Showing posts with label "Sikh Rule" "British Era". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "Sikh Rule" "British Era". Show all posts

Monday 23 October 2017



There are no physical changes in the subdivision to record that have occurred in historical times. The rivers that form the east and west borders of the subdivision flow as they did in the past and are subject to very little change in course within measurable periods. The surface of the subdivision is much less covered with forests than it once was.


From the point where the traditions of antiquity give place to the more authentic records of the historian, the history of the mountainous region comprising the Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta hills of the Rawalpindi District becomes that of a Ghakkar tribe, who ruled this region at the time of early Muslim invasions. Their submission to the Delhi and Lahore rulers were nominal. This tribe was actually quite independent and remained sovereign until the Sikh regime up to the 19th century.

In 1525 Sultan Saarong, along with his brother, made their submission to Babar. Pothwar territory was confirmed to them by Babar. During the reign of Akbar, the Ghakkar territory was divided between the rival chiefs. Pharwala Fort as the headquarters of the mountain region, was handed over to Jalal Khan, one of the chiefs. Sultan Muqarab Khan was the last chief of Pharwala. His successors were defeated by Sardar Gojar Singh. Up to 1826, this family was deprived of everything except some property rights in Pharwala.

The hills of Murree, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian retained their Independence for sometime longer. Milka Singh had tried at that time to grant 107 villages as a Jageer to the Ghakkar chief.
The mountaineers did not really submit to the Sikh rule. Hari Singh, the governor of Hazara, twice invaded the hills between 1820 and 1830. He finally succeeded in 1831. In that year, these hills were granted as Jageer to Gulab Singh of Kashmir, who ruled this hilly region with an iron rod.
In 1849, along with the remainder of the Sikh territory, the district passed to British rule.


Before the sikh rule, Murree and kahuta hills were altogether independent, acknowledging the supremacy of Ghakkars, and through them, the Mughal emperors only by occasional presents of Hawks and Mules. The present Subdivision the composed of Ilaqas: Kotli, Karore and Narrar. 
It was not until the renowned Hari Singh Nalwa's second campaign that these mountaineers were forced to submit to the Sikh power. However, control was nominal. Hari Singh built forts at different places, of which the principal were Kotli, Karore and Narrar.
After the annexation of these hills to the British dominions, this hill region was for the first time assessed by Major Abbott, then the deputy commissioner of Hazara, to whose district this tract belonged. The cruelties and ex actions of Gulab Singh, the dogra ruler, were then still fresh in memory.
Under the British rule, the first summary settlement was made by a Mr. Carnac. This was the Rawalpindi D.C in 1850. This settlement was revised in 1851 and remodeled in 1853 on the basis of a measurement without a field map. Lt Pearse, the assistant commissioner of Murree renewed it in 1854. They were super-ceded by those of the detailed settlement description of Col. Cracroft. These efforts raised the whole district from a great depression to prosperity.
The present land and fiscal structure is based on the second regular settlement. However some amendments and additions have been made in forthcoming settlements in 1905-06 and 1955-56. 


Kotli Sattian subdivision is geographically a part of Murree and Kahuta hills. It was declared a subdivision in 1990 by breaking up 40 villages out of both subdivisions. As per geographical position of this subdivision , its antiquarian interest and early history cannot be detached from the Rawalpindi district. 
The history of the District before the arrival of the Ghakkars is only a interest to antiquarian. We are concerned thereafter, from the time when the Ghakkars maintained their rule over the Pothwar territory of which this region is a part.
The hills of Rawalpindi district (northeastern) had been occupied by Ghakkars, from an unknown period up to the arrival of the sikh regime, when Annand Singh, the grandson of Sardar Milka Singh seized their whole estates in 1818.
In the period of Akbar, the Mughal emperor Pharwala was a Mahaal or Parganah of sind sagar district.
The present subdivision of Kotli Sattian, along with the hill region remained independent. Even the Ghakkar rule was purely indirect, during the sikh period, Hari Singh of Hazara, after several attempts, succeeded to effect their subjection in 1830. In 1831, this hilly region was granted as jageer to Gulab Singh, dogra of Jammu. He ruled this region with harsh cruelty. It is said that whenever the villagers were recusant, he used to let loose a Dogra regiment upon them. He rewarded the men by "Poll rate" for everyhill man slain. At first the reward was a rupee, then 50 paisas and finally of 25 paisas. By these means the population was decimated and the prosperity of the tract received a severe check. The Sikh system of rule was never completely introduced, even up to the day when British took over the country.
In 1849, the region passed to the British rule. A new setup in administration and revenue was introduced. lands were surveyed, maps and field books were prepared and proper records were maintained. Lawlessness in the region was controlled by a responsible governance, effective codification and a strong police system. Communication was vastly improved, many roads and bridges over the streams were constructed and a rapid DOC system was established in the area. Thus, the region for the first time stepped forward on the way to progress and development.
The system of government established by the British rulers still exists. All of the departments and institutions still follow the two centuries old system.


In the all important elections of 1945 Murree, Kahuta and present day Kotli Sattian had one Muslim reserved seat in the Punjab Assembly. The All India Muslim League fielded Raja Kala Khan of Rawat (Bhurban) against the seat while the pro Congress Unionist Party headed by Punjab Premier of the time Khizer Hayat Tiwana put up Raja Fatah Khan of Kahuta. In the election the people of all these areas including Murree gave overwhelming decision in support of establishment of Pakistan by voting in Raja Kala Khan whose tally was only surpassed by Sir Feroz Khan Noon in the whole of the Punjab.
Raja Kala Khan continued to represent the area in the Punjab and subsequently in West Pakistan Assembly till the imposition of Martial Law in 1958. 

Under this system elections for National and provincial assemblies were held in 1962. During these election Raja Ghulam Sarwar  was elected as member West Pakistan Assembly from Murree region . Raja Ghulam Sarwar was reelected in 1965. He was father of Raja Ashfaq Sarwar who is currently Punjab Minister and Secretary General of Punjab Chapter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. His Cousin Raja Fiyyaz Sarwar was member of Punjab Assembly from the constituency during 2008-13 when Ashfaq due to some legal hitches could not contest himself.


In the National Assembly's elections Pakistan People's Party's Col Habib Ahmed was elected with an overwhelming majority. His main rivals were Brigadier Muhammad Saddique Satti and Taj Abbasi but they failed to make any mark. 

In the provincial Assembly Raja Ghulam Sarwar of Pakistan Muslim League- Council was considered a very strong candidate. As mentioned earlier he had served as West Pakistan Assembly throughout the Ayub regime. However PPP's Babu Muhammad Hanif won the election with a clear margin. Raja Ghulam Sarwar, however challenged the candidature of Babu Hanif on the ground that later had not completed the mandatory two years period after leaving the government service.
Babu Muhammad Hanif lost the case and was deseated. Babu Hanif, as he as popularly known was again fielded by PPP during the ensuing bye elections. Raja Ghulam Sarwar however decided not to contest and instead fielded Sardar Muhammad Ismael of Rawat in his place. Babu Hanif won the elections securing 29215 votes. His rival Sardar Ismeal Khan polled 9072 votes.


In 1977 general elections Pakistan National Alliance [PNA] consisting of nine opposition parties representing conflicting views, fielded current PML-N Chairman Raja Zaffar ul Haq for National Assembly while late Qari Asadullah Abbasi was awarded ticket for the Punjab Assembly. PPP bestowed its confidence on incumbent pair of Col (r) Habib and Babu Muhammad Hanif. The PPP candidates again won the elections. After the ensuing PNA movement, Martial Law was imposed in the country which remained in operation for eight long years.

Soon after the military coup Col Retired Habib was arrested and sent to prison. In 1980, he along with other PPP workers was sent to Libya in forced exile. He returned to Pakistan in 1988 but was not given party from this constituency. He was fielded from another seat consisting of Wah and Taxila and western outskirts of Rawalpindi where he lost the election to Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

After two defeats in 1988 and 1990 PPP fielded himfrom Murree and Kahuta seat in 1993 but lost to PML-N's Shahhid Khaqan Abbasi  . His daughter Fauzia Habib was elected MNA on seats reserved for women on PPP ticket in 2002-7 . She was again elected as MNA in 2008 and served as Secretary to President Zardari. Babu Muhammad Hanif died during the martial law period. His son Kashif Abbasi is renown journalist and popular TV anchor.

The military government decided to hold elections for parliament and Provincial assemblies in February 1985. Elections were to be held on non party  basis under special laws framed by Zia ul Haq in order to perpetuate his own rule.  PPP and other parties in Movement for Restoration of Democracy [MRD] decided to boycott the elections, a decision PPP rues till today. Jammat e Islami and politicians aligned with General Zia ul Haq and his regime decided to participate. In the absence of political parties, ideologies and programmes; bradari, clan, ethnic, sectarian and religion identities or whatever that can divide one group of people from another became war cry which had long lasting consequences for the nation as a whole.

After the military coup in 1977 Raja Zaffar ul Haq had aligned himself to the military government and was appointed as Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting. He had the confidence and trust of General Zia ul Haq who often called him his 'opening batsman'. During the military rule, the Raja from village Mator in Kahuta, used government resources and position to to strengthen his vote bank in the area. He created a group of beneficiaries who had resources and social clout to provide big boost to his electoral position.

During the local government elections of 1979 and 1983 Raja Zaffar ul Haq got his supporters elected to important positions in municipal bodies further improving his electoral strength. The fact that Raja Zaffar ul Haq was serving as Information Minister in the military government at the time of elections and and general perception that he will have similar or even better position in future setup further improved his prospects . His main rival Pakistan People's Party was not contesting the elections. All these factors made him one of the most powerful candidates not only in the constituency but across the nation.

His opponents rightly judged his strength and decided to field a strong candidate in person of Air Commodore (r) Khaqan Abbasi, an affluent businessman from Dewal and himself having erstwhile association with General Zia and affinal ties with his military clique.  Khaqan Abbasi and General Zil ul Haq had served together in Jordanian armed forced as one star generals and enjoyed good family ties. However Khaqan Abbasi like an astute politician was able to direct all anti Zia sentiments against Raja Zaffar ul Haq and turned the tide against him. Khaqan Abbasi polled 61618 votes against 53233 polled by Raja Zaffar ul Haq. Other claimants namely Anis Khan Satti and Captain Muhammad Riaz could only poll paltry 2096 and 706 only.

Khaqan Abbasi's group was also able to win both the Punjab Assembly seats falling within the NA-36 constituency. In PP-8 consisting of Murree sub-division Lt Col (retired) Naseer Satti narrowly edged out Raja Fayyaz Sarwar of Zaffar Ul Haq group. Naseer Satti polled 12112 votes while Faiz Sarwar garnered 11039 only. Dr. Malik Mahmood Ahmed, Akabar Abbasi and Qari Asadullah polled 7681, 5493 and 5402 respectively.

Col (Retired) Muhammad Yameen won PP-9 consisting parts of present day Kotli Sattian and Kahuta Tehsils by polling 14951 votes. His close rival was Sardar Muhammad Aslam [later judge at Lahore High Court and chief justice Islamabad High Court and judge Supreme Courtof Pakistan]  and who polled 12442 while Muhammad Sattarullah Advocate received 9,253. Other important candidate was Muhammad Sattar Raja who polled 5,836.

In 1985, Khaqan Abbasi briefly served as Federal Minister for Production. He was killed during Ohjeri Camp military depot explosion on April 10, 1988. Bye election was announced to refill the seat and PML nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbbasi, son of Khaqan Abbasi as its candidate.  However, President General Zia ul Haq dissolved the National Assembly along with the provincial assemblies on May 29, 1988. Though he promised fresh elections but no date was announced till his death in air crash on August 17, 1988.


In the Provincial Assembly PPP nominated party loyalist Muharram Ali Abbasi as its candidate from Murree. Muharram Ali Abbasi had bravely lead the party during long years of Martial law and faced jail on many occasions . IJI nominated incumbent Col Naseer Satti, who had joined PML after 1985 elections.  Most important among long list of other candidates was Raja Ashfaq Sarwar whose father Raja Ghulam Sarwar had twice served the constituency as member West Pakistan Assembly in 1960s. PPP dissidents Ayaz Abbasi and Hafeez ur Rehman Abbasi played as spoilers for their party helping an Independent candidate Raja Ashfaq Sarwar win the elections. Ashfaq Sarwar polled 20,606 votes while PPP's Muharram Ali Abbasi was runner up with 15,246 votes.  IJI's Col (retired) Naseer Satti was a distant third with 6,676 votes.

In PP-9 IJI again refused ticket to 1985 winner Col (retired) Yamin Satti and instead fielded Muhammad Yasin. [late Col Yameen Satti's son Bilal Yamin Satti insists that his father was contesting as IJI candidate with bicycle as his symbol. He says that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, then Punjab Chief Minister and head of IJI had personally given ticket to his father, col Yameen and allowed him to support Shahid Khaqan Abbasi against Raja Zaffar ul Haq who was official party candidate. However Election Commission record speaks otherwise.]

 PPP's candidate was Raja Muhammad Sattarullah who had contested and lost 1985 elections. Col Yamin ran as independent candidate and won the election by polling 24,505 votes. PPP's Sattarullah secured 17,117 votes. Yamin Satti joined PML after winning the elections. Both Ashfaq Sarwar and Yamin Satti served in the Punjab government lead by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. 

PPP again fielded Raja Muhammad Anwar from NA-36 while IJI this time nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi without any hesitation. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi won the virtual two way race by securing 80305 votes. Raja Anwar polled polled 54753, In the provincial Assembly IJI fielded Raja Ashfaq Sarwar from PP-8 while Col (retired) Yamin was given the party ticket from PP 9. PPP retained Meharram Ali Abbasi and Raja Sattarullah respectively. However IJI's candidates won the contest with wide margins. In PP-8 Raja Ashfaq Sarwar polled 41,275 votes as compared to 12, 505 of Muharram Ali Abbasi. Traders leader Raj Muhammad Abbasi contesting for PML-(Qasim)polled 793 votes. In PP-9 Col (retired) Yamin polled 33,547 as compared to 18,450 polled by PPP' Starrullah Advocate.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz decided to contest the elections single handedly while the breakaway PML-Junejo joined PPP in People's Democratic Alliance. Jamaat e Islami created Pakistan Islamic Front with the help of Muhammad Ali Durrani's Pasban to contest the elections. PML-N retained Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the National Assembly Raja Ashfaq Sarwar for Punjab Assembly from PP-8 consisting of Murree Tehsil. As already stated Col Yamin Satti had joined anti Nawaz Sharif group. PML-N feilded Shahid Riaz Satti  from PP-9. In the National Assembly PPP this time fielded senior party leader and once party MNA from the area Col Habib Khan.

In the Provincial Assembly Hafeez ur Rehan was fielded from PP-8 while PP decided to support Col Yamin contesting on PML-J's ticket for the PP-9. PIF put up Imtiaz Taj for National Assembly while Wing Commander (retired) Zarin Qureshi was the Jamaat's candidate for PP-9 and Raja Muhammad Asharf for PP-9. PPP dissident Zumarrad Iqbal was other important candidate for PP-8.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi again won the seats with 76,596 votes. PPP's Col (r) Habib could secure only 45193. Jamaat e Islami's Imtiaz Taj coul get only 9,451 votes. In provincial Assembly Raja Ashfaq Sarwar won the election by polling 26,983 votes. His close rival was PPP's Hafeez ur Rehman Abbasi who secured 17,069. Raja Zummard Iqbal was third with 4212 votes. Jamaat e Islami could not do much and finished sixth with 2515 votes. In PP-9 Col. Yamin, despite PPP's support lost with a clear margin of eleven thousand votes to PML-N's newcomer Shahid Riaz Satti. 

PPP retained Hafeez ur Rehman from PP-8 while it fielded Raja Pervez Akhtar Satti from PP-9 as Yamin Satti seeing the mood of the people decided to try luck as an independent candidate. Like elsewhere in the country particularly the Punjab dejected PPP voters failed to show up at the polling stations. In NA-36 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi again won by polling 65,195 votes. PML-J's Babar Awan supported by PPP could poll only 21,765 while an Independent candidate Javed Iqbal Satti received 21, 386. 

In PP-8 Raja Ashfaq Sarwar polled 22,468 while an Independent candidate Sardar Sajid stood second with 11211 votes. PPP's Hafeezur Rehman coul poll only 4,422 votes. After the elections Mian Nawaz Sharif once again assumed office of Prime Minister while contrary to all expectations his younger brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif was elected as Chief Minister Punjab. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was nominated as Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation and Chairman PIA with status as Federal Minister. Raja Ashfaq Sarwar became a Minister in Punjab Assembly. 
Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, elected from neighboring constituency in Abbottabad District was also elected as Chief Minister NWFP. Nawaz's years in office were tumultuous and he seemed to be in a hurry. Soon after taking over he reversed a twenty years old decision and restored Sunday as weekly off. In April 1997 he was able to get all parties support in the parliament to do away with presidential powers dissolve the parliament and make important appointments as chiefs of armed forces and provincial governors. In autumn the same year after a protected stand off with the president Leghari and Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah he was able to get rid of both and got his supporters elected/nominated at both the important positions. In April 1998 opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was sentenced to jail and disqualified from holding office in cooked up charges.


The military government decided to hold elections for the National and provincial assemblies in October 2002. Before the elections directly elected constituencies of National and provincial assemblies were increased and re-demarcated. The constituency representing Murree, Kolti Sattian, Kahuta and Kallar Saidan subdivisions of Rawalpindi district was renumbered as NA-50. There are two Punjab Assembly constituencies under the National Assembly seat. PP-1 represents the areas of Murree and Kotli Sattian subdivisions while PP-2 represent Kahuta. 

PML-N decided to retained Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the National Assembly. However it fielded new candidates for the provincial assembly seats. Raja Ashfaq Sarwar did not contest the election for unknown reasons and Riaz Satti was fielded for PP-1. From PP-2 Raja Muhammad Ali, son of veteran politician and PML-N Chairman Raja Zaffar ul Haq was given party ticket.  This time his rival from PPP was Ghulam Murteza Satti, a young internee in the field of electoral politics.  For the provincial Assembly His partner for Punjab Assembly was Raja Shafqat Abbasi.     Shafqat Abbasi was also contesting elections for the first time but has long served PPP as a worker and was well known and respected among the local PPP workers and supporters. 

The pair was able to do what PPP had been dreaming from 1985 and won back both the constituencies for the party. Mutahida Majlis e Ammal, a conglomerate of six religo-political parties, including among others Jamaat e Islami  and two factions of JUI emerged as an important electoral force during the election. The alliance put up Muhammad Sufyan Abbasi of Jammat e Islami for the National Assembly and Qari Saifullah Saifi of JUI-F for the Punjab Assembly.  Murtaza Satti won by securing  74259 got 63797 while Sufyan Abbasi did remarkably well and secured  29331 votes. In PP-1 MMA did even better and its candidate Saif Ullah Saifi secured 26205 and lost to Raja Shafqat Mahmood Abbasi of PPP who secured 29066 votes. PML-N's  Col ®Muhammad Riaz Satti  secured third position by polling 24855.  Other contestants included Haji Muhammad Rashid of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (4369)  independent candidate Samira Satti Independent (1179) and PML-N dissident Major ® Raja Rabnawaz Khan Independent 437.

 Meanwhile Benazir Bhutto as assassinated on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi and elections were to postponed for forty days and were held on February 18, 2008. 

Both PPP and PML-N retained their candidates for both National Assembly and underlying Punjab Assembly constituency PP-2. For PP-1 Raja Faiz Sarwar, cousin of former MPA and Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar was given the party party ticket.   MMA which had emerged as a major factor after 2002 elections could not survive the monumental changes taking place in national politics in 2007 and fell apart on JI, JUI-F divide. Jamaat e Islami along with some small parties decided to boycott the elections. JUI-F on the other hand remained in the field. However it lacked support in the area where most of the religious vote has been clung with Jamaat e Islami. 

PML-Q fielded Javed Iqbal Satti for the National Assembly and former Naib Nazim Murree from PP-1 and Raja Nousherwan Akhtar from PP-2.  In NA-50 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi won the National Assembly seat by securing 99988 votes. Incumbent PPP's Ghulam Murteza Satti polled 77978 votes while  Javed Iqbal Satti of PML-Q received  28188 votes. In PP-1 consisting of Murree and Kotli SatianRaja Faiz Sarwar of PML-N won by securing  40517 while PPP's Shafqat Abbasi received  32965. PML-Qs' Sardar Sajid Khan did well by polling 25218. In PP-2 which includes Kahuta Tehsil and parts of Kallar Sayyadan PPP's Sahbir Awan won by securing 32816 votes while incumbent Raja Muhammad Ali of PML-N secured 30962 voted. An independent candidate Bilal Yamin Satti secured  23012 votes. PML-Q's Nosherwan Akhtar could secure only 12456.

In general elections 2013 the PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi received 133906 votes in NA-50, comfortably higher than the 46,810 garnered by PTI’s Sadaqat Abbasi, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Ghulam Murtaza Satti, who had the full backing of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q)  trailed in third position, managing only 44,713 votes.

Source : "A Handbook of Kotli Sattian" by Sabeer Satti
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