Archive for History of Rawalakot

RAWALAKOT

RAWALAKOT

Rawalakot is a city in Azad Kashmir, and is the capital of Poonch District. It is in a saucer-shaped valley at elevation 1615 metres (5300ft). It is 76 kilometres (47 miles) from Kohala, and is also linked with Rawalpindi and Islamabad via the neighbouring districts of Azad Pattan and Tain Dhalkot,and with Muzaffarabad via Kohala and Sudhangali by asphalt roads. The main tribe of Rawalakot are the Sudhan tribe
Location
Surrounding villages include Topa Soon aka Soon Topa or just Topa, Kaimon, Thithrot, Motialmara, Trar Dewan,Chare, Chuck, Tranni, Dahmni, Pothi Bala/Makwalan, Kharek, Dreak, Banjosa, Hussainkot, Hurnamaira, Bhalgran, Rehara, Tain, and Pachiot. Bagh District lies to the north and Sudhnuti District lies to the south of Rawalakot. The road passing through (Jalooth)Paniola connects Rawalakot to Bagh And Muzaffarabad. While towards the West are Murree, Islamabad and Rawalpindi regions of Pakistan.
Rawalakot has an airport which has not functioned since 2000 due to lack of demand for air travel by the local population and the indifference of the Government of Pakistan. This Airport is situated near Chuck Bazar approximatively 1 kilometre from Chare and approximately 3 KM from Rawalakot Main City[
Construction of Guoien Nalla road between Rawalakot and Azad Pattan has considerably reduced the distance travel time.
The Shaeed Galla /Toli peer is very famous place in Rawalakot District, it is 20km from Rawalakot and beautiful natual scene and forest.
Communications
”        Two privately owned Cable Television systems are available in Rawalakot, which transmits Pakistani and international television programs.
”        A local FM radio station has been established and broadcasts at FM 105.8
”        Cell phone service is available through five private cell phone operators Paktel,Mobilink, Ufone, Warid, Telenor,SCOM. PTCL Wireless also available.
”        The local phone company is operated by Pakistan Army .
”        Construction of Guoien Nalla road between Rawalakot and Azad Pattan has considerably reduced the distance travel time.
Rawalakot-Poonch Trade Route
Before the partition of the subcontinent, the Poonch-Rawalakot trade route was the only road link between Poonch and Sudhnati, now called Rawalakot, the Line of Control (LoC) is 15 kilometres from Hajira and 43 kilometres from Rawalakot.
After the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846, a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir comprising Bagh, Sudhanoti (Rawalakot), Mendhar and Haveli were declared as the State of Poonch and transferred to Raja Moti Singh as his Jagir (landed estate). The ethnic diversity of this region offers a unique blend of different tribes and clans.
Tehsil Mendhar in the State of Poonch was the most fertile area in this region. Trade and agricultural links between people of Rawalakot and Poonch were common. Apart from agriculture, sheep and goat farming was the major source of income for the people of Poonch region. The Poonch-Rawalakot trade route played an important role in the economy of this area. It was one of the few trade routes in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir which remained open throughout the year. Traders and businessmen freely traded fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, wool, tobacco, cereals, rice, spices and many other items. Barter trade system was followed by most of the traders and businessmen.
Although major chunk of the people’s income went to the State rulers through taxes, including Abiana and Maalia, duties, fines, and forced labour, there was economic activity and the region was considered rich in resources. Much has been conceived and propagated about ethnic and religious divide between the rulers and the ruled in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. But an impartial and unbiased study of the Dogra rule would expose that socio-economic conditions of the population played an important role in the emergence of a conflict between the rulers and the masses.
It is on the record that rulers of the state imposed taxes on most of the belongings which one could own in his household e.g. cattle, utensils, hearths, windows, crops, agricultural tools and even wives. There was no other choice for the people to protect their belongings than to defy the authoritarian rule. The most crushed and trodden among the masses turned into the most violent dissidents and liberated their lands and belongings. Bagh, Rawalakot and parts of Haveli were liberated and the area liberated was named as Azad (free) Kashmir. Poonch town, the capital of this tiny state stood isolated and besieged till November, 1948 when Indian forces recaptured this town. As the region was divided, a large number of families got divided on both sides of the Cease Fire Line (later named as LoC) having no contact with each other. This is the most tragic element of the existence of Line of Control. After the emergence of LoC not only the families were divided but their businesses also ruined. Agricultural and grazing lands were bifurcated. Guns replaced the crops and cattle.
Rawalakot Bar Association
The Rawalakot Bar Association invited the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry to address the Bar Association on June 30, 2007. The invitation was to show support of the local lawyers and civil society for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan and an end to the Army Dictatorship.

Rawalakot Turkiye College for Girls
The Rawalakot Turkiye College for Girls , a unique school comparable to any other educational facility in a European country -has been established in Rawalakot in place of the Post-Graduate College for Girls, Kharick, which faced severe destruction in the October 2005 earthquake. Through a joint organization of IHLAS Media Holding of Germany and DITIB (Religious Affairs of Turkish Islamic Union Germany), the Turkish people agreed on reconstruction of Rawalakot Post-Graduate Girls College with ERRA. Later on, the Turkish Islamic Union of Netherlands participated through donations of Basic Health Unit facilities to the said school. The design, construction, decoration and landscaping of the school have been carried out by Turcon Private Limited. A geological survey of the land led to the decision of constructing single or maximum two-storey buildings. In a campus-wise set-up, all the buildings have been scattered on a 240,000 square feet area. The educational facilities include 30 classrooms, five laboratories, a gymnasium hall, hostel, lodgment for teachers, principal’s house, BHU, mosque, multi-purpose hall, and an administration block, etc. A total of 14 buildings exceeding a covered area of 60,000 square feet have been built for the school. Basic amenities such as computers, television sets, music system, sofa sets, beds, mattresses and blankets for teachers and students have been arranged for with the help of donors. Thousands of trees and flowers have also been planted for landscaping. The construction has been carried out in the conventional method. Both ends of the buildings have been strengthened through shear walls, providing an earthquake-proof structure to ensure safety of the children. The materials used in construction are the same as in the developed countries. Lightweight insulated shingle roof material has been imported and used for the first time in Pakistan for added comfort. Well-insulated U-PVC type windows have also been used. The college will be inaugurated on April 7 at 12.30 p.m
Rawalakot Air Port
Since the raid by Pakistan Army on the Red Mosque, Pakistan Army has deployed new army contingents in Rawalakot. The Rawalakot CMH and the telephone exchange are under extreme security to avoid the acts of terrorism by so called religious extremists.
Publications and Literary Activities
Local periodical by the name of Dharti(edited by Abid Siddique) is published monthly. Many authors as well as poets have been produced in the valley of Rawalakot. Internationally recognized magazine Mearaj International is well circulated in Rawalakot published from Kashmir, Pakistan & UK Daily news papers from Pakistan are available in English as well as Urdu. Most read newspaper is the Urdu daily Jang and the most listened to Radio Statio is BBC Londonand Vice of Kashmir FM 105 Rawalakot
Hotels and Rest Houses
Small hotels with living accommodations are available in and around the city. Government owned cabins are available in Rawalakot and Banjosa. Advance reservations are recommended as most of these accommodations are used by Government Officials on their tours.
Climate
Average temperature during the summer varies from 60 degrees F to 75 degrees F. During the winter snow falls start during the month of December and last through January. Rainy season starts from April through June. [4]
Culture
Rawalakot has no theatres, however the university does have some sorts of cultural events.
Shopping
Rawalakot has a down town which consists of shops selling everything from groceries to electronic goods.
Non governmental organizations(NGOs)
There are very few active non governmental organizations working in Rawalakot. Press for Peace(PFP) is a very active local NGO. PFP was established by Khawaja Zafar Iqbal, a famous journalist and peace activist from Trar village of Rawalakot. However,PFP headquarters is based in Muzaffarabad, while it has extended its network across Kashmir and abroad.
Education
In addition to The Agriculture University of Azad Kashmir, Rawalakot has a Government College for men and for women, numerous high schools and a number of private schools.
During the earthquake of October 8,2005, many degree colleges were badly damaged, but these have not yet been rebuilt
Population
Rawalakot has an estimated population of 50,000. Over 60% of the population belongs to the Sudhan tribe. The remaining 40% is of the population includes Slahrya Rajput, Mehngral Rajput, Bhattis, Gujars, Jats, Maliks, Rathor Rajputs, Awans,[Mughal,Chughtai, Baig, Mirza,Maldayal] Magray and Ashraf or Sayeds,Quraishi. Khawaja ([[Kashmiri Bandy]]Mir,Butt,Dar.)
Famous Personalities from Rawalakot
”        Sardar Ibrahim Khan ,first president of Azad Kashmir.
”        Major General (Retired) Muhammad Hayyat Khan, former president of Azad Kashmir.
”        Major General (Rtd) Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, former president of Azad Kashmir.
”        Justice Sardar Muhammed Nawaz Khan, Current Chief Justice of High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
”        Sadar Khalid Ibrahim Khan: son of founder president of AJK Sardar Ibrahim Khan, MLA and the chairman, Jammu & Kashmir People’s Party.
”        General (Retd) Muhammad Rahim Khan, former Chief of Pakistan Army in East Pakistan, former Chairman Pakistan International Airlines, former Chairman Pakistan Chrome Mines Ltd and Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense.$
”        Sardar Sayab Khalid ,Ex- Speaker AJK Assambly
”        Sardar Shahnawaz Khan: Writer, politician, most influencel sardar from the region Kandhi.
”        Shaikh Ghulam Ahmad, author, educator and philanthropist.
”        M. Rasheed Khan, former chairman, Pakistan Banking Council. Financial consultant.
”        Khawaja zafar iqbal,renown journalist,peace activist,founder of Press for Peace(PFP),currently residing in UK where he is associated with research about Media and Globalisation.
”        Sardar Ejaz Afzal Khan, Ameer Jamat-Islami Azad Kashmir.
”        Sardar Sagheer Ahmed Khan Advocat Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)
”        Sardar Mukhtar Khan- Lawyer- Renowned Freedom Fighter-Politician- Writer. – Azadi Ka Khawab Pasrishan -Publication 2005
                      
External links
”        Rawalakot video 1
”        Rawalakot video 2
”        Rawalakot video 3

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