Khyber Pakhtunkhwa The Paradise Lost?

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province of Pakistan blessed with scenic landscapes and unmatched beauty, is a region where the Indian Subcontinent meets the Hindu Kush Mountain range of Afghanistan.

Having the most varied terrain and a vigorous cultural spectrum, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the most diverse province of Pakistan. The area is famous across the globe due to its geographical location, hospitable climate and abounding natural resources. Although in the recent past, the terrorists have played havoc with the province, still the people bravely face them to regain the control of their paradise they once lost to the devils i.e. the terrorists.

Nature has gifted this ‘Land of Pashtuns’ with rich cultural and tourism’ friendly environment. Before the sudden rise of Taliban in Swat valley and adjacent areas, this area has been the heaven of the tourists. Thousands of foreign tourists had been coming to visit these places that, in turn, earned millions of dollars to the national exchequer. Now, after restoration of peace here, though to some extent, it’s potential to become a big tourist attraction needs to be prudently exploited.

The province is located in northwest of the country and borders the following:

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, occupying an area of 74,521 km² (28,773 sq mi) is dominated by the occurrence of mountainous terrains of eastern Hindokush, and western Himalayas in the north and Samana Rang, Sur Ghar range and Marwat range in the south. These terrains constitute about 70 per cent of the total area of the province. The adjacent FATA region with an area of 27,220 km² also has similar nature of topographic features.

The province consists of 25 districts. The tribal belt consists of 7 agencies with 42 tehsils.
Note: Malakand is the smallest district in terms of area while Chitral is the largest.
On January 27, 2011, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari signed a document to change the status of Kala Dhaka in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from a Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) to that of a settled area and renamed it as Tor Ghar.

Did You Know?
The Gandhara civilization where the finest expression of Buddhism is found is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In 331 BC, Alexander the Macedonian invaded the mountains and valleys of the present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and fought his way to Punjab. His total stay in the Frontier was less than twelve months.

List of Districts
Swat is popular among tourists as the “Switzerland of South Asia”.

This region had served as a major conduit for trade with the western and Central Asian States. In the old good days, the convoys of traders and businessmen from the Central Asian Republics, India, China and Iran used to stay in Peshawar on their way to Afghanistan, Tashkent, Samarkant, Bukhara and other parts of the Central Asian Republics.

Provincial Assembly
The NWFP Provincial Assembly has 124 elected members; 99 general seats, 22 seats reserved for women and 3 seats for Non-Muslims. In 1937, the Government of India Act 1935 was enforced in NWFP and NWFP Legislative Assembly was formed. The first session of parliament was summoned on 12 March 1946 under the Chairmanship of Sardar Bahadur Khan while Nawabzada Allah Nawaz Khan was elected as Speaker and Lala Girdheri Lal as Deputy Speaker on 13 March 1946.

After the creation of Pakistan, the first Election in NWFP Legislative Council was held on 15 December 1951 and the session of the Assembly was summoned on 10 January 1952. Following the declaration of one unit on 3 October 1955, the Country was divided into two provinces, West Pakistan and East Pakistan and the Legislative Assembly building was declared as Peshawar High Court. After the dissolution of West Pakistan in 1970, the NWFP Provincial Assembly was restored. The legislative Assembly became a Provincial Assembly through a presidential order known as legal framework order 1970.

Natural Resources
The province is blessed with abounding natural resources such as minerals, precious stones, marble, wood, hydropower potential and copious water resources. There are over 2000 industrial units 3 industrial estates and 10 small industrial estates in the province. The three main industrial hubs include Peshawar, Hattar and Gadoon industrial estates while small-scale industries are concentrated at Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Haripur, Kohat, D.I.Khan, Bannu and Charsadda areas.

Coal is found in abundance in the province and major working coalmines are Hangu/Orakzai (81million tonnes), Cherat (7.74 million tonnes), Gulakhel (30 million tonnes), and Dara Adamkhel (mining started recently) coalfields, and non-developed is Shirani coalfield (1 million tonnes) with total reserves of about 119.74 million tonnes. Northern part of the province has potential of marble/granite, cement grade limestone, phosphates, soapstone, nepheline syenite and other industrial minerals beside gemstone and metallic minerals. Southern part of the province has extensive potential of industrial rocks and minerals which include rock salt, gypsum, clay minerals, limestone, silica sand and iron ore.

The magic mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush to the north and north-west, the Karakorum / “Small Black Rocks” to the north and north-east and the Himalayas / “Home of the Snow” to the east accord the land a dramatic backdrop. Chitral is called the ‘Land of Mountains’. Tirich Mir (7,708m), Istor-o-nal (7403m) and Saragharar (7349m) are some famous mountains in Chitral district.

Pashto, a language of Northeastern Iranic branch of the Indo-Iranian family, is the most pervasive and the native language of millions of Pashtuns in Khyber PK. Hindko is the second most commonly spoken indigenous language. It is predominant in eastern parts of the province and is spoken in Hazara Division, especially in the cities of Abbottabad, Mansehra and Haripur.

In most rural areas of the centre and south, Pashtun tribes can be found including the Yusufzai, Bangash, Bhittani, Daavi, Khattak, Babar, Gandapur, Gharghasht, Marwat, Afridi, , Shinwari, Orakzai, Mahsud, Mohmand, Wazir and Bannusi (Banochi) as well as other Pushtun tribes of Hazara division, Swati, Kakar, Tareen, Jadoon and Mashwani.

There are following universities in the province:
Abasyn University – Peshawar
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University – Peshawar
Abdul Wali Khan University – Mardan
Kohat University of Science and Technology – Kohat
CECOS University of Information Technology and Emerging Sciences – Peshawar
Northern University – Nowshera
City University of Science and Information Technology – Peshawar
NWFP University of Engineering and Technology – Peshawar
Frontier Women University – Peshawar
Preston University – Kohat
Gandhara University – Peshawar
Preston University Kohat – Kohat
Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology – Topi
Qurtaba University of Science and Information Technology – D.I. Khan
Gomal University – D. I. Khan
Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology – Peshawar
Hazara University – Mansehra
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University – Dir
Institute of Management Science – Peshawar
University of Malakand – Malakand
Iqra National University – Peshawar
University of Peshawar – Peshawar
Islamia College University – Peshawar
University of Science and Technology – Bannu
Khyber Medical University – Peshawar
University of Swat ‘Swat

‘When I begin composing poetry in Pushto, the Pushto language will attain the heights of excellence.’
These words, a translation of Khushhal Khan Khattak’s verse, delineate his stature in Pushto literature.
Pashto literature saw unprecedented development in the 17th century mainly due to poets like Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba who are the greatest and most revered Pashto poets. Rahman Baba’s works are every bit as important to the Pashtun as William Shakespeare is to the English.

Notable Literati
Amir Kror Suri, Pir Roshan, Sheikh Mali,  Afzal Khan Khattak, Abdul Qader Khattak,  Ajmal Khattak, Khan Roshan Khan, Nazoo Anaa, Ghani Khan, Malang Jan Baba, Shah Sayed Miran,    Shah Shuja, Timur Shah, Shereenyar Yousafzai,
Twin Cities
Ürümqi, China
Makassar, Indonesia
Sana’a, Yemen

Notable Personalities

Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Farhatullah Babar, Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Ajmal Khattak, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Moulana Fazlur Rahman, Gohar Ayub Khan, Maulana Sami ul Haq, Naseer Ullah Babar, Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar, Maulana Shoukat Ali Johar, V.P. Singh (Former Indian PM) and so many others.

Muhammad Ayub Khan, Muhammad Yahya Khan and Ghulam Ishaq Khan

Military men
Pak Army
Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan and General Abdul Waheed Kakar

Pakistan Air Force
Air-Chief Marshal Anwar Shamim, Air Chief Marshal Abbas Khattak, Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir,

None of the Naval Chiefs has been from Khyber Pk.

Bollywood Stars Dilip Kumar, Amjad Khan, Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Manoj Kumar, Premnath Malhotra were born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Hashim Khan, Roshan Khan, Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Qamar Zaman, Yasir Hameed
Note: Well-known artist Ismail Gulgee and Patras Bokhari, a noted Urdu humourist, also belong to Khyber PK.

Famous Shrines
Shah Qabool Aulia, Chishti Baba G Lajpal, Ghazi Syed Shah Fateh Muhammad Bukhari, Mir Jani Shah Sarkar, Pir Syed Mehboob Ali Shah, Syed Faqeer Shah Wali, Syed Abdur Rahim Shah Bukhari, Syed Shiekh Abdul Wahab

Mountain Passes
Khyber Pass, Kuram Pass, Tochi Pass, Gomal Pass, Lowari Pass, Shangla Pass, Malakand Pass

Random Facts
The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is largely located on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian land plate.
FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) comprises seven Tribal Agencies namely Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan and 6 Frontier Regions F.R. Bannu, Central Kurram, F.R. Dera Ismail Khan, F.R. Kohat, F.R. Lakki, F.R. Peshawar and F.R. Tank. These are directly controlled by the Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Its climate varies from very cold (Chitral in the north) to very hot in places like D.I. Khan.

The major rivers that cross the province are Kabul River, Swat River, Chitral River, Panjgora River, ara River, Karam River, Gomal River and Zob River.
Takht-i-Bahi is the most impressive Buddhist ruin in the province and dates back to the 1st century BCE.

Tourist Attractions
The quasi contiguity of the province, with the Central Asian states and with xiangiang province of China attracted many migrants, businessmen, warriors and fortune seekers in different ages for settlement. The interaction among different races and their co-existence led to a rich cultural heritage. The glimpses of such heritage are evident from the Ghandhara archaeological sites at Gur Khattree Peshawar, Takh-Bahi (Mardan), Seri Behlol (Mardan), Shabaz Gari (Mardan) Nimo Gram Buddhist Stupa (Swat), and collection of Ghandhara art preserved at Swat Museum, Chakdara museum (Dir Lower) and Peshawar museum.
The total area of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 100200 sq.km

Northern Zone: A mountainous region full of natural picturesque having 5 small and big rivers.
Mid Part: It comprises of Peshawar Valley, a seat of different civilizations.

Southern Zone: Rugged dry hills and vast gravelly plains with patches of alluvial agri fields.
North of province is exceptionally rich in picturesque and alluring landscape, exotic valleys and dense pine forests.
The natural lakes and thick forests of the province are heaven for eco tourism.
Ghandhara Remains testify the rich cultural heritage of the province.

Nathiagali clad in pine, walnut, oak and maple trees, is the prettiest hill resort in the Galiyat region.

Kaghan Valley
The Kaghan valley is about 160 km long and between two and four thousand metres above sea level at various places. Kunhar River with plenty of trout fish flows through the valley.

About 86 km from Balakot is Naran, the main attraction of the Kaghan valley. This town is a starting point for Lake Salful Muluk, Battakundi, Lalazar Plateau, Lake Lulusar and Babusar Pass.

Lake Saiful Muluk
It is situated at a distance of 10 km from Naran at an altitude of 3500 m. It provides an excellent view of the 5290 metres high Malika Parbat (Queen of the Mountains). The lake and its surroundings have a touch of unreal about them and are breathtakingly lovely. There is a charming legend about a prince called Saiful Muluk who fell in love with a fairy of the lake. The lake is named after the prince.

Kalam is the main town of Swat Kohistan. Beautiful valleys of Ushu (2286 m), Utrot (2225 m) and Gabral (2550 m) are accessible from here. The 6257 m high snow’ capped Falaksair Peak is clearly visible from Matiltan (3000m).

Shandur Pass
The world’ famous Shandur Pass is about 3738 metres above sea level and lies midway between Chitral and Gligit. The traditional Polo Tournament between the Gilgit and Chitral teams is held here every year.

Other famous tourist attractions in Khyber PK include: Hazara , Haripur, Abbottabad, Thandiani, Dungagali, Ayubia, Mansehra, Balakot, Shogran, Malakand and Swat Region, Mingora, Bahrain, Kalam, Churchill Picket, Kalash Valleys, Chitral, Garam Chashma ETC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *