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Wali of Swat

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Wali of Swat

The Wāli of Swat was the official title of the leader (wāli) of the erstwhile princely state of Swat. The title traces its origins to the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Swat was a province of the Mughal Empire and Sultan Faghal was the first ruler ("Amir-e Shariyat") of Swat. The title "amir-e shariyat" remained in usage until 1918, when the title badshah came into usage for the ruler. This title was officially changed to "wali" in 1926 when Swat became a princely state in the British Raj. Following Pakistan's independence post-1947, Swat remained an autonomous princely state of West Pakistan and the Wali continued to function as a political entity. The post became defunct in 1969, after the princely state of Swat became dissolved and was incorporated into the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The region comprising the former princely state today covers parts of the Swat, Buner and Shangla districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Today, the title is used unofficially and in a ceremonious manner by heirs of the Miangul family of the former Wali of Swat.

Rulers of Swat

Tenure Rulers of Swat Honorary[1]
1802 Sultan Faghal
Sultan Behram Jahangeeri
Sultan Ghiyasuddin Abdullah Khan
Sultan Owais Jahangeeri
1849–1857 Sayyid Akbar Shah
1857–1863 Sayyid Mubarak Shah Sahib
1863–1915 State in abeyance
1915–1917 Sayyid Abdul-Jabbar Khan
1917–1949 Miangul Golshahzada Abdul-Wadud Badshah Sahib
1949–1969 Miangul Jahan Zeb
1969 (civil administration); unofficial title Miangul Jahan Zeb
1987–present (civil administration); unofficial title Miangul Aurangzeb

Miangul Jahanzeb

Main article: Miangul Jahan Zeb
Miangul Jahanzeb
File:Miangul Jahanzeb(Wali ofSwat).png
Born House of Miangul Abdul Wadud
Died 1987
Residence Saidu Sharif, Swat
Alma mater Islamia College, Peshawar
Title Wali of Swat (1949–1969)
Awards 15-gun salute

Miangul Jahanzeb (1908-1987) was the last Wali of Swat who was popular for promoting education in the region. He served as the Wāli of Swat between 1949 and 1969, taking over from his father, Miangul Abdul Wadud. He is remembered for the hard work he put into building schools, hospitals and roads for his people, but also for his absolute rule over the region, which ended when Pakistan took control after local unrest.[2]

Miangul Jahanzeb was born at Saidu-Sharif, on 5 June 1908. He was the eldest son of H.H. Miangul Abdul Wadud, who preceded him as the Wali of Swat. Jahanzeb was educated in Islamia Collegiate school and the Islamia College University of Peshawar, 1923. He has four sons and one daughter. His sons include H.H. Miangul Aurangzeb (a former governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan), Miangul Shahzada Alamzeb (father of Miangul Akbarzeb, Ambassador, Pakistan), Miangul Shahzada Amirzeb (MNA 1977), and Miangul Shahzada Ahmedzeb

H.H Miangul Jahanzeb was appointed as successor (Wali Ahad)" in 1933. His father, Miangul Abdul Wadud (Wali of Swat) abdicated in favour of his eldest son (Miangul Jahanzeb), whom he had carefully educated along modern lines, and gradually trained up to assume the full burdens of government. He was enthroned as Wali of Swat on 12th June, 1949 and granted the title of Ghazi-e-Millat (1951) and a hereditary salute.[3]

The Wali headed each department of his administration.[4] His role was that of king and religious leader, chief minister and commander-in-chief, chief exchequer and head qazi. He ensured that his government provided good administration and productive revenue collection; a judicial system that provided quick and free justice to all. 3) A qala (forts) system that provided security and protection to the people; Grassroots developments, centered on jobs, welfare, education and health services to all; instant communication through roads, bridges, and telegraph and penal codes provided complete rule of law; and telephones and informers that kept the Wali informed of the latest developments.[5] This was a unique system of administration.

He surpassed the other contemporary rulers in the field of education. Before Jahanzeb’s era, Swat did not have a modern education system. Bacha laid the foundations of the modern education system in Swat, which was rapidly developed by his son later on. The Wali founded a girls’ high school in Saidu Sharif which is the first female educational institution in swat. Jahanzeb College for Men has the importance of Alligarh College in the entire Malakand division. He also established a missionary school at Sangota for girls.[6] For his unending love for knowledge he was given the title of Sultanul Uloom (master of knowledge) by the people of Swat.

Jahan Zeb was also a conscienscious protector of the landmarks of previous cultures. In the era of the last Wali of Swat State Miangul Abdul Haq Jahanzeb, the ruins were protected and preserved. The ruler had also signed an agreement with the Italian government for exploring ruins. The Swat Museum was also built under his rule in 1959. The museum contains some of the finest collections of Gandhara art, including magnificent pieces of Buddhist sculpture. The Wali knew the importance of culture and heritage and duringhis time, cultural dance shows and festivals on Eid were conducted under the government’s patronage. The architectural style unique to Swat was maintained and the buildings were provided with all basic facilities.[7]

Foreign Heads of State and VIPs became regular visitors to the valley, and the Wali became a frequent player on the national stage. In 1961 the Queen of England, as a guest of the Wali, had loved Swat and called it “The Switzerland of the East”. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Khan Liaqat Ali Khan also visited Swat to attend the coronation ceremony of the Wali.

Honours and awards:[8]

  • Hon, Maj-Gen. Pakistan Army, 1955
  • Hon. LL.D. (Univ. of Peshawar) 1965
  • Pakistan Independence (1948) medals
  • The Orders of Pakistan 2nd class (Hilal-i-Pakistan) (1961)
  • Great Leader (Hilal-i-Quaid-i-Azam) (1959)
  • Hilal-i -Humayun 1st class of Iran
  • GO of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy
  • Silver Jubilee (1935)
  • 15- Guns solute(1958)

He died on September 14, 1987 at Saidu Sharif. His funeral was attended by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Governor NWFP and other high officials. He was buried in his ancestral graveyard at Saidu Sharif.


  • [6]
  • [7]
  • [8]
  • [9]
  • "
  • Swat Heritage waits to be protected
  • [10]

Further reading

  • Dr. Sultan-I-Rome, Swat State under the Walis (1917–69), Ph.D. Dissertation, P 28-35
  • Miangul Jehanzeb, The Last Wali of Swat, as told to Fredrik Barth. Norwegian University Press/Universitetsforlaget AS, Oslo, 1985
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