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Hazara (Hindko/Urdu: ہزارہ, Pashto: هزاره) is a region in the eastern part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located east of the Indus River and comprises six districts: Abbottabad, Battagram, Haripur, Mansehra, Kohistan and Torghar.
The population is multiethnic and multilingual, and consists of Hindkowans, Pashtuns and Dardic Kohistanis. Hindko, Gujri, Pashto, Urdu and English are the main languages used, while the minority Kohistani languages of the region include Maiya (Abasin Kohistani), Bateri, Kalkoti, Chilisso, Gowro, Torwali and Shina.
"The origin of the name Hazāra is obscure." This source continues: "It has been identified with Abisāra, the country of Abisares, the chief of the Indian mountaineers at the time of Alexander's invasion.
The name Hazara has also been derived from Urasā, or 'Urasha', an ancient Sanskrit name for this region, according to Aurel Stein. Some Indologists including H. C. Raychaudhury, B. N. Mukerjee, B. C. Law, J. C. Vidyalankar, M. Witzel, M. R. Singh and K. N. Dhar concur with Stein's identification of modern Hazara with ancient Urasa.
Evidence from the seventh-century Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, in combination with much earlier evidence from the Indian epic the Mahabharata, attests that Poonch and Hazara District of Kashmir had formed parts of the ancient state of Kamboja, whose rulers followed a republican form of government.
Although the region was called Hazara earlier, it was only made a district of that name when under the British.
It is also possible that the name Hazara comes from the phrase Hazara-i-Karlugh.
Alexander the Great, after conquering parts of the Northern Punjab, established his rule over a large part of Hazara. In 327 B.C., Alexander handed the area over to Abisaras (Αβισαρης), the raja of Poonch state.
Hazara remained a part of the Taxila administration during the rule of the Maurya dynasty. Ashoka the Great was the governor of the area when he was a prince. After the death of his father Bindusara around 272 B.C., Ashoka inherited the throne and ruled this area as well as Gandhara. Today, the Edicts of Ashoka inscribed on three large boulders near Bareri Hill serve as evidence of his rule there. The Mansehra rocks record fourteen of Ashoka's edicts, presenting aspects of the emperor's dharma or righteous law, and represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to middle of the third century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script.
Hazara has several places of significance for the Hindus related to the Pandavas.
|“||'There are the five Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharat favourite objects of worship in the east and sometimes addressed as the Panj Pir. Many are the legends current about these heroes and they are localised at quite a number of places. The Hill of Mokshpuri, just above Dunga Gali has an elevation of 9232 feet. Its name means 'the hill of salvation' and on its summit is a Panduan da Sthan, or place of the Pandavas, where it is said they were visited and tempted by Apsaras who still frequent the place .||”|
In the 2nd century CE, a mythical king Raja Risalu, son of Raja Salbahan of Sialkot, supposedly brought the area under his control. The local people consider him as a popular folk hero. When a Chinese pilgrim, Hiun-Tsang, visited this area, it was under the control of Raja Durlabhavardhana, the ruler of Kashmir.
The Shahi dynasties ruled Hazara one after another. Among the Hindu Shahi dynasty rulers, Raja Jayapala is the best known. Mehmood of Ghazni defeated Raja Jayapala during his first campaign. However, there is no historical evidence that Mehmood of Ghazni ever visited or passed through Mansehra. After the fall of the Shahi dynasty, in the 11th century, the Kashmiris took control of the area under the leadership of Kalashan (1063 to 1089). From 1112 to 1120, King Susala ruled the area. In the 12th century, Asalat Khan captured this area but soon after Mohammad of Ghor's death the Kashmiris once again regained control of Hazara.
Amb and its surrounding areas of Hazara have a long history which can be traced to Alexander the Great's invasion of India. Arrian, Alexander's historian, did not indicate the exact location of Embolina, but since it is known that Aoronos was on the right bank of the River Indus, the town chosen to serve as Alexander's base of supplies may with good reason be also looked for there. The mention in Ptolemy's Geography of Embolima as a town of Indo-Scythia situated on the Indus supports this theory.
In 1854 Major James Abbott, the British frontier officer from whom Abbottabad, administrative centre of Hazara, takes its name, discussed his location of Aornos on the Mahaban range south of Buner. He proposed, as M. Court, one of Ranjit Singh's French generals had done before him in 1839, to recognize Embolima in the present village of Amb situated on the right bank of the Indus. It lies about eight miles to the east of Mahaban and is the place from which the later Nawabs of Amb take their title.
In 1399, the Muslim warrior Timur, on his return to Kabul, stationed his Turk soldiers,( who belonged to a sub-tribe of Turks, called Karlugh Turks) in Hazara to protect the important route between Kabul and Kashmir. By 1472, Prince Shahab-ud-Din came from Kabul and established his rule over the region. Prince Shahab-ud-Din, a Turk of central Asian origin and a descendant of Amir Taimur, founded the state and named it Pakhli Sarkar and chose the village of Guli bagh as his capital.
During the period of Mughal rule, local Turkish chiefs acknowledged Mughal authority. In fact, Mansehra (Pakhli) provided the main route to Kashmir and was the most commonly used route for Emperor Akbar to travel to Kashmir.
In the 18th century, Turkish rule came to an end due to the increased aggression of the Swathis and their allied forces. The most crucial attack was that of the Swatis in collusion with Syed Jalal Baba in 1703. Syed Jalal Shah was the son in law of the last ruler of Turkic dynasty, Sultan Mehmud Khurd. During the absence of the Sultan Mehmood Khurd, Syed Jalal Shah (Jalal Baba) took advantage of the his father in law's absence, conspired with Swatis and invited them to invade (Pakhli Sarkar).They succeeded to overthrow the Turkish rulers from the Sarkar. Thus Swatis ousted the Turks and captured this area. The descendants of this Turkic dynasty still live in various parts of Hazara, such as , Manakrai, Girwal, Mohar etc.
The last Karlugh Turks ruler of Pakhli Sarkar was Sultan Mehmud Khurd. One of his brothers, Sultan Qyas-ud-din, was Wali-e-Tanawal (Lower), and the Wali-e-Tanawal (Upper) was Sultan Sahwaj. His brother Sultan Muqarrab was Wali-e-Dhamtor, i.e. Rush areas of present Abbottabad. Pakhli Sarkar had two other important governorships. One in the areas between Battagram and Thakot ruled by Shamsher Khan and other of Kashmir governed by Sultan Kamal. Both of these governors were close relatives of Turk rulers of Pakhli Sarkar. At that time Kashmir was part of Hazara PakhliSarkar.
Sultan Maqarrab revolted against his own brother Sultan Mehmud Khurd, but was defeated by the Sultan due to intervention from the Delhi Sultanate. But this incident weakened the Turks permanently and they could never restore their previous strength. Karlal tribe gained strength and Jadun tribe came from across the river Indus to hasten the overthrow of the Turks. Ultimately, Jadoons from Swabi subjugated the Rush areas.
Sultan Mehmood went to Delhi to join Aurangzeb Alamgir against his campaign against Pathans in Northern part of Hindustan. He never came back and rumours spread that he might had been killed. Syed Jalal Shah, who was son in Law of Sultan, made in-charge of Pakhli Sarkar in Sultan's absence. Sultan's sons were too young at that time to take charge of Sarkar. Syed Jalal Shah betrayed his mentor and hatched conspiracy to overthrow Turks. He invited Swatis and succeeded to captured the reign being an insider. This proved a last nail in the coffin of Turkish rule in Pakhi Sarkar ( Hazara)
Hazara remained part of the Afghan Durrani Empire from the mid-18th to the early 19th centuries. Durranis considered it wise to rule the region through the local tribal chiefs. The lower Hazara plain was a separate administrative region attached to the Chacch and Attock areas of Northern Punjab whereas most of upper Hazara was attached to the Durrani 'Subah' or governorship of Kashmir, with the exception of the Tanawal 'Ilaqa' or area, which enjoyed independent status. The most important Tanoli chief then, Mir Nawab Khan, fought the Durranis in a number of small battles and ultimately met his death at the hands of Sardar Azim Khan Durrani in 1818.
Durrani rule had weakened considerably at the beginning of the 19th century. The Sikhs annexed Hazara in two stages. Lower Hazara except Karlal country became tributary to the Sikhs, with the exception of the ongoing struggle against the Sikhs led by the likes of Sardar Muhammad Khan Tarin Shaheed, Bostan Khan Tarin and others of this tribe .Eventually, Ranjit Singh himself then attacked Hazara and reduced the warring tribes into submission, carrying the Tarin chief Muhammad Khan with him, as a prisoner, while the Karlals fled to the higher mountains for refuge; and the Sikhs were thus able to subdue the entire Lower Hazara . The Upper Hazara suffered a similar fate when the Sikhs took Kashmir from the Barakzai Durranis in 1819, with the exception of the Tanawal area, under the leadership of Mir Painda Khan, who was the tribal chief of the Hindwal section of the Tanoli tribe at the time and kept up a staunch rebellion against Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Governors of Hazara.His son Mir Jehandad Khan later followed in his footsteps, and when Sikh power was on the decline in 1845 Jehandad Khan blockaded the garrisons of no less than 22 Sikh posts in Upper Tanawal ; and when they surrendered, he spared their lives, as the servants of a fallen Empire. These Tanoli chiefs were the actual founders of Amb (princely state).
After the First Sikh War, under the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the area was governed by Major James Abbott. Abbott managed to secure and pacify the area within a year. During the Second Sikh War Abbott and his men were cut off by the Sikh army from supplies and reinforcements from the rest of the British Army, but were able to maintain their position.
By 1849, the British had gained control of all of Hazara. However, the western Pashtun tribes were occasionally rebellious. These tribes included the clans of Allai, Batagram in the Nandhiar valley, and the The Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes.The British sent many expeditions against these tribes to crush several uprisings between 1852 and the 1920s.
The British divided Hazara District into three Tehsils (administrative subdivisions) : Mansehra, Abbottabad, and Haripur and annexed it to the Punjab. In 1901, when the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) was formed, Hazara was separated from Punjab and made a part of NWFP.
From the early 1930s onwards, the people of Hazara gradually became active in the freedom movement for an independent Pakistan under the active leadership of renowned All India Muslim League leaders such as Khan Sahib Abdul Majid Khan Tarin, OBE, of Talokar (1877–1939),an early member of the (then) Frontier Legislative Assembly, and others. Even before the All-India Muslim League started its movement for Pakistan in 1937, after the historic Lucknow Session of October that year, the Hazara Muslim League was properly formed and convened at the residence of Noor-Ud-Din Qureshi in Abbottabad in 1936. In this meeting the leaders of the All-India Muslim League, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hamid Badayuni and others, came from India. The local people joined the movement in large numbers. In Mansehra in the same year the Muslim League was organised by Ali Gohar Khan and Hakim Abdul Karim, who were elected the first president and general secretary of the tehsil Mansehra Muslim League. During the final phase of the movement for the creation of Pakistan, Honorary Captain Sardar Zain Muhammad Khan, OBI, and Khan Bahadur Jalal-ud-din Jalal Baba defeated their Congress rivals in the elections of 1946 from their respective rural and urban Constituencies, and politically routed the All India Congress from the region. In the Delhi Convention of Muslim League parliamentarians chaired by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which finally voted for the division of India and the creation of Pakistan, Capt.Sardar Zain Muhammad Khan represented Hazara. These Muslim League Leaders were also able to mobilize the people of this area in favour of the referendum for the creation of Pakistan.
Sometime before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Nawab Sir Muhammad Farid Khan (KBE) of Amb State also developed good relations with Jinnah and Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khanas a politic move. His correspondence and letters to and from Jinnah are available in Pakistan's archival records
During British rule, the region of Hazara had formed part of Punjab province, until the western parts of that province were separated to form the new NWFP. The areas around Abbottabad and Mansehra became the Hazara District of Peshawar Division, whilst areas to the north of this became the Hazara Tribal Agency and the Kohistan Tribal Agency. Sandwiched between Hazara Tribal Agency and Hazara District were the small princely states of Amb and Phulra. This system of administration continued until 1950, when these two small states were incorporated into the Hazara district.
From 1955 to 1970, NWFP province became part of West Pakistan under the One Unit policy, with the Hazara district forming part of the Peshawar division of West Pakistan.
Kashmir was the first big challenge for Pakistan, right after Pakistan's creation; the Maharaja of Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession of his state of Jammu and Kashmir in favor of India. That was not acceptable to the Muslim majority Pakistan, thus the Pakistan Army infiltrated its soldiers to Kashmir. From Hazara, Nawab Muhammad Farid Khan sent an army of 1500 Amb State soldiers to take part in the Kashmir Liberation Movement from 1947 to 1948 (Kashmir Conflict). The Amb State force carried its own artillery to the battle. They fought alongside other frontier tribesmen and came under fire by the Indian air force three kilometers from Baramulla sector. Around 200 Amb State soldiers lost their lives in the battle. The Kashmir Conflict is still under dispute.
On the dissolution of West Pakistan in 1970, Hazara District and the two tribal agencies were merged to form the new Hazara Division with its capital at Abbottabad. The division was initially composed of three districts (Abbottabad, Kohistan and Mansehra) but within a few years, Haripur district was spun off from Abbottabad District and Batagram District was spun off from Mansehra District.
Hazara remained a district until its conversion into a division in 1976. In October 1976, Mansehra was given the status of a full-fledged district, which consisted of Mansehra and Batagram tehsils. Subsequently in July 1991, Haripur Tehsil was separated from Abbottabad and made into a district. Thus only the old Tehsil of Abbottabad remained, which was declared as Abbottabad District.
In 2000, administrative divisions were abolished and the fourth-tier districts were raised to become the new third tier of government in Pakistan.
Hazara is bounded on the north and east by the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. To the south are the Islamabad Capital Territory and the province of Punjab, whilst to the west lies the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The river Indus runs through the division in a north-south line, forming much of the western border of the division. The total area of Hazara is 18,013 km².
Because it lies immediately south of the main Himalaya Range, and is exposed to moist winds from the Arabian Sea, Hazara is the wettest part of Pakistan. At Abbottabad, annual rainfall averages around 1,200 millimetres (47 in) but has been as high as 1,800 millimetres (71 in), whilst in parts of Mansehra District such as Balakot the mean annual rainfall is as high as 1,750 millimetres (69 in) . Due to its location on the boundary between the monsoonal summer rainfall regime of East Asia and the winter-dominant Mediterranean climate of West Asia, Hazara has an unusual bimodal rainfall regime, with one peak in February or March associated with frontal southwest cloudbands and another monsoonal peak in July and August. The driest months are October to December, though in the wettest parts even these months average around 40 millimetres (1.6 in) .
Due to the high altitude, temperatures in Hazara are cooler than on the plains, though Abbottabad at 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) still has maxima around 32°C (90°F) with high humidity in June and July. Further up, temperatures are cooler, often cooler than the Northern Areas valleys due to the cloudiness. In winter, temperatures are cold, with minima in January around 0°C (32°F) and much lower in the high mountains. Snowfalls are not uncommon even at lower levels.
Hazara lies close to the crossroads formed by the river Indus and the Grand Trunk Road. The Karakoram Highway begins at the town of Havelian and goes north through the division towards China via the Northern Areas.
The population of the Hazara region was estimated to be over 4.5 million in 2005. The total area of Hazara is 18013 km²: See table below.
The society is multilingual and multiethnic. The two major ethnic groups of the Hazara region are the Hindkowans who speak Hindko as their mother tongue, and the Pashtuns who speak Pashto. Hindko, including Kagani and other northern Lahnda dialects are spoken by the majority of population in Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra districts. Pashto is spoken by the majority of population in Battagram and Tor Ghar districts and parts of Mansehra District, including Oghi Tehsil, and the Agror valley which includes Baffa town. The Sirikot area of Haripur District is also predominantly Pashtun. In Kohistan District, the Kohistani languages of Maiya (Abasin Kohistani), Bateri, Kalkoti, Chilisso, Gowro, Torwali and Shina are spoken by most inhabitants, but Pashto is spoken in the southwestern part and some of the main towns of the district.
In the hilly areas of Abbottabad and Haripur districts some of the Gujjar tribes speak Gojri. In all, according to the 2001 Census of Pakistan, Hazara has an ethno-linguistic majority of Hindko and northern Lahnda-speakers of around 60%, whereas about 30% speak Pashto, and 10% speak other languages like Kohistani, Gojri, etc.
The main tribes of Hazara are the Swati, Dhund Abbasi, Karlal, Jadoon,Qureshi, Gujjar, Tanoli, Karlal, Syed, Malik Deen Khel Pashtun, Swati, Utman Zais, Khawaja, Dar,Sulemani (Suleman Khel), Ghakkar(Rajputs), Maddakhel, Kohistanis, Tarin (or Tareen), Qureshi, Mishwani, Piracha, Mir, Mughals, Tarkheli, Kashmiri,Dilazak, Shilmani (Suleman Khel) and the Isazai tribe of Tor Ghar District. The population of Hazara was estimated to be over 6.5 million in 2005.
Afghans, although predominantly Pashtun (including the Ghilzai and Durrani tribes), and other smaller groups are found throughout Hazara Division. There is also a considerable presence of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Kazakh. Bakhshe Khel and many there are tribes of Khel and Zai which are Pashtun tribes. Pakistan has provided shelter to them for more than three decades. However now intense popular demand exists for repatriation of all Afghan refugees from Hazara and Pakistan. It is hoped that the Government has extended their stay for a final time up to the end of 2012.
Hazara has one of the major industrial areas of NWFP, including Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP) and the Hattar Industrial Zone. The region includes Tarbela Dam, which is the largest earth filled dam in the world and generates most of the hydro electricity generated in Pakistan. The Karakoram Highway passes through Hazara. Tourism is also a big industry in Hazara. There is huge potential of hydroelectric powers in Hazara. The Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, Abbottabad, is where all military officers of Pakistan are trained. The region has tea plantations and the best grade tobacco in Pakistan, in Mansehra.
|This section may be slanted towards recent events. (January 2011)|
The people of Hazara raised a voice for Hazara Province. This movement, founded in 1987 by the late Malik Asif Advocate, is named "Hazara Qaumi Mahaz" (HQM). The movement which has members across the country recently rose to prominence again with leaders again raising a demand for separate Hazara Province.Peoples of Saraki areas in south Punjab also raised the voice for separate province by disgraced PM Yousuf Raza Gulani similar to Hazarawal peoples.
In April 2010, it was announced that through an amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, the name of NWFP would be changed to 'Khyber Pakhtunkhwa' leading to protests across the Hazara region under the leadership of Haider Zaman, where Hindko and Gojri speakers are dominant as compared to the Pashto speakers. The announcement of the new name also led to calls from Hazara for a new separate province. Ten persons died, and nearly two hundred were hurt during the rallies and protest all over Hazara region against NWFP and creation of new province Hazara in April, 2010 and a complete wheel-jam and shutter-down strike was again observed in the Hazara on 2 May 2010,in support of this demand. Large public meetings in this regard as well as public protests have been regularly organised by the HAI (Hazara Awami Ittehad) and 'Tehreek I Hazara' movement, since; but the name of the NWF Province has been duly changed to 'Khyber Pakhtunkwha' and is a 'fait accompli'. The leadership of the Hazara movement, however, have vowed to continue their struggle until the achievement of their aims via peaceful and constitutional means.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly here on 21 March, 2014 passed a resolution demanding the creation of the Hazara province.