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Swat

On 12 June 2009 President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to continue war against terrorism till its logical end, announced the establishment of a cantonment in Swat. Pakistan approved the deployment of a Garrison HQ in Swat, probably near the city of Mingora. Initially it would be a Brigade HQ, later upgraded to a Divisional HQ in a few years. Further deployment of units at FOB's in places like Buner, Upper and Lower Dir, Bajaur, N & S Waziristan (once in army control) would provide rapid reaction support to the local administration as required.

Swat is a tract on the Peshawar border of the North-West Frontier Province of India, consisting of the valley of the Swat river above its confluence with the Panjkora. This valley is some 70 miles long, varying from 10 miles to a few hundred yards in breadth; it is intersected by ravines and glens, which bring down the drainage of the ranges on either side. The Swat river rises among snow mountains in the Kohistan, not far from the source of the Gilgit river.

The beauty that is Pakistan is not just confined to the country's mountainous north. South of the Gilgit valley and north of Peshawar, across the Malakand Pass, is the lush green valley of Swat which stretches out towards the Hindukush range of mountains. The valley of Swat is the Udayana, or the garden of the ancient Hindu epics, the name given to this land of unsurpassable beauty. It is here that Alexander the Great encountered opposing armies before marching down to the subcontinental plains.

Swat valley has been aptly described as a scenic wonderland where Buddhism flourished 2000 years ago. The valley was infact the cradle of Buddhism where three of its major schools were born. It was here that the famous Gandhara school of sculpture took roots, giving expression to the Greco-Roman form in the local Buddhist tradition. The valley still retains the ruins of Buddhist stupas, monasteries and statues. The most striking of these is the massive carving of the sitting Buddha, carved into a rock face.

Pakistan Makes a Taliban Truce, Creating a Haven By JANE PERLEZ The New York Times February 16, 2009 CLARIFICATION
"The government announced Monday that it would accept a system of Islamic law in the Swat valley..."
  • Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, and various elements of Islamic law have been implemented across the country at least since the late 1970s.
  • Swat used a local variant of Islamic law throughout much of the 20th Century, and only in the early 1990s had efforts been made to impose legal practices uniform with the rest of Pakistan.
  • The popular movement to restore the traditional Islamic legal practices began nearly two decades ago, long before the creation of the Taliban.
  • Pakistan's secular legal system works for the benefits of lawyers, with litigation dragging on for years of expensive legal fees. The traditional Islamic system in Swat settled disputes quickly and cheaply.
  • "effectively conceding the area as a Taliban sanctuary"
  • The Islamic group with which the government negotiated had no affiliations with the Taliban.
  • Pakistan's military will remain in Swat.
  • "Pakistani government officials insisted the truce with the Taliban and the switch to the Shariah, the Islamic legal code, were consistent with the Constitution and presented no threat to the integrity of the nation." This much is true. Swat had long had a separate legal system and has always retained a special legal status. A further modification of that special legal status is no precedent for the rest of the country.
    "the pact echoed previous government accords with the militants across Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal areas in North and South Waziristan."
  • Not really. The agreement in Swat addressess a long standing and well founded popular grievance concerning predatory legal practices.
  • "Analysts are now suggesting that the drone strikes may be pushing the Taliban, and even some Qaeda elements, out of the tribal belt and into Swat."
  • Not Likely. The popular movement for restoring traditional Islamic law in Swat is nearly two decades old, and militancy in Swat began in early 2007. But drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have focused on Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership elements, none of whom are alleged to have migrated to Swat, and only assumed regular operational pace in 2008, at least a year after the recent upsurge in militancy.
  • " ... the Obama administration's special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, did not address the truce directly but said the turmoil in Swat served as a reminder that the United States, Pakistan and India faced an "enemy which poses direct threats to our leadership, our capitals, and our people." While there is no doubt that Taliban-affiliated militants are operating in Swat, even the leaders of these militants have said that what was a stake was a local issue. It is hard to see how the question of judicial procedures in Swat "poses direct threats to our leadership, our capitals, and our people."

    Sultan of Swat

    There is no such title as Sultan of Swat in the state of Swat. The ruler was called the Wali of Swat. Wiki sources report that Mir Uwais Jahangiri was the last sultan of Swat, but this name is otherwise unknown.

    Babe Ruth, one of the most popular American baseball players in history, was known as the Sultan of Swat. The Home Run King was also nicknamed Caliph of Clout, the Colossus of Clout, and the Wali of Wallop Babe Ruth brought romance back to baseball at a time when the sport was in decline. He held the record for home runs in a season (60) for 34 years. Ruth is perhaps most famous for the "called shot" during the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, where he pointed towards the center field fence and then proceeded to hit a towering home run to the spot he pointed to.

    The Muslim parts of the Indian Raj used a variety of titles for their rulers, to include nawab, wali, sultan, ameer or amir, mir, mirza, mian, khan; Nizam, nawab bahadur, khan bahadur, and khan sahib.

    In 1926, the British accepted the state of Swat and the ruler was offered the title of Wali-e-Swat [only the last ruler, Miangul Jahanzeb was called Wali Sahib]. The rulers of Swat held the title Amir-e Shariyat and from 1918 were known as Badshah; the title changed to Wali in 1926 when it became a Princely State of the Indian Empire. Emir (also sometimes rendered as Amir or Ameer, Arabic commander) is a title of nobility. Padishah, Padshah, Padeshah, Badishah or Badshah is a very prestigious title, which is composed from the Persian words Pati master and the better-known title Shah [King], claiming to be the master of kings.

    Wali or vali is an arabic word used to designate governors of administrative divisions. It is still in use in some Muslim countries. The division which a Wali governs is called wilayah. Similarly, the Turkish vilyet, from Arabic wilya, is a province, from waliya, to administer.

    Kashmir has often been called the Switzerland of Asia. In 2005 some bankers said that Hong Kong had to position itself as the Switzerland of Asia, but by 2008 some said Singapore was becoming the Switzerland of Asia for millionaires. A century ago some said that Afghanistan was the Switzerland of Asia. The Kyrgyz Republic, formerly known as Kyrgyzstan, calls itself "The Switzerland of Asia." Taiwan is said to be trying to strike a balance between humanity and technology to become a Switzerland of Asia. The Swat District was once an international tourist haven known as the Switzerland of Asia.

    The ancient name of the river was Suastos, and that of the Panjkora was Ghoura, under which names they figure in the history of Alexander's campaign. The site of the city Massaga, the capital of the Assakeni, is supposed to be near the modern Manglaur. But since the adoption of the Khyber as the main high road from Kabul to India the Swat routes had passed into oblivion. Only the lower portion of the Swat valley, where the river intervenes between Malakand and the passes leading to Dir from the Panjkora, was of military significance.

    In the beginning of the 11th century AD, Mahmud of Ghazni advanced through Dir and invaded Swat, defeating Gira, the local ruler, near Udegram. Later, when the King of Kabul Mirza Ulagh Beg attempted to assassinate the dominant chiefs of the Yousafzais they took refuge under the umbrella of the Swati Kings of Swat and Bajour. The whole area was being dominated by the Swati / Jahangiri rulers for centuries. According to H. G. Raverty, the Jahangiri Kings of Swat had ruled from Jalalabad to Jehlum. After more than two decades of guerilla war, they were dispossessed by the Yousafzais.

    The Swati race inhabit portions of the Swat valley, but they have been dispossessed of their lands by the Pathans. They have no connection with the Yusufzai Pathans who now occupy the Swat country. They were of low courage; they appear to have all the vices of the Pathans, aud, as with them, cold-blooded murder and grinding avarice were the salt of life. They are all Sunni Muhammadans, and very bigoted.

    From the time of the annexation of the Panjab, the Swatis uniformly proved themselves had neighbours to the British. These tribes seem to have regarded the plains of Peshawar as a hunter does his hunting-grounds. Plunderers and marauders, sometimes in bands, sometimes in twos and threes, sometimes on foot and sometimes mounted, issued from Swat and proceeded to the plains. They would not usually make regular raids, and they would refrain from molesting Pathans, their fellow clansmen; but they would attack persons of all other classes,-cultivators, petty traders, cattle graziers, wayfarers, and the like. They would carry off Hindus in particular, for the purpose of putting them to ransom. The Swatis harbored renegades, refugee criminals, internal malcontents, and external enemies, the names of whom are too numerous to mention. For years the valley was a rendezvous for any and every person hostile to the British Government; and among them were several persons who had been dismissed from British service. Not only did Swat receive and support enemies of the British, but it encouraged them to commit depredations in British territory. Further, the Swatisinvited their fellow Pathans to throw off British yoke and acknowledge a nominal allegiance to Swat.

    In the 1840s, tribal Swat was organized with the rise of the sufi ascetic and anti British reformer named Abdul Ghafoor, who later became known as the Akhund of Swat [Akhund means theologian or religious teacher]. When the British moved into Peshawar in 1849 the Akhund of Swat rallied the clans, but his state collapsed after a few years. On the llth and 14th December 1849, Colonel Bradshaw led an expedition which attacked and destroyed the villages of Sangao in British Baizai, and Pali Zormandai and Sherkhana in Swat Baizai. The inconclusive 1863 battle at Ambela Pass discouraged the British (Chakdarra was the furthest British garrison in Dir and Swat).

    Satana is a village on the right bank of the Indus river, at the east foot of the Mahabi mountain, 13 miles above Topi. The village was originally made over by the Utmanzai to Syud Zaman, from Takhta-band in Buner. His descendants allied themselves to Syud Ahmad, who settled in Satana, and they aided him in all hia ambitious struggles to establish a Wahabi empire of Muhammadan reformers on the Peshawar border. The ablest of the Satana Syudg was Syud Akbar, who, in 1849 or 1850 was chosen to be badshah [ie, padishah] or king of Swat. He died in May 1857 ; and two leaders rose, viz. Syud Mubarak Shah, a son of the deceased Syud Akbar, and Syud Uinar, who kept a gang of thieves. The refugees from Hindustan had one or two mulvi, but no one of reputation. Not content with the church lands, the Syuds of Satana demanded tithes from the Utmanzai, who resisted their attempt to cut their grain crops. Syud Umar was shot, and Syud Mubarak was wounded in the foot, and the Syuds and men of Hindustan were expelled.

    After the destruction of the Hindustani settlements at Manga Thana, a force under Sir Sydney Cotton, in 1858 attacked and defeated them, destroying Satana. Also, in 1863, on its removal to Malka, on the opposite slopes of the mountain, on 26 August 1868, a large body of the Swati attacked and defeated the Wahabi Hindustani, and drove them into the country of the Chagharzai, Trans-Indus, east of the Buner valley. The people are bigoted Suuni Muhammadans, with as many factions as there are villages. Their religious leader for many years was Abdul Ghafur, styled the Akhund, who was revered from the Indus to the Kuram.

    The Osmau Khel or Utman Khel are a Pathaa tribe who occupy the hilb north of Peshawur, between the Mohmand and Ranizai, on both sides of the Swat river, from the Koh-i-Mora to the Khauora mountain. The people are as wild as the hills they inhabit. Their conduct has been, on the whole, more consistently mulish and refractory than that of any other village along the whole border from Abbottabad to Jacobabad. They began to give trouble in 1847, and up to 1872 they continued in it. In 1849 a force under Colonel Bradshaw destroyed the village of Sangao belonging to the Dawat Khel. In 1855 the same village was fined Rs. 200, on account of some robberies and molestations of travellers, and the village was removed from its hill position, and its two sections located respectively in the more accessible villages of Pipal and Mian Khel; but during the troubles of the mutiny they crept back again. In 1859 they sheltered some criminals, and opposed the attempt made to seize them. In 1863 six of their villages furnished men to oppose the British force which was sent on the Ambela campaign, and they were fined Rs. 2500; after which they were disturbed by intestine factions, with regular fights on the 21st August, 25th and 29th September, 3d and 21st October 1864, in which the British did not interfere. In November and December Lieutenant Ommaney unsuccessfully endeavoured to induce them to make peace; but in February 1865 Captain Monro was more successful, and fines were imposed. In 1865 quarrels broke out afresh among them, and on the ICth January 1866 a force of 4000 men and 12 guns, under Brigadier - General Beresford, C.B., was sent amongst them. The villages of Mian Khel and Sangao, and other villages, were destroyed, and new sites fixed for them. In 1872, however, some of the clans evacuated the villages of Kui, Bannul, and Mian Khan, and as they refused to return or to obey the authorities, the houses of the Kui ringleaders were pulled down.

    On the annexation of the Panjab in 1849, it was found that the Sam Ranizai country was being made a refuge for malcontent criminals of every description, who periodically made raids on British territory. In 1852 the Ranizai Swati attacked a detachment of the Guide Corps, and a force under Sir Colin Campbell was marched to their village, on which the Ranizai maliks of Shahkot submitted, were fined Rs. 5000, and gave ten hostages. The force then marched towards the British territory; but as the Rauizai refused to pay the fine, and repudiated the hostages, whose families they expelled from their territory, on the 18th May Sir Colin returned to Shahkot, and found his force opposed by about 4000 infantry and 500 cavalry, all from Swat, in addition to the armed villagers. The king and the akhund of Swat had stationed themselves on the crest of the Malakand pass to witness the fight. After a slight resistance, the Swat troops broke and fled, leaving 800 of their number dead on the field.

    The frontier risings of 1895-97 gave British surveyors the opportunity of visiting the country. In the Indian frontier risings of 1897-98 the "mad mullah" of Swat led the attack upon the Malakand, while the Hadda mullah was largely responsible for the risings amongst the Mohmands, Afridis and Orakzais.

    The Swatis are a clan of Yusafzai Pathans, divided into three main clans, the Baizais, Ranizais and Khwazozais. The Swatis were known to be instinctively restive and hence always at daggers drawn. They had not much name for valor, but they opposed a stout resistance to Sir Robert Low's advance over the Malakand Pass in 1895 to the relief of Chitral; and again in 1897, "under the influence of fanaticism", they showed desperate bravery in the attack on the Malakand Fort and Chakdara. They are all Suni Muslims, and among the British had "earned the reputation of being the most bigoted of all the Afghan tribes."

    The year 1897 witnessed an almost general outbreak among the tribes on the north-west frontier of India. The tribes involved were practically independent, but the new frontier arranged with the amir of Afghanistan, and demarcated by Sir Mortimer Durand's commission of 1893-1894, brought them within the British sphere of influence. The great dread of these high-spirited mountaineers was annexation, and the hostility shown during the demarcation led to the Waziri expedition of 1894. Other causes, however, contributed to bring about the outbreak of 1897. The easy victory of the Turks over the Greeks gave rise to excitement throughout the Muslim world, and the publication by the amir of Afghanistan, in his assumed capacity of king of Islam, of a religious work, in portions of which fanatical antipathy to Christians was thinly veiled, aroused a warlike spirit among the border Muslims.

    The growing unrest was not recognized, and all appeared quiet, when, on the 10th of June 1897, a detachment of Indian troops escorting a British frontier officer was suddenly attacked during the mid-day halt in the Tochi valley, where, since the Waziri expedition of 1894-95, certain armed posts had been retained by the government of India. On the 29th of July, with equal suddenness, the fortified posts at Chakdara and Malakand, in the Swat valley, which had been held since the Chitral expedition of 1895, were for several days fiercely assailed by the usually peaceful Swatis under the leadership of the Mad Mullah.

    Swat State was founded in 1915 by a jirga after doing away with the rule of the Nawab of Dir over their areas. The youngest of the rule of the Princely States of India, it had its own laws, its own justice, army, police and administration, budget and taxes, and also its own flag with an emblem of a fort in golden green background. In 1917 the tribes elected a central leader and Swat emerged as an independent state. Abdul Jabar Shah was the Originator of the administrative system of the State, the first ruler of the State (1915-1917). This system was modified, developed and refined by his successors at the seat of the State, Miangul Abdul Wadud 1917- 1949 [the grandson of the Akhund of Swat], and Miangul Jahanzeb who ruled Swat from 1949 until the merger of the State in 1969.

    Miangul Abdul Wadud formed his own administrative system with courts headed by the religious scholars, known as qazi courts, and judicial courts headed by the area tehsildars. The commonly held belief that Swat's state judicial system was Islamic and hence, disputes were settled swiftly, as per Islamic laws, is unfounded. In 1949, Sirajuddin Khan (son of Sherzada Khan of Mingawara, brother of Muzafarul Mulk alias Kaki Khan-sitting member, national assembly - and uncle of Wajid Ali Khan - sitting provincial minister for forests) in a memorandum, asked the ruler of Swat state to enforce Islamic laws. But the judicial system and laws of Swat were a synthesis of the traditional codes and those Islamic norms, compatible with these codes and the commands of the ruler. Although institution of Qazi was corrupted by bribes and personal influences, but people got cheap justice, and cases were disposed off promptly. The situation however, changed with the merger.

    Dir and Bajaur were annexed by Pakistan in 1960 while Swat was merged in Pakistan in 1969. Miangul Jahanzeb, popularly known as Wali Sahib, was the last ruler of Swat. Swat, Chitral, Dir and the new districts Buner and Shangla that comprise Malakand Division had a special status with their own set of laws before they were merged into Pakistan in 1969.

    In 1975, these former independent states were declared as Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). The manifestations of militancy did not arise spontaneously, but was deliberately encouraged by the Pakistani government, with the subversion of Pashtun tribal structures in the early 1970s.




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    Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:40:02 ZULU