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Pakhli

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Pakhli was an ancient sarkar (an administrative unit used during Mughal times) of the Indian Subcontinent. The area of Pakhli Sarkar is now included in the Hazara Division of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

Pakhli Sarkar roughly corresponds with the ancient Urasa (Hazara), which Ptolemy places between the Bedaspas (Jhelum) and the Indus. Its king was named Araskes in the time of Alexander. Hiuen Tsiang found it a tributary to the Kingdom of Kashmir. In the Kashmir chronicle called the Rajatarangini, it appears sometimes as a separate kingdom, at others as a tributary to the state. Its main city was Agror, the ancient Atyugrapura. In Babur's time this tract was held by the Khakha and Bambha tribes, whose chiefs had been the ancient rulers of the country east of the Indus but had been driven out by the Gibari or Jahangiri Sultans of Bajawar and Swat.

In the Ain-e-Akbari, it is described as bounded on the east by the Kashmir, on the south by the country of Gakhars, on the west by Attock, and on the north by the Kator Chitral. Under Durrani rule Saadat Khan Swati was chosen as chief of Pakhli then a dependency on Kashmir. He founded the fort of Garhi Saadat Khan, which was the headquarters of the Azad Khan's rebellion against Timur Shah. Early in the nineteenth century Pakhli comprised three districts, Mansehra in the south and south east, Shikiari in the north east, and Berkhund in the centre. The valleys of Kaghan, Bhogarmang and Agror were dependent on it.

Around 1472 A.D. Karlugh Turk Prince Shahab-ud-Din came from Kabul and established his rule in entire Pakhli (Hazara) region. This state came to be known as Pakhali Sarkar with Guli Bagh as its capital. According to Raja Irshad (Tareekh-e-Hazara by Raja Irshad), Prince Shahab-ud-Din was a Karlugh Turk and his family tree linked to Timur. Karlugh Turks ruled Pakhli Sarkar till 1703 A.D.

Pakhli Sarkar was the only state in Mughal Empire which was exempted from any tax payments to Dehli. This is attributed to the fact that, just like the Mughal emperors, the rulers of Pakhli were of Central Asian origin.

During Akbar's era, Sultan Hussain Khan of Pakhli revolted against him on the basis that the Dehli Sultanate was interfering into Pakhli's internal affairs. Akbar defeated him, but restored him in his position later on. This special treatment again may be due to their similar Central Asian background.

The last Karlugh Turk ruler of Pakhli Sarkar was Sultan Mehmud Khurd. The Karlugh Turk rule of Pakhli Sarkar came to an end when, in Sultan's absence, his son-in-law, Syed Jalal Baba hatched a conspiracy and invited Swatis to attack Pakhli Sarkar.

After the Karlugh Turks were overthrown the Swatis and Syeds established their rule in the plains of Pakhli and mountains of Kaghan valley respectively. The Karlugh Turks had already lost their control over the areas of Abbottabad due to their internal feuds. Sultan Muqarrab was Waali (Governor) of these areas, who revolted against his own brother Sultan Mehmud Khurd. Though Sultan Muqarrab was defeated with help from Delhi, the Karlugh Turks never regained their previous strength. Ultimately, Jadoons from Swabi subjugated the Rush areas. Sultan Qyas-ud-din, younger brother of Sultan Mehmud, was Waali (Governor) of Tanawal. In Tanawal areas, Karlugh Turks retained their power for another 90 years. But ultimately, they were restricted to a small area of lower Tanawal from Sherwan (Abbottabad) to Behali (Mansehra). Descendants of these last Karlugh Turkish rulers still live in Behali (Mansehra) and Richh Behn (Abbottabad).

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