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Bannu District

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Title: Bannu District  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Baitullah Mehsud, Frontier Region Bannu, Lakki Marwat District, Pashto dialects, Mianwali District
Collection: 1861 Establishments in India, Bannu District, Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
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Bannu District

District Bannu
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's location in the Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's location in the Pakistan
Country Pakistan
Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Headquarters Bannu
 • Total 1,227 km2 (474 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 1,073,000
 • Density 552/km2 (1,430/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)

Bannu District (Pashto: بنو, Urdu: ضلع بنوں‎, Avestan Varəna), as formed by the British in 1861,[1] is one of 26 districts that make up the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It borders North Waziristan to the northwest, Karak to the northeast, Lakki Marwat to the southeast, and South Waziristan to the southwest. It is represented in the provincial assembly by four MPAs.[2] The district's main city is Bannu, [3]

The major industries of Bannu are cloth weaving and the manufacturing of cotton fabrics, machinery, and equipment. It is famous for its weekly Jumma fair. The district forms abasin drained by the Kurram and Gambila (or Tochi) rivers, which originate in the hills of Waziristan. Although Bannu is surrounded by rugged and dry mountains, it is a very fertile place, and early English visitors had been known to refer to it as a "paradise" - see the beautiful description by Edwardes quote by Thornton.[4]


  • Physical features 1
  • History 2
    • British era 2.1
    • After independence 2.2
  • Location 3
  • Administrative subdivisions 4
  • Demographics 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Physical features

The district forms abasin drained by the Kurram and Gambila (or Tochi)[5] rivers, which originate in the hills of Waziristan. The Bannu Valley proper stretches to the foot of the frontier hills, forming an irregular oval, measuring 60 miles (100 km) from north to south and 40 miles (60 km) from east to west.[6]

The Kurram River, the larger of the two rivers, enters the district from the northwest, near the town of Bannu. From there, it runs first south-east, then south into Lakki Marwat. The Gambila River enters the district about 6 miles (9.7 km) south of the Kurram and flows in the same direction into Lakki Marwat, where the rivers eventually merge. Between these rivers and on the left bank of the Kurram in the upper portion of its course, lie the only tracts which are perennially irrigated. For the first 10 miles (16 km) of its passage through the district the Kurram runs between banks of stiff clay which rise abruptly to a height of 10 feet (3.0 m) to 30 feet (9.1 m), and its bed is full of stones and boulders; but downstream it spreads over long stretches of marshland. Its flow is rapid, but it is highly charged with a rich silt, which renders it valuable for irrigation[5] the famous and old village of Bannu is Sokari Karim Khan.


The Zend Avesta and Vendidad, mention Varəna, the old name of Bannu has one of the sixteen most beautiful and perfect lands created by Ahura Mazda.[7]

Bannu is also the homeland of FerΘraētaona/Frēdōn/Afrīḏūn;[8]

Bannu is noted by the Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini as the "historical country of Varnu" mentioned in the Mahāmāyūrī.

Bannu is also mentioned as Aornos in the passages of Alexander the Great.

The Chinese pilgrim, Xuanzang visited Bannu and Jaguda, while crossing the lands of O-po-kien (Afghans i.e. Pashtuns). The history of Bannu goes back many ages, due to its strategic location. Sheri Khan Tarakai is an ancient settlement site located in the Bannu District with ruins of the oldest known village settlement in the Bannu region, which was occupied from the late fifth until the early third millennium BC.[9]

British era

After the annexation of Punjab (then including the NWFP), the valley was administered by Herbert Edwardes.[6] As a result of his administration, the region became a source of strong support during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Although the valley itself was peaceful, it was subject to incursions from the Waziri tribes of the Tochi Valley and the neighbouring hills. The primary export of the region was wheat. Salt and alum were also quarried at Kalabagh.[6]

The modern district of Bannu was originally a tehsil of the old Bannu district of British India, in the Derajat Division of the North-West Frontier Province. The capital Bannu in the north-western corner of the district was the British base for expeditions to the Tochi Valley and the Waziristan frontier. A military road led from Bannu town toward Dera Ismail Khan.

Upon the creation of the North-West Frontier Province in 1901, the district of Bannu (equivalent to the now defunct Bannu Division), contained an area of 1,680 sq mi (4,351 km2) lying north of the Indus; the cis-Indus portions of Bannu were ceded to the Mianwali District of the Punjab.

In 1901 the District's population was 231,485, of whom the majority was Muslim. The principal tribes inhabiting the district are:

  • Banizi, a Pashtun people who have always been very independent and stubbornly resisted the Sikh predecessors of the British.
  • Wazir, comparatively recent immigrants from the hills, who are for the most part peaceable and good cultivators.

In 1947 during the Partition of India majority of the Lehnda speaking urban dwellers of Bannu town and district left for India as they were mostly Hindu and Sikh. The restriction of in migration of the refugees coming form the other side by the NWFP government of the time prompted the hill pushtuns who drove them out, to occupy the evacuated properties. The remaining minority urban seraiki or lehnda speaking Muslim inhabitants remained behind.

The Indus has no bridges within the district, but is navigable for local boats throughout its course of 76 mi (122 km). The main frontier tribes on the border are the Wazir, Bettani and Dawar.[6]

After independence

In 1990 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Bannu becoming a Divisional Headquarters. The Bannu District was divided in two, with the Lakki Marwat separating and becoming its own district.


Map of Bannu district

Bannu District is approximately 192 km (119 mi) south of Peshawar and lies within a sedimentary basin. It is flanked on all sides by the hard and dried mountain ranges of Koh-e-Safed and Koh-e-Suleiman. The Kurram River and its tributaries make it a scenic part of the southern region, with meadows, crops and orchards. Every kind of crop and fruit can be grown here, but its banana, date, fig and rice crops are especially unique in taste, smell and shape.

The Bannu District is located in the heart of the southern region, bordering the districts of Karak in East-North and Lakki Marwat in East-South and the North and South Waziristan agencies.

Administrative subdivisions

Bannu District is divided into thirty-six tehsils and union councils. They include:[10]

  • Amandi Umar Khan
  • Azim Killa
  • Baka Khel
  • Baloch
  • Bharat
  • Chagarmash Kheli Mu
  • Shaamshi Khel
  • Shahbaz Azmat Khel 1
  • Shahbaz Azmat Khel 2


The main tribes are [11] the [11] who speak local Pashto dialect Bannuchi and saraiki dialect of westren punjabi. The district has a population of 677,346 spread over an area of 1,227 square kilometres (474 sq mi).

See also


  1. ^ Bannu; or our Afghan Frontier. S.S. Thorbourne, 1883. Trűbner & Co., London, p. 3.
  2. ^ Constituencies and MPAs - Website of the Provincial Assembly of the NWFP
  3. ^ Bannu; or our Afghan Frontier. S.S. Thorbourne, 1883. Trűbner & Co., London, pp. 3-16.
  4. ^ Bannu; or our Afghan Frontier. S.S. Thorbourne, 1883. Trűbner & Co., London, pp. 6-7.
  5. ^ a b Bannu District - Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 392
  6. ^ a b c d  
  7. ^ Michael Witzel, "The Home of the Aryans"
  8. ^ Gnoli, Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland, pp. 47-50
  9. ^ Petrie, C.A., Thomas, K.D. & Morris, J.C. 2010. Chronology of Sheri Khan Tarakai, in Petrie, C.A. (ed.). Sheri Khan Tarakai and early village life in the borderlands of north-west Pakistan, Bannu Archaeological Project Monographs - Volume 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford: 343-352.
  10. ^ "Pakistan: North West Frontier Province District, Tehsil and Union Code Reference Map" (PDF). Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b

External links

  • "History and Settlement of Bannu, Excerpts from Gazetteer of the Bannu District, 1887",
  • Website about Bannu
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