Hazara, Pakistan

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Hazara Division
Map of Hazara Division
Map of Hazara Division
Country Pakistan
Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
 • CommissionerN/A

Hazara Division is an administrative division of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located along the Indus River and comprises eight districts: Abbottabad, Mansehra, Haripur, Battagram, Upper Kohistan, Kolai-Palas, Lower Kohistan, and Torghar.

The population is multiethnic and multilingual. The main ethnic groups consist of Hindko-speaking people in Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra districts. Battagram and Torghar are predominantly Pashto speaking, while people in Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas speak different languages, including Shina and Kohistani.[1]

In December 2021, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan, approved the creation of a new Abaseen Division, which will include five districts of Hazara (Battagram, Torghar, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas) and one district of Malakand (Shangla).[2][3] After the creation of the new Abaseen Division, only the districts of Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra would be part of the Hazara Division.[4]



Evidence from the seventh-century Chinese traveller Xuanzang,[5] in combination with much earlier evidence from the Hindu Itihasa the Mahabharata,[6] attests that Poonch and Hazara District of Kashmir had formed parts of the ancient state of Kamboja, whose rulers followed a republican form of government.[7]

Ancient History[edit]

Greek Invasion[edit]

Amb and its surrounding areas of Hazara have a long history which can be traced to Alexander the Great's invasion of India. Alexander the Great, after conquering parts of the Northern Punjab, established his rule over a large part of Hazara. In 327 B.C., Alexander handed the area over to Abisaras (Αβισαρης), the raja of Poonch state. Arrian, Alexander's historian, did not indicate the exact location of Embolina, but since it is known that Aoronos was on the right bank of the River Indus, the town chosen to serve as Alexander's base of supplies may with good reason be also looked for there. The mention in Ptolemy's Geography of Embolima as a town of Indo-Scythia situated on the Indus supports this theory.

Mauryan Empire[edit]

Hazara remained a part of the Taxila administration during the rule of the Maurya dynasty. Ashoka was the governor of the area when he was a prince. After the death of his father Bindusara around 272 B.C., Ashoka inherited the throne and ruled this area as well as Gandhara. Today, the Edicts of Ashoka inscribed[8] on three large boulders near Bareri Hill serve as evidence of his rule there. The Mansehra rocks record fourteen of Ashoka's edicts, presenting aspects of the emperor's dharma or righteous law, and represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to middle of the third century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script.[9]

Hazara has several places of significance for the Hindus related to the Pandavas:

'There are the five Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharat favourite objects of worship in the east and sometimes addressed as the Panj Pir. Many are the legends current about these heroes and they are localised at quite a number of places. The Hill of Mokshpuri, just above Dunga Gali has an elevation of 9232 feet. Its name means 'the hill of salvation' and on its summit is a Panduan da Sthan, or place of the Pandavas, where it is said they were visited and tempted by Apsaras who still frequent the place.[10]

In the 2nd century CE, a mythical king Raja Risalu, son of Raja Salbahan of Sialkot, supposedly brought the area under his control. The local people consider him as a popular folk hero. When a Chinese pilgrim, Hiun-Tsang, visited this area, it was under the control of Raja Durlabhavardhana, the ruler of Kashmir.

Medieval History[edit]

Hindu Shahi Empire[edit]

The Shahi dynasties ruled Hazara one after another. Among the Hindu Shahi dynasty rulers, Raja Jayapala is the best known. Mehmood of Ghazni defeated Raja Jayapala during his first campaign. However, there is no historical evidence that Mehmood of Ghazni ever visited or passed through Mansehra. After the fall of the Shahi dynasty, in the 11th century, the Kashmiris took control of the area under the leadership of Kalashan (1063 to 1089). From 1112 to 1120, King Susala ruled the area. In the 12th century, Asalat Khan captured this area but soon after Mohammad of Ghor's death the Kashmiris once again regained control of Hazara.

Timurid Empire[edit]

Akbar as a boy around 1557

In 1399, the Turco-Mongol Muslim warrior Timur, on his return to Kabul, stationed his Turkic soldiers (who belonged to a sub-tribe of Turks, called Karlugh Turks) in Hazara to protect the important route between Kabul and Kashmir. By 1472, Prince Shahab-ud-Din came from Kabul and established his rule over the region.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Turkic rule came to an end due to the increased aggression of the Swatis and their allied forces. The most crucial attack was that of the Swatis in collusion with Syed Jalal Baba in 1703. Syed Jalal Shah was the son in law of the last ruler of the Turkic dynasty of Hazara, Sultan Mehmud Khurd. Thus, Swatis ousted the Turks and captured this area during the last part of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century.[11][12]

Modern History[edit]

Durrani Empire[edit]

Hazara remained part of the Afghan Durrani Empire from the mid-18th to the early 19th centuries. The Durranis considered it wise to rule the region through the local tribal chiefs. The lower Hazara plain was a separate administrative region attached to the Chacch and Attock areas of Northern Punjab whereas most of upper Hazara was attached to the Durrani 'Subah' or governorship of Kashmir, with the exception of the Tanawal Ilaqa (Amb) or area, which paid liege homage or tribute in exchange for comparative independence. This 'Subah' or governorship was ruled by Suba Khan Tanoli during the reign of the Afghan Durrani Empire.[11][page needed]

Sikh rule[edit]

Hazara came under Sikh rule in 1820 when the region was conquered by the Sikh Empire led by Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa who was fighting under the Lahore Sikh Emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The region was captured by a Sikh force from Rawalpindi led by general Hari Singh Nalwa. Hazara was one of the most difficult places to get conquered by Hari Singh Nalwa but he eventually succeeded in capturing it. Sikh rule in Hazara was fiercely resisted by the many tribes living in the region such as the Tanolis, Karlal Karlugh Turks, Jadoons, Swatis, Tareens, Dilazaks, Mashwanis, Gujars, Awans, Maliks, Utmanzais, Sadat and Kheshgis who all played a role in fighting the Sikh administration together. Ranjodh Singh of the Majithia family was the governor (nizam) of Hazara during Sikh-rule.[13]

British Colonial Empire[edit]

After the First Anglo-Sikh War, under the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the area was governed by Major James Abbott. Abbott managed to secure and pacify the area within a year. During the Second Sikh War Abbott and his men were cut off by the Sikh army from supplies and reinforcements from the rest of the British Army, but were able to maintain their position.[14]

By 1849, the British had gained control of all of Hazara. However, the western Pashtun tribes were occasionally rebellious. These tribes included the Swati clans of Allai, Batagram in the Nandhiar valley, The Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes. The British sent many expeditions against these tribes to crush several uprisings between 1852 and the 1920s.

The British divided Hazara District into three Tehsils (administrative subdivisions): Mansehra, Abbottabad, and Haripur and annexed it to the Punjab. In 1901, when the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) was formed, Hazara was separated from Punjab and made a part of NWFP.

Hazara Muslim League[edit]

From the early 1930s onwards, the people of Hazara gradually became active in the freedom movement for an independent Pakistan under the active leadership of renowned All India Muslim League leaders such as Abdul Majid Khan Tarin of Talokar (1877–1939), an early member of the (then) Frontier Legislative Assembly, and others. Even before the All-India Muslim League, started its movement for Pakistan in 1937, after the historic Lucknow Session of October that year, the Hazara Muslim League was properly formed and convened at the residence of Noor-Ud-Din Qureshi in Abbottabad in 1936. In this meeting, the leaders of the All-India Muslim League, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hamid Badayuni, and others came from India. The local people joined the movement in large numbers. In the 1939 elections for the Hazara Muslim League, Khan Jalaluddin Khan was elected as the President of the Hazara Muslim League. During the final phase of the movement for the creation of Pakistan, Captain Sardar Zain Muhammad Khan, OBI, and Khan Jalaluddin Khan Jalal Baba defeated their Congress rivals in the elections of 1946 from their respective rural and urban Constituencies and politically routed the All India Congress from the region. In the Delhi Convention of Muslim League parliamentarians chaired by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which finally voted for the division of India and the creation of Pakistan, Capt. Sardar Zain Muhammad Khan represented Hazara. These Muslim League Leaders were also able to mobilize the people of this area in favor of the referendum for the creation of Pakistan.

Sometime before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Nawab Muhammad Farid Khan Tanoli (KBE) of Amb State also developed good relations with Jinnah and Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan as a politic move. His correspondence and letters to and from Jinnah are available in Pakistan's archival records.[15][16]


During British rule, the region of Hazara had formed part of Punjab province, until the western parts of that province were separated to form the new NWFP. The areas around Abbottabad and Mansehra became the Hazara District of Peshawar Division, whilst areas to the north of this became the Hazara Tribal Agency. Sandwiched between Hazara Tribal Agency and Hazara District were the small princely states of Amb and Phulra. This system of administration continued until 1950, when these two small states were incorporated into the Hazara district.

In this picture seated (left to right): Sahibzada Mohammad Khurshid (first Pakistani Governor of the NWFP), Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan (Liāqat Alī Khān) (Urdu: لیاقت علی خان) listen (help·info) (2 October 1896 – 16 October 1951) the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawab Sir Muhammad Farid Khan Tanoli (Nawab of Amb) and Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan (wife of Liaquat Ali Khan). Darband, Amb State, 1949.

From 1955 to 1970, NWFP province became part of West Pakistan under the One Unit policy, with the Hazara district forming part of the Peshawar Division of West Pakistan.

On the dissolution of West Pakistan in 1970, Hazara District and the two tribal agencies were merged to form the new Hazara Division with its capital at Abbottabad. The division was initially composed of two districts (Abbottabad, and Mansehra) but within a few years, Haripur district was spun off from Abbottabad District and Batagram District was spun off from Mansehra District.

Hazara remained a district until its conversion into a division in 1976. In October 1976, Mansehra was given the status of a full-fledged district, which consisted of Mansehra and Batagram tehsils. Subsequently, in July 1991, Haripur Tehsil was separated from Abbottabad and made into a district. Thus only the old Tehsil of Abbottabad remained, which was declared as Abbottabad District.

In 2000, administrative divisions were abolished and the fourth-tier districts were raised to become the new third tier of government in Pakistan.

Eventually, with all the administrative divisions being restored back in 2008, Hazara Division has returned.


Hazara Division contains the following districts:[17]

Geography and climate[edit]

Tilla Charouni is on the border between Hazara and Islamabad capital territory

Hazara is bounded on the north and east by Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. To the south are the Islamabad Capital Territory and the province of Punjab, whilst to the west lies the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The river Indus runs through the division in a north–south line, forming much of the western border of the division. The total area of Hazara is 18,013 km2.

Because it lies immediately south of the main Himalayan range, and is exposed to moist winds from the Arabian Sea, Hazara is the wettest part of Pakistan. At Abbottabad, annual rainfall averages around 1,200 millimetres (47 in) but has been as high as 1,800 millimetres (71 in), whilst in parts of Mansehra District such as Balakot the mean annual rainfall is as high as 1,750 millimetres (69 in). Due to its location on the boundary between the monsoonal summer rainfall regime of East Asia and the winter-dominant Mediterranean climate of West Asia, Hazara has an unusual bimodal rainfall regime, with one peak in February or March associated with frontal southwest cloud bands and another monsoonal peak in July and August. The driest months are October to December, though in the wettest parts even these months average around 40 millimetres (1.6 in).

Due to the high altitude, temperatures in Hazara are cooler than on the plains, though Abbottabad at 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) still has maxima around 32 °C (90 °F) with high humidity in June and July. Further up, temperatures are cooler, often cooler than the Northern Areas valleys due to the cloudiness. In winter, temperatures are cold, with minima in January around 0 °C (32 °F) and much lower in the high mountains.

Hazara lies close to the crossroads formed by the river Indus and the Grand Trunk Road. The Karakoram Highway begins at the town of Havelian and goes north through the division towards China via the Northern Areas.


Some districts of Hazara have received high scores in education in Alif Ailaan's 2017 rankings: Haripur District was ranked first in Pakistan, while Abbottabad and Mansehra were in the top three for the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[18]

Movement for Hazara Province[edit]

A movement founded in 1987 by the late Malik Asif Advocate named "Hazara Qaumi Mahaz" (HQM) demands for separate Hazara Province. People of Saraiki areas in South Punjab also raised the voice for separate province by disgraced former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani similar to Hazarewal people.[19]

In April 2010, it was announced that through an amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, the name of NWFP would be changed to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leading to protests across the Hazara region under the leadership of late Baba Haider Zaman.[20] The announcement of the new name also led to calls from Hazara for a new separate province.[19] Ten persons died, and nearly two hundred were hurt during the rallies and protest all over Hazara region against NWFP and creation of new province Hazara in April, 2010 and a complete wheel-jam and shutter-down strike was again observed in the Hazara on 2 May 2010, in support of this demand. Large public meetings in this regard, as well as public protests, have been regularly organised by the HQM (Hazara Quami Mahaz Pakistan) and 'Tehreek I Hazara' movement, since; but the name of the NWF Province has been duly changed to 'Khyber Pakhtunkwha' and is a 'fait accompli'. The leadership of the Hazara movement, however, have vowed to continue their struggle until the achievement of their aims via peaceful and constitutional means.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly here on 21 March 2014 passed a resolution demanding the creation of the Hazara province.[21]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Four years on, the voice of Hazara 'martyrs' still resonates". The Express Tribune. 2014-04-12. The population is multiethnic and multilingual. The main ethnic groups consist of Hindko-speaking people, which are in majority, and Pukhtuns. Battagram and Torghar are predominantly Pashto speaking districts while people in Kohistan speak different languages, including Shina and Kohistani.
  2. ^ Correspondent, The Newspaper's (2021-12-03). "Abaseen division to be set up in Hazara, announces CM". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  3. ^ "KP CM announces establishment of new administrative 'Abaseen' division". Daily Times. 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  4. ^ "CM to decide location of new Abaseen division HQ". The Express Tribune. 2022-02-26.
  5. ^ Watters, Yuan Chawang, Vol I, p 284.
  6. ^ MBH 7.4.5; 7/91/39-40.
  7. ^ See refs: Mahabharata 7/91/39-40; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133, 218/220, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; History of India – 1944, P 94; Narendra Krishna Sinha, Anil Chandra Banerjee; Chilas: The City of Nanga Parvat (Dyamar) – 1983, Page 120, Ahmad Hasan Dani; Indological Studies – 1950, P 18, Dr B. C. Law; A Companion to Middle Indo-Aryan Literature – 1977, P 168, Suresh Chandra Banerji; A Companion to Sanskrit Literature: spanning a period of over three thousand years, containing... – 1971, P 486, Sures Chandra Banerji; Asoka – P 31, Dr R. G. Bhandarkar; J.N. Banerjea Volume: A Collection of Articles by His Friends and Pupils, 1960, p 18, University of Calcutta. Dept. of Ancient Indian History and Culture. Alumni Association.
  8. ^ "The Hazara Point – History of Hazara". thehazarapoint.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  9. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Mansehra Rock Edicts". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  10. ^ A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West provinces, compiled by H A Rose, v. I p. 120
  11. ^ a b Hazara Gazetteer 1883–84
  12. ^ Tareekh e Hazara
  13. ^ "Ranjodh Singh Majithia". The Sikh Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  14. ^ Charles Allen, Soldier-Sahibs: The Men who made the North-West Frontier, London: Abacus, 2001. pp. 193–195. ISBN 0-349-11456-0
  15. ^ Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers: First Series, Volume III: On the Threshold of Pakistan, July 1–25, 1947 By Mahomed Ali Jinnah, Series Editor, Prof Dr Z. H. Zaidi Edition: illustrated Published by Oxford University Press, 1997 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized 29 Aug 2008 ISBN 978-969-8156-07-7 1120 pages
  16. ^ Frontier of faith: Islam in the Indo-Afghan borderland By Sana Haroon Edition: illustrated Published by Columbia University Press, 2008 ISBN 978-0-231-70013-9 254 pages In 1947 the Nawab of Amb, Mohammad Farid Khan, acceded to Pakistan by signing the Instrument of Accession of his State, in favour of Pakistan
  17. ^ Divisions/Districts of Pakistan Archived 2006-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
    Note: Although divisions as an administrative structure has been abolished, the election commission of Pakistan still groups districts under the division names
  18. ^ "District Ranking". Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  19. ^ a b "The News International: Latest News Breaking, Pakistan News". www.thenews.com.pk.
  20. ^ "Protest in Hazara continues over renaming of NWFP". Archived from the original on December 9, 2011.
  21. ^ "KP Assembly adopts resolution to create Hazara province". DAWN.COM. March 21, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°50′N 73°14′E / 34.833°N 73.233°E / 34.833; 73.233