Wāli of Swat

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The Wāli of Swat (Urdu: والی سوات) was the official title of the leader (wāli) of the erstwhile princely state of Swat and also the nomenclature of the dynasty that ruled there from 1926 to 1969. The earlier titles of rulers in this area were 'Akhund', 'Khan', and so on. The title "amir-e shariyat" remained in brief usage, when the title badshah came into usage for the ruler. This title was officially changed to "wali" in 1926 when Swat became a princely state in the British Raj. Following Pakistan's independence post-1947, Swat remained an autonomous princely state of West Pakistan and the Wali continued to function as a political entity. The post became defunct in 1969, after the princely state of Swat became dissolved and was incorporated into the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The region comprising the former princely state today covers parts of the Swat, Buner and Shangla districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Today, the title is used unofficially as a courtesy title by heirs of the Miangul family of the former Wali of Swat. The whole dynasty founded by the Abdul Wadud Badshah, also called itself by this title.

Rulers of Swat[edit]

Tenure Rulers of Swat Honorary[1]
1849–1857 Sayyid Akbar Shah Miangan
1857–1878 Abdul Ghaffur Khan, 'Akhund of Swat'
1878–1915 State in abeyance
1915–1917 Sayyid Abdul-Jabbar Shah Miangan
1917–1949 Miangul Abdul-Wadud Badshah Sahib (Miangul dynasty) first Wali of Swat.
1949–1969 Miangul Jahan Zeb
1969-1987 (civil administration); unofficial title Miangul Jahan Zeb
1987–2014 (civil administration); unofficial title Miangul Aurangzeb
2014-present (civil administration); unofficial title Miangul Adnan Aurangzeb

The last Wali of Swat (Miangul Jahanzeb)[edit]

Miangul Jahanzeb (1908–1987) was the last Wali of Swat who was popular for promoting education in the region. He served as the Wāli of Swat between 1949 and 1969, taking over from his father, Miangul Abdul Wadud. He is remembered for the hard work he put into building schools, hospitals and roads for his people, but also for his absolute rule over the region, which ended when Pakistan took control after local unrest.

Miangul Jahanzeb was born at Saidu-Sharif, on 5 June 1908. He was the eldest son of H.H. Miangul Abdul Wadud, who preceded him as the Wali of Swat. Jahanzeb was educated in Islamia Collegiate school and the Islamia College University of Peshawar, 1923. He has four sons

H.H Miangul Jahanzeb was appointed as successor (Wali Ahad) in 1933. His father, Miangul Abdul Wadud (Wali of Swat) abdicated in favour of his eldest son (Miangul Jahanzeb), whom he had carefully educated along modern lines, and gradually trained up to assume the full burdens of government. He was enthroned as Wali of Swat on 12 June 1949 and granted the title of Ghazi-e-Millat (1951) and a hereditary salute.[2]

The Wali headed each department of his administration.[3] His role was that of king and religious leader, chief minister and commander-in-chief, chief exchequer and head qazi. He inspected every construction project personally and did not compromise on quality, which is partly why the buildings of the Swat are still in excellent condition and admired by the people. He ensured that his government provided good administration and productive revenue collection and a judicial system that provided quick and free justice to all.[4] This was a unique system of administration.

Like other absolute rulers, Wali of Swat has also been accused of having personal and political shortcomings during his reign. He was widely accused of favouritism while appointing high ranking officials in his administration. In particular, many notable Khans in the valley criticised him and openly rebelled against his often embarrassing attitude of sexual advances against those in need of assistance at the royal court. Many of his critics to this day will gleefully expound on how he managed to form such intimate relations with the households of some of the well-known figures in his Court. He generously gifted land and other sumptuous awards to those who succumbed to such demands. Consequently, many conscientious young people, following their graduation from schools, had to migrate to mainland Pakistani cities such as Peshawar and Karachi in order to eke out a decent living.

He surpassed the other contemporary rulers in the field of education. Schools and colleges were built across the State.

Jahan Zeb was also a conscientious protector of the landmarks of previous cultures. In the era of the last Wali of Swat State Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb, the ruins were protected and preserved.[5]

Foreign Heads of State and VIPs became regular visitors to the valley, and the Wali became a frequent player on the national stage. In 1961 the Queen of England, as a guest of the Wali, loved Swat and called it “The Switzerland of the East”. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan also visited Swat to attend the coronation ceremony of the Wali.

The last Wali of Swat died on September 14, 1987 at Saidu Sharif. Swat is now part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


  1. ^ Ben Cahoon, WorldStatesmen.org. "Pakistan Princely States". Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  2. ^ Buyers, Christopher. "Swat". royal.net. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Jilani, Zebu. "The Wali of Swat". swatreliefinitiative.org. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  5. ^ [2]

Further reading[edit]

  • Dr. Sultan-I-Rome, Swat State under the Walis (1917–69), Ph.D. Dissertation, P 28-35
  • Miangul Jehanzeb, The Last Wali of Swat, as told to Fredrik Barth. Norwegian University Press/Universitetsforlaget AS, Oslo, 1985