Muslim Bagh

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Muslim Bagh (Urdu: مسلم باغ‎) is a town of Qilla Saifullah District in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. According to Census of 1998, the population of Muslim Bagh is 70,361 (Male 37,303 and Female 33,058) and 10,188 households.

Muslim Bagh was formerly called Hindu Bagh (garden of watermelons) believed to be named after a garden of watermelons (hindwana in pashto) and Later it was named as "Muslim Bagh" by former minister of that time "MOULVI SALEH MUHAMMAD MARDANZAI". In some winters, Kan Mehtarzai and Muslim Bagh experience several feet of snow, though normal temperature is about -7 °C to 10 °C (19 °F to 50 °F).

Various tribes of Kakar and Durrani Pashtun inhabit the valley. In Kakar tribes the most famous tribes are Mardanzai,Metherzai, Sargarah, Rahatzai, Sultanzai, Khuidadzai, Panezai, Bazai, Naskhail, Taran and Samkhail. Though in touch with the outside world for a long time they have retained their age-old traditions and are proud of them. Their hospitality is well known and the coming of a guest is always considered a blessing, and the famous personalities of Muslim Bagh are Peer Muhammad Kakar (Late), Moulvi Saleh Muhammad Mardanzai (Late),Haji Muhammad Shah Mardanzai (Late), Sardar Abdul Rashid Sargarah (late),Khan Abdul Samad Khan Panezai (Late), Haji Jan Muhammad Bazai(late). while in present era the alive personalities are Sardar Asif Khan Sargarah, And famous in political side are Usman khan kakar, Muhammad Rafay Kakar, Molana Abdul Wasae, Malak Aman Ullah Khan Metherzai, Molvi Noorullah,andHaji Shamsullah rahatzai......

Railways[edit]

The section of railways, when laid during the British Raj, was called the Zhob Valley Railway (ZVR). It has been out of service since 1986 but these days all the left over track is being uprooted and sold as scrap. This was once longest Narrow-Gauge Railways of the British Raj.

During First World War, a Railway line was laid from a place called Khanai (30 km north of Quetta) to a place called Muslim Bagh. Muslim Bagh had Chrome mines, which was used in munitions of First World War. The railway line at that time was a private siding for the Balochistan Chrome Ore Company. The work started on Khanai-Muslim Bagh line in 1916 and was opened for rail traffic in 1921. In 1927, the Muslim Bagh to Qila Saifullah section was opened and finally the section up to Zhob was opened in 1929. The total length of this railway from Bostan to Zhob was 294 km, which made it the longest narrow gauge railway of the British Raj in the 1920s. It had 11 stations in between including the famous Kan Mehtarzai station which was the highest station in Pakistan at an altitude of 2224 metres (7295 feet).

For a long part of its journey, the railway followed the Zhob River and thus it was called the Zhob Valley Railway (ZVR).

Chromite[edit]

Chromite is the source of chromium used commercially and as an alloying element plays an important role in metallurgy. Balochistan is endowed with huge reserves of chromite. The first discovery was made at Muslim Bagh and Khanozai in district Kila Saifullah in 1901.[1] Muslim Bagh deposits were first discovered by Vredenburg during the same period in the course of regional reconnaissance mapping of the province. Chromite mining has not been systematic but random and totally disorganised. It is mined by both open pit and underground methods. In Muslimbagh, Ras Koh Range and Wad areas, chromite is mostly mined by open pit method. However, due to podiform nature of the chromite, underground mining is also done. Use of donkeys for hauling the ore from underground is still in practice. The haulage machinery is also used. Presently, 300 to 500 tons of chromite are being produced at Muslim Bagh and Khanozai daily. It is taken in trucks to Karachi where it is crushed and packed in bags for export to foreign countries. Price depends on chrome content. China is a big market for the Balochistan chromite. Production activity in the sector directly depends upon the export market. The Provincial Inspectorate of Mines is responsible for regulating the mining operations. Presently, a few local companies are engaged at Muslim Bagh. The sources added that during the 1970s, Pakistan Chrom Mines (PCM) project was launched in Muslim Bagh area which was closed in 1989 due to financial constraints and lack of locally available technical staff. The land for mining is allotted under the Mines Act 1923 by the Directorate of Minerals, Balochistan.

Archeology[edit]

The district has some archaeological sites mainly attributed to the Mughals. The ruins of an old fort called Mughalo Killa or "the fort of the Mughals" were found to the west of the Karezgai village, about 3¼ kilometres from Muslim Bagh, below which there is a spring of water which was reopened about 125 years ago. Fragments of ancient pottery were found in these ruins and it is said that old silver and copper coins were also found. The ruins of a fort called Khanki lie near Shina Khura about 25 kilometres east of Muslim Bagh. Local tradition asserts that the fort was held by Miro, a Mughal governor, who was miraculously overthrown by Sanzar Nika, the progenitor of the Sanzarkhel Kakars. There are also ruins of an old fort called the Mughalo Brunj in Murgha Faqirzai. Similar ruins occur near Toiwar, Sharan, Ismailzai and on the Zhar hill near Akhtarzai. There also exist ancient karezes, said to have been made in Mughal times, which may be considered as relics of archaeological interest. These include Karez Akhtarzai, Karez Soghai and Mustafa Karez in Killa Saifullah sub-division and 2 karezes in Sra Khulla, about 6½ kilometres from Muslim Bagh.

[2] It is located at 30°50'N 67°44'25'E with an altitude of 1787 metres.

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