Background of Hazara, Pakistan

Hazara (Hindko: هزاره, Urdu: ہزارہ) is a region in northern Pakistan, administratively known as Hazara Division of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is dominated mainly by the Hindko-speaking people, who are the native ethnic group of the region and often called the "Hazarewal".


The origin of the name Hazara has been identified with Abisāra, the country of Abisares, the monarch of the region at the time of Alexander's invasion. The British archaeologist Aurel Stein regards it as derived from the Sanskrit name Urasā, or 'Urasha'. However, the region only came to be known as Hazara after Timur held control of it in 1399, and assigned it to his local chieftains, namely the Hazara-i-Karlugh.

History of Hazara

The history of Hazara is very old, traces of which can be found from the time of Ashoka and the study of history shows that for centuries Hazara had the status of a separate region whose lifestyle is also different from other regions despite the fact that there are different languages. Among the languages spoken are Hinku, Pashto, Gujri and Kohistani. In 1901, the British Empire divided Hazara into two parts and made a separate province by attaching some area to Punjab and more area to the North-West Frontier Province so that the Muslim majority could be eliminated from Punjab.

Ancient period

Alexander the Great, after conquering parts of northern Punjab, established his rule over a large part of Hazara. The region of Amb and its surrounding areas have been associated with Embolina mentioned by Arrian and Ptolemy's Geography near Aornos, the town chosen to serve as Alexander's base of supplies. According to Arrian, the ruler of the region in Alexander's time was called Arsakes.

With the rise of Chandragupta Maurya, the region came under the complete control of the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka governed this area as a prince, imperial throne c. 272 BCE. He made it one of the major seats of his government. The Mansehra Rock Edicts, inscribed on three large boulders near Mansehra record fourteen of Ashoka's edicts, presenting aspects of the emperor's dharma or righteous law. These represent some of the earliest evidence of deciphered writing in the subcontinent, dating to the middle of the third century BCE, and are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script.

The region was briefly and nominally controlled by many foreign rulers, including the Indo-Parthians, Indo-Scythians, and Kushans, who promoted Buddhism throughout Central and South Asia. The region reached its height under the Buddhist ruler Kanishka the Great. During the Kushan period, Buddhist art and architecture flourished in the area.

Medieval period

When the Chinese pilgrim Hiun-Tsang visited the area in the 7th century, it was under the control of Durlabhavardhana, the ruler of the Karkota dynasty. He mentioned the region as Wu-la-shi.

The Turk and Hindu Shahi dynasties ruled Hazara one after another. Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the Hindu Shahi ruler Jayapala during his first campaign. However, there is no significant historical evidence attesting the Ghaznavid rule in Hazara. After the fall of the Hindu Shahi dynasty in the 11th century, the rulers of Kashmir took control of the area, the most notable being under the leadership of Kalasa (1063 to 1089) until the area fell to the Ghurids.

In 1399, the Turco-Mongol warrior Timur, on his return to Kabul, stationed his Karluk Turkic soldiers in Hazara to protect the important route between Kabul and Kashmir.

In the Mughal era, the region was part of the Pakhli Sarkar (district), which formed a part of the larger Subah of Kashmir, which in turn was part of the Subah Kabul before 1586.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Turkic rule came to an end due to the increased aggression of the Swatis. The most crucial attack was that of the Swatis in 1703, in collusion with Syed Jalal Baba, the son in law of the last ruler of Pakhli, Sultan Mehmud Khurd. Thus, Swatis ousted the Turks and captured this area during the last part of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century.

Modern period

The area became under the Durrani Empire from the mid-18th to the early 19th centuries. The Durranis considered it wise to rule the region through the local tribal chiefs. The Amb area was ruled by Suba Khan Tanoli during the reign of the Durrani Empire. He was appointed as Nazim (area administrator or Governor) by Taimur Shah Durrani in 1775 or 1776. Suba Khan Tanoli died in 1783.

Hazara came under Sikh rule in 1820 when the region was conquered by the Sikh Empire led by the Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa. The city of Haripur was founded by him in 1822 and became the headquarters of Hazara until 1853. He was also appointed by Ranjit Singh as the second Nazim of Hazara after the first Nazim Amar Singh Majithia was killed by the local populace at Samundar Katha in Abbottabad.

After the First Anglo-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 local tribes were occasionally rebellious, including the Swatis and the Tor Ghar tribes. The British sent many expeditions against these tribes to crush several uprisings between 1852 and the 1920s, including the Hazara Expedition of 1888.

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 Abdul Majid Khan Tarin and Jalal Baba. Sometime before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Nawab of Amb Muhammad Farid Khan Tanoli also developed good relations with Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan as a politic move.

During British rule, the region of Hazara along with the districts of Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan, had formed part of Punjab Province, until the western parts of the province were separated to form the new North-West Frontier Province in 1901. 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. 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.

Beautiful Hazara

The Hazara region of Pakistan, is a stunningly beautiful place with a diverse landscape that includes lush green valleys, towering mountains, and crystal-clear lakes. The natural beauty of the region is truly breathtaking, and it is a popular destination for tourists who want to explore the stunning scenery and experience the local culture.