Kohistan also called Abasin Kohistan or Indus Kohistan, was an administrative district within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan, covering an area of 7,492 square kilometres (2,893 sq mi). Geographically, Kohistan stretches from the border with Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the east and north to Swat and Shangla in the west, and Mansehra and Battagram District in the south.
Indus or Abasin Kohistan is the most backward district of Hazara division in North West Frontier Province. It is located along the well-known Himalayas of Pakistan from 34.40 to 30.35 degrees of altitude and from 75.30 to 50.72 degrees of longitude. Naran, Kaghan, Siran, and Allai lie in the east and south of Kohistan, Swat in the west while the valleys of Chilas, Darel and Tagir are located in the north of it.
River Indus originates from Mansoro lake att the altitude of 17000 feet in Himalayas. Fed by River Gilgit and other tributaries on the way, River Indus flows down through the middle of Kohistan. The Silk Road, that links Pakistan with China and serves as an important trade route between the two countries, leads down all the way along the River Indus bank up to Besham at the end of District Kohistan.
Silk Road has long been a thoroughfare for the tourists, traders and conquerors from Central Asia. In the past, business delegations would use this passage to travel up to Europe and the Little Asia (Kochak). Moreover, it was an important outlet to the land of Sind. At present, the Silk Road and the Basphorus bridge in Turkey have made it possible to travell by road from Atlantic Oceans to the shores of Pacific in Asia.
In the vicinity of Silk Road, there exist the rock inscriptions of universal importance. These inscriptions pertain to various historical periods, languages, races, religions and civilizations.
Kohistan is located on such a global space where it serves as a natural boundary for environmental regions in the chains of Himalayan, Korakorum and Hindukush mountains.
Kohistan is divided mainly on the east and west across River Indus. Its western part was called Swat Kohistan and the eastern part as Yaghistan (the rebellious land) and Hazara Kohistan. On the western bank, Bankhar, Duber, Jijal, Pattan, Kehal, Seo, Razqa, Khandia and Gabral are located while on the eastern bank are situated the valleys of Darra Madkhel, Batera, Kolai, Palas, Jalkot, Sumar, Sazin and Harban. The valleys of Khandia and Palas are relatively larger and green.Following are the main valleys of Kohistan:
Dassu, Khandia, Besham, Pattan, Sumar, Komila, Sazin, Talil valley, Kolai, Palas, Jalkot, Harban, Darel,
Basha, Tangir, Shatial
Kohistan is included over the area of 8581 Kilometers. Its capital is Dassu having three tehsils of Palas, Pattan and Dassu. According to the demographic survey in 1981, the population of district Kohistan is about one million. The average literacy rate is around two percent. But the actual literacy rate based on the field data shows that this rate is three times more.
Around one and a half lac Kohistanis, who speak Shina and Kohistani language, live in other cities and villages outside Kohistan. Of these, 70% of the population speaking Shina belongs to the areas between Darra Madkhel and Basha.