Lower Dir District

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lower Dir)
Jump to: navigation, search
Lower Dir District
ضلع دیر
 * – Lower Dir district * – other districts of Pakhtunkhwa * – districts of other provinces of Pakistan

  •  Lower Dir district
  •  other districts of Pakhtunkhwa
  •  districts of other provinces of Pakistan
Country Pakistan
Province Pakhtunkhwa
Religion Islam
Headquarters Timergara
 • Total 1,582 km2 (611 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 1,544,000
 • Density 980/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone PST
Website khyberpakhtunkhwa.gov.pk

Lower Dir (Pashto: لر دیر‎ ,Urdu: دیر زیریں‎) is one of the 26[1] districts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The district was formed in 1996, when the district of Dir was divided into Upper Dir and Lower Dir. Timergara city is the district headquarters and largest city. It mainly comprises the terrain drained by the Panjkora river and its affluents. Dir takes its name from the name of a village, Dir, which served as capital of the state during the Nawabs era Dir (princely state). It has District Swat in the East, Afghanistan on the West, Upper Dir on North-West and Malakand on the south. Pashto is the main spoken language of the population, followed by Kohistani and Gujri.

Etymology and History[edit]

Timergara ,the District capital of Lower Dir
Lower Dir

Dir derives its name from an Arabic word that means place of worship, monastery/convent where one can live in seclusion from others.[2] The history of Dir goes back to at least the 2"d millennium BC, which is testified by the excavations of numerous burials of Aryans at Timargarha and other places, dating from 18th to 6th century BC. The Aryans were followed by the Achaemenians, who were ousted by the invasion of Alexander in 327 BC, though he faced great difficulties in subjugating the local population. Greek historians have paid great tributes to the population, the army and the queen of Massaga, an ancient site near the modern Ziarat village, located between Chakdara and Timargarha. After the Greeks, the area witnessed the Gandharan Civilization, which achieved great fame. This period is signified by the presence of the monumental remains of the Buddhist stupas and monasteries, a few of which has already filled the museum at Chakdara.

The Yousafzai Pathans, who established themselves here in the 15th century AD, are responsible for the tribal, social, political and economic life of the region. Akhund lIyas Painda Khel of the Malaizi tribe (1640) enjoyed popular support among locals and was recognized as a spiritual leader. His descendants built upon this support and ultimately increased their power over the people and laid the foundation of a distinct political state, then called the state of Nawabs. The British annexed Dir in 1897 and demarcated its boundaries. After independence of Pakistan, it still enjoyed the status of a separate state, but was amalgamated with Pakistan in 1960 as a tribal agency. It was finally merged as a district with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 1969. Recently, due to administrative constraints, Dir District was divided into two districts-Lower and Upper Dir- with Timargarha and Dir as their respective headquarters.

Dir occupied an important position as a centre of Gandhara Art. Pilgrims and historians have defined Gandhara, (the land of fragrance and beauty), as "the area to the west of Indus and north of Kabul rivers which included the valleys of Peshawar, Swat, Dir and Bajaur, extending westwards to Hadda and Bamiyan in Afghanistan and Taxila Valley in Punjab in the east". The region of Dir is therefore littered with the remains of the Gandharan Civilization and Dir Museum, Chakdara, offers a fine and unique collection of Gandharan Art.

Adenzai has been assigned a special status as a unit of Dir (Lower) ever since the first Nawab. It comprises Babu Khel on the Eastern side, Talash on the Western and Brangola-Khadakadzai on the South Western end. Chakdara bridge or Swat river is the limit of its Southern frontier.Some important historical facts about Adenzai are worth mentioning. There is a dividing mountain between Dir and Swat on the Eastern end of Adenzai. A natural cut in the hill is called Babar Ghakhai. The latter word (Ghakhai) in the local dialect means a cut. It is named after Babar the first Moghul Emperor, who crossed over from Adenzai to Swat via this dent in the mountain.

Alexander the Great came to Adenzai area from Bajaur and en route faced a stiff resistance in Talash. During a skirmish, an arrow pierced through his heel and he was confined to bed for some time. The local ruler then was a woman and it so happened that a patch up was negotiated between the two opposing heads and strangely enough it culminated into a conjugal life as a result of such neogiation.

River Panjkora[edit]

The Panjkora River (Sanskrit) is a river in northern Pakistan. It rises rises high in the Hindu Kush mountains, flows south through Upper Dir and Lower Dir Districts and joins the Swat River near Chakdara, Malakand, khyber pakhtunkhwa. Its name is derived from the Persian for 'panj' (meaning 'five') and 'kora' (meaning 'river').

Brief history[edit]

Simon Gillet Excerpts from "Tribesmen, Politics, Opium & Development in Dir" khyber.org

Dir district is 5,280 square kilometres in area and part of the Malakand division of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, lying along the Pak-Afghan border between Chitral and Peshawar region of Pakistan. Almost all of it lies in the valley of the Panjkora which rises high in the Hindu Kush at Lat. 35.45 and joins the Swat River near Chakdarra, where the district is usually entered, at Lat. 34.40. Apart from the tehsils of Adenzai round Chakdarra and Munda in the south-west, Dir is rugged and mountainous with peaks rising to 16,000 feet in the north-east and to 10,000 ft. along the watersheds with Swat to the east and Afghanistan to the west.

The people of Dir now facing this challenge are the Yusufzai Pakhtun who arrived in the sixteenth century absorbing the existing population or driving it into the high valleys of Kohistan above the altitude at which winter crops can be grown. Even there only the Bashkar and the nomadic Gujars retain distinct languages. In the rest of Dir until well into the 20th century endemic warfare between the different Yusufzai Khel [2] favoured those who had settled in the well-watered and forested upper Panjkora valleys. There they were secure from attack and could raid the people of the plains. Each clan was fiercely independent, but the primacy of the Painda and Sultan Khel in Nihag, Usherai and Karo valleys seems to have been early recognized. It is from Kohan in upper Nihag that the Khans of Dir emerged in the 18th century to seize control of the trade routes with Chitral and Afghanistan.

Throughout the 19th century the Khans of Dir effectively controlled only upper Dir and their attempts to dominate lower Dir and even lower Swat were strongly resisted. A notable opponent was the famous Umra Khan of Jandool, a bitter enemy of British hegemony. In 1895 he intervened in the struggle for the succession to the Mehtar of Chitral and besieged the British Political Agent. After some hesitation Khan Mohammad Sharif of Dir assisted the 10,000 strong British relief force and was duly rewarded. During the withdrawal of the relief force he met the Political Agent Malakand at Janbhatai Kandao.

The resulting treaty recognized the Khan as ruler of both upper and lower Dir and also lower Swat. British protection was guaranteed provided he refrained from contact with all foreign rulers, especially with the A mir of Afghanistan.

In lieu of his right to charge tolls he received an annual subsidy of Rupees 10,000 and an additional grant of Rupees 15,000 to pay for a corps of levies to protect postal services, troop relief's and other traffic with Chitral. Further assistance was provided to build forts or levy posts between Chakdarra and Lowarai which are still in use. Finally, after a visit to the Viceroy in Calcutta Mohammad Sharif was awarded the title of' Nawab.

Mohammad Sharif proved his loyalty to the British during the Malakand rising of 1897, dying in 1904. Both he and his successors, Aurangzeb 1904-1925 and Shah Jehan 1925-1960, were however deeply reactionary autocrats opposing all forms of social and economic development and especially suspicious of any subject who sought a modern education.

The Nawabs' attitudes and policy were in marked contrast with those of the Wali of Swat, the first of whom had regained lower Swat from Dir and obtained British recognition in 1917. As a result, and to this day, Dir remains poorer, less developed, less liberal in religion and politics and less stablethan its better known neighbour.

After Partition in 1947 Nawab Shah Jehan made his three sons governors of different parts of the state; Mohammad Shah Kisro taking upper Dir, Shahabuddin Khan governing Munda and Samar Bagh in the south-west and Mohammad Shah administering Balambat and Maidan (tehsil Lalqila). In Maidan the people tired of Mohammad Shah's oppressive rule and in particular his demands for forced labour.

They broke out in revolt in 1960 killing 200 of the Nawab's men including its commander. This attracted unfavourable notice in the press and General Yahya, Field Marshal Ayub Khan's successor as Pakistan's Head of State, exiled Nawab Shah Jehan to Islamabad where he died in 1968. He was replaced by Mohammad Shah Kisro who left the business of government to the Political Agent until 1969 when he too was removed along with the Wali of Swat and other traditional rulers whose territories were then formally annexed into Pakistan.

Dir's subsequent political and administrative status has been riddled with anomalies. Designated one of the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) it was given a Deputy Commissioner and made subject to both the Penal and the Criminal Procedure Codes, while the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) continued under Political Agents and subject to the Frontier Crimes Regulations of 1901.

As part of the khyber pakhtunkhwa(NWFP), Dir also obtained representatives in the Provincial and National Assemblies elected by all adult males, whereas the FATA Agencies continued to be restricted to representatives in the National Assembly elected only by tribal elders. Finally, although the Pakistan Civil Code was also extended to Dir, no land settlement has been carried out, so title to land is determined solely by customary law.

Handicapped by these anomalies it has not been easy for the district administration to maintain law and order in the mountainous centre and north of Dir. Even in the south there have been endemic, often violent, disputes over Land between the former feudatories of the Nawabs and their tenants, which the courts have been unable to resolve.

Taliban control[edit]

In 2009 taliban had gained controlled of some areas of Lower Dir along with Swat valley. But after Operation Rah-e-Rast it was re-controlled by Government of Pakistan.

Dir Museum[edit]

The Department of Archaeology, University of Peshawar undertook a few important archaeological projects in Dir during 1966-1969 and excavated various archaeological sites. To house the collection from the area, the then State Government of Dir, constructed a museum in Chakdara. Capt. Rahatulah Khan Jaral, the then Political Agent of Dir Agency, proposed the construction of the Dir Museum and allocated a sum of Rs. 2,50,000/- for its construction. The Provincial Government afterwards allocated an additional fund of Rs. 4,90,000/- for the construction of residential quarters, boundary wall, guest house, storage and other facilities in the museum.

The museum building was designed by Mr. Saidal Khan, Consultant Architect of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Public Works Department. The designer, while designing the museum, kept the local style of arc hitecture in mind and constructed it of bare stone, called Malakandi stone, an architectural element common in the area and reflecting the strength and dynamism of the locals. The museum has a fort like appearance with a grand facade, consisting of an arched entrance, two square corner picket-towers and battlements on the parapet.

The museum remained a state museum till 1969 and when the state was merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the museum was handed over to the provincial government. The provincial government constituted a Board of Governors under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Educational and Training Ordinance 1970 to run the affairs of the museum. Lt. General Azhar Khan, the then Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa laid the foundation of the museum on 20.9.1970. Lt. General (Rtd.) Fazl-e-Haq, the then Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inaugurated the museum on 30.5.1979. The purpose of the museum is to exhibit the archaeological, Islamic and ethnological collection of the area, including sculptures, coins, jewelry and weapons etc.

Dir museum has a total collection of 2161 objects, with more than 1444 Gandharan pieces. The collection of this section includes the themes of Buddha's pre-birth and life stories, miracles, worship of symbols, relic caskets and individual standing Buddha sculptures. The most represented pre-birth stories or Jatakas are Dipankara, Maitryakanyaka, Amara, Syama and Visvantara Jatakas. The most important scenes from the Buddha Life Story includes Queen Maya's dream, interpretation of the dream, birth of Siddhartha, bath scene, seven steps, going to school, writing lessons, wrestling matches, palace life, marriage scene, renunciation, great departure, ascetic life, first meditation, demons attacks, attaining enlightenment, first sermon at Sarnath, conversion of Kasyapa, monks, death scene, cremation of Buddha, distribution and guarding of relics and the construction of stupas on the relics. The miracle of Sravasti and taming of a wild elephant are the two commonly represented miracles in the museum collection. Different types of the relic caskets, stupa models and life-size Buddha statues also make part of the collection.

The Hall of Tribes or the Ethnological Gallery of the museum was established in 1977 with 498 objects and includes manuscripts, weapons, jewelry, dresses, ceramics, musical instruments, household objects, furniture and wooden architectural elements.

The Gandharan art pieces in the Dir Museum mainly come from the sites of Andan Dheri, Chat Pat, Baghrajai, Bumbolai, Jabagai, Shalizar, Ramora, Tri Banda, Macho, Amluk Darra, Nasafa, Damkot, Bajaur and Talash, Dir, Malakand, Balambat, Timargarha, Shamlai Graves, Inayat Qila, Shah Dheri Damkot, Gumbatuna, Jandol, Matkani and Shalkandi.

The important Garidharan sites in the vicinity of Dir Museum include & Andan Dheri, Chat Pat and Gumbatuna. The museum collection is growing and after necessary up-gradation, the museum will provide better facilities to all concerned.


Languages of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The population of the Lower Dir district's 37 Union Councils is 797,852 according to the 1998 census report. The projected population of Lower Dir Is 1,037,091 in 2005 with the same growth between the 1981 and 1998 census i.e. 3.42% per annum. The projected male population of Lower Dir in 2005 is 514,072 and the female is 523,020.

The main spoken language is the Kohwari and Kohistan and Swat dialect of the Pashto also known as Yusufzai Pashto, as well as the national language, Urdu. The majority of the people follow Islam. Lower Dir has many beautiful Valleys including Maidan, Jandool, and Timergara.

Dir is considered one of the most sensitive areas in Pakistan in term of religious extremism. Religio-political parties that have taken root in Dir include JUI, JI and TNSM,Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf is now the most popular party and PML Nawaz existence is negligible. Dir was ruled by a princely dynasty until 1969. There were limited facilities for education, health, road, transportation and communication for the inhabitants.

Largest Cities or Towns of Lower Dir[edit]


Maidan valley in Lower Dir


The district is administratively subdivided into Tehsils which contain a total of 37 Union Councils:.[3] In lower dir there are two tehsils:

Tehsil Union councils
Timergara  ?
Jandool  ?

National Assembly[edit]

This district is represented by one elected MNA (Member of National Assembly) in Pakistan National Assembly. Its constituency is NA-34.[4]

Member of National Assembly Party Affiliation Year
Shahib Zada Muhammad Yaqub Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan 2013
Malak Azmat Khan Pakistan Peoples Party 2008
Abdul Ghafoor Ghawas Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal 2003
Qazi Hussain Ahmad Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal 2002

Qazi Hussain Ahmad won the general elections in 2002 but he left the seat as he had also won from his native constituency. Therefore, in January 2003 bye-elections were held.

Provincial Assembly[edit]

The district is represented by four elected MPAs in the provincial assembly who represent the following constituencies, after shifting of three union council from the Upper Dir to Lower Dir the provincial constituency of upper Dir, PF-93 now consists of UCs Khall, Toor Mang and Akha Gram of Lower Dir :[5]


The literacy ratio of the district among the population aged 10 years and above is 29.90 per cent; it has increased significantly since 1981 when it was just 10.16 per cent. The male literacy ratio is higher: 48.76 per cent compared to 12.25 per cent for females, at the 1998 census.which increase to 71.3 per cent for male and 50.9 per cent for female in 2014. Education demographics

The total gross enrollment ratio is 59.83% [Education department survey for UPE in year 2005] without including Kachi and 79.59% including Kachi class. Student teacher ratio is 43 students per teacher and there are 41 boys per male teacher and 46 girls per female teacher. According to the recent Universal Primary Education (UPE) survey, the total number of children in the age group 5-7years is 104,498 [Education Department Survey for UPE in 2005] in which 56,937 [Education Department Survey for UPE in 2005] are boys and 47,561 are girls. Due to the limited access the number of the out of school children among the age group (5-7years) are 25,169, [Education Department Survey for UPE in 2005] almost 24% children of the total (age group 5–7 years) are out of the school. In which 19% are boys and 30% are girls. These figures also include the dropped out students both boys and girls.

Universities in Lower Dir[edit]

Universities in lower Dir are:

  • University of Malakand, Chakdara[6]
  • Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University[7]
  • Abdul Wali Khan University[8]

Census of schools[edit]

There are 1,023 [Census report of District in 1998] villages in district Dir lower. There are:

827 boys primary schools [EMIS Data Dir Lower] [9] there are 827 boys schools, 405 girls primary schools, 62 girls middle schools, 90 boys middle schools,[10] many girls high schools (Badwan, Brangola, Kotigrame, Chakdara, Hajiabad, Khadagzai, Talash, Timergara,Maidan 52 boys high school 12 boys higher secondary schools (Brangola, Chakdara, Hajiabad, Talash, Timergara) 3 girls secondary school 120 private schools. 2 Boys Colleges (Gulabad, Timergara).

2 Girls Colleges (Chakdara, Timergara) 1 University ( University of Malakand at Chakdara, Established in 2001)

Beside the government primary schools, Khwendo Kor NGO is running 15 schools, Elementary Education Foundation (EEF) is running 25 schools, ILO is running 7 schools and Non Formal Basic Education (NFBE) is running 95 schools. The numbers of madrassas (religious schools) are not yet available.

Literacy rate[edit]

According to 1998 census, the adult literacy ratio of the district among the population aged 10 years and above is 29.90 Census District Dir in 1998] percent which has increased rapidly .The male literacy ratio is higher i.e. 48.76 [Census District Dir in 1998 compared to 12.25 (Census District Dir in 1998) percent for females, according to census report 1998. in 2014 it increase up to 71.3 for male and 50.9 for female. In district Dir some government and some non government organizations are working on adult literacy.

Quality measures[edit]

The term Quality Education needs clarity and no such practices are observed in the schools. The PTAs are formed in the schools according to government procedures, but these are only limited to school petty repairs and not involved in the school management.

International development programmes[edit]

In District Dir the schools and literacy department is supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) for a girls enrollment enhancement programme. They provide the edible oil to the girls enrolled in the low enrollment school. There is need of developing more partnerships among these stakeholders so that the problems of education especially in the female education are solved.

The NGO Khwendo Kor (KK) started a project on "Promotion of Girls Education in Dir" in this project KK strengthened and transformed the VECs (Village Education Committees) formed around the Community Based Girl Schools. The PRAs (Participatory Rural Appraisal) was carried out in 25 villages. Other activities running in District Dir are Women and Men Organization formation, the capacity building of the women organization and men organization was made in social activist, record keeping, PRAs, financial management etc.

KK has now initiated a project on female education in Dir. This project is the combination of some activities, like the Development of District Education Planning, reactivating, strengthening and capacity building of PTAs, EFA forum activation and strengthening, educational budget tracking and Education Facilitation Center establishment, functionalization of the middle and primary schools. KK will facilitate the PTAs to register them selves as [ [1] CCB] with district government and get extra funds from the district development budget. This project will strengthen the public private partnership in education sector. KK has already signed the MoU with School and Literacy Department for undertaking these activities.


According to the [2] EMIS] of the School and literacy department, schools have different problems like drinking water supply, boundary walls, electricity and latrines. After devolution plan improvements are still awaited and the involvement of elected representatives in the monitoring and problem solving will take time. The role of CCBs in the education and schools is not explored and it can give better results if the are engaged in the education.

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.dawn.com/news/1080683
  2. ^ http://dirbeauty.webs.com/dirlower.htm
  3. ^ Tehsils & Unions in the District of Lower Dir - Government of Pakistan
  4. ^ http://ecp.gov.pk/GE.aspx
  5. ^ Constituencies and MPAs - Website of the Provincial Assembly of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
  6. ^ http://www.uom.edu.pk/
  7. ^ http://www.sbbu.edu.pk/
  8. ^ http://awkum.edu.pk/Campuses/Timergara/Timergara_Campus.html
  9. ^ http://www.kpese.gov.pk/
  10. ^ http://www.kpese.gov.pk/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°51′N 71°51′E / 34.850°N 71.850°E / 34.850; 71.850