Call for showcasing KP’s historical significance through digital media for rural development


Carrying a primitive history, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a unique province that witnessed oldest civilizations including Ghandhara requiring proper projection on digital media to attract foreign investment imperative for rural development.
Being a gateway to the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, Khyber Pakthunkhwa having about 3,000 years old history carried a unique geographical location, archaeological heritage and primitive history that saw onslaught of invaders who marched to India through historic Khyber Pass.
Bakhtzada Khan, senior research officer, archeology department told APP on Friday that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa carried one of the richest histories in the subcontinent where followers of almost all religions had come and stayed for accomplishment of their political, trade and business objectives.
Resultantly, different religions including Buddhism, Hindusim, Sikhism and Christianity gained roots for many years in Khyberv Pakhtunkhwa before Islam.
He said the discovery of human remains in Soan Valley in Pakistani Punjab province as evidence of the stones and bones’ tools dating from around (2 million to 90,000 years before present) of the Early Paleolithic period had signified that people were living here.
“Sangaro cave’s excavations at village Mian Khan in Mardan district conducted by renowned archeologists Ahmad Hasan Dhani and Farid Khan in 1963 had revealed the presence of people’s remains in the Middle Paleolithic period (9,000 to 27,000 years before present) in KP.”
These people were living in stones-made caves, who fulfilled their food’s needs mostly from hunting of birds and animals.
The discoveries of primitive rocks, bones and hunting tools dating back of Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age (10,000 to 8,600 years before present) during excavations at Khanpur in Haripur district and Sangaro Cave signified presence of humans’ life in Swat and Dir where every stone speaks about their life style, culture, livelihood and civilizations, he informed.
It was found that people started making clay and stones made pots, crockery and others related utensils for kitchen during Neolithic period or commonly known as new stone-age dating back some 8,000 years before as evident from excavations of historic Mehar Gharh in Balochistan of the Indus Civilization, Rehman Dheri DI Khan and Sheri Khan Tarkai Swabi.
These strong evidence had magnified that people were living in the stone and mud houses in those primordial era. The graves of Aryans invaders were also discovered at Aligram Swat, Sangota Chitral and Timergara Dir Lower dating back of the Dark Ages period of around 2,000BC.
“The semi-nomadic Aryans entered KP from the Afghanistan side and settled along rivers Swat, Gomal, Kurram, and Kabul before migrating to India. The Gandhara civilization gained roots in the province after Persians conquered it in 6th century BC and made it one of the provinces of the Achaemenid Empire.”
He said reading and writing in Swat, Dir, Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar and Malakand, famous for Ghandara civilization, started as evidence of the inscriptions mostly made on stones by Iranians.
In 327 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the subcontinent through Khyber Pass and faced tough resistance while trying to subdue Youafzai tribesmen at Swat and Kunar valleys.
Alexander also resided in Taxila where he met a bold young man by the name of Chandragupta Maurya, who was an exiled prince of Magadha in eastern India and Maurya decided to forge an empire in Alexander’s footsteps.
However, his dream remained unfulfilled after the death of Alexander. Later, Alexander’s general Seleucus established rule in India’s territories. The Indo Greeks, a group of about 39 kings and queens laid the foundation of its own culture and introduced Greek art style still existed in KP besides promoted Bhuddism.
In 1001 AD, Mahmud Ghaznavi defeated Jayapala, the last Hindu Shahi King and subsequently Islam was spread in subcontinent including KP.
In 1505, Zaheeruddin Babar, the founder of the Mughal Empire had entered the subcontinent through Khyber Pass and took today’s Kohat, Bannu districts before defeating the last Lodhi King and becoming Emperor of Delhi.
After uniting Pathans, he said Babar paved the way for Mughal rule over KP till the 18th century and after his demise, Humayun succeeded him. Later, Sher Shah Suri, a pathan commander took control of the region from him. However, Humayun Khan regained the throne after fifteen years and his son Akbar succeeded him.
He said Khushal Khan Khattak who had formed an alliance with the Mughals during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan was opposed by Yusufzais. However, King Shah Jahan appointed Khushal Khattak as tribal chief to assist him.
Khattaks broke ties with the Mughal Empire during King Aurangzeb’s rule due to a conflict with a Mughal Governor over toll collection. In the wake of Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the Mughal empire split into competing kingdoms and Nadir Shah, a Persian ruler, gained control over the province with support from the Pathans’ local commanders.
Bakhtzada said Ahmad Shah Abdali had launched several campaigns from Peshawar into many places across India.
However, Abdali’s reign (1747 – 1772) was temporarily interrupted when the Marathas invaded in early 1750s, but he succeeded to regain control over KP in 1761. Later the province came under control of Sikhs in 1818 under the command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh after he took over Peshawar in 1923.
He said Sayyid Ahmad Shah stood against the Sikhs, however he was defeated at Balakot due to lack of unity between Pathans tribes. Following Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, the Sikhs fought amongst themselves and ultimately the British under the guise of East India Company established their rule in KP in 1849.
He said a Wazir from Waziristan Mirza Ali Khan had spearheaded a civil disobedience movement against British in 1936 but failed. The Khilafat and Hijrat movements also took place in the region but were not successful.
Another popular freedom movement also called non violent movement was launched by freedom fighter Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his brother Dr. Khan Sahib and later KP was granted self-government in 1937.
“The history of Pakistan would not be completed without mentioning the outstanding role of KP’s people and students of Islamia College Peshawar during Pakistan Movement,” said Muhammad Younas Khan, Chairman Pakistan Studies Department while talking to APP.
KP people accorded warmest welcome to father of the nation Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and voted in favour of All India Muslim League when he came here in 1946, he added.
“The Muslim League secured maximum seats in 1946 election and after that historic victory nobody could stop independence movement of Pakistan from this province,” he added.
In July 1947 Referendum, he said Muslim League achieved landslide victory in KP by securing over 200,000 votes and people announced to become part of Pakistan.
Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his brother Khan Sahib (first Chief Minister of KP) had urged the Government to give the province a name that reflects the Pathan identity.
However, the province was given the name of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) after rejecting Pashtunishtan’s name as being too controversial.
Later, the province was renamed as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2010 during PPP-ANP’s coalition government under 18th constitutional amendment.
Bakhtzada Khan said these historical significance of Khyber Pakthunkhwa if properly showcased on digital media through small videos, films and pictures could make it is a hub of international tourists.
He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has plenty of sites of Ghandhara civilizations especially in Takhtbhai Mardan and Swat districts that required proper protection on social media platforms imperative for attracting foreign investment through tourism.
The experts said tourism was a major gifted source that could brought turnaround to the province economy and positive changes in people lives if properly showcased on digital media under a Govt patronage.