Swat History

ROLE OF SWAT STATE’S FORCES IN DEVELOPMENTAL WORKS

Swat, as an internally independent State used to maintain regular armed personals to repulse attacks from neighboring princely States of Dir and Amb. For internal security and maintaining law and order within, there were 80 forts manned by well-armed men under the command of a Subedar. As all the threats from outside were no more expected due to the intervention of the British Indian Government, and there was consolidated peace and harmony inside. Some Advisors suggested then that there was no need of keeping such huge force. Wali Sahib rejected the proposal and said he would put this man power in construction of roads and bridges etc.He said he would not get so cheap labor for his developmental programme of infrastructure.

So the soldiers were required to work for three months in a year, in batches, as and when required, for one month at a time or fifteen days, as needed according to the nature of work. They were free to do any job or business in their free time. They well get their fix payments in kind as usual.

Those sepoyes who were posted in the forts were converted to police, replacing the ‘Khaki’ grey cap by black one. The Subedars were called back to the state forces and the newly trained police officers were posted as Inspectors. These were educated, mostly F.A, and had their training in P.T.C Hangu and Sihala.

Most of the shingled roads built in Jahanzeb’s reign especially from 1949 to 1962, were constructed through the State Malatia. After that they mostly were called to fight floods and restore damaged infrastructures. Some of the important roads constructed through State forces are as under:

1.Khwaza Khela Besham Road (Shingled Road)

2.Board to Chakesar via Yakhtangey (Singled Road)

3.Dherai Aloch Road (Shingled Road)

4.Besham to Patan (Shingled Road)

5.Behrain to  Kalam (Shingled)

Besides these the rest of shingled roads constructed during that area on contract basis were:

1.Dewana Baba Budal Road

2.Koga-Durmai-Totalai Road

Both these roads were shingled. They all were later black topped by the Provincial Government.

Wherever the forces of Swat State worked, the ration supply contractor installed temporary kitchen and served food to the men as per clauses of his contract agreement, where in the menu was prescribed for officers and sepoys separately. The forces were also deployed to construct guide Bunds, and River training works, to newly constructed Bridges, by Gammon Pakistan Limited at Kanju, Khwaza Khela in Swat and Bhai Kalay, Anghapur, Elai, Gagra and China Dherai in Buner (Wire crated stone filled walls upstream and downstream sides of bridges are River Training works/guide band. These are constructed to guide the river to the bridge spans). They were also deployed to construct approaches to Baryam and Venai Bridges in Upper Swat.

When a sepoy wanted to leave his job, he was often asked to present his nearest relative or brother as replacement. Some soldiers even sold their posts to his substitute. It was an open secret but the racket went on unmolested.

Unfortunately, this change has caused an irrevocable damage to the symbol of State glory, i.e., the 80 splendid forts of the State. These were demolished one by one in a short period. Only two remained in Kota Musa Khel and the other at Guli Bagh.

But these also met the same fate after merger of the State.

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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