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Town & Places - Vali of Swat

 

The Swatis resisted Mahmud of Ghazni, killing his General, Khushhal Khan at Udegram. The Mughal Emperors Babur and Akbar also suffered serious setbacks when they attempted to subjugate them. As a princely State, Swat was ruled by the Yusufzai tribe from the capital Saidu Sharif. The Vali of Swat, though lampooned in the "Akhund of Swat" by the English poet Edward Lear (1812-1888), was a most enlightened ruler. The Akhund who created the State started as a herdboy, acquired the titles of "Akhund" and "Buzurg" for his wisdom and piety and died in early 1877.9 His domain was left to his contentious grandsons. Mian Gul Abdul Wadud one of them, finally succeeded and ruled the State for thirty years. His fierce independence obliged the British to recognize Swat as a separate State in 1926. The prosperity and peace which he brought to his people and the network of schools and hospitals are testimony to his vision and foresight. Such enlightened rule continued under his son Mian Gul Jahanzeb till 1969 when Swat merged in Pakistan and became a part of the Frontier Province.

Among the larger town of Swat are Mingora, Saidu Sharif, Marghazar, Bahrain and Kalam. Mingora has been a trading centre for over two millennia. In its north are located the famous emerald mines. Saidu Sharif is its twin town. Marghazar is famous for the White Marble Palace built by the Vali of Swat in the early 1940's. Royalty including Queen Elizabeth II of Britain have stayed here. Bahrain on the banks of the foaming Swat River sports some fine mosques and buildings constructed entirely of local timber and massive pine logs and embellished with traditional motifs. Kalam, the main town of upper Swat, provides access to such picturesque valleys as Ushu (2,286m), Utrot (2,225m) and Gabral (2,550m). Connecting Swat with Buner to the south, is the Ambela Pass scene of the famous British- Yusufzais battle during 1863. The graveyard of Muslim martyrs, the Baba Ji Kanda, where Saidu Baba camped, the Craig Picket and Eagle's Nest can still be seen as one travels through the Pass.

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