Swat History

EVOLUTION OF SWAT STATE FORCES

Army is the main source of strength and symbol of power for a state. Badshah Sahib (Miangul Abdul Wadud) was also very much interested in establishing a permanent regular army but he has to depend on the ‘qaumi lashkar’ in the struggle against Abdul Jabbar Shah, the  self styled king of Swat. The ‘qaumi lashkar’ fought with their own arms and ammunition. The people not only provided man power but also ration for the ‘lashkar’ was brought on mules and donkeys to the front lines. After removing Abdul Jabbar Shah, Badshah Sahib started establishing a permanent force. He made the younger brother of the Wazir, Ahmad Ali as the Sepa Salar or head of the soldiers. He was given the title of Sardar and henceforward was addressed as Sardar Ahmad Ali Khan. Ranks were developed to the following order.

Sepah Salar, Naib Salar, Common Officer,  Subedar Major, Subedar, Jamadar, Hawaldar, Sepoy.

Badshah Sahib choose able and brave men from all segments of the society and did not restricted the ranks to the few privileged families. Men of fervor and wisdom from the lower class were also given high ranks like the Khans of the various Khels.

 

So we see high ranking officials like the Khans of Musa Khel, Aba Khel, Nikpi Khel, Shamizai, Babuzai and other clans in line with those from Sayyids, Miangans, Julagan and other castes. No training, no courses or academics were requirement for recruitment. The people were brought up in feuds from the times of their origin and everyone including women folk knew the use of arms, which were simple, non automatic and single fire pistols. Badshah Sahib arranged somehow automatic foreign made pistols, a few machine guns, field artillery, signal and wireless equipment etc. The system took off the ground and with the passage of time received advance equipment like Carbins, Sten guns, 303 and Mark 5 rifles and German make pistols. Light pistols of 25, 38 bores were imported from Spain, Italy and United Kingdom. British short guns of Webly & Scot were also purchased for hunting and given to officers and loyal Khans etc.

When Wali Sahib was first made the Sepa Salar, he started radical changes in the State army. Proper uniforms for the ranks and files were introduced with shoulder insignias. The officer’s caps were redesigned on British style, with the State emblems. Proper records were maintained of each and every person in huge registers. The officers were now mostly from influential families from the rank of captain to subedar. After peace was consolidated, Wali Sahib used the bulky force for construction of roads and bridges etc and maintained the force till the last day of his rule. Probably in 1958/1960, some high ranking officers were sent to Army Officers Training School, Kohat (O.T.S) to undergo courses with Pakistan Army officers. Some names of those officers, which I remember, were Umara Khan, Naib Salar of Kokarai, Commander Shuja Ul Mulk Khan, Commander Farooq Khan of Odigram, Commander Haji Nawab Khan of Ghalegai and Commondar Sarfaraz Khan of Mingora.

Fazal Raziq Shahab belongs to the historic village of Aboha, Swat. His writings on Swat State provides very useful information to the general readers and researchers. He remained Swat State functionary and thus observed the happenings of the State very closely. He is the author of two books and his Columns has been a regular feature of Daily Azadi, Bakhabarswat.com and Lafzuna.com.
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Fazal Raziq Shahab belongs to the historic village of Aboha, Swat. His writings on Swat State provides very useful information to the general readers and researchers. He remained Swat State functionary and thus observed the happenings of the State very closely. He is the author of two books and his Columns has been a regular feature of Daily Azadi, Bakhabarswat.com and Lafzuna.com.
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