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The Commission constituted to make recommendations regarding carving out a new Saraiki province  namely Bahawalpur Janobi Punjab (BJP) out of the exiting province of Punjab has made a proposal to include Mianwali in the proposed province. The Proposal is simply laughable. If we take a charitable view, the initiators of the proposal have no touch what-so-ever with ground realities. Many voices have been vociferously raised from mianwali against the proposal. A Mianwali Bachao Tehrik has been formed headed by Sardar  Nasrullah Khan President of District Bars with its memners  from various walk of life and had  three day boycot of courts beside complete shutter down strike in district and four hour sit-in (dharna) at Ikram Shaheed Chowk Mianwali to mark their resentment against proposal.  It, however, seems necessary to put things in proper perspective.

 

Firstly, Mianwali can by no stretch of imagination be considered part of the saraiki belt and hindko not saraiki is the language of Mianwali. Similarity between the two languages may be discernable but that is not to say that people of Mianwali speak saraiki and is thus part of saraiki belt.

 

If one goes by similarities in languages, people belonging to central and northern Punjab speak punjabi and pothwori respectively. But both the languages clearly have stamp of their respective regions, their but similarity notwithstanding. A particular language transplanted in a different environment trends to take different hues. The english spoken in the U.S, Australia and Newzeland is noticeably distinct from the one spoken in Britain. Even the language spoken in Britain under –goes minor changes in different parts of that country, for a slight change in dialect takes place every where after about 5 miles. For example, the language from the dialect of punjabi by a person speaks, one can always tell whether he belongs to the walled city of Lahore or outsides it. Dialect changes of the same language can be to such an extent that a yousafzai from northern KPK might find it difficult to understand the language of a burki tribesman from South Waziristan.

 

Likewise, the dialects spoken in southern punjab and Mianwali are very different. Their temperaments are reflective of the temperament of the people living in these areas. The saraiki of the deep south is very sweet and courtly.On the other hand, the hindko of Mianwali has a clear stamp of the proud and combative people here. That is not all. Northern part of Mianwali district has a sizeable Pashto-speaking population and there is a significant percentage of Pashto and Hindko speaking people who can speak both the languages.

Secondly, Mianwali was Kachhi Tehsil of Bannu District until the beginning of the 20th Century. The temparament of Mianwali people has considerable similarities with those belonging to KPK. It may be for that reason and for considerations of  ethnicity that late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his sucessors have been clamouring for inclusion of Mianwali in Pakhtunistan of their conception. It appears that the proposal to include

Mianwali in the proposed province has been motivated by a desire to prove that saraiki belt encompasses a very large area. It seems difficult to say whose claim is closer to reality.

 

Thirdly, having been part of Punjab for over a century and interacting with other people in this province makes people of Mianwali content with their present constitutional status.

 

It is, however, a different matter that educational and other facilities available in this unfortunate district are in no way at par with those available in the developed parts of Punjab. Resultantly, young men of Mianwali are usually at a disadvantage to compete with those belonging to other districts in the matter of jobs and other avenues of life.

 

There is a crying need to reserve quotas for Mianwali on the pattern of rural / urban quotas in Sindh. The people of Mianwali must agitate to achieve this goal. Mianwali is a very backward area. It cannot afford to be pushed into further backwardness by becoming part of sariki Province. The recent establishment of Danish School in Mianwali which was inaugurated on the 7th of February, 2013, has been a positive step but this is far from being sufficient.  There is a need for many high quality educational institutions in Mianwali.

 

Mianwali is rich in minerals and is endowed with rich soil and sufficient water resources. It requires concerted effort on the part of government to harness these resources to Mianwali’s benefit as that of Pakistan. Another injustice perpetrated on the youth of Mianwali is that those graduating from Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s Technical Institute at Chah Miana and other such institutes find avenues of employment blocked. Even the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant which carries alleged dangers of radiations for local population does not offers to the Mianwali youth their due share of jobs. Joblessness leads them to unlawful and dangerous activities. 

 

Fourthly, Mianwali is located at 4:30 driving hours distance from Lahore and less than three hours from Islamabad. On the other hand, Mianwali is at a driving distance of ten hours from Bahawalpur. Who in his right mind can even think of becoming part of the proposed sariki province?  Who would agree to fore go the advantage of access to the Lahore city of famous colleges and historical heritage and the beautiful Islamabad perched in the lap of lofty mountains for the deserts of Bahawalpur.

 

The people of Mianwali have nothing but goodwil for the sariki belt. They also wish that the original position of Bahawalpur may be restored. We are, however, not too dis-satisfied with our present constitutional status. We would want to continue benefiting from the fountains of learning currently available to us.

 

In the end, we hope that this dangerous proposal dies it natural death. But if it somehow gains momentum, we would strongly demand that this harmful proposal should be put to a referendum, there is no doubt that the people of Mianwali will give a resounding negative verdict. The respectable members of the Commission are requested to leave us alone.

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Mianwali Ittehad Protest on Karachi press club against decision of Dist. Mianwali inculde in New Province Bahawalpur. February 2013

    By Khurshid Anwar Khan (DAWN)

2010

MIANWALI, Dec 25: The district comprises Mianwali, Isakhel and Piplan tehsils hav- ing a population of 1,056,620 (80 per cent rural and 20 per cent urban). Spread over 5,840 sq/km, it has 56 union councils. According to official data, the district has 42.20 per cent literacy rate which is considered to be on the lower side. Pushto and Seraiki are the languages spoken here. The population is a mixed bag of Pathans, Awans and mixed tribes. The district has two National Assembly seats — NA-71 and NA-72 -– and four provincial assembly seats — PP-43, PP-44, PP-45 and PP-46. The number of registered voters in the district is 637,954 (348,663 male) and (289,291 female).

MIANWALI, Dec 25: A majority of the candidates in the run for the two national and four provincial assembly seats in Mianwali district are independent.

NA-71 covers revenue limits of Isakhel tehsil and almost half of Mianwali tehsil. It has 28 union councils with 330,115 registered voters (180,144 male and 149,971 female). This constituency was represented by Maqbool Ahmad Khan of Isakhel in 1985 (who became a federal minister in the Junejo Cabinet) and 1997, Maulana Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi in 1988 and 1990, Obaidullah Khan Shadikhel in 1993 and Imran Khan in 2002.The major towns in the constituency are: Isakhel, Qamar Mushani, Kalabagh, Daudkhel, Mari Indus, Paki Shah Mardan, Mooch, Paikhel, Rokri and Chakrala. This constituency has the pride of producing stalwarts like Maulana Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi (a Pakistan Movement veteran) and Nawab Malik Amir Muhammad Khan of Kalabagh (ex-governor West Pakistan).

Historically the Nawabs of Isakhel and Kalabagh had enjoyed supremacy during the British Raj. After the partition, they continued to hold sway in this area for quite some time, but a serious challenge to them appeared in the personality of Maulana Abdul Sattar Niazi. Subsequently, the influence of Nawabs of Isakhel faded away whereas the Nawab of Kalabagh rose to national horizon as he became the governor of West Pakistan. After the death of Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan, his descendants could not keep up their political influence in the area and went into oblivion till the reappearance of Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, a grandson of Nawab Amir. Amad is a candidate for NA-71. Imran Khan represented this constituency in the last National Assembly and would have been a hot favourite for the current election had he decided to contest.

Amanatullah Khan Shadikhel (independent), Malik Amad (independent), Inamullah Khan Niazi (PML-N) and Sardar Bahadur Khan (PPP) are in the run for the seat. Inamullah Niazi is a candidate for NA-72 also and taking least interest in NA-71 and Sardar Bahadur Khan of PPP is considered to be a weaker candidate. In this backdrop, the real contest is between Amanatullah Khan and Malik Amad both of who are trying to win the hearts of Imran’s supporters by telling them that they would not have contested the election had Imran been a candidate here. Amanatullah Khan and his family were initially supporters of Maulana Niazi beyond the district-level politics. It was in 1985 when Haji Ghulam Rasool Khan Shadikhel, the father of Amanatullah, made his debut in the provincial politics by wining membership of the provincial assembly. Since then the family is holding either national or provincial assembly membership. Amanatullah’s brother Haji Obaidullah Khan Shadikhel is district nazim and their cousin, Shafaullah Khan, is tehsil nazim. The family is a seasoned campaigner with sufficient resources, besides having the support and influence of Dr Sher Afgan.The family of Nawabs of Kalabagh started taking political interest in the constituency a year ago after two decades of political absence. Nawabzada Malik Asad Khan and his son Malik Fawad Khan re-established themselves with their old supporters. In fact, Malik Fawad was a likely candidate and his brother Malik Amad was a covering candidate. But the latter had to contest the election because Malik Fawad withdrew his candidature at the time of scrutiny.Likewise, a majority of Awans in the constituency are going to vote for their candidate. The Khans of Isakhel and political supporter of Rokri group are also backing them. It is said that 11 out of 14 UC nazims of Isakhel tehsil are campaigning for Malik Amad. All these factors are making the contest between Amanatullah Khan and Malik Amad a tough one. PP-43: This constituency has 160,339 registered voters (87,828 male and 72,511 female) and Isakhel, Qamar Mushani, Makarwal, Kalabagh and Tabisar are its main towns. Altaf Ahmad Khan of the PML-N, Amanatullah Khan (independent) and Abdul Hafeez Khan (independent) are the candidates. Altaf Khan and Abdul Hafeez Khan are of the same clan and with the likely division of votes between them, Amanatullah Khan gets the edge. Political analysts see a fight between Amanatullah Khan and Abdul Hafeez Khan. PP-44: It has 169,776 registered voters (92,316 male and 77,460 female). Daudkhel, Mooch, Paikhel, Chakrala, MariIndus, Rokri and Shahbazkhel are main towns in this constituency. Although there are four candidates Amir Hayat Rokri (independent), Fasihullah Khan (independent), Tahir Javed Khan (PML-F) and Sardar Bahadur Khan (PPP), the actual contest is between Amir Rokhri, an ex-MPA, and Fasihullah Khan. The former is the owner of a known transport company and son of the late Senator Amir Abdullah Khan. He refused the PML-Q ticket and opted for independent status. Fasihullah Khan belongs to the political family of Paikhel Town and is a nephew of the late Haji Ikramullah Khan, a provincial minister, and younger brother of former MPA Saleemullah Khan. He also enjoys the support of Dr Sher Afgan Khan and the district nazim.

NA-72: This constituency comprises areas of Piplan and Mianwali tehsils with 307,839 registered voters (168,519 male and 139,320 female). It has 28 union councils. Beside Mianwali city, the main towns of the constituency are Musakhel, WanBhachran, Harnoli, Kundian and Piplan.

Dr Sher Afgan returned in 1985 as an independent candidate, 1988 (PAI), 1993 (independent) and 2002 (PPP). Inamullah Khan Niazi won in 1997 from the PML-N platform and Gul Hameed Rokri in 1990 on the IJI ticket. In the fight are Dr Sher Afgan (PML-Q), Inamullah Khan (PMLN), Humair Hayat Rokri (independent), Haji Khurshid Anwar Khan (independent) and Malik Subah Sadiq (MQM). After the PML-Q gave ticket to Dr Afgan, a staunch supporter of President Pervez Musharraf, Humair Rokhri, a relative of Chaudhrys of Gujrat, decided to stay in the contest as an independent candidate.

Afgan’s son, who is the Mianwali tehsil nazim, is sparing no efforts in running the campaign of his father and allegedly using the TMA resources.The district nazim too is all support for Dr Afgan. Dr Afgan rose to the national politics by dint of hard work and outspoken personality. He remained federal minister for two terms in the PPP government and the last government of the PML-Q. He switched loyalty to the ruling party after getting elected on PPP ticket in 2002. His popularity suffered another setback when he filed a reference against Imran Khan in the backdrop of his clash with the MQM. Yet another blow to his popularity was dealt by his support to the unconstitutional acts of President Musharraf against the higher judiciary. He lost image in the public eye also by opposing construction of Cadet College at Chhidru tehsil (Mianwali) and awarding gas connections to his dear ones. Adding insult to the injury is the rift in his clan (Watta-Khel) which had been his major source of vote bank. Haji Khurshid Anwar Khan, a former tehsil nazim, has become his rival candidate. The Joya group of Piplan tehsil also has parted ways with Dr Afgan and joined Humair Rokri; all these factors are going against Dr Afgan.Humair Rokri, an ex-district nazim and son of ex-provincial minister Gul Hameed Khan Rokri, is a candidate in the constituency for the third time. He earlier participated in 1993 and 1997 independently, but lost on both occasions. However, he established his stature during his stint as firstever Mianwali district nazim by running the administration effectively.He has the credit of making the facility of Sui gas to Mianwali city a reality. It was in his tenure that the district got the approval of the cadet college. He has a considerable vote bank of his family, besides the support of Joyas and Kundis of Piplan tehsil.Inamullah Khan Niazi (PMLN) is a cousin of Imran Khan and belongs to an old educated political family whose elders participated in the Pakistan Movement under the banner of the Muslim League. He had been an MPA and an MNA from the same constituency. Since his party decided to take part in the elections very late, he came in the arena after other candidates but is making all-out efforts to make up for the delay. His main support is in the city and towns where a majority of voters are independent of caste bonds. Moreover, he may cash in on the negative vote against the last government of President Musharraf. If he succeeds in bringing his party head Mr Nawaz Sharif to his constituency, his prospects of success will become brighter.

 Haji Khurshid Anwar Khan (independent) is campaigning seriously and is successful in winning support of voters in several pockets of the constituency. Since he is a new comer in the national politics, he has to work really hard for winning the election. Malik Subah Sadiq (MQM) has no political support, however, he is serving the purpose of his party.PP-45: Falling in the NA-72, the constituency has 160,339 registered voters (87,828 male and 72,511 female). Besides Mianwali city, the other main towns of the constituency are Musakhel, WanBhachran, Shadia and Chhidru. Prominent among the contestants are Gul Hamid Rokri, former provincial minister for revenue, who is contesting as an independent candidate, Advocate Ziaullah Khan (independent), Ali Haider Noor Khan (MMA), Muhammad Imran Khan Punukhel (MQM), Azhar Hayat Khan (independent), Arif Masood Anwar Khan (PML-F), Malik Mumtaz Bhachar (independent) and Malik Ahmad Khan Bhachar (PML-N).A close contest is expected between Gul Hamid Rokri, Malik Ahmed Khan and Ali Haider Noor.

PP-46: There are 144,603 registered voters (80,891 male and 63,712 female) here with prominent towns of Piplan, Kundian and Harnoli. This constituency has a lot of ML & DB Chaks of settlers. Those contesting are: Malik Muhammad Feroze Joya (independent), Qari Ghulam Yasin (MMA), Rana Zafar Saeed (PML-N) and Sardar Muhammad Sabtain Khan (PML-Q), a former provincial minister. The Joya group has joined hands with Rokris and Sabtain Khan with Dr Afgan. The death of Piplan tehsil nazim Faqir Abdul Majeed Khan a few days ago has dealt a blow to Sabtain Khan’s vote bank. The PML-N’s Zafar Saeed Rana has reasonable support of settlers (mohajirs). The MMA candidate has no say in the run. A close contest is expected between Malik Feroze Joya, Zafar Saeed and Sardar Sabtain Khan.

 

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MIANWALI ELECTIONS

By Abdur Rashid

The News,Wednesday, December 19, 2007

 

MIANWALI: The boycott of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan and candidates’ refusal to contest the polls from the PML-Q platform in NA-71 and PP-44 have upset the political situation in the district.

There are two National Assembly seats – NA 71 and 72 – and four Punjab Assembly seats – PP-43, PP-44, PP-45 and PP-46 – in the district. The NA-71 constituency, which has PP-43 and PP-44, starts from Isakhel and ends at the boundary of Mianwali city. Makarwal, Kamarmishani, Kalabagh, Tibbi Sirkot Chandna, Bani Afghan, Iskanaderabad, Pakki Shah Mardan, Daudkhel, Paikhel and Mochh are prominent places in the constituency. NA-72, which has PP-45 and PP-46, starts from Mianwali city and ends at Piplan. It includes Musakhel, Wan Bachran, Kundian, Chashma Katcha belt of the River Indus, Piplan, Harnoli and 26 chaks of the Thal Development Authority (TDA).

The Biradari System is very strong in the district and the people vote for candidates on the recommendation of their elders instead of political affiliations. Women's participation in politics is almost nil and they vote for candidates on the directions of their men. In Paikhel and Katcha Gujrat villages, women are not allowed to go to polling stations.

Former MPA Amanatullah Khan Shadikhel of the PML-Q, brother of District Nazim Obaidullah Khan Shadikhel, has surprised the public by refusing to accept the symbol of bicycle and opting to contest as an independent candidate with symbol of 'bus'. Now he is contesting from NA-71 and PP-43. His refusal to contest from the PML-Q platform is likely to strengthen the position of Captain (retd) Malik Amad Khan of Kalabagh, the grandson of the late West Pakistan governor Malik Muhammad Amir Khan.The people have given a warm welcome to the Nawabs of Kalabagh who have rentered politics after 22-year absence. Earlier, Malik Fawad Ahmed Khan, son of Malik Asad Khan and the grandson of the late Malik Muhammad Amir Khan, was a candidate from NA-71. Amad replaced his elder brother when Fawad's academic qualification was challenged in the court.The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has for the first time issued tickets to Malik Subah Sadiq, advocate, from NA-72, Imran Khan from PP-45 and Muhammad Shahid from PP-46. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has fielded Ali Haider Noor from PP-45.However, former federal minister Dr Sher Afgan Khan and former provincial minister Muhammad Sibtain Khan are contesting the elections from the PML-Q platform.

The Rokharis have emerged as a strong group after their alliance with the Nawabs of Kalabagh, the Raees of Isakhel and the Joya family of Piplan. Abdul Rehman Khan Babli of Isakhel and Gul Hameed Khan Rokhri are supporting Malik Fawad in NA-71.

In return, the Nawabs are backing Hafeezullah Khan, brother of Babli, in PP-43 and Aamir Hayat Khan Rokhri in PP-44.The PML-N has given the tickets to former MNA Inamullah Khan Niazi from NA-71 and NA-72, former Isakhel Tehsil Nazim Muhammad Altaf Ahmed Khan from PP-43 and Malik Ahmed Khan Bhachar from PP-45. Inamullah has been absent from his constituency for the last eight years so it would be difficult for the PML-N to win the seats.In addition, he has not visited NA-71 so far. Humair Hayat Khan Rokhri is likely to give a tough time to Dr Sher Afghan Khan in NA-72.

 

The Bhachar family of Wan Bhachran has always been playing a decisive role in politics. This time Malik Mumtaz Bhachar, a candidate nominated by Dr Sher Afgan, is facing his son-in-law and nephew Malik Ahmed Khan Bhachar of the PML-N. Ziaullah Khan from Musakhel, a retired senior civil judge, is contesting for the first time from PP-45.

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CULTURE OF MIANWALI DISTRICT (1947 to 2007)

(KHURSHID ANWAR KHAN)

 (Correspondent DAWN)

 

            Mianwali, once a little-known and therefore undisturbed district sitting peacefully on the northwestern edge of the Punjab, is now as dynamic and widely known as any other part of Pakistan. It came into political limelight with Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan of Kalabagh taking over as Governor West Pakistan in the early 1960’s. About two decades later the word Kalabagh again flashed into significance with reference to the unnecessarily controversial Kalabagh Dam.

            Because of its location and centuries-old association with the NWFP, Mianwali bears visible traces of the pashtoon culture. A sizeable part of Tehsil Isakhel has Pashto speaking population. From Kalabagh southwards the influence of Pakhtoon culture gradually   gave way to Seraeki culture.

            Since 1947 the unique Mianwalian culture has undergone drastic changes.Nostaligic reminiscences uttered by the aged people is all that is left of the things, manners and life style of Mianwalian identity. Some of the salient features of that good old culture ought to be placed on record before they fade entirely out of living memory.

             A single mud built hall known as Kotha, served as family bed-cum-dining room. The kitchen was a 4 feet high  U-shaped roofless enclosure with one or two mud-built ovens known as chullah. Thin wide circular chapattis were cooked on bhattis & loher, a U-shaped tin sheet placed upside down and laee or cow dung cakes were used as fuel. The courtyard, usually about a Kanal in area, was surrounded by a 5 to 6 feet high wall. The entrance was a 6 feet wide gap in the wall known as galla.

            The furniture mainly consisted of Manjha, a 4 x 6 ft wooden cot knitted across with date-palm string. Peerha, a crude high-backed chair caned with Kundar leaves was used to seat the guests. Peerhi, a 8 to 12 inches high square wooden stool caned with palm string was used by ladies as a seat in the kitchen.

            The male dress comprised  long white calico Kurta (Chola), white calico tehmad (Manjhla) and white muslin turban (patka).Every male had to  wear a patka, as bare head was regarded as a mark of insolence. A flat sandal   known as kanney wali Kheri was the traditional male footwear.

            The ladies used to wear colorful chintz (printed cotton) kurti over a dark colored cotton tehmad (manjhla) and   traditional headgear known as   Tikra. A sort of khusa known as pahn was the female footwear. Locally made gold and silver jewellary included gaani (necklace) Chan Kangan (Bracelet) chhaps (gold or silver rings), Teelas, small golden discs on both sides of the nose and walian, a set of 24 ear rings dangling from 12 tiny holes bored along the edge of each ear.(pinna)

Born beauty needs no cosmetics. The caustic- soda washing soap was used as shampoo and face-wash. Dandasa, surma,kajal and mehndi were used only on festive occasions. Traditional dishes included Katwa, beef curry made with whole spices and without any ghee or oil in huge earthenware containers known as Katwa.

            Wheat, gram, millet bajra and barley grains were cooked in various ways to serve as breakfast or snacks. Murunda was made of roasted wheat, gram,bajra or barley  mixed with melted gur. Bhangoor was bajra boiled in water with gur . Ogra was a kind of porridge made of roasted and mashed wheat or barley. Wheat or gram boiled in water sweeten with gur was a charity food believed to bring rainfall.

            Herbs of various kinds were used for healthcare. Aniseed (Saunf), Ajwain and Isapghol were the popular panacea for all types of digestion disorders, Neem leaves and Khamjeera seeds were used as blood purifiers. A number of home made herbal concoctions like joshanda, purgatives and emulsions were current for treatment of a number of maladies that flesh is heir to.

            Mianwalians are tall, sturdy and handsome with fair complexion and aquiline features. That is why they are readily accepted in armed forces and police.                                                      

 Marriages were marked by simplicity. The dowry consisted of a simple tin box containing jewellery, a few dresses and a few items of kitchen-ware. Charpoys, bedding and aluminum utensils were loaded on camel –back.

The baraat, led by the local band, usually a dhol, a shehnaee and a bag- pipe blaring away at full volume arrived at the bride’s house in the afternoon. First there was a competition of marksmanship for young men from the bridegroom’s side. Then the bridegroom put on bridal dress provided by the bride’s family. This was done amid loud jubilation, with firing into the air. Nikah was usually solemnized on this occasion. Any kind of refreshment, even a glass of water from the bride’s house was regarded as a dishonor.

The celebration concluded with a tearful departure of the bride. At the threshold of the bridegroom’s house one of the  aged ladies of the grooms family held up a copy of Holy Quran  for  blessing . The bride kissed it and entered the house.

            Depending almost entirely on the arid soil far a living about 90 percent of the population had nothing to do after sowing the crops –mainly wheat – till the harvest in March. The long spell of about six months was spent in praying for rain, doing sundry household chores and lounging around. Workshops of carpenters, shoemakers and barbers served as a sort of clubs where the farmers spent the day puffing Hookah and exchanging local gossip ranging  from marriages to cattle breeding, quarrels to childbirth and whatever else came in handy. Wit and wisdom of some of these simple unlettered villagers sometimes touched Shakespearean heights.Wheat harvest in March & April was followed by a spell of marriages, for it was then that these people got money enough to defray the expenditure. What remained was spent on litigation. Scarcity of water in remote rural areas of Thal has always been a problem. The only source of water in those areas is the local Tobha, a 3 to 4 feet deep pond of rain water. Its water was used for drinking, washing and bathing .Even the animals shared water of the Tobha with the human beings. The stinking

muddy water was of course unfit for drinking. But then what else was there for poor villages to drink? Even now some of the outlying villages in the district depend on Tobha for their water requirements. The Tobha was also a symbol of culture and theme of popular folk songs.

             Kacha  , a two to three miles across strip of fertile land    along the left bank of the Indus, which runs right across the district from north to south, was a rich source of food for the rest of the district. The alluvial soil seasonally irrigated and replenished by the river was ideal for all kinds of crops and fodder. Consequently, camel-caravans carrying foodgrains, vegetables, milk, ghee, poultry   kept up a steady supply-line for the arid Thal area. In nearby towns of Thal these things were usually bartered against cloth and other things of daily use. Kacha reed jungle was also rich in game. It was a favorite haunt of deer, duck, partridge and quail hunters. With the construction of Chashma Barrage, alas; the kacha is now occupied by Chashma Lake. Thus the lifeline on the palm of Mianwali has been erased.

             With its ethnic roots in the NWFP, the Mianwalian culture is basically tribal culture. Heroic tribal traditions of chivalry, hospitality, honesty and courage are still  hallmarks of Mianwalian’s social life. On the negative side tribal feuds and vendetta used to be a pernicious bane of the Mianwalian society. Reconciliation was usually brought about through jirga. When the jirga failed to achieve a reconciliation an apology offered by the sisters and mothers of the murderer to the family of the victim never failed. Women were held in such high regard that if a person came across his deadly enemy accompanied by a lady, he quietly passed by him. Had the two met alone, the encounter would have resulted in the sure death of one of them.

 In villages the ladies went about freely without any burqa or hijab (Veil).And still there were no rapes or scandals. There was no concept of extra-marital sex. Men knew that even the slightest obscene gesture would bring death. Women in rural areas willingly did out-door agricultural chores like harvesting, fodder cropping and all that. Surprisingly that hijab-less social

atmosphere was far safer than the present day glamorous liberty enjoyed by women in posh urban areas of the country. In remote rural areas of Mianwali that healthy atmosphere still prevails.

            The good old culture remained intact till the 1960’s, Then things in Mianwali , as elsewhere in Pakistan, began to change at tremendous pace The four PIDC factories in Daudkhel initiated urbanization of the locality. Chashma Barrage, Chashma Nuclear Complex and PAF base further added to the speed of urbanization. Mushrooming of educational institutions completed the cultural change. Consequently the Mianwali of today is as much urbanized as any other place in Pakistan.  The particular Mianwalian Seraeki dialect is now all that is left of Mianwalian identity. The pure unadulterated Mianwalian culture is now an endangered species living a precarious life in remote out-of-the-way villages  on the outskirts of Thal.

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