Map showing the administrative subdivisions of Mansehra District. Torghar is located in the west of the district.
Torghar District (, Pashto: ضلع تور غر) or Tor Ghar, formerly The Black Mountain (or Kala Dhaka in Hindko), is one of the 25 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Formerly a tribal area, it also became a settle area under Article 246 of the Constitution, when it official became a district on 28 January 2011.
Pashto is the main language of Torghar District. People are also conversant in National Language Urdu. English is understood by the educated.
It lies between 34º32' and 34º50' N, and 72º48' and 72º58' E. It is bounded on the east by Agror and on the south by Tanawal; to the west it is bounded by Buner, to the northeast it borders with Batagram. The range has a length of 25 to 30 miles from north to south and an elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level. This area has also been called Chagharzai, because of adjoining Chagharzai areas of Buner District. Opposite Kala Dhaka (officially 'Kala Dhaka' has been renamed 'Tor Ghar'), across the Indus River is Shangla District, mainly the area belonging to Tehsil Martung.
The Indus washes its northern extremity and then turns due south. Between the river and the crest of the range the western slopes are occupied by Yusufzai Pakhtoons. The rest of the range is held by Swatis tribal group of Pakhtoons. The Black Mountain forms a long, narrow ridge, with higher peaks at intervals and occasional deep passes. The highest peak is known as "Machay Sar" and is visible from Agror and other adjoining areas. Numerous spurs project from its sides, forming narrow gorges in which lie the villages of the tribes. The upper parts of the ridge and spurs are covered with thick forests of pine, oak, sycamore, horse-chestnut, and wild cherry; but the slopes are stony and barren.
Tor Ghar is a district of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. It cover an area of 497 km2 (25,8125 acres) and is divided into 11 Union Councils.
The Torghar (Black Mountain) massif was a series of spurs running up to a central, dominating ridge line, which reached 9817 feet at its highest peak, the peak of Machai Sar. Along this ridge ran the line beyond which the British writ did not run, though the local tribes lived on both sides regardless. The area was not on road to anywhere and the British had been happy to let it be; unfortunately the inhabitants were not inclined to let them do so. These were unusually mixed group of tribes, not particularly large or powerful, but warlike, and in some cases, religiously motivated against the British. Politically, they were nominally under the influence of two independent princelings, the Nawab of Amb and the Wali of Swat, but these exercised little real power in the hills. On the eastern mountain, nearest British territory, lived the Swatis.
The British sent more than four expeditions to subdue the Black Mountain tribes between 1852 and 1892 because Ata Mohammad Khan Swati, the Khan of Agror and Arsala Khan of Allai, and his sons intrigued against the British government.
In 1851 two officers of the British Customs (Salt) department within the borders of Tanawal were killed, allegedly by the Hasanzai sect of the Yusufzai. The British then sent an expedition under Colonel Mackeson, which destroyed a number of tribal strongholds. In 1868 the Yusufzai, instigated by the Khan of Agror, who resented the establishment of the police post at Oghi in the Agror valley, attacked that post in force, but were repulsed. Further attacks on the troops of the Khan of Tanawal, who remained loyal, followed. This culminated in a general advance of the The Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes against the British position. It was repulsed, but not until 21 British villages had been burnt, and a second expedition under General Wilde had overrun the Black Mountain and secured the full submission of the tribes.
"The Black Mountain adjoins the territory of the Wali of Swat. It is so called from the dark forests of that cover its slopes. The eastern sides are held by the original people of Swat. They are not Pathans at all. The western ridge is the homeland of Yousafzai tribes. The Black Mountain tribes are less warlike and weak in number. There is constant struggle among small tribal chiefs. The most important of these is the Nawab of Amb. He enjoys the unique distinction of being an independent chief across the Indus. The Nawab of Amb has an arms factory. He manufactures rifled cannon. This cannon can throw a solid ball 3000 yards. It is a useful weapon for pounding to pieces a tribal fortress."
In 1888 the British blockaded the area due to the raids by the Hasanzai and Akazai aided by the Madda Khel into the Agror valley. While more stringent measures were being organized, Major Battye and Captain Urmston and some sepoys of the Fifth Gurkhas were surprised and killed by Gujar dependents of the Akazai. Hashim Ali, the head of the Hasanzai and Akazai, was suspected of having instigated the attack. An expedition was sent in the same year, with the result that the tribes paid the fines imposed upon them, and agreed to the removal of Hashim Ali from Tor Ghar and the appointment in his place of his near relative and enemy Ibrahim Khan (Hasanzai Tribe Elder). In 1890 the tribe opposed the march of troops along the crest of the Black Mountain, and an expedition was sent against them in the spring of 1891. Immediately after the withdrawal of the troops, the Hindustanis and Madda Khel broke their agreement with the British Government by permitting the return of Hashim Ali Hasanzai. A second expedition was dispatched in 1892 which resulted in the complete pacification of the Black Mountain border.
Torghar was badly affected by the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, according to a report in Time magazine:
“ Entire villages were devastated; in an instant, stone houses turned into burial mounds. The Indus river, flowing at the bottom of the valleys, recalls one tribal elder, Mohammed Said, "looked like water boiling inside a tea kettle".
Regions that remain inaccessible have one thing in common: fear of the unknown can create legends and stereotypes that spread. Tor Ghar has not been immune to this. For example, the highway was diverted around this region because engineers were unwilling to be put in rifle range of these tribesmen. A British journalist who went to the region reported its recent history:
Here are the impressions of an outsider about Tor Ghar who happened to visit the area as a member of relief organisation after October 8, 2005 earthquake.
“ Tor Ghar has a poor reputation among the military and the country in general of being a violent, "backwards" place, and there may be ample evidence for that theory of which I am ignorant, but our brief exploration of the area leads me to believe that to some extent it's a typical case of a little bit of truth and a lot of exaggerated fears. ”
“ The Indus river dominates the topography of the area, following along the northern edge, turning to follow the western border, and finally bisecting the province in the south before flowing into the reservoir of Tarbela dam.”
The Black Mountain itself has a total length of 20 to 25 miles, and an average height of 8,000 ft. It rises from the Indus basin near the village of Kiara up to its watershed by Bruddur, then it runs northwest by north to the point on the crest known as Chittabut. From Chittabut the range runs due north, finally descending by two large spurs to the Indus again.
The only road that traverses Tor Ghar from Darband to Thakot is 84 kilometres Long. This road connects the area with the outer world.
Thakot is on the Karakoram Highway and thus coming out of Kaladhaka Via Thakot is a much better route as compared to choosing the Darband Route. The Karakoram Highway is in a much better shape from Thakot down to Abbottabad. The road that traverses through Tor Ghar keeps in touch with the left bank of the River Indus almost throughout its course.
Tor Ghar is also called F. R. Mansehra. F. R. denotes Frontier Region. This tribal area is administered by Administrator Tor Ghar on the behalf of Provincial Govt. who is based at Mansehra. There is also a political agent/political tehsildar who is usually based at Oghi Town (Ogai).
•Darband To Thakot Road.
•Khanano Dheri (Buner District) to Manjakot (not completed yet)
•Petao Amazai (Distt: Shangla) To Mada Khel (not completed yet)
•Shugli Bandi Oghi To Tilli Saydan Hasanzai
•Oghi Choor Kalam To Machai Sar
•Gijborri (Batagram District) To Mangri & Kamasir
•Kotgala (Batagram District) to Bartooni
•Topi (District Swabi) to Teetay Madakhail (a four hour drive)
•Dilbori to Miran and Beland Kot to Sonchal
On the western slopes most people in Torghar (Black Mountain) are Pashtuns from Mada Khel, Hasanzai, Akazai, Nusrat Khel and Basi Khel the divisions of Isazai and Malizai sub-clans of the Yusufzai tribe, while eastern slopes are dominated by the Gujjar , some Hindko speaking people can be found at the fringes of the region.
The Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes have a more certain origin among the people of Mansehra district. They belong to the Isazai and Malazai clans of the Yousafzai tribe. The Isazai sub-clan is further divided into three sub-clans: Mada Khel, Hassanzai and Akazai. The Malazai sub-clan is divided into two sub-clans: Basi Khel and Nasrat Khel. Basikhel is the largest group, consisting of 37% of the population of Tor Ghar while Nusrat Khel and Akazai constitute 12% each; the populations of Hasanzai and Mada Khel are 18.5% and 20% respectively. Basi Khel, Nusrat Khel and Akazai inhabit the left bank of the Indus while the Mada Khel tribe resides on the right side and the Hassanzai are situated on both the sides of river Indus.
•Basi Khel Basi khel are divided into tow major tribes
•1.Aziz khel Including Shoukhel,Usman khel kabatkhel nasirkhel etc 2.Dawat Khel including chor khel qalader khel etc
Population Tor Ghar tribes
Tribes Population (thousands)
Mada Khel approximately 54,000
Hasanzai approximately 35,000
Akazai approximately 35,000
Nusrat Khel approximately 12,000
Basi Khel approximately 99,000
Total population of Seven major tribes = 2,20,000