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Chakswari (Urdu: چکسواری‎), also known as Chaksawari, is an area in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It comprises 15 Union councils including the Islamgarh Municipal Committee. Amongst the primary affectees from the raising of the Mangla Dam project were inhabitants of Chakswari and Islamgarh. Chakswari is 26 miles or 41.84 km from Mirpur. The political constituency code for Chakswari and Islamgarh is LA-2.

Chakswari had always been an important trunk road to and fro Mirpur city. Pre-Mangla Dam the Old Mirpur City now submerged under the Mangla Dam was a stone throw away from Chakswari. Naturally, all major hub towns tend to be bustling with traffic and subsequently economic and commercial activity. Chakswari was no different and remains a buzz with a activity and is a major economic and commercial hub outside Mirpur city even today.

Chakswari comprises of many villages that border the Mangla Dam and surround the bustling Chakswari bazaar. A major city attributed to the state of Mirpur, it remains a major trunk road to travellers and traders to Dadyal, Kotli from and to Mirpur and Bhimber. Chakswari Bazaar is a major economy in the region and today you can find all modern amenities one would expect in any major city in Pakistan.

Main Source of income of Chakswari, Azad Kashmir is investment via respected overseas Kashmiri's who have moved to UK in the 60s and consecutive years to date. They have created well established communities in Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Dewsbury, Nottingham, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and a small number in towns around Greater Manchester and found in the South of England in Luton, Oxford and Rachyal family in London.

People of Chakswari are very entrepreneurial in spirit but also hard working who initially worked in British manufacturing and textiles industries. By the time of the second generation they began to diversify into transport work and business. The third and fourth generation have successfully moved into business and professional careers. People of Chakswari like the vast majority of people of AJK are renowned for their hospitality, etiquette and hard work.

Geography[change | change source]

Chakswari comprises partly plain and partly hilly areas. Chakswari has pleasant scenery and the climate is generally arid with little rainfall and is characterised by hot summers and cool winters. Its history begins long before the events of partition. The old part of the town is divided up into a number of sub areas, made up of local and rural residentials with farming belts. There is much family history tied in kinship to each locality that makes up Chakswari. It also houses a new bazaar in the center which is known as Navi Bazaar meaning new bazaar in the local language. Its old bazaar remains to this day a great commercial startup hub not only for locals but for people who have crossed into Azad Kashmir from other parts of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many people from oitside set up shop in Chakswari bazaar some for short term and many whom have now settled and adopted Chakswari as their home.

Chakswari is divided into two parts, the historic old town where the majority of the wholesale shops are based. This is very well established and known for its rich history. Chakswari's old Raja Bazaar is the old much loved indoor historic shopping centre in the old town. The old bazaar is actually very well maintained and a labyrinth of little streets with small outlets selling everything one can imagine. The bazaar is very safe, extremely clean and well maintained and is a hidden treasure and loved by the people of Chakswari and further parts, Dadyal, people of Kotli regularly frequent it. The old town still has some iconic restuarants like the iconic old Roopyal dining restaurant near the old bazaar recently refurbished to compete with some new establishments on the colony road but sadly the once Kalyal hotel is no more with time came its demise.

Then offcourse there is the more recent part referred to as Chakswari Colony. Chakswari Colony was built for the families who lost their homes following the construction of Mangla Dam. Like most small to large cities where the historic old towns were not built or equipped to manage a boom in population. Chakswari old town a d bazaar was also unable to meet the needs of a new generation who brought with them automotive traffic. Naturally Chakswari had to expand outwards, like in most places the shopping precints begin to grow out from the old town connecting itself and so the old town integrated into to the wider roads linking to Chakswari New Colony. The new shopping areas now boasts rivalry to most mid sized cities in Pakistan with some relatively good brands such as the Nafees Bakery, Chicken Cottage and many boutique and high end restaurants on the Kotli Road. Chakswari is also famous for its marriage halls including The Roopyal Marquee and Nashemam Marriage Hall. The Roopyal Marquee was the first super marriage hall in tne region if not Azad Kashmir. The Roopyal Marriage Hall which was the vision of the Late beloved Nadeem Roopyal just off the Kotli Road. In memory of Late Chaudhry Nadeem Roopyal it is today rightly so renamed Nadeem Roopyal Suites & Marquee who was a trailblazer for modern Marquees now found across the Kotli Chakswari road to Mirpur.

Chakswari is well known for it's important shrine. It is most commonly known as Noshahi Pir who were said to be from the lineage of The Prophet Muhammad PBUH. The Noshahi Haji, Pir Ganj Baksh tomb is in Ralmal Sharif in Gujrat.Ralmal Sharif, Pahlia, Gujrat; as well as Doga Sharif in rural Gujrat. As well as Noshahi Family in Saher Mandi in AJK. There is history of Noshahi Darbar Pir coming to Chakswari to and spreading awareness of Islam and teachings of The Prophet Muhammad. There is also a Chowk named after Noshahi Darbar just outside the bazaar.They were known for helping the people of Chakswari with things like poverty and education. It is one of the most famous Sufi shrines in the region. Chakswari also has lots of mosques, the main one being the Jamia Masjid located in the town. There are other mosques too such as the Jamia-e-Haydar Masjid or Ghazi Hasan Masjid which owes its name to the 15th century Muslim warrior in the region, Raja Ghazi Hasan Khan.

The ancient history of Chakswari can be traced back to the Old Grave Yard located in old Chakswari, leading to the land all around the old town of Chakswari. The old Ancestral Graveyard is located near Gazal Shaav (Holy Site).

Notable parts of Chakswari include Kalyal, Buna Mora or Taki Kalyal, Ladhar, Susral, Panyam, Rachyal, Roopyal, Tagdew but there are many more with rich heritage and history also.

Very notable Azad Kashmiris have hailed from Kalyal village and therefore Kalyal has always been held in high esteem. Even today very well known personalities of Mirpur state / borough hail from Kalyal village of Chakswari. In recent times Panyam village also is notable due to well known Azad Kashmiri personalities.

The main Potohar areas of LA-2 Tehsil are the following:[1]

1. Kalyal including Buna Mora or Taki Kalyal 2. Panyam 3. Susraal 4. Rachyal 5. Tang dew 6. Palak 7. Pind Khurd 8. Dheri Phali 9. Dheri Barwan 10. Boa 11. Kaneli 12. Mawah 13. Bajjar 14. Herdochi 15. Potha Bainsi 16.Ladhar 17.Chak

Brief History[change | change source]

During the 1947 Poonch rebellion the demographics of Jammu State changed from a Muslim majority state to a Hindu marginal majority state. The genocide was politically motivated to ensure Kashmir would ascede to India and the independence movement squashed. Subsequently, a huge revolt took place by the indigenous Muslim Kashmiri population of Jammu and Kashmir against Maharaja Hari Singh and the Indian State. What began as a economic peaceful boycott by the Indigenous muslim population, beginning as a No Tax revolt soon became a freedom struggle as news of the massacre of Muslims in poonch by Hari Singh and the Indian State reached across the state. This subsequently led to the First Kashmir War where Chakswari served as a strategic location for the Muslim rebels who styled themselves as the Azad Army. Chakswari was an important staging ground for the revolt and supply of amunition to the Muslim freedom fighters that led to liberation from The despotic Dogra's with support from the state of Pakistan. This struggle led to the liberation of parts of Kashmir which is dearly referred to by Kashmiris as Azad Kashmir or Free Kashmir from the tyranny of Hari Singh and the Indian State.

In the 1960s once again the region of Chakswari and its neighbouring areas would prove strategic for Pakistan. This time, it was to build the Mangla Dam at the foot of Mangla and collapse the surrounding areas of Mirpur to support the water needs of the state of Pakistan.

Mangla Dam History[change | change source]

In 1960 IWT (Indus Waters Treaty) was signed; according to this treaty, India was awarded rights to the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi rivers, and Pakistan besides the waters of these three rivers within Pakistani territories, and some financial compensation was granted rights to construct the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum river basins.

Until 1967, Pakistan’s whole irrigation system was totally dependent on the unchecked flow of the River Indus and its main tributaries.

Issue of Poor Agricultural Production[change | change source]

The agricultural production was very poor for a variety of reasons, the most important being the shortage of water during the crucial growing seasons. This issue arose from seasonal fluctuations inflow of the river due to monsoons and the lack of storage facilities to store large quantities of excess water during times of heavy river discharge.

The Mangla Dam was among 2-dams built to overcome this shortcoming and reinforce the irrigation country’s infrastructure as a part of the Indus Basin Program, while the 2nd was the Tarbela Dam located on the River Indus in Swabi, KPK.

Mangla Dam Construction[change | change source]


The dam was built at the cost of Rupees 15.587 billion, ADB (Asian Development Bank) and World Bank-funded for the dam.


The dam was built between 1961 & 1965 across the river Jhelum in the Mirpur district of AJK (Azad Jammu & Kashmir), some 108 km southeast of Islamabad. The components of the Mangla Dam include intake structures, power station, five tunnels, emergency spillway, main spillway, intake embankment, main embankment, and a reservoir.

Apart from the main dam, Sukian dyke seventeen-thousand feet long and a small dam named the Jari Dam to obstruct the Jari Nala-had to be built eleven miles outside the new town of Mirpur. There were 120 x 106 yd3 (cubic yards) of the trench for the reservoir, while the total fill was 142 x 106 yd3 & concrete to 1.96 x 106 yd3, respectively

With the advent of the Mangla Dam project, like most villages of Mirpur district; people of Chakswari migrated to the UK and other countries from the 1960s onwards.

The Mangla Dam remains a very important structure and holds strategic and climatic importance just as it did back the. It was a vital project for the people of Pakistan and agriculture of Pakistan. Often overlooked are the real silent heroes who to this day are rarely acknowledged by the vast majority of Pakistanis for their sacrifice. Families of Azad Kashmiris were displaced and uprooted and families divided as a result. Azad Kashmiris from more so the people of Mirpur faced three major catastrophic upheavals in their modern history. The first was the advent of the Dogra occupation who were gifted the state of Kashmir illegally by The British for a pittance. The Dogra barbarity displaced thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris from Jammu and Kashmir into into what we lovingly call Pakistan today. The vast majority displaced into West Punjab as it was commonly known back then. The second was during partition, when Kashmiris faced the major brunt of the Indian states wickedness through sectarianism through their stooge Maharaja Hari Singh. This resulted in alot of innocent Kashmiris bloodshed and hundreds and thousands were killed. Thirdly, what has been often overlooked and equally disruptive was the construction of The Mangla Dam. Not to say Azad Kashmiris did not acknowledge The Mangla Dam for the greater good but their sacrifice often overlooked or simply never known by their brethren in Pakistan.

Buildings[change | change source]

Chakswari is well known for the existence of The Holy Pir. It is most commonly known as Noshahi Pir who were part of the Muhammad family tree. The Noshahi Haji Pir Ganj Baksh tomb is in Ralmal Sharif in Gujrat. In the '90s, they were known for helping the people of Chakswari with things like poverty. It is one of the most famous Sufi shrines in the region. Chakswari also has lots of mosques, the main one being the Jamia Masjid located in the town in which many people come to read the jummah namaz. There are other mosques too such as the Jamia-e-Haydar Masjid or Ghazi Hasan Masjid which owes its name to the 15th century Muslim warrior in the region, Raja Ghazi Hasan Khan.

Notable places and people[change | change source]

• The late Mian Hussain Ali – AJK State Council Member, politician, businessmen and patriarch of the Ali Family and responsible for Chakswari's place as a economic stalwart contributing to the success of Mirpur today. His grandson is Zafar Anwar a well known business man and politician. Hailed from Kalyal village Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• The late DIG Chaudhary Fazal Hussain kalyal was a prominent law man who policed Mirpur State following AJK liberation from India. DIG Chaudhry Fazal Hussain was a towering figure in personality as he was in character and a man of great principle. Much loved and remembered by all from Chakswari. Hailed from Kalyal village Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Muhammad Anwar (d.2020) – Politician & former chairman District Council Mirpur, AJK[2] Also the son of Mian Hussain Ali and father to Zafar Anwar. Hailed from Kalyal village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Mushtaq Ahmed (d. 2016) – Managing Director of Hussain Ali Construction Company (HACC). Hailed from Kalyal Chakswari.

• Ch. Raza Ali – Managing Director of Raza Group of Companies[3] hails from Kalyal, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Muhammad Saeed – President Pakistan Chamber of Commerce,[4] Azad Group Managing Director, Honorary British Consul for AJK,[5] MLA from Mirpur (representing PML-N).[6] Chaudhry Saeed is an extemely successful businessman responsible for a great number of successful enterprises in Mirpur Azad Kashmir Toyota Azad Motors, Megha Mart, Shopping Pavilions and responsible for bringing big brand retailers into Azad Kashmir like Ideas, and holds the KFC and McDonalds franchise. Chaudhry Saeed hails from Kalyal village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Zafar Anwar – Businessman[7] and Senior Vice President (PTI)[8] Ch. Zafar Anwar represents a new generation of highly educated young elites from Azad Kashmir and has many business interests including Valley Homes housing association in Mirpur. Hails from Kalyal village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Maqsood Hussain (d. 2022) – UK Businessman father of Ch. Ansar Maqsood. Ch. Maqsood's family settled in Stoke-on-Trent UK and his children have various business interests in UK and AJK notably the Honda Empire car showroom in Mirpur. Hailed from Kalyal village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Ansar Maqsood of Honda car showroom Mirpur AJK. A prominent Azad Kashmiri business man in AJK. Ch. Ansar Maqsood represents a new generation of entrepreneurial spirit in Mirpur Azad Kashmir and is responsible for a great deal in the vibrant economy of Mirpur city. Hails from Kalyal, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Muhammad Azam (b. 1929 – d. 2007) – Pakistan Air Force Squadron Leader with 36 years service and was stationed in Quetta, Karachi and Saudi Arabia. Hailed from Kalyal, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Abdul Karim– an MLA in the early years of parliament in AJK[9] Ch. Abdul Karim is responsible for a great deal in shaping the state of Mirpur and contributing to it's successful place as the hub of economic activity in Azad Kashmir. Ch. Abdul Karim had many business interests including transport, logistics and construction. Hailed from Kalyal village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

• Ch. Qasim Majeed – MLA (representing PPP)[10] hails from Panyam Chakswari. Ch. Qasim Majeed brings much needed young blood and energy to the political landscape of Chakswari and Mirpur. Hails from Panyam village, Chakswari.

• Chaudhry Abdul Majeed served as the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu And Kashmir from 2011 to 2016. He has also been the President of the Pakistan People's Party's in Azad Kashmir's Chapter. Hails from Panyam village, Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

Zaman Khan – (born 2001), Professional cricketer who has represented Pakistan on the global stage. Hails from Chakswari, Azad Kashmir.

Brief origins summary of the Kalyal clan[change | change source]

The predominant inhabitants of Chakswari are Jat and Chaudhry biradri (family) and there has been an emphasis and interest on the major Jat clan of Chakswari namely the Kalyal Jat clan.

Origins of the Kalyal Jat clan lineage

The Kalyal Jat clan is a prominent clan found along the Jhelum River, Mirpur Region (Chakswari) but further up in other regions like Dadyal Azad Kashmir and Gujjar Khan in the Punjab. Sadly British colonialism and independence struggle history took precedence over local regional history in the modern era and little academic work was inked about the great Jat clans of the Jammu and Kashmir region that crossed the Jhelum river to Western Punjab regions like Jhelum, Gujjar Khan and further into the Gujrat regions. The Kalyals (Kalial's) were a prominent clan and thus some piecemeal history exists and referenced here. Even the early 20th Century British ethnologist, H. A Rose has made a reference to the Kalyal Jat clan as being the last of the Rajput Jat clans.

"Sombanai descent and Rajput ancestry i.e., a last status as Rajput— are claimed by the Kalial (Kalyal)."

Horace Arthur Rose was an early 20th Century British colonial official who co-authored "A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province", which is one of the most comprehensive Glossary on the tribes of Punjab, and a good source on many Punjabi tribes.

the Kalyal (Kalial) tribe claims descent from Kala Khan or Mal Khan, a Chandravanshi Rajput, who settled in the Potohar region in the 15th Century. However, some Kalyal (Kalial) lineages claim Suryavanshi ancestry.

There are also a widespread tradition that Kal to be a Bhatti Rajput, which would make the Kalyal a clan of the Bhatti tribe. Therefore, the Kal aal are the descendants of Kals. The Kalyal are essentially a tribe of the Chibhal, a region between the Tawi and Jhelum rivers, now divided by the line of control, forming the districts of Mirpur and Bhimber in Azad Kashmir, Rajouri, Reasi and parts of Jammu district west of the river Tawi in Indian administered Kashmir. From Chibhal, groups of Kalyal began migrating to the Punjab plains, initially settling in around Dina, and Sahowa and then spreading to Gujar Khan, which is home to the greatest concentrations of Kalyal. Most of the Gujarkhan Kalyal claim to a be a clan of the Bhatti Rajputs. Other groups moved southeast, settling in Gujrat district, where they are still an important Jat clan. There is a single Kalyal village in Kharian Tehsil of Gujrat district.

Kalyal in Azad Kashmir (Chakswari, Mirpur region).

The most visible branch of the Kalyal are found in a single village named Kalyal in Chakswari, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Giving credence to the Rajput lineage due to the influential personalities that came from this village. To this day, the Kalyal village descendants remain a very influential prominent group in Chakswari and Mirpur city. The Kalyal, Chakswari family remain influential across Mirpur state and city which is the economic hub of Azad Kashmir. The Kalyal village in Chakswari was widely known as the home of Chakswari nobility or gentry in the past. Further divisible Kalyal branches are also found in Mohra-na-Mohra / Mohra Mundian and Pind Kalan villages Add-ne-Plai, Laddar and Domal (now inundated by the Mangla Dam) and also Gaderi (now inundated by the Mangla Dam), while another branch is in Palaak, Tarnot, and Arnoh, near Panyam.

Further Jatt branches migrated from Sialkot to Gujrat Gorsian, from there to the Mirpur region and settled in the villages of Panyam (Moohri Panyam / Baavaya-ni-Moohri – these have largely moved to New Abadi Kalyal Chakswari due to the Dam); Essar, Pind Kalan; Gowanda and Prahi (near Chok Sahiban); and Mera Kandi.

In Panyam Chakswari, also known as Sarr-wala-Mohra, branche/s of the Kalyal's originate in Tope Mankiala near Rawalpindi. Finally, there is also a lineage found in the village of Kalyal Sheru.

References[change | change source]

  1. "2021: LA-2 Chakswari Mirpur-II Azad Kashmir Election Result 2016". Sports Workers Helpline. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  2. "Chakswari, AJK; Condolences on the death of Chaudhry Muhammad Anwar, former Chairman District Council, Mirpur". Pothwar News. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  3. "CH Raza Ali" – via Facebook.
  4. "Saeed new FPCCI President". Dawn. Pakistan. 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  5. "Britain formally announces opening of its honorary consul office in Mirpur". jammu-kashmir.com. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  6. Correspondent, The Newspaper's Staff (2016-07-23). "PML-N grabs 31 seats in AJK elections". Dawn. Pakistan. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  7. Gadher, Dipesh. "Warsi promoted holiday flats during official trip". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  8. "Tanveer Ilyas new president of PTI AJK". Latest News – The Nation. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  9. Mirpur, Mera. "Choudhary Abdul Kareem died at age of 102". Archived from the original on 2021-09-28. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  10. "AJK elections 2021: PTI bags 25 seats to form next govt". ARY NEWS. 2021-07-25. Retrieved 2022-04-07.