Located in the northern most corner of the province, Attock is distinct from other districts of Punjab in quite a few ways. Firstly, its strategic location on the River Indus along the N.W.F.P. secondly, one-third of the National Production of oil in the country is produced here. Another feature is the beauty of fascinating variety of its landscape, comprising rugged ranges, stony plateau, rolling plains and dissected uplands.
GENERAL DESCRIPITON OF THE DISTRICT
Attock district owes its name from famous Attock Fort situated on the left bank of the Indus River. The Emperor Akbar accorded the name to fort. The Attock district was constituted on 1904 by taking Talagang Tehsil from Jhelum district and Pindigheb, Fatehjang and Attock tehsils from Rawalpindi District. The district was named as Campbellpur city in 1908 a few kilometres away on southeast of Attock Khurd Town. The name Attock was again given to it in 1978.
It is perhaps the most picturesque of all the plain districts, presenting every variety of scenery. Travel by boat from Attock to Makhad, and as you pass through the gorges, you might be on the Rhine. At Bagh Nilab, looking across the expanse of waters, where Haro meets the Indus, to the green clad slopes of the Kala Chitta rising rapidly to its full above 1000 meters you might be in Scotland. The Chhachh particularly when all is fresh and green and scudding clouds
deepen patches across its face has a beauty of its own. The road from Basal to the Kala Chitta running through the preserved forest, passing though winding valleys and hills, is a fascinating medley of jungles, dales and mountains views. On the southern half, and in the centre of Fatehjang and Pindigheb, you have a bleak ravine scattered terrain, fierce and forbidding. The range of the Kala Chitta offers as delightful a camping ground as the heart could wish.
But perhaps what holds the memory longest is the ruined village of Attock, the dominating fort, the old serai, the place where hill and river meet, and the Indus roars as the des, and the sunrises and sunsets are ever changing and ever beautiful.
The district lies from 33-00’ to north latitudes and 71-43’ to 72-56’ east longitudes. It is bounded on the north by Swabi and Haripur district of N.W.F.P., on the east by Rawalpindi, on the south by Chakwal district, on the southwest by Mianwali district, in the west by Kohat district and on the northwest by Nowshera district of N.W.F.P. The Indus River flows along the western boundary of the district for about 130 Kilometres. It divides Attock district from the
three bordering districts of N.W.F.P.
Tehsil Attock is divided of from the rest of the district by Kala Chitta hills, at the northern foot of which Haro river runs till it falls into the Indus. It includes all the country between that that range and the hills of Haripur with the exception of a few villages to east included in Tehsil Fatehjang. In character it differs from all other portion of the district and is not itself
homogeneous in nature. Three well-defined and quite distinct tracts are included in it known as Chhachh, Sarwala, and Nala. Northern part of tehsil Attock comprising area of Hasanabdalhas recently been made as independent tehsil. Tehsils Pindigheb, Jand Fatehjang lie between Kala Chitta range on the north and the Soan River on the south, and it general character is high upland plateau, bounded on the west by the Indus. Tehsils Attock and Hasanabdal are located on the north of Kala Chitta. Range.
The topography of the district is a combination of hills and plains. The area in the north-west and south is hilly. On the north, the hills are southern extension of the hills of Abbottabad district i.e., the southern hills of the Gandgar range of Haripur district form a projection in the north of Attock thesil. In the middle of the district, along its western boundary in Jand and Attock Sub-Divisions are the famous Kala Chitta hills. This range is almost 56 kilometres and attains its
greatest height in the west near the Indus river where it rises to more than 1,000 meters. The range is rugged and is covered with brush forest. There are several isolated ridges. The eastern boundary of the district is the Soan river. The Khari Moorat ranges cuts near the bounbdary in Fatehjang Thesil. This ridge rises to a height of about 950meters. On southern boundary of the district is the Soan river which meets the Indus. An important feature of the topology of Attock district is the general slope, which is from north-east to south-west. Fatehjang and Pindigheb tehsils are upland plains, which are dissected by numerous streams
The district is divided into two portions i.e., one to the north and north-west of the Kala Chitta range and the other to the south and east of it. The former includes Attockand Hasanabdal tehsils and the latter Fatehjang, Pindigheb and part of Jand tehsil.
The district for the most part is in the ‘Pothwar’. The rocks that underlie the ‘Pothwar’ are the soft grey sand-stones and orange to bright red shales of the Siwalik system. The district is a renowned collecting ground for the animal fossils so characteristics of this rock group.
The Strata dip northwards at low and variable angles from the Salt range to the Soan river which occupy a structural trough. To the north of the Soan river influence of the mountain building movements, connected with up-throw of the Himalayas becomes increasingly evident in greater complexity of the rock structure, until at about fifteen to twenty miles north of the Soan, the strata every-where dip steeply and are frequently vertical or overturned.
This change in underground structure is not reflected in the topography except where the hard nummulitic lime stone rock emerges beneath the softer sandstone and shales. The more southern of these limestone ranges is the Khari Moorat hill, and abrupt narrow ridge raising to over 945 metres (3100 feet) some 427 metres (1400 feet) above plateau level. This ridge forms a conspicuous feature in the landscape for several kilometres in every direction.
Further north, between Fatehjang and Attock cities there are several similar limes-tone ridges which together form the Kala Chitta hills, a favourite hunting ground for urials.
The high ground in the extreme north of the district, near Attock and north of Lawrencepur is formed buy a much older rock series-known as the Attock slates. In the absence of fossils these rocks are believed to be a great geological antiquity and may belong to the Procambrian system.
The general trend of these hill ranges is from east to west, parallel with the general trend of the Himalayan ranges further north of which they form the foothills and outer ramparts.
The flora of the district is not much significant. The only forest at all worth to name in the district id that on the Kala Chitta range. There are various preserved areas, however elsewhere in the district as on the Kherimar, Kawagar, Khari moorat hills and in the Nara tract. The entire large landowners make their own “rakhs”, in which they carefully preserved the grass and wood, and allow no one to trespass. But in
general the district is bare. The vegetation is poor and sparse and the country is thinly wooded. The most common tree is “phulahi”.
“Kikar” and “Shisham” are found along the roads and in the cultivated fields. In Soan valley there are some fine groves of “Kikar” planted and carefully preserved. Its timber is hard and durable and good for ploughs and well wheels, for cart making and a variety of other purposes, while it is also useful for burning. The bark and pods are valuable tanning agents. Wild olive and fig shrubs are found in some
parts of the district.
“Shisham” is fairly common in the richer parts of Attock and Hasanabdal tehsils. The grasses of the district are of importance as in many places ther is very little fodder to be had for the cattle. Hill grasses, “Chitta” and “Phalwar” are the most valuable grasses. Of all is perhaps the “Sarut” which occurs chiefly near the beds of torrents, and is generally self-sown.
The largest wild animal found in the district is the leopard, which is sometimes, but rarely, met with in the Kala Chitta. The jackal also occurs in the hills. The urial affords the best large game in the Kala Chitta range and outlying spurs, in the Narrara hills, in a good deal of the ravine country at its base. The Chinkara or ravine deer generally called hiran, occurs in the maira of tehsil Attock and the ravines in some parts of the Pindigeb plateau, but is not common. Partidges,
Sisi and Chikor are frequent in the hills.
The climate of the district is extreme. The area South of the Kala Chitta is a upland plateau. It is intensely hot in summer while in winter a chilly north wind prevails.
The extreme of hot and cold weathers are very severe. The high upland plateau which forms the whole of the district south of the Kala Chitta range is baked under a hot sun in the summer, and in winter and iced wind prevails, the cold being often intense. In Attock tehsil the summer is short and cold weather long and severe. The climate is more variable than that of the ordinary western Punjab districts; being affected by
Storms which in spring are apt to pass from Iran into Balochistan. Thus though one anticipates the end of the cold weather to come in April and the thermometer to rise thenceforward till the monsoons breaks in July storms, or their aftermath, nor infrequent keep the district cooler through the end of April and the beginning of May then it was during the preceding month. In the second half of May it begins to strike up again. It is optimistic to expect the monsoons before the third week in July. Even in the worst months it is unusual to have succession of really bad nights.
With the coming of rains the temperature falls considerably through the damp heat, which follows any cessation of the monsoon for more than a week ore ten days is often severe. In the western portion of the district, among the rocks of Attock, the sandy slopes of Jandal, and the low hills of Nara and Makhad, summer heat is of the most intense description, and is found almost unbearable even by the native of the tract.
The wells and tanks dry up, hot winds blow, and glare of the sun is intense reflected as it is by white sand and almost red-hot rocks.
The breaks in the rains are much longer, and even in August sometimes the country appears quite dry and resemble a furnace. The inhabitants are nevertheless a fine robust race. The rains generally come to an end about the beginning of September. Towards the end of that month the nights begin to be cooler and the beginning of the cold weather soon follows about the middle October, though the heat in the sun remains considerable for some weeks longer. The end of September and the
beginning of October after the cessation of the rains and sometimes feverish. The latter half of October and November are generally the delightful part of the year. There is little rain, and the air is cool with bright sunshine.
Through the winter months the district enjoys almost perfect weather with bright days cold clear nights with generally some frost in the two coldest months interrupted at more of March the sun again becomes powerful. East winds, which are very tire, are often prevalent in the cold weather. The month’s form April to August is notably best for health. Pneumonia and bronchitis at other seasons prevail but are less rife and fever is less severe, too. Climate of the district on the whole
is good for health.
Probably in Attock there is more rain in the out-spurts than in Attock itself, but appearances are deceitful, and Attock, in the hot weather, even after a thorough soaking, never obstruct this fact. Contrary to it, of Pindigheb, it may be said that nowhere in the tehsil is the rainfall greater than at Pindigheb itself. General rain over the whole tehsil is uncommon, one village or one tract getting a soaking while the adjoining country gets little or nothing. The Makhad hills are often
left without any rain at all when the rest of the tehsil is doing well. The further tracts lie westward from the Himalayas the less rain, as a rule it gets. The rainfall of the whole districts is much less than in the adjoining thesils Rawalpindi and Gujar Khan of Rawalpindi District. But broken nature of the country and many ridges and hills which start up cause local exceptions to this rule. Overshadowing hills seem in some parts to attract rain, in other to repel it. The rainfall seems also to fallow the river valleys in a curious manner. The valleys on the Soan banks get much more rain than those a few kilometres distant from
OIL AND GAS IN DISTRICT ATTOCK
Sui Gas facilities are available in the town of Pindigheb, Kamra, Sanjwal, Hasanabdal, Attock, Mirza, Fatehjang and Jand.
For the district as a whole rainfall is somewhat scanty and very uncertain, varying greatly from year to year. The rainfall for the last six years in Attock is as under:
Year Rainfall (in m.m.)
Average per year comes to 783.3 m.m.
Population of the district as a whole is thin as compared to other districts of Punjab, but there is a marked difference of its density in the fertile ‘Chhachh’ area and the remaining hilly areas and upland plains of the district. In ‘Chhachh’ area the density is 293 persons per sq. km., as compared to 186 persons per sq. km., of the district as a whole.
The details are as under:
Total Population 1,274,935 % of District
Male 636,336 49.9
Female 638,599 50.1
Rural 1,003,843 78.7
Male 492,832 38.6
Female 511,011 40.1
Urban 271,092 21.3
Male 143,504 11.3
Female 127,588 10.0
ETHNIC STRUCTURE AND HISTORY
The district is inhabited by different tribes and race, namely Awan, Pathan, Khattar, Gheba, Jodhra, Gujar, Maliar, Rajput, Mughal, Syed, Sheikh, etc. Most of these tribes claim to be decedents of the invaders who came from Central Asia and Afghanistan. Tribal and ethnic affiliations are still very strong. However, this trend is showing sighns of weakening with the spread of modern education, social awareness besides the emergence of a new class of people working abroad in the Middle
East and other places.
Supposedly Buddhism had taken root in northern Punjab, from the regime of Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of Upper India. After Asoka there is no direct mention of the district, and the period is one of great darkness. Doubtless the whole tract formed part of the Kingdom of Ederatides the Greek, who about 170 B. C., extended his power over western Punjab. The Indo-Greek kings held the country after him, being at last ousted (about 80 B.C.) by the Indo-Seythians. At any rate, when Hiuen
Tsang, the most famous Chinese pilgrims, visited the district in A.D., 630 and again in A.D., 643, Buddhism was rapidly declining. The Brahman revival, to which, India owes its present form of Hinduism, had already set, in the early years of the fifth century, and must have been at its height in the days of Hiuen Tsang. From the time the light afforded by the records of the Chinese pilgrims faded and al ong period of darkness swallowed up the years that intervened before the Muslim invasions and the beginning of continuous history. The country was under the dominion of the Hindu kings of Kashmir, and probably so remained till end of
the 9th century. After that, the district formed part of the Kingdom of the rulers of Kabul, Samanta Deva and his successors (more accurately designated as the “Hindu Shahis of Kabul”) who remained in possession till the times of Mahmud Ghaznavi. Anand Pal and Jai Pal of whom the histories of Mahmud’s invasions made mention as kings of Lahore, were Shahi kings. In the meantime the Gakkhars grown strong in the hill to the east, but their dominion never extended beyong the Margalla pass and the Khari Moorat.
The first authentic event of modern history peculiarly connected with this district is the battle between Mahmud Ghaznavi and the Hindu army under Anand Pal in A.D., 1008. This battle, which decided the fate of India, is saidnto thave been fought on the plain of ‘Chhachh’, between Hazro and Attock on the Indus. It ended in the total defeat of the Rajput confederacy, and India lay at the mercy of the Muslim invaders. It is probably that Islam in the district dates from this time.
There are indications that the general conversion of the people took place some centuries later. During the reigns of the succeeding Sultans of Ghazni there were many invasions of India. Though the district laid in the path of the invading armies there was no special event on record connecting them with that.the northern portion of the tract was in 1205 the scene of the quarrel between Gakkhars and Shahab-ud-Din, returning westward was camped on the banks of the Indus. His tent being left open towards the river for the skae of coolness, a band of Gakkhars swam across midnight to the spot where the King’s tent was pitched, and
entering unopposed, despatched him with numerous wounds.
Through the 13th century Ghaznavi and Afghan incursion continued. In the 14th century the Mughals came, and to that day there survive the remnants of Mughal settlements in the Attock and Fatehjang. Tehsils. It was across the Attock tehsil that Timur marched to throw all India into confusion.
In 1519 A.D., Babar marched through the district and crossed the Soan on his way to Khushab, Bhera and Chiniot. On his 5th invasion, in 1525, he marched along the foot of the hills from the Haro to Sialkot, and noticed the scarcity of grains due to drought, and the coldness of the climate, pools being frozen over.
But all these heroics have little internal connection with the history of the tract. The great portion of the district lying south of the Kala Chitta was out of the track of the invading armies, and the various tribes rather propitiated the foreign conquerors by the gifts of horses and hawks that invited Attock. The ‘Chhachh’ was a desolate marsh, and no part of the district was rich enough to excite the capcity of Afghans and Mughals. The real history of the district is tribal.
The Janjuas are the first who appear to have been in dominant possession of the country. Nothing is known of the history of their kingdom, but their present distribution and tradition encourage the belief that they held the whole country north of the Salt range between the Indus and the Jhelum. Babar in his memories says that the Janjuas had from old times been the rulers and inhabitants of the Salt range. Their power was exerted in a friendly and brotherly way over Jats and Gujars, and
many other men of similar trives who built villagesm and settled on every hhillock and in every valley. They took a share of the produce fixed from very remote times, never varying their demand. The first successful attack on them was probably made by the Khattars. At the same time bands of Afghan invaders came from across the Indus and settled on the river bank.
The Khattars claim to have come to the district with the earliest Muslim invaders, and were probably originally native of Khorasan. Whatever their origin and whatever their connection with the Awans and the Gakkhars, they were probably established in the district before the advent of the former tribe. The Awans are said to have entered the district from the south by the way of the Salt range and to have spread to its northern limits. While they were settling down in this tract and
confining the Khattars to the country they now possess, the Alpials seem to have been wandering about in the Khushab and Talagang tehsils before finally settling down in their present home on the upper Soan.
The Ghebas, too, were migrating from the south, and about the beginnig of the 16th century took possession of the present Gheb ilaqa. The Jodhras also may have come about the same time. The probability is that the Khattars dispossessed the Janjuas of an outlying portion of their dominions. The Awan invasion was the first really vital blow to Janjua power in the district and that their immigration continued for may years. With them come other wandering tribes, Alpials, Chebs
and Jodhras, who held their own with the more numerous Awan, or aided by later reinforcements wrested from them portions of the country they had seized. The fortunes of each tribe must have fluctuated greatly and each must have gained, held and lost many different blocks of country before they finally settled down.
AGRICULTURE AND RELATED SECTORS
Fifty per cent of the total labour force in the district engaged in agriculture. The average produce is however very low and rural incomes are nearly stagnant. Inadequate water for agriculture purpose and chronic land erosion in the district are the major obstacles in way of agricultural development. In order to boost agricultural production, the Government has initiated scheme of mini dams and small dams in the district. So far 26 mini dams with the irrigation capacity of 1675 acres
and 10 small dams with irrigation capacity of 16,268 acres have been completed at a cost of four and half crore rupees. Shah pur Dam has recently been completed at cost of Rs. 2.93 crores but has not been commissioned.
DATA ON AGRICULTURE
Nature of Area Area in Percentage
Total Area 1,733,911 701,692 100
Cultivated Area 778,431 315,021 44.90
Area 43,818 17,733 2.53
Area 734,613 288,826 42.37
Land 199,048 80,552 11.48
Forest 148,279 60,007 8.55
Area 608,153 246,233 35.07
MAIN CROPS AND AVERAGE YIELD, 1997-98
Name of Crop Area under cultivation Average yields
(In Acres) per acre (in KG)
Jowar 52,825 120
Bajra 12,475 95
Groundnut 56,971 240
Maize 40,625 480
Others 18,250 -
Barely 11,250 180
Gram 9,315 205
Oilseed 20,513 155
Vegetable 680 -
Others 18,175 -
NUMBER OF WELLS/TUBE WELLS
Name of Tehsil Wells/Lift Pumps Tube-Wells
Attock + Hasanabdal 3,488 47
Fatehjang 357 12
Pindigheb 432 45
Jand 645 2
PLACES OF INTEREST
There are a number of historical monuments in the district, which are famous throughout the country. Some of the major ones are;
1) Attock Fort;
2) Begum Sarai;
3) Shrine of Baba Wali Qandhari;
4) Gurdwara Panja Sahib;
5) Attock Bridge;
6) Parks in the Kala Chitta Range;
7) Artillery Centre;
8) Cadet Collage, Hasanabdal;
9) Shahpur Mini Dam, Fatehjang;
10) Tanaza Dam;
11) Hydro Power Station of Ghazi-Brotha Project.