohammad Rasool Rasa works for Daily Khabrain; joint secretary Tahir Khan for Jang, The News, Geo Tv; Imran Zaryab for Samaa TV, Mashriq TV and Daily Ummat, Haji Gul for Aaj, Ihsan Sagar for Ausaf, the patron in chief Juma Rehman Daily Shamal , Hussain Khan for Aeen, Rafiullah Pardisi AAJ Tv and Camera man Iqbal Jan works for different channels. thumb The former minister for information Mian Iftikhar Hussain and minister for finance Engineer Humayun Khan had approved funds for a well equipped press club building at Batkhela during their term. The remaining funds were approved by the sitting PTI lawmaker Shakil Khan. The construction work on the building has completed now. Soon it will be inaugurated making work of local journalists easier. The first ever ‘Monthly’ the Hidayat Nama was started by late Muhammad Islam Ajmali who has been regarded as founder of journalism in the area. Later on Mr Amjad Ali Khan started his monthly “Tasht” from Batkhela that was closed after a few years. The Monthly ‘Nazar’ of Gohar Ali Gohar also closed after two years of circulation. Rab Nawaz Saghir started his ‘Akas’ that closed too. Mr Ihsan ur Rehman Sagar started a monthly ‘Adrash’ which has been the first ever declared newspaper from the area. It was made a weekly sometime later and now a daily newspaper. A monthly ‘Nai Dunia’ is being published by Imran Zaryab from Batkhela and a weekly ‘Manend’ is also published by Wajid Ali at the moment. Apart from Batkhela, the Dargai Press Club is also functional and Zahir Shah has been its head for years. Similarly Junaid Iqbal also heads another press club at Thana . ( Edit; by Gohar Ali Gohar)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.citypopulation.de/Pakistan-20T.html
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  3. ^ Malakand District: socio-political profile = Pattan Development Organization. Islamabad. 2006. LCCN 2007379799. 
  4. ^ Mohammad Nawaz Khan (1995). Malakand: A journey through history. Gandhara Markaz. p. 12. ASIN B0006FBFNK. 
  5. ^ Horace Arthur Rose; Sir Denzil Ibbetson & Sir Edward Douglas Maclagan (2006). Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province. Asian Educational Services,India. p. 125. ISBN 8120605055. 
  6. ^ a b Donald Sydney Richards (2002). Pakistan The Savage Frontier: A History of the Anglo-Afghan Wars. Pan Books. p. 128. ISBN 0330420526. 
  7. ^ Rizwan Hussain (2005). Pakistan and the Emergence of Islamic Militancy in Afghanistan. Ashgate. p. 36. ISBN 0754644340. 
  8. ^ a b Bankey Bihari Misra (1991). The Unification and Division of India. OUP India. p. 128. ISBN 019562615X. 
  9. ^ Charles Miller (1977). KHYBER British India's North West Frontier The Story of an Imperial Migraine. McDonald and James. p. 287. ISBN 0025848607. 
  10. ^ a b Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe (1976). The Pathans: 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957. OUP Pakistan. p. 386. ISBN 0195772210. 
  11. ^ a b c Victoria Schofield (2003). Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 145. ISBN 1860648959. 
  12. ^ Roger Edward Francis Guilford North (1946). The literature of the North-West Frontier of India: A select bibliography. the University of California. p. 08. OCLC 3131354. 
  13. ^ John F. Riddick (2006). The History of British India: A Chronology. Praeger Publishers Inc. p. 87. ISBN 0313322805. 
  14. ^ Winston Churchill (2007). The Story of The Malakand Field Force. Standard Publications, Inc. p. 60. ISBN 1604245484.