Mianwali is a District in the north-west of Punjab province, Pakistan. It borders Lakki Marwat district in the west, Kohat and Karak districts in the North west and Dera Ismail Khan District in the southwest.Attock lies in the north,Chakwal in the north east, Khushab in the east and Bhakkar in the south. In November 1901, North West Frontier Province was carved out of Punjab and present day towns of Mianwali, Isa Khel, Kalabagh, and Kundian were separated from Bannu District (NWFP)and hence a new district was made with the headquarters in Mianwali city and placed in Punjab.
Mianwali used to be the part of Bannu district but on November the 9th,1901 a new district was made with headquarters at Mianwali city.Deputy commissioner used to be the head of the district.The first deputy commissioner was Captain A.J.O’Brian.The first district judge was Sardar Balwant Singh.It is worth mentioning that Capt.O’Brian served Mianwali not once but thrice.He was again given the charge of D.C.Mianwali in 1906 and then in 1914. This time he was promoted to the rank of Major.
The system continued even after the creation of Pakistan as a sovereign nation.It was not until year 2000 when the new local government system was introduced by the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.Three basic changes were made
Divisions which used to be third tier of the government were abolished and more autonomy was given to the districts under the motive of devolution of power.
With this new status of the districts Nazims were to become the administrators of the district with more authoritative powers.
The post of D.C. was abolished with the aim to put an end to the bureaucratic rule however the bureaucracy was offered an olive branch by creating a new post of District Co-ordinating Officer.However the Nazim remains the main elected representative and administrator while the D.C.Os serve as representatives of the government.
The district is administratively divided into three tehsils
Architectural Objects and Remains
In the southern part of the district the general absence of antiquarian remains also tends to prove that it can never have been the site of a rich and populous Government. In the Kachhi tract, of course, such remains could not survive the action of river floods, and this tract must, at one time, have been much wider than it is now. The Thal, however, is admirably suited for the preservation of antiquarian relics, had any such ever existed, but there are none that date from earlier than the fourteenth century.
Ruins at Mari Indus & Mari City
Ruins of centuries old hindu temples in salt range near Mari Indus (River Indus can be seen traversing through hills)
At Mari in the Mianwali Tahsil there is a picturesque Hindu ruin, crowning the gypsum hill, locally called Maniot (from Manikot, meaning fort of jewels), on which the Kalabagh diamonds are found. The ruins themselves must once have been extensive. It appears that the very top of the hill was built over with a large palace or fort.
Architectural Objects and Remain-Ruins of Sirkapp Fort
Overlooking the village site of Namal in the Khudri is a ridge of great natural strength, cut off on three sides by hill torrents. On the top of this ridge there are extensive ruins of what is said to have been the stronghold of Sirkapp, Raja of the country , who was a contemporary of Raja Risalu of Sialkot, by whom he was vanquished. The outer wall of the fort still exists in part in a dilapidated condition, but the enclosure, which must once have contained accommodation for a fairly large garrison , is now one mass of fallen houses and piles of hewn or chiselled stones . The series of lifts, made for carrying water from the bed of the stream to the top of the hill, have left their marks.
The above, together with two sentry-box like buildings, supposed to be dolmens, midway between, Namal and Sakesar, and several massive looking tombs, constructed of large blocks of dressed stones in the Salt Range, comprise all the antiquities above ground in the district. No doubt many remain concealed beneath the surface. The encroachments of the Indus and even of the Kurram near Isakhel often expose portions of ancient masonry arches and wells.
“Days of Yore” PR ZE. class 230 enroute to Lakki Marwat from Mari Indus in frosty winter morning circa 1987.(Mianwali was the only district in Punjab with about 80 km of Narrow Gauge section which was closed in 1992)
The only other antiquity worth mentioning is a monster baoli at Wanbhachran , said to have been built by order of Sher Shah Suri. It is in good preservation and similar to those in the Shahpur District.
Mianwali district covers an area of 5,840 square kilometres. The area in north is a continuation of the Pothohar Plateau and the Kohistan-e-Namak. The district consists of various towns, including Kalabagh, Isa Khel,Ding Khola (Khanqah Sirrajia), Kundian, Paikhel, Piplan, Kamar Mushani, Mochh, Rokhri, Harnoli, Musa Khel, Zimri, Wan Bhachhran, Daud Khel and the district capital – Mianwali city.
Kalabagh is famous for the Kalabagh Dam and the Nawab of Kalabagh and for the red hills of the salt range and scenic view of mighty Indus River.
Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Amir Muhammad Khan(1910-1967),Ex-Governor West Pakistan.
Kundian is the second largest town at a distance of 15 km from the city of Mianwali.There is aKhanqah Sirrajia Neuclear power plant(KHannup)Ding Khola (PAEC),Kundian(Chashma)Barrage,K.J(Kundian Jehlum)Chashma Jehlum)Link Canal
Thal is a large area which is mostly desert and semi-arid. It is located between Jhelum and Indus river (The Sindh-Saagar Doab). The boundaries of the old district established in 1901 included almost 70 % of this great area, but after the separation of Layyah and then Bhakkar Tehsils, only about 20% remains in this district. First deputy commissioner Mr. A J O’Brian wrote in his memoirs
” In 1901 the District of Mianwali was formed out of the two Punjab halves of two older districts, and I had the good fortune to be put in charge. It was a lonely District with, as my Assistant Mr. Bolster called it, ‘three white men in a wilderness of sand.'”
Isa Khel is another important town located in the west of Mianwali. It is a historical town named after Isa Khan, a famous Niazi chief.
Kamar Mushani is famous for its trade and minerals.