Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bajaur and Pakistan - History of Bajaur Agency

BAJAUR and Pakistan
1947 to 1960
After the partition of British India in 1947, Bajaur, along with the neighbouring princely states of Dir and Swat, entered into a loose accession arrangement with Pakistan but remained practically independent. The Nawab of Khar continued to rule Bajaur almost autonomously. However, soon after the creation of Pakistan, propagators of the so-called “Pukhtoonistan” started infiltrating the masses of Bajaur.
The idea, although heavily funded by the Afghan government, failed to lure the Bajauri tribesmen into switching their allegiance in favour of Kabul.
Seeing the failure of the propaganda effort, in 1960, The Afghan-affiliate militias started sporadic attacks on border areas of Bajaur. The skirmishes between Bajauri tribesmen and Afghan militias went on for months. Growing impatient with the resistance, however, the Kabul rulers sent the regular Afghan army to launch a full-scale assault on Bajaur. Unable to counter the Afghan military’s might, the Nawab of Khar asked for Pakistan’s military support. Pakistan responded positively, its troops entered Bajaur and confronted the Afghan army forcing it to retreat.
After the Afghan military retreat, Pakistan decided to station its troops permanently in Bajaur. Though the tribesmen resisted this decision but Pakistan’s military superiority silenced the resistance soon. Paramilitary troops were stationed at various strategic hilltops in purpose-built military forts. Bajaur was declared a subdivision of Malakand Agency and the then Nawab of Khar, Abdul Subhan Khan, was elected on Bajaur’s seat as Member to Pakistan’s Parliament. An Assistant Political Agent (APA) was appointed for running the area’s affairs. Initially the APA and his administration were stationed in Munda, Dir. In later years the administration setup was gradually shifted to Khar.
1973 to 1993
In 1973, Bajaur was granted the status of a separate Agency, headquartered at Khar, and a Political Agent (PA) was appointed. A government colony (Civil Colony) for the administration’s offices and employees residences was established at Khar. Electricity and Telephone services arrived in the area, schools and rural health centers / dispensaries were established in the main villages and communication infrastructure like roads and bridges etc were built. A medium capacity hospital, a degree college for boys and a high school for girls were established at Khar.
The Nawab ran the tribal affairs and the PA saw the administrative affairs, however, with the passage of time, the clout of the former decreased and the assertiveness of the later increased. In 1988, the Khan of Nawagai, Haji Bismillah Khan (father of sitting MNA and Federal Minister Engineer Shaukatullah Khan) was elected on Bajaur’s seat in Pakistan’s National Assembly. This was the first time someone other than the Nawab Abdul Subhan Khan was elected from Bajaur. In 1990, the elections were won by a businessman Haji Lal Kareem of Nawagai.
In 1993 Nawab Abdul Subhan Khan passed away, leaving behind five sons. None of his sons has been sworn in as Nawab although his sons and grandsons write Nawabzada (Son of Nawab) as salutation. However, the title as well as influence of Nawab went to the graveyard with Abdul Subhan Khan. 


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  1. Excellent article Salahuddin Brother. I need some history about "Tarkani" and its sub-tribes. Can you please share it.
    Excellent work keep it up !

  2. Contact me on my FACEBOOK page or TWITTER page.
    I will be more than Glad to help you.
    With Regards,