:: Front Page

:: Your Letters

:: Articles

:: Weather Updates

:: Poetry

:: Chitral Info

:: Pictures

:: About Us








  July 16, 2012

Chitral Times Detail

In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty




1. THE BACKGROUND :                                                                                                      Ghulam Sarwar Sehrayee

When the rein of power of the Ex-Princely State of ‘Chetrar’ (pronounced as Chitral later during nineteenth century in English and Urdu), was being taken into hands by the last dynasty, called Katur, it is generally said and believed that the State so achieved at that time was distributed amongst the usurper brothers by its ‘partition’ into two even three pieces i.e. ‘Chetrar’, Mastuj / Yasin and Ghezir at the start each as a separate State.

Basic problem infact was lack of documentation of events/writing books and manuscripts in Hindu Kush region in general. The situation as we all know was unluckily at higher degree in present Chitral and Gilgit and Baltistan areas till later days. Writers have therefore been facing difficult situation in the princely State of ‘Chetrar’ (Chitral), where too documentation process of events was not carried out since early time. Writing about history of ‘Chetrar’ started slowly in the second half of nineteenth century by English army officers which too on the authority of corrupted and defaced traditions and folklores. Any how when the history of the State was attempted to be written during the last decades of 19th and during 20th century by different writers, it was too late for them to gather correct and live information/ data of the past events and like-wise very difficult to be able to narrate the events with their true pictures, shape and meanings.

 We shall here for example analyze how the events of the process of filling up of administrative units undertaken by the first Katur ruler Muhtaram Shah 1 were narrated by some authors. Nai Tarikh-e Chitral 1962, for example, described it (after a-lapse of 262 years of the event) as under:-

 Translation: - “Muhtaram Shah distributed this vast area (‘Chetrar’ State from Chaghan Sarai to Punial) amongst his brothers. Every one was granted rulership and fief. To Khoshwaqt, who was brilliant and capable amongst the brothers, he gave the rulership of Vershigum (Yasin) and fief in Damil, Chumurkhon, Ayun and ‘Chetrar’. Khosh Ahmad was given the rulership of Mastuj while Naimatullah was made ruler of Ghizer with lands in Kosht and Lone”.(Ghulam Murtaza:1962:49).

The above narration in it’s present language was enough to give an impression of ‘‘partition’’ of the State of ‘Chetrar’ for the people un-aware of the past history.

            Selection of words to narrate the said event made in another book “chitral aik tarof” (Israr ud Din, Wazir Ali Shah and Inayatullah 1986:32) it seems, caused further escalation of the so-called philosophy of ‘partition’ of the State alleged to have been undertaken by the first Katur ruler. The said paragraph reads as under….

 Translation .. “The area from Gilgit’s borders to Bashgul in the south captured from Rai’sa rulers, were apportioned/ partitioned by sons of Muhammad Beg amongst themselves. Muhtaram Shan himself became ruler over ‘Chetrar’. Shah Khosh Ahmad and Khoshwaqt became rulers of Mastuj and trans-Shandur areas of Ghizer, Yasin and Punial respectively”.(Israrud Din,Wazir Ali Shah & Inayat ullah Faizi, 1986:32).

Such were the traditions/folklores of the alleged ‘partition’ of the State by the new Katur rulers into pieces, which with the passage of time took so usual and common a term amongst general public as well amongst rulers that some of such local rulers began to think that they were independent of central government of ‘‘Chetrar’’. Some of these local rulers of trans-Shandur areas of Yasin etc at times went so far as to adopt the way of adventurism-beyond their parameters-and even began revolt against their over lords sitting in the capital of the Katur kingdom, ‘Chetrar’. Such expansionary activities and constant state of cross-border attacks with advances and retreats in Gilgit area also formed part of life of some adventurous local rulers in trans-Shandur part of the State of ‘Chetrar’. Consequences of all these developments but proved to be ruining and fatal not only for regional/local rulers themselves during the period, it was disastrous for Katur dynasty as well as ‘Chetrar’ itself as a State in the long run, which will be discussed later on if possible, in brief, in this article.

 It is clarified here that this article has nothing to do with personal qualities-good or bad- of major or minor rulers of the State as well as of areas so distributed and administered. Neither relation of entire history of the country or any part of it is an objective and nor is it possible here in this short article. Basic aim of this article instead is to try to go deep into some parts of history pertinent to our article and to show the readers that:-

1.’Chetrar’, during pre-Katur period as well as during Katur dynastical period itself almost upto 1895, had been enjoying its boundaries from Chaghan Sarai (later Bailam in Kunar to Boroghul in the north and Punial in trans-Shandur tract of land in the east as one unified State.

            2. It was not an act of ‘partition’ of the State by Katur ruler Muhtaram Shah as is alleged or presumed by some people. The State, ruled direct as well as indirect in some parts, was under one dynasty the Katur.

            3. The Kith and Kins, who were granted a kind of petty rulerships over the delineated areas/principalities at the start by Muhtaram Shah the Katur ruler were not enjoying the status of independent rulers with separate State as a rule.

            All this is though now a part of the past but to set right the past for completion of record and to safeguard the boundaries of Chitral as a District, is also a noble job historically, which is being attempted through this essay. Lets now see and try our level best to go into historically known period of the State/Country of ‘Chetrar’- a boring but unavoidable part of the article-and come up with as brief a story as could be possible- substantiating our article.


            A part of vast ‘Bulur’ or ‘Bilaur’, as called by Turk and Arab sources was traversed, plundered, conquered and annexed during 1527-1540 A.D with Kashghari kingdom then run by a Chughtai–descent family.(Dughlat 1546/Elias & Ross 1898 & Tarikh-e Kashghar 1696/Holzwarth 1996:122). Mirza Muhammad Ghufran (1921:65) has also pointed towards a Kahghari/Moghul hegemony over the region just before the Raisa dynasty’ rule. The area so annexed included Boroghul to probably ‘Chetrar’(Chitral town) down in the south while in the trans-Shandur area it seems, extended to Yasin. After the Kashghari conquest the area was being ruled as their dependency by Chughtai rulers of Kashghar through their deputies (Daroghas) who were also Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslims (Tawarikh-e Afghaniya 1620 A.D/Holzwarth 1996:122; Allami1886:641; Holzwarth 1998:304). The dynast himself being based in Yarqand (Yarkand) with the title of Sultan- a designation generally used by Muslim Turks/Moghuls as against ‘Shah’ in Persian for a ruler.

             It was during this Kashghari period of rule that this part of the land, first ever in its history, started to be called ‘Qashqar’ by its inhabitants as a State/Country, as it was before Kashqhari take over ruled by petty local rulers their way in pieces without any concept of a central authority with a unified State. The word ‘Qashqar’ was no doubt derived from ‘Kashghar’- the bossing country. The Sumalikis, most probably Kalash or pure pagan (Beg 1994:1-3), in northern parts i.e. Mulikoh, Torikoh and Mastuj while Kalash petty rulers Bula Sing, Raja Wai and Naghar Shao etc in lower parts below Barenis were ruling when Muslim forces attacked and defeated them; especially the Sumalikis in the first stage in Mastuj (Ghulam Murtaza 1962:30).

             Main principalities during the Kashghari period, it seems, were Mastuj, Yasin, and the site of present ‘Chetrar’ proper, where the ‘deputies’ were based. ‘Chetrar’ proper it is stated, lateron gained the status of a major place amongst the principalities being treated as with the central capital of Kashghar-i Khurd or ‘Qashqar’ in later years of the Chughtai period. Political military, social and commercial activities had started taking place here in a fort-like centre (Ghulam Murtarza 1962:37; Askara Rais 1992:122-23). The place of this centre was probably called ‘bazaar’ in those days, where now is a hamlet and also stand DCO office and residence and Chitral Scouts’s officer etc. People in local language, it seems, started to name the place as ‘Jang Bazaar’( high/upper bazaar) or Bazaar-e Kohna (old bazaar) (Ghulam Murtarza 1962:37), just to differentiate it from a new Bazaar or Sarai set up later in about 1880/90  near to the site of present ‘Bazaar bridge’ down on ‘Chetrar’ gol (stream).The Fort was later on shifted to its present place on the right bank of Chitral River by Muhammad Shafi during second half of 18th century.  In other words the site of ‘Chetrar’ proper since Chughtai/Kashghari period had been playing role of a major place, capital and centre of political, cultural, civilizational and administrative activities where an authoritative figure, if not of rank of a Shah or Mehtar, on behalf of Kashghari Sultan, it is certain, used to remain posted/installed.

             This state of affairs of ‘Qashqar’ continued for about 77 / 78 years but seemingly in somehow loose shape in later period when it was occupied again by a foreign family from Badakshan side, later to be called ‘Raisa or Shah Raisa’.

 3. RAISA OR SHAH RAISA RULE; The emergence of ‘‘CHETRAR’’.

             The new rulers connected with Shahan-e Badakhshan/Darwaz and claiming to be Alexandrian descent (Bahr-al asrar 1635-40/ Holzwarth 1996:123&1998:306-7; Ghufran 1921:65 Kabuli 1964:14-15) occupied that whole part of the country which was under Kashghari domination. Raisa rulers retained the site of present day Chitral town as their capital with the local name of ‘Chetrar’ or ‘Chitrar’ (Bahr-al-asrar 1635/40/Holzwarth 1996:123). It seems that name of the Country/State was during this Raisa/Shah Raisa period changed from Qashqar to ‘Chetrar’ with reference to name of the capital.

             Record of the period tells that father (Shah Babur) ruled the State of Chetrar right from Chetrar proper to Yasin and Bashqar with the designation of ‘Wali of Chitrar and Bashqar’ (Tarikh-e Kashgar 1696 and Bahr-al-asrar 1635/40/ Holzwarth 1996:124), sitting here in Chetrar (Chitral) capital of the country, while his son Shah Rais being seated in Mastuj/Yasin as deputy (ibid; Shigar namah 1655-65 and Afiridi 1988:76). The sub-divisional area under his son Shah Rais, it seems, was from Dalumgul Barenis onwards. Similarly of a deputy Raisa/Shah Raisa rulers is heard sitting also in Mastuj when it is said on the authority of an oral tradition that “Shina-speaking people invaded the Laspur valley at a time when a deputy, of Shah Rais was ruling in Mastuj”. (Faizi 1985: 259/ Holzwarth 1996:130). This tradition seems quite right when it is boasted also in a Shina song, sung in praise of Shah Murad ruler of Baltistan and his two brothers as under:-

            ‘Ala, Sher Shah,Ali Shah, Murad, trai draro

            Khiri Brook ga Balim photai,

            Khiri roni ronal tharaigai.’


             ‘O (countrymen), Sher Shah, Ali Shah and Murad

            Three brothers have conquered Brook and

            Balim, and the women of the places are weeping.’       

            ‘Ala,pote, Makpoon-ai pote,

            Trai draro, khiri Brook ga Balim

            Photai khiri chai ghinigai’


             ‘O (countrymen), the sons, the sons of Makpoon,

            three brothers, have seized Brook and Balim .

and have brought here a number of the girls of those places.’ (Ghulam Muhammad 1905:122-24).

             It is to be noted that Shah Murad ruled Baltistan during 1650-1688 (Afridi 1988:73), who is reported to have attacked Gilgit and the areas of Punial, Yasin Ghizer and Laspur which included in and called ‘Chetrar’ during Raisa period as mentioned in part-3 of this article. The Shina speaking people of the oral tradition can be part of Shah Murad’s army inducted by him from the Shin area he traversed.

 Nai Tarikh-e Chitral, confirming the existence of a strong central government during the Raisa period right from Nursat to Gilgit State’s frontiers, also writes that the said structure of Govt/Administration was being practiced also during Katur period (Ghulam Murtarza 1962: 44).

 Tradition of a Raisa ruler and existence of Gumbad-i Raisan in Warijun Mulkoh however confirms the possibility of a deputy also there in Mulikoh in Raisa period.

             There could have been other principalities as well being seats of deputies of the Wali or Shah of ‘Chetrar’ such as Torikoh, Shoghore and Drosh etc during Raisa period but could not be verified through historical sources.

Shah Nasir as well as his son Shah Mahmud, who had later regained power from Shah Katur-1 temporarily, all had been sitting here in the capital ‘Chetrar’ as central and sovereign rulers of the whole State of ‘Chetrar’(from Chaghan Sarai down in Kunar to Yasin in trans-Shandur tract of land).

             The process of further conquest under Shah Nasir, the last Raisa ruler, especially the unconverted areas from ‘Chetrar proper’ down to Chaghan Sarai, Islamization of the society on larger scale, taking initiatives for bringing improvement in political and administrative system in the State with Central Asain cultural and civilizational touch are the deeds and main impacts on the State/Country left by this Shahan/Raisa dynasty which around the last decades of the seventeenth century was vanquished by a local family, later called Katur.

 A- KATUR DYNASTY ; The administrative structure.

 It was this Raisa/Shah Raisa dynasty explained in part-3 of the article from whom Muhtaram Shah, grand son of Sangin Ali (Sang Ali of the locals) had after a bloody revolt seized power with the help of his brothers and section of local people loyal to him. The usurper was not amongst the commoners. He belonged to a local but privileged class of people. His grand-father Sangin Ali is said to have remained an important figure of the Raisa court while his father, uncle and cousins had also had a strong role and experience in running the civil and military administration for some later decades of the Raisa period. We therefore will take here an analysis of the circumstances which took place before and after usurpation of Raisa powers by Katur dynasty. As per practice in the dynastical history of the princely State (States), Muhtaram Shah (seems to be well aware of), captured ‘Chetrar’ the capital of the princely State as successor of the outgoing Raisa ruler assuming the new dynastical name of ‘SHAH-I-KATUR’. The State he captured scattered from Chaghan Sarai to Boroghul in the north and Punial in the east (Ghufran 1921:71; Ghulam Murtaza 1962:49).

             We should ascertain first as to who was the main authority behind the process of usurpation of Raisa power. It seems that Muhtaram Shah amongst the brothers usurping the powers had a vital personal role when it is said of him:

1.      “ ….. ( Muhtaram Shah) usurped the power in his own hands from the Raisa ruler who had to flee to Badakshan. Muhtaram Shah also known as Shah Katur 1, founded the Katur dynasty in Chitral”. (Dani 1989:202).

Yet another quotation runs thus:

2. “…..Not only during the usurpation process but after it also, all strategy (of the affairs of the State) was in the hands of Muhtaram Shah himself”. (Wazir Ali Shah 1986: 31).

3.  Writers such as Munshi Aziz-ud-Din, an Indian English government servant in Chitral (1893/1999:3), Mirza Muhammad Ghufran (1921: 71), Ghulam Murtaza (1962:44, 49) and Professor Rehmat Karim Beg (1997:7) do confirm the existence of ‘Chetrar’ as one unified State with boundaries almost from Chaghan Sarai in the Kunar to the frontiers of Gilgit State, till Punial/Gahkuch in trans-Shandur tract of Land.

4. When we say that ‘Chetrar’ was intact with its defined boundaries as one unified State till its last shape in 1895 during English hegemony, we should take the decision of the division made by Muhtaram Shah 1 within the State as of a routine administrative nature as was being done during Kashghari and later on Raisa period to run the vast and scattered State as mentioned in part 2 and 3 of the article. It is clear to every one that if a particular place is quoted with defined political and geographical boundaries, it is meant by one State or Country, especially in the context of olden dynastical history. ‘Chetrar’ was also one unified State with boundaries from Asmar to the frontiers of Gilgit as pointed out in 1870 by an outsider/impartial contemporary eyewitness, Faiz Bukhsh.

He writes;-

“CHATRAL is bounded on the east by the frontiers of Gilgit, in the territory of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir;- The south western boundary of Chatral adjoins the territories of Sheva an Asmar…Its north Eastern boundary adjoins Kunjad and Nagri..”. He however has shown two divisions of the country into Kashkar-i-Bala and Kashkar-i-Payeen or Chatral-i-Bala and Chartral-i-Payeen (Faiz Buksh 1870/1883:1,2,6 and 7), which was an administrative division as per old practice in the State (see part 3 the Raisa period) as is even now in practice in the shape of subdivisions called Mastuj and ‘Chetrar’. Barenis was withdrawn from Mastuj unit of Yasin subdivision in early period of rule of Mehtar Shuja-ul-Mulk (1895-1936) and included with Chitral.

5.      Another eyewitness, an outsider, Munphool Pundit also uses word Chitral-i-Bala (upper Chitral) in 1867 for the same part of ‘Chetrar’ which was quoted by Faiz Buksh as Kashkar-i-Bala or Chatral-i-Bala.

6.      To eliminate the concept of ‘partition’ of the State, Muhtaram Shah the first Katur ruler, it seems, had taken some technical and political steps also, at the start such as:

While installing his younger brother Khoshwaqt in subdivision of Mastuj/Yasin, he reserved Ashkuman valley in trans-Shandur area as jagir for himself and Ghizer he earmarked for another brother Niamatullah (Ghufran 1921:71; Ghulam Murtarza 1962: 49). The point to be noted is that both Ashkuman and Ghizer situated in the vicinity of Yasin subdivision on which was Khoshwaqt installed.

7.      Similarly, perhaps as a part of this same strategy, he granted Damel valley along with some land in Ayun, Chomorkhon and ‘Chetrar’ proper to Khoshwaqt.

8.      Torikoh had also been included in the sub-division of Yasin at the start but the decision was revoked by Muhtaram Shah-1 some years later (ibid: 117).

Such were the administrative and political steps that were taken by the first Katur ruler at the beginning of his reign which pose him as a central, sovereign and superminent ruler of the newly established ‘Katur Dynasty’ – the successor of the Raisa/Shah Raisa rulers. We can find some other events also which give strength to the concept of one State and one central Ruler. We have seen for example that during Raisa period two sons, out of four, of Muhammad Riza, killed by Muhtaram Shah during the revolt were settled in and busy doing State duties in Reshun and Yarkhun. (Aziz-ud-Din 1893/1991: 45 Ghufran 1921: 70). Both places came under Yasin subdivision during the Raisa period. This proves that there were no political boundaries on ‘partition’ basis as these sons of Muhammad Riza actually were residence of Mulikoh, an area then under direct control of Raisa ruler of ‘Chetrar’.

9.      Another point to note relates to Sangin Ali-2 son of Muhtaram Shah 1 when he is stated to have come under siege in Mastuj Fort at the time of invasion of Shah Mahmud son of Shah Nasir Raisa. Khoshwaqt is stated to have reached in Danin, ‘Chetrar’ being unable to revert the attack on Mastuj Fort. Here in Danin he was killed later by invading force of Shah Mahmud Raisa (Ghufran 1921:74-75; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:50). There seems possibility that Muhtaram Shah might have installed also his own son along with Khoshwaqt in Mastuj Fort which was besieged by Shah Mahmud’s forces. Later on  Sangin Ali from there managed his safe passage to meet his father Muhtaram Shah 1  who was some where in Dir on exile.

10.  Later developments in the politics of the State/Country show yet many other dominating role of the central government of ‘Chetrar’ under Katurs. When, for example, Sangin Ali 2 son of Muhtaram Shah regains rein of power of the whole country defeating Shah Mahmud Raisa after a fierce battle, which was temporarily lost to him. Shah Alam, Faramurd and Asmatullah sons of late Khoshwaqt were residing then in Darel on exile. There was no role of these Khoshwaqt princess at all in the said struggle of Sangin Ali in regaining power but Sangin Ali installed them again in Yasin subdivision when they came back from Darel (ibid:79;52-53).

11.  Khairullah, a Khoshwaqt-descent local ruler of Yasin, becoming strong, had deported other local rulers (his own scions) of Yasin area to Darel and Tangir. Later on he was able to usurp the central government of Katur ruler of Chitral also. Katur princess Shah Nawaz and Muhtaram Shah after a great struggle regained not only power of ‘Chetrar’ in the centre but whole the State/Country upto Yasin as usual came under them. They killed Khairullah the usurper ruler and called back the ex-local rulers from exile and installed them on different principalities of Yasin subdivision once again unsolicitedly whereas they had no role again in the long and tiresome struggle and fight of the Katur princess with Khairullah.

12.  Khan Bahadur and Khan Dawran sons of late ruler Muhammad Shafi (Sangale group) were also installed in Lotkuh (Khuzar) and Ovir/Drasan by Katur rulers but were later on sacked by Muhtaram Shah-2.

13.  Perusal of records show that almost 99% of local rulers of Yasin subdivision, it is to says, had been enjoying rulerships only with pleasure, approval and interferences of the Katur rulers of ‘Chetrar’ such as Shah Muhammad Shafi, Shah Afzal 1, Shah  Nawaz, Muhtaram Shah 2 ,Shah Afzal 2 and Aman-ul-Mulk (Faiz Bukhsh 1870/1883:21-22; Ghufran 1921:85,113-14,131-47,160-197,208-9 ; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:52-53,74,85,110,115 and 126).

14.  Mention of Chitral Kashmir Treaty of 1876 is of great importance and can be taken as a valid document in support of our topic. Maharaja Ranbir Sing of Kashmir acknowledges the authority of Shah Aman-ul-Mulk as the sovereign ruler of the State of Chitral(‘Chetrar’) up to the boundaries of Gilgit including trans-Shandur tract of land, when he interacts with him (Aman-ul-Mulk) as the authority for the said treaty between Chitral and Kashmir States (Ghufran 1921:200-01;Ghulam Murtarza 1962:128 and Dani 1989:259-60).

15.  Similarly Chitral-English government of India Treaty of 1885 was also signed between Colonel Lockhart and Aman-ul-Mulk Katur ruler of Chitral (Ghufran 1921:219 and Ghulam Murtaza 1962:135-36).

16.  English Resident in Kashmir, Lt:Col. G.D OGILVIE, C.I.E. in his letter no 3355-C/30 dated 18-12-1930 to the address of his Indian government elucidates the dominant position of (Katur rule) of Chitral in these words:

“up till 1895 the tract of country which now includes, Yasen, Koh, Ghizer and Askhkuman formed apart of the State of Chitral and was generally ruled by a separate Mehtar subordinate to the ruler of Chitral itself”.

17.  Regarding the installation of local rulers in trans-Shandur tract of land on “Deputyship” of Katur rulers, there are sufficient evidences based on the writings of Katur’s court writers as well as those of outsiders and native independent writers .But here in this part only those references are being quoted which are based on the independent sources; while those of court writers will be quoted in the ‘CONCLUSION’ of this article.

John Bidulph (1880/2001:158) who was a political administrator in Gilgit, had visited the areas of Yasin and Chitral both, writes:-

“…Khush Wakht was established in Mastooch as a semi-independent ruler and became the founder of the Khosh Wakhte branch”.

 An English government servant Munshi Aziz-ud-Din posted in Chitral during 1893 has shown the whole area from Asmar to Punial as one State/Country with one capital at Chitral (the present Chitral town) throughout the history till 1895 when Khoshwaqt country was severed from Chitral. He has never shown Yasin part of the country as a separate State or its rulers as sovereign rulers (Aziz-ud-Din 1991:3, 8, 9, 12-13, 17, 19 and 35). Yes, he has certainly shown Shah Alam, Fararmurd and Khairullah as independent rulers of whole Chitral State during the period when they usurped central power of ‘Chetrar’ State (ibid 59-60 and 70).

 Another independent local writer in his book “HINDU KUSH SERIES” Volume Two, giving detail of the administrative division of State of ‘Chetrar’ by Katur ruler Muhtaram Shah-1, writes:-

“ He (Muhtaram Shah 1) apportioned different parts of the State to his brothers and sent them to the territories as his lieutenants. Khoshwaqt was given Vershigum (present Yasin) adjoining areas (Beg 1997:7).

B- Yasin Versus ‘Chetrar’.

We know that some of our readers may make us recall the events when some rulers of Khoshwaqt line of trans-Shandur part of the State had succeeded in usurping the Katur rule in the centre for some time in different occasions. We will, therefore, try here as promised in part-1 of the article to recall some such events when during Katur rule, some of the rulers of Yasin subdivision (Khoshwaqt line), either by intrigues or by dint of power, brought revolt against their central Katur rulers in the past which can be called ‘upsets’. These upsets only happened when any state of chaos ever prevailed in the ‘headquarters’ of ‘Chetrar’ itself or any Khoshwaqt-descent ruler happened to become so powerful as to capture all three/four principalities of Yasin subdivision such as Mastuj, Yasin, Ghizer and Punial simultaneously. Circumstances of this nature could be enough in those days to make some local rulers/deputies ‘headstrong’. The vacuumes in either case used to be filled in shape of such usurpation/upsets.

 The Katur rulers, it is to be mentioned, never acknowledged or tolerated such acts however. They rather reacted violently. Here are examples of such upsets/usurpations which are now part of history with severe consequences.

1.      Shah Alam son of Khoshwaqt, when he seized powers here in ‘Chetrar’ after assassinating sitting Katur ruler Muhammad Ghulam son Muhtaram Shah 1, was within a very short period of time killed on the orders of Shah Afzal and Shah Fazil, brothers of Muhammad Ghulam (Ghufran 1921:81; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:54).

2.      Faramurd son of Khoshwaqt ruler of Yasin (3/4 principalities), had come to ‘Chetrar’ for condolence on the death of Katur ruler  Muhammad Shafi. He, immediately seized power seeing the occasion in his favour. But after few years Faramurd was killed on the orders of his brothers-in-law-Shah Afzal and Shah Fazil, and the rein of power was thus back in the Katur line i.e. Shah Afzal-1 son of Muhraram Shah 1 (ibid:84; 57).

3.      Khairullah ruler of Yasin had also become strong seizing powers of all principalities of Yasin subdivision and sending his relatives on exile to Darel/Tangir. So he started intrigues to usurp power of Katur rulers of Chetrer as well, to become an independent sovereign ruler of the whole State. He accordingly succeeded to capture the power however and started to rule the country by installing his deputies in ‘Chetrar’. The Katur rulers/princes i.e. Shah Nawaz Khan and Muhtaram Shah-2 had to go on exile to Dir for a considerable period of time.

In Short Shah Nawaz Khan and Muhtaram Shah-2 with the help of rulers/ Khan of Dir and Bajour at last succeeded to take revenge from Khairullah by killing him and recapturing the power of whole the country after a great struggle (ibid :111; 66-72).

4.      Suliman Shah of Khoshwaqt line who himself was installed as local ruler in Ghizer by Muhtaram Shah 2 some years ago (Ghulam Murtarza 1962:85), later gained power by capturing all principalities of Yasin subdivision, attacked Mulikoh and Torikoh areas. It is also said that this attack was made by Suliman Shah on the instigation of the people of those areas. Muhtaram Shah-2 lost his son in the fight and for the time being, therefore, managed to patch up the matter detaching himself from the district of Torikoh (Ghufran 1921:134; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:86). He but never forgave Suliman Shah for the act he had committed and later on not only regained Torikoh area but also put Suliman Shah to brutal death through Azad Khan Burusha of Punial (Faiz Bukhsh 1870/1883:18-19-21).


It was the first ruler of Yasin, Suliman Shah of the Khoshwaqt line who in 1800 A.D becoming stronger started meddling in the affairs of Gilgit-a separate State since long. He killed its ruler Gorithum. Later on Gorithum’s two sons Muhammad Khan and Abbas Khan were also assassinated by Suliman Shah and the power of Gilgit seized by him, but he himself was killed in 1829 by Azad Khan Burusha (Leitner 1889:70; Khan 1939:687-89).

The state of affairs moved towards further deterioration when Gohar Aman another strong ruler of Yasin attacked and seized power of Gilgit in 1841. This was turning point in the history of ‘Chetrar’ and Gilgit itself when Sikandar Khan the deposed ruler of Gilgit had had to go to Kashmir and seek help from the Sikhs rulers against Yasin authorities-Gohar Aman (Leitner 1889:71). Such rulers though gained personal fame for the time being expanding the size of their rulership but it was the result, it is to say, of these Yasini attacks/inroads on Gilgit which provided chance to Sikh administration of Kashmir for the first time to enter and play role in the affairs of the State of Gilgit; which they did with one thousand Kashmiri troops under Nathe Shah by entering Gilgit and releasing it from the hold of Gohar Aman (Gorman) in 1842.

Advances and retreats continued between Gohar Aman and Gilgit/Sikh forces till 1846 when Dogra (Hindu) rule under Gulab Singh started in Kashmir. Kashmiri Dogra forces subsequently also became part of the Yasin/Gilgit issue till 1860, the death of Gohar Aman. After his death Kashmiri forces released Gilgit again from Yasin hold helping sons of Raja Karim Khan ex-ruler of Gilgit (ibid: 73). They not only released Gigit from Yasinese but series of an incessant attacks till deep into Yasin part of Chitral’s territory by Kashmir forces began which ended, in short, in massacre on large scale in Madori Fort of Yasin (Ghufran 1921:179-80; Khan 1939:703-4). Aman-ul-Mulk of Chitral, therefore sacked the Khoshwaqt rulers and brought the area under direct Katur rule in about 1878 (Ghulam Murtaza 1962: 147). Political and geographical impacts of these developments were later in shape of severance of trans-Shandur part of land from Chitral in 1895 by English authorities; also with a shadow of claim by Maharaj Kashmir on these territories. Western part of Yasin subdivision (from Boroghul to Reshun) was, however, restored to Chitral by English authorities in 1914.


The story regarding emergence of the Sate/Country of ‘Chetrar’ (Chitral), its political and administrative structure during the period of all historical dynasties as well as of last Katur dynasty in some detail, all have been elucidated in foregoing parts of this article. Most part of the account has been substantiated by historical references/events which, it is hoped, are enough to prove the points put to debate on in early part of the article.

            We should in fact be honest in acknowledging the concept and principle of one State, one dynasty and one sovereign ruler at one time; especially in the contexts of old dynastical practices everywhere in the world. ‘Chetrar’ was ruled also by dynasties one after the other.

             ‘Chetrar’ as told earlier was never partitioned. There were of course two big administrative units of ‘Chetrar’ and Yasin within ‘Chetrar’ State not only during Katur period but the system was existing since very long during pre-Katur dynasties as an administrative division and not as political division. One will not find any where in the past history that Yasin was ever called, written or acknowledged as a separate State. It has constantly been written as ‘Yasin tract of land’ (of the State of ‘Chetrar’). It has been dealt with as part of ‘Chetrar’ State being named as Kashqar-i-Bala and Payen or Chitral-i-Bala and Payen thorough out known history. Mentioning of the words of ‘Katur Country’ and ‘Khoshwaqt Country’ was an invention of English officers of the later period of 19th  century for their convenience in giving references to the region and is thus not on historical and legal footings.

             It becomes a matter of serious consideration, therefore, that whenever there is no State there will be no Central government and likewise no Central Sovereign Ruler/Dynast. Similarly there can’t be expected two rulers/dynasts both sovereign in the single State at a time.

             The respectable writers (mentioned in the beginning), it seems, have not been careful in choosing proper words suited technically to, while narrating the process of filling up the administrative units by the first Katur ruler, which were left vacant by outgoing Raisa rulers. Where readers find a slight indication of ‘partition’ of State in such writings on one page of their books, there in the subsequent pages such writers have themselves clearly shown the local rulers of Yasin as deputies/lieutenants of central government of ‘Chetrar’ (Ghulam Murtaza 1962:147 ; Beg 1997:7), which itself negates the act of ‘partition’ of State altogether. Whenever such local rulers brought revolt or usurped the central government of ‘Chetrar’, they did it at the cost of their lives.

             With profound regards and respect for all members of that great family-the Khoshwaqtia-, the history but can’t be denied. Some of its local rulers such as Shah Alam, Fararmurt and Khairullah, though killed by Katur rulers no doubt held the honour of being sovereign rulers, of whole the State of ‘Chetrar’ and stand included in the list of Shahan-i-Chetrar.(Sovereign rulers of ‘Chetrar’ State used to hold the designation as “Shah” but it fell into disuse in later days. This is a separate subject to be dealt with anytime later).Yet others such as Suliman Shah, Gohar Aman and Azad Khan (Burusha) gained fame to be called ‘Raja’ by capturing power in Gilgit State from time to time. It is likewise also part of the history that whole State of ‘Chetrar’ was captured by Katur dynasty from Raisa rulers and Muhtaram Shah-1 was it’s first Sovereign Central Ruler with the title of Shah-i Katur. He seems to be the planner, the usurper and the giver and taker as regard the political affairs and dominative roles played by him are concerned. All subsequent Katur rulers- good or bad- also enjoyed the same status of rulership maintaining therewith the dominative role of ‘Chetrar’ as a State, through out the history. The local rulers of Yasin subdivision with all their capabilities and personal qualities were, however, dependent on the Central Government of ‘Chetrar’ as deputies as a rule, as this part of the land has remained an integral part of the State of ‘Chetrar’ thorough out the history till 1895 when it was severed from ‘Chetrar’ (Chitral) by English authorities of Indian Government; breaking all the promise made with Aman-ul-Mulk the ruler of ‘Chetrar’ in the Treaty of 1885, under which the English had guaranteed the whole country then held, to remain in the custody of Aman-ul-Mulk and after him his descendants in the years to come.

             The above conclusion is the result of a personal study of the writer based on the political and administrative history of old dynasties of ‘Chetrar’ as well as that of Katur period. There is yet another stance of similar nature. This comes of historiographers of the Katur Court and can, therefore, also be taken as an official stance/claim of Katur regime itself. The stance/claim is incorporated here (in the end) for the readers and also to exploit it in further substantiating the major points of view of the article.

             Mirza Muhammad Ghufran the first historiographer of the Katur Court in his Persian Tarikh-i Chetrar (1921:71) giving detail of internal distribution of the State functionaries, especially that of Khoshwaqt writes :-

Translation:- “Khoshwaqt in fact was there (in Yasin/Mastuj) as deputy of his elder brother (Muhtaram Shah-1)”.

            We find yet another quotation in stronger words :-

Translation: - “ The honourable king (Aman-ul-Mulk 1856-1892), used to say that after the event of regaining the power by my grandfather Shah Katur-2 when he killed Khairullah (the usurper of Khoshwaqt line), the affairs of Khoshwaqt country had come under the direct control of my family. Those from the Khoshwaqt line after then maintained the respect/obedience for my family, (Katur) have found rulerships while those who did not, were never successful”. (ibid: 72).

            About the political status of Khoshwaqt’s sons at the time when Sangin Ali-2 regained rein of power from Shah Mahmud Raisa, Mirza Muhammad Ghufran writes:-

Translation :- “ …and Khoshwaqt’s sons were ruling in Khoshwaqt country in the capacity of ‘deputies’”.(ibid :79).

             Complaining about the behavior of English government in going against 1885 treaty separating trans-Shandur territories from Chitral in 1895, Mirza Muhammad Ghufran argues:

 Translation “The sole master of the country from Chaghan Sarai to the frontiers of Gilgit was Shah Kaur-1 and from him his younger brother Khoshwaqt has got deputyship of north-west part of the country”(ibid:221).

                  Likewise he is not going to accept the word of ‘Katur country’ and ‘Khoshwaqt country’ and says:

 Translation:- “ …and when the word ‘Katur land’ and ‘Khoshwaqt land’ is used it has no ground ; whole the county is Katur country”.(ibid).

             The principle of deputyship of rulers of Khoshwaqt line is confirmed also by ‘Ghulam Murtaza’ another court writer, when he writes;-

 Translation:- “ The sub administrative unit of Mastuj which was lying scattered from Barenis to Shandur and Boroghul passes was previously under the Khoshwaqtia rulers of Vershigum (Yasin) who were ruling there as ‘deputies’ of Katuria kings (of Chitral)”(1962:147).


This is the 4th article being written and published by this humble writer. His book based on his 14 years of research/study, likely to be somewhat very different in its many parts from what so far been published on the history of Chitral, is under edit and composition process.

 -No part of this article is allowed to be used by anyone without giving proper reference.


Afridi, Banat Gul. (1998) Baltistan into History. Peshawar.

Askara, Faramurz Khan (1992) Chinee Nazhad. Peshawar.

Allama, Fahhama. Shiekh. Abul Fazil (1886) Akbarnameh Vol,3. India.

Aziz-ud-Din, Munshi (1897) Tarikh-i-Chitral, Sang-e-Meel, publication Lahore.(1991)

Biddulph, John (1880) Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. Sang-e-Meel, publication Lahore.(2001)

Beg, Rehmat Karim. (1997) Hindu Kush Study Series, Vol. 2. Peshwar.

Doughlat, Mirza Muhammad Haider (1546) Tarikh-i-Rashidi. Eias & Ross translated in 1898. London.

Eleena Bashir & Israr-ud-Din (1996) Proceedings of Hindu Kush Cultural conference. Oxford, Karachi.

Faiz Bukhsh (1883) Reports on Chatral. India.

Ghufran, Mirza Muhammad. (1921) Tarikh-i Chetrar.

Ghulam Muhammad (1905) Festivals and Folklore in Gilgit. India.

Ghulam Murtarza (1962) Nai Tarikh-i Chitral. Peshwar.

Holzwarth, W. (1996). In proceeding of Proceedings of Hindu Kush Cultural conference. Oxford, Karachi.

______________(1998). In Karakurum, Hindu Kush and Haimaliyas (CAK).

Israr-ud-Din, Inayatullah Faizi & Wazir Ali Shah (1986) Chitral eik tarof.

Khan, Hashmatullah.(1939) Tarikh-i Jammu, India.

Leitner, G.W. (1889) Dardistan. Indus Publication Karachi.( Reprinted 1985).



mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

| Front Page | Chitral | Advertisement | Weather | About Us | Bookmark Us |