NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 9

by Sultan-i-Rome
Bern, NCCR North-South 2007

The historic Swat Valley in North-West Pakistan and the adjoining areas which were later incorporated into Swat State, have been rich in forests since early times. These forests remained intact for centuries if not millennia. The 19th century proved to be a turning point: outsiders, most-ly the Kaka Khel Mians, began to exploit the forests through forest operations and export the timber. By the beginning of the 20th century, the frontier colonial authorities became alarmed at the negative impacts of the ruthless cutting of trees in the forests of Swat and adjoining areas and their export to the lowland plains. They tried to put an end to the practice. In the meantime Swat State came into being in 1915, and Miangul Abdul Wadud became its ruler in 1917. Although Miangul Abdul Wadud endeavoured to exploit forests, he also agreed and collaborated with the colonial authorities to conserve them. Miangul Jahanzeb succeeded Abdul Wadud in 1949 and ruled until the merging of the State in 1969. In the meantime colonial rule came to an end in India and the two Dominions of India and Pakistan came into being. The Ruler of Swat State acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan and achieved new legal status for forests. The Walis of Swat State managed the forests in collaboration first with the colonial Government and later Pakistan, and also made their own orders and rules. 
The present study is the result of extensive archival and traditional historical research; it should provide much needed information to those trying to understand the complexities of forestry in Swat today.

Sultan-i-Rome 2007. Forestry in the Princely State of Swat and Kalam (North-West Pakistan). A Historical Perspective on Norms and Practices. NCCR North-South Dialogue No 9. Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


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