Editor ChoiceSwat History

ROAD MAINTENANCE IN SWAT STATE

“My back tells me that I have entered Swat State, while driving my car.” These were the observations of many visitors about Swat. The roads were maintained to the best possible standard. Before introducing Contract System for the extension of new roads, the State Malatia force were employed on construction of roads. But for the maintenance of existing roads, a separate semi-armed or para military force was permanently engaged to the job six days a week. Its organization was on the same lines as the state force. They were also paid twice a year in kind on Rabbi and Kharif harvesting. They had the same ranks  and files as the force, Sepoy, Hawaldar, Jamadar, Subedar, Subedar Major, Captain and Commander. No proper yard stick was maintained but the number and area was kept in view, for fixing the formations of each group.

Their record of service, arms and ammunition were kept by a clerical branch, in the office of the Commander Roads, stationed at the central office of the Naib Salar, who was overall incharge of the armed or para military force of the State. Road Commander was provided with a jeep for his duty of supervising the performance of the Roads staff, commonly called ‘Sarkian’. Post of the Captain of roads was abolished in 1961, after the retirement of Captain Abdul Hanan and the staff came directly under the charge of Commander Roads.  The Subedar Majors were given Scooters for vigilant performance, other ranks down Subedar to Hawaldar were provided with Bicycles. Donkeys were also recruited in this force, and three donkeys holder were paid double ‘Barath’ in kind. Those donkeys were used to carry earth for the berms etc, where not available in side drains. Scooters provided to the Subedar Majors were original Italian made.

Two Commanders had been incharge in their tenure of office, Mian Sed Lala and Sarfaraz Khan. The two Subedar Majors who remained upto the finalization of the integration plan with Pakistan, have a legendary status in their time, and some stories of their outstanding performance are still fresh in mind. They were Khog Subedar Major of Proper Swat section and Mian Mustapha alias Kara Kar Pacha, of Buner section. After dissolving this force within a few months of the merger, hundreds of bicycles were collected from them and deposited in the open area adjacent to the P.W.D store at Saidu Sharif. How they were disposed by the new administration is another story.

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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