History of Chakwal

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History of Chakwal

As noted in District Gazeteer Jhelum 1904, the city is named after
Chaudhry Chaku Khan, chief of the Mair Minhas tribe from Jammu,
who founded it in 1525. During the era of the Mughal Emperor Zahir al-Din
Babur, it remained a small but central town of Taluka Dhan Chaurasi. In 1881,
Peela, Greece to Jalalpur Sharif.
Malot Fort.
A section used as Arms Store at Kussak Fort.
during the British era, it was declared as Tehsil Headquarters. It was finally
upgraded as District in 1985 by combining sub division Chakwal of District
Jhelum, sub division Talagang of District Attock and the police station Choa
Saiden Shah, carved out of sub-division Pind Dadan Khan of District Jhelum.
It is said, when the great emperor Babur invaded these areas in 1510 A.D. he
stayed with his army and there, at Bagh-e- Safa, he addressed his army standing
on the takht and ordered his soldiers to give a proper shape to the huge rock,
which is still existing in Kallar Kahar and commonly called Takhte Baburi. As
the valley, he found it attractive and fascinating so he decided to stay for a short
period. As he writes in his famous book Tuzke Baabari about the area that he
found the area very much fascinating. There he stayed with his companions.
Sahibzada Sultan Ali Zulfi in his book (Salt Ranges Main Asare Qudeema) writes
that the old name of Kallar Kahar was Kuldah Kinar and Shahklah. With the
History of Chakwal

passage of time that name became popular as Kallar Kahar, there is mention
of this in Tuzke Baburi. All the invaders who had been coming to this area
97% of them passed from Kallar Kahar. Beside Alexander fifty other invaders
passed the same way and crossed the Indus. Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi also
used the same passage for his seventeen attacks on the subcontinent. In the
southern side of Kallar Kahar there is an old graveyard. Here, Anwar Baig
Awan, a renowned historian of Chakwal found different things of Ghurka or
Ghudka. A stag made of clay, whose one horn is broken, a lion of the same
material and a piece of stone of royal green colour, which is perhaps the hilt of
a dagger or sward. These entire things are safe.
Chakwal district is bordered by Khushab to its south, Rawalpindi to its north
east, Jhelum to its east, Mianwali to its west and Attock to its north-west.
The large part of M2 passes through Chakwal District. The Bestway Cement
History of Chakwal|21

Factory, the largest factory in Asia is located in District Chakwal. According to
the 2007 census, Chakwal has 74% literacy rate, which is equal to Lahore and
at 6th among all districts of Pakistan.
A sweet made of gurr, Pehlwan Revary is known all over the country and abroad.
Currently, Chakwal is noted for the production of international standard
oranges, wheat, barley, sugarcane, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Chakwal has an urban population of 12.81%; the remainder lives in rural
areas. That makes Chakwal, the district with largest rural population in Punjab,
Inhabitants of Chakwal District speak Punjabi in dialects Dhani and Majhi
(Standard). English is also spoken by educated people.
The district of Chakwal, which covers an area of 6,524 km, is subdivided into
three tehsils. These tehsils were formerly part of neighbouring districts:
Chakwal Tehsil was annexed from Jhelum District and made part of newly
formed district of Chakwal.
Talagang Tehsil was annexed from Attock District and made second sub-division
of Chakwal district. Choa Saidan Shah was carved out of sub-division Pind
Dadan Khan of Jhelum District and amalgamated with sub-division Chakwal.
Choa Saidan Shah was upgraded to the level of a sub-division in 1993.
Remains of the temple at
Kussak Fort.
Remanant of a Burj at Kussak Fort.
Temple at the bank of a stream
Warala Site.
History of Chakwal|27

At present district Chakwal consists of 3 subdivisions – Chakwal, Talagang
and Choa Saidan Shah; one sub-tehsil- Kallar Kahar, 23 qanungos and 198
patwar circles. The police subdivisions correspond with those of the district
administration and there are 11 police stations- Chakwal City, Saddar, Kallar
Kahar, Dhumman, Nila, Dhudhial, Talagang City, Saddar, Tamman, Lawa
and Choa Saidan Shah. The political establishment of Chakwal comprises two
seats in the National Assembly, NA-60 and NA-61, and four in the Provincial
Assembly- PP-16, PP-17, PP-18 and PP-19. There is one district council, two
municipal committees- Chakwal and Talagang and one town committee- Choa
Saidan Shah.
Chakwal district borders the districts of Rawalpindi and Attock in the north,
Jhelum in the east, Khushab in the south and Mianwali in the west. The total
Mausoleum of Aahoo Bahoo Sarkar, Kallar Kahar.
Lake at Kallar Kahar.
area of Chakwal district is 6,609 square kilometres, which is equivalent to
1,652,443 acres (6,687.20 km).
The southern portion runs up into the Salt Range, and includes the Chail
peak, 3,701 feet (1,128 m) above the sea, and the highest point in the district.
Between this and the Sohan river, which follows more or less the northern
boundary, the country consists of what was once a fairly level plain, sloping
down from 2,000 feet (610 m) at the foot of the hills to 1,400 feet (430 m) in
the neighbourhood of the Sohan; the surface is now much cut up by ravines
and is very difficult to travel over.
Lying at the beginning of the Potohar plateau and the Salt Range, Chakwal is
a barani district and the terrain is mainly hilly, covered with scrub forest in the
southwest, and levelled plains interspaced with dry rocky patches in the north
and northeast. The tribes, clans and castes that inhabit this area are the Awans,
Jatt Bhutta, Mair Minhas Rajputs, Kahuts, Mughal Kassars, Janjua Rajputs,
Gujars, Gondals, Syeds, Arains and the Sheikhs. The physical features of the
district, its tribes, its society and its economy all combine to make Chakwal one
of the main recruiting areas for the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Air Force.
Other main occupations of the people are agriculture and mining. Transport
and poultry business is also important.
In 997 CE, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, took over the Ghaznavid dynasty
empire established by his father, Sultan Sebuktegin. In 1005 he conquered
the Shahis in Kabul and followed by the conquests of Punjab region. The
Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region
became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs
dot the landscape of Punjab region. After the decline of the Mughal Empire,
the Sikh chieftain invaded and occupied Mianwali District. The Muslims faced
restrictions during the Sikh rule.
During British rule, Chakwal was a Tehsil of Jhelum district, the population
according to the 1891 census of India was 164,912 which had fallen to 160,316
in 1901. It contained the towns of Chakwal and Bhaun and 248 villages. The
land revenue and cesses amounted in 1903-4 to 300,000. The predominantly
Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After
the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated
to India while the Muslims refugees from India settled down in the Chakwal
The boundaries and area of the tehsil were described by the Imperial Gazetteer
of India as follows “the tehsil lies between 28° 45’ and 30°05’ N. and 72°32’
and 73° 13’ E., with an area of 1,004 square miles”.
According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, the total population of the district
is 1,083,725 of which only 12.01% was urban — making
Chakwal the most rural district in Punjab.
Chakwal city has been bestowed by rich culture, history, art
and extravagant environment. Once been known as a picnic
spot for the Mughal dynasty and the British lords, also holds
the record for producing fine men like Colonel Muhammad
Khan, Tabish Kamal, India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh
and many other well reputed people.
Resting in the mountains of the Salt Range the valley of
Kallar Kahar holds beautiful environment, dazzling scenery,
wonderful historic and prehistoric spots and museums. Kallar
Kahar has Pakistan’s first fossil museum, but the mainstay of
tourist attraction is the Kallar Kahar Lake that lies in the heart
of the valley. Other attraction spots are Bagh-i Sufa, Takht-e
Baburi, the famous shrines and other gardens and mountain
Katas Raj is a 3000-year-old town sacred to the Hindus and
lies about 5 km west of Choa Saidan Shah on the Choa-Kallar
Kahar road. It contains over 100 temples built over more
than 1000 years by its Hindu Rajas. Some of these temples
are dilapidated but a large number of them have been well
maintained. Hindu pilgrims from all over Pakistan and India
frequently visit this town to worship.
Katas Raj at its peak time was the well renowned university.
Famous mathematician Alberuni measured the circumference
of the earth while he was studying the Sanskrit there.
Dulmial is 3 km from Katas Raj, a town which is very famous for the services
rendered from its residents to all walks of life for Pakistan and also in British
Army. Dulmial is one of the two towns on earth which was awarded with the
Victoria Gun after WWI in 1920. The gun was received by Capt. Ghulam
Mohammad Malik and other WWI veterans. Since the creation of Pakistan
Dulmial has kept its reputation in the Pakistan Army as well. Apart from the
military services this town is also known for the reputation of its people working
in high ranks in almost every important governmental and non-governmental
Dalwal is between two tehsils: Choa Saidan Shah and Kalar Kahar. It is almost
15 to 17 km from both tehsils. Geographically it has enormous importance
because both giant cement factories are also on the equal distance from this
village. Recently United States Agency for International Development has
executed a mega grapes orchard project that has a revolutionary statistics in this
belt with inter cropping methodology, a worth seeing orchard for all visitors
who have interest in research and development.
The small dams around the city have become picnic spots for their beauty.
Some of the famous dams are:
Dhok Taalian Dam
Naka Dam Kallar Kahar
Kot Raja Dam
Khokhar Zer Dam
Dharabi Dam
Arrar Mughlan Dam (under construction)
Maswaal/Ghazial Dam
Lakhwal Dam
Mial Dam
Baghtal Dam
Khai Dam
The culture of Chakwal is primarily based on the way of living as taught in
In Chakwal one of the most prominent castes is Bhatti Rajputs who were the
biggest landowners within the town boundaries of Chakwal. Ch. Muhammad
Amir Khan Bhatti is the most prominent political figure of the Chakwal city
who remained as Chairman Municipal Committee Chakwal and later on
Tehsil Nazim. He ruled over the local politics of Chakwal over more than three
decades. The most prominent personalities of the Bhatti Rajputs of Chakwal
are Ch Shaukat Mahmood Deputy Director FIA who is well known for his
highest integrity and professionalism. Ch. Noor Sultan was another great
personality of the Bhatti Rajputs of Chakwal. Raja Ashraf Bhatti is another
great personality. No history of Chakwal could be completed without the
mention of Bhatti Rajputs of Chakwal.
Scenic view of Khokherzer Dam.
Early history
The area of Dhanni (Chakwal Tehsil) for a long time in history was an
uninhabited part of the Jammu state of the Dogra Rajputs. Although the
powerful tribes like Ghakkars and Janjuas ruled the adjoining territories in
Potohar, Kahoon valley and the ancient Thirchak Mahal, Dhanni remained a
hunting ground for the Rajas of Jammu.
As the tradition goes, in the year 1190 C.E, Raja Bhagir Dev, a Jamwal prince,
while on a hunting expedition fell in love with a Muslim woman belonging to a
tribe of wandering Gujjar grazers. In order to marry her, he converted to Islam
and consequently was asked by his father to stay away from Jammu and settle
in this tract along with his men. Raja Bhagir Dev was named Muhammed
Mair after conversion to Islam and his descendants as Mair-Minhas Rajputs.
The Mairs preferred pastoral rather than agricultural pursuits for the next few
centuries; but remained confined to this area.
Mughal Era
When around 1525 C.E, the Mughal King Babur stopped by in this area on
his way to Kashmir, his army was ambushed by the hostile tribes from the
adjoining areas. However, the herds owned by the Mairs came in their way and
Babur’s army was awakened, hence the hostile Rajputs had to flee. The next
morning, the Mughal King summoned the chief of the tribe, Raja Sidhar and
offered him two thirds of the land of Dhanni, if he provided labour to help the
Kassar tribesmen to drain the water from the great lake which then covered all
the eastern part of the tehsil, up to the ridge followed by the Bhon-Dhudial
Raja Sidhar, chief of the Mair-Minhas Rajputs and Gharka Kassar, chief of
the Kassars, a Mughal sub-tribe took up the job along with their respective
tribesmen. They drained the lake water by cutting through Ghori- Gala, by
which the Bunha torrent now flows. Subsequently, they proceeded to take
up the country. The Emperor also awarded them the title of Chaudhry, and
administration of the newly formed Taluka, which ever since has been called
‘Dhan Chaurasi’ or ‘Maluki Dhan’.
Chaudhry Sidhar, settled villages named after his sons Chaku, Murid and
Karhan and as Chaku Khan became the chief, he decided to settle in Chakwal,
the village named after him and make it the centre of administration of the
Taluka. Whereas, Kassar chiefs founded the villages of Bal-Kassar and Dhudial.
The following few lines about the origins of Chakwal are noted in the District
Gazetter Jhelum 1904, “Chakwal has from time immemorial been the seat of
administration in the Dhanni Country. It is said to have been founded by a
Mair-Minhas Rajput from Jammu, whose descendants are at the present day
proprietors of the land in the neighbourhood. It is still the Headquarters of tribe”
This story is also confirmed by the Hindu family of Gadihok, who happened to
be “Qanoongos” of the area throughout the Mughal era and carry many pertinent
certificates by the Mughal Emperors. The Gadihoks claim that Dhanni was
named “Malooki Dhan” after their forefather, Malook Chand who happened
to be with Babur during settlement of the area and prepared all the paper work;
but they agree that the area was given to Mairs, Kassars and Kahuts; while the
Gadihoks received only a certain portion of the revenue as an ‘inam’.
However, as per the Janjua’s claim, the area was called “Malooki Dhan” after
their ancestor, Raja Mal Khan. The Kassars have a similar claim and they say
that the area was actually “Baluki Dhan” named after their ancestor BAL Kassar
and it was only due to a lithographic error that was noted as Maluki instead of
Baluki in Ain-e-Akbari. In contrast to all the aforementioned claims, “Ain-eAkbari” indicates Gakkhars as the rulers of the land.
The following account about the ownership of Dhanni seems most plausible.
It is generally accepted by all that Mair Minhas Rajput, Mughal Kassar and
Kahut Quriesh were the three landowning tribes that were originally settled in
this tehsil by the Mughal Emperor Zaheerudin Babur and were the only three
land owning tribes in Dhanni till the time of its annexation by the British.
The main concentration of the Mair-Minhas Rajputs being in the center
(Haveli-Chakwal), North-East (Badshahan), West (Rupwal) and South West
(Thirchak-Mahal). The Kassars in the northern part of the tehsil, the area called
‘Babial’ and ‘Chaupeda’ and the Kahouts in ‘Kahutani’ in the South East.
These tribes and especially the Mair-Minhas Chaudhris of Chakwal rose to
further prominence during the short rule of Sher Shah Suri who handed them
the control over the adjoining territories, as far as Swan River in Potohar and
Pind Dadan Khan plains in the South.
However, after the Mughal King Humayun returned to India with the help
of the Persians, he handed over the entire Potohar including Dhanni to the
Gakhars, who had helped him escape from India during Sher Shah’s revolt
and reign. The Gakhars moved the Capital of the Taluka from Chakwal to a
neighbouring town called ‘Bhon’ (Bhaun) and stationed their ‘Kardars’ there.
Consequently, the village of Bhon grew bigger than Chakwal in the Mughal era.
The Mair-Minhas and Mughal Kassar tribes again rose to power after King
Aurangzeb’s death. They had supported his son Moazzam Shah in his quest for
power and in return he re-appointed the Mair-Minhas chief Gadabeg Khan as
the Taluqdar and Chaudhry of the entire ‘Dhan Chaurasi’, whereas rule of the
Kassar Chaudhrys was confirmed in Babial and Chaupeda ‘illaqa’.
Sikh Era
Their rule over Dhanni continued during the Sikh era as one of Mair chiefs,
Chaudhry Ghulam Mehdi had invited Sardar Mahan Singh to this side of river
Jhelum. Also, their Dogra cousins Raja Gulab Singh and Dhian Singh were
very powerful in the Lahore Durbar, so the influence of Chakwal Chaudhris
during the [Sikh era] was considerable and hence Chakwal once again became
the centre of activity in the area. It was during that era that Dhanni breed of
horses became very popular and even Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s personal horses
were kept in the stables of the ‘Chakwal Chaudhials’.
British Era
In the Second Anglo-Sikh War at Chaillianwala in 1849, they supported
the Sikhs and hence their Jagirs were confiscated by the British and even the
lands in their headquarters, Chakwal were distributed among their tenants.
Consequently, Chakwal started growing as a city and was declared a Tehsil
Headquarters in 1881.
In addition to being the district capital, Chakwal city is also the administrative
centre of Chakwal tehsil (a subdivision of the district). The city of Chakwal
itself is divided into five Union Councils.
Chakwal City-I
Chakwal City-II
Chakwal City-III
Chakwal City-IV
Chakwal City-V



Author Since: June 2, 2022

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