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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Malak Ahmad yousafzai

SOASTUS wrote:
how accurate is this article?????

Malik Ahmad Khan
Posted in by melma/melmuna on Mon, 2007-01-22 05:36
In Ala-Dand –Derai, a simple mound of earth gently cared for by the hands of the thousands of women who have come to find a conduit for their prayers is the last resting place of a man who shaped the future of the Yousafzay.

Were it not for the women who come to light candles, it would have been impossible to find the grave at all. The picturesque beauty of this place is befitting for the man who all his life struggled for the safety and unity of his people.

Surrounded by green paddy fields, the gentle gurgling streams of fresh water flow past the tall trees against the perfect backdrop of snow capped mountains is a place that is very peaceful and soothing. Forgotten and ignored sleeps Malik Ahmad the greatest Yusufzai ever.

The Huns invaded Gandhara (present day Peshawar), in the early part of the 5th century, forcing the inhabitants to flee. Among the many displaced were the Yusufzai, Khakhey and Ghoriakhel clans of the Pukhtuns. Ultimately ending up in a place across the mountains, they settled down. This place was first called Gandhar and eventually Qandahar, here the clans prospered and multiplied for nine hundred years.

It was with their support and especially the Yousafzai that a young, inexperienced Ulugh Beg ascended the throne of Kabul in the year 1470 A.D. Instrumental in bringing him to power the Yousafzai enjoyed great power and distinction at court. Sadly this importance and the resulting arrogance earned them many enemies. Ulugh Beg on consolidating his position no longer needing their support and the rising discord among the Yousafzai and their cousin clans proved to be the nail in the coffin for them.
Attacking the Yousafzai, Ulugh Beg initially faced defeat in the fierce battle of “Ghawara Murgha”. The dispersed Yousafzai under their leader Suleiman Shah took cover in the mountains and raiding frequently proved a thorn in the side of Ulugh Beg.

Attempts to subdue the Yousafzai proved futile, forcing a change of strategy, forcing Ulugh Beg to approach them with conciliatory efforts. The policy proved successful, and as soon as trust was established, Ulugh Beg invited seven hundred elders of the Yousafzai to his court. All the attendees were killed and only a few managed to escape.

This sudden loss of their elders and leaders left the Yousafzai weak and unprotected. The dead men had left behind at least 700 widows and orphaned children in the thousands. The surviving men convened a Jirga and unanimously agreed on Ahmad Khan as their leader and gave him the title of Malik.

Malik Ahmad Khan son of Malik Sultan Shah son of Malik Tajudin son of Malik Qasim of the Ranazai branch of Yousafzai was from a long line of leaders of the tribe. Due to the conflicting dates of various records there is a discrepancy between the age of Malik Ahmad at the time, by some accounts he was16 years old and by others he was 20 years old at the time.

Either way it seems that Malik Ahmad must have had leadership qualities to be chosen at such a young age as a leader of the entire tribe. The responsibility and survival of an entire tribe was placed into the hands of a boy.

A decision was made for the whole tribe to migrate back to Peshawar, contacting the other tribes including Mohammadzais, Gaduns, and Utman Khel, a plan was made to search and find suitable settlement for all those who wished to leave. To plan the logistics of a mass exodus a plan of several stages was formulated, according to which Malik Ahmad Khan himself proceeded to Peshawar to meet the elders of the Dalazak tribe.
The Dalazak were a Pukhtun tribe that had settled a vast area that included the Bajaur, Nangrahar, Doaba, Kalpani and most of the Peshawar valley up to the banks of the Indus river.

Malik Ahmad Khan met the Dalazak and asked for an area to settle his clans. The Dalazak generously handed over a fertile tract of land called Doaba. This place was situated at the junction of the Kabul and Swat River, (present day Shabqadar, Michni, Battagram and Adizai) Accepting their offer Malik Ahmad pointed out that he would need more space since the people who wanted to migrate were a considerably large number. Per this request land as far as Bajaur was granted, with hint that should that not suffice then the Dehgans could be driven out of Ashnagar.

The first wave of settlers were established in Doaba, and subsequent arrivees under the command of Mir Jamal Amanzai were ordered further up to the valleys of Danishkol and Ambur. Others moved into Bajaur, acquiring the southern valley up to Lashora, (present day Khar), extending all the way to Jandol.

As the Yousafzai advanced North towards Jandol, they were stopped by the men of Malik Haibu a Dalazak leader of that area. Not being present at the meetingof the Dilazak, he claimed he had no allegiance to the decisions made there and was thus not bound by any promises. The advancing Yousafzai stopped and made camp at Lashora while word was sent to Malik Ahmad in Doaba apprising him of the situation.

Not in favour of a head on confrontation, Malik Ahmad tried a diplomatic approach. He succeeded in getting a pledge of allegiance from the Dalazak of Peshawar in writing, which was promptly rejected by Malik Haibu. This caused a rift between the Dalazak of Peshawar and those of Jandole.
Malik Ahmad started to organize his men and made strategic alliances with the Khalils, Tarklanris and Mohmands. A last minute delegation headed by Malik Surkhab (Tarklanri) and Malik Gukar (Mohmand) approached Haibu. Finding Haibu unreasonable, the Tarklanris of Lughman and the Mohmand of Kabul also joined the alliance.

A battle took place near the stream of Lashora, in which Haibu and his brother Jahan Shah were killed. The Yousafzai then advanced into Bajaur without any hindrance. The Khalils were compensated by getting a generous share in Bajaur. This victory increased the standing of the Yousafzai amongst the other tribes.

Leaving Mir Jamal Amanzai in charge at Jandol, Malik Ahmad went back to Doaba. Sadly the relation between Yousafzai and Khalils got strained and both resorted to plundering each other’s property. Encroachment of each others pastures led to a battle on the border of Lashora and Babqara along the Barikab stream at Warsak in Bajaur. Mir Jamal was defeated and this victory made the Khalils more aggressive.

Bajaur was a strategically important territory and Malik Ahmad could not allow for it to be destabilized. Malik Ahmad Khan began to ready the Yousafzai men for fighting. By succeeding in negotiations, he also gained cooperation of Haibu’s sons and thus his tribe. Finally a confrontation took place at Sangar Darra near Nawagai. With heavy casualties on both sides, the Khalil were defeated.

Sultan Owais a Jehangiri, ruled the Kingdom of Swat. Ashnagar was part of his Kingdom too, but its startejic position made it it an attractive target for the Yousafzai. The Shalmanies who lived there had originally been from Kirman Tira and were ethnically different from Swat Dehgans.

Through a decisive battle fought at Jaindi River, both the Shalmanies and Dehgans were pushed out from the plains of Behlol, Sher Khanai, Katlang, Main Khan and Sangao and pursed to Bazdara and the foot of Morah hills.
This expansion strengthened the Yousafzai and gave a little stability to their unstable and unpredictable lives, where rival powerful forces were a threat to their very existence. The ambitious expansions had made many of their neighbours envious and fearful.

The Dalazaks, of Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera and Swabi were Pukhtuns who had settled in the area for many centuries, and were confident of their strength and numbers. Sultan Owais was very powerful in his own right, and Malik Ahmad was now tightening his grip on territories, that extended from Bajaur, Ashnaghar and Doaba right up to Morah pass and the foothill, of Malakand.

The undefined common borders with one each other, frequently resulted in accusations of encroachment, interference and even plundering of cattle. Petty clashes, created hostilities between the Dalazak and the Yousafzai, which ultimately led to a deadly battle , fought , at Spinkhak near Michni and Warsak. After heavy loss of life on both sides, the outcome of the battle remained undecided.

The Dalazak prepared for a decisive battle with the Yousafzai . In response, the Yousafzai also regrouped and it was evident that massive loss of life would once again take place. Malik Ahmad decided that enough blood had been shed and therefore personally went to the house of Malik Mohammad Khan the Dalazak leader, and by virtue of Pukhtunwali laws, all differences were peacefully settled.

Peace with the Dalazak let Malik Ahmad Khan turn his attention towards Swat. Consulting Shaikh Milli, Malik Qara, (father of Kaju Khan), Mahmood Bin Yahya Akozai and some other prominent elders, they got an unexpected opportunity to better plan.

Malik Ahmad's sister was married to Sultan Owais and when she died Malik Ahmad and twenty of his men set out for Manglore to pay their condolences. Sultan Owais came from Manglore to Thanara (Thana) to receive them. Staying for a week at Bukhta a town near Thana , gave Malik Ahmad Khan a chance to familiarize himself with strategic geographical, political and military positions.

Malik Ahmad returned to set camp at the foot of Morah hills. They stayed there for more than two months, during which they were regularly receiving updated intelligence reports about the position and strength of their rivals.
A decision was made to attack Thana from the Malakand side. It was decided that a few people remain at the Morah camp, so that the nightly lit fires would deceive the enemy into thinking that they had not yet broken camp. A large contingent of the Yousafzai marched under cover of darkness from the Malakand side. A massive surprise attack was launched on the Swati’s, many of them were slaughtered and others fled to Thana.
The Yousafzai advanced to a village called Dag Khar and from there they marched on to Thana. The Swaties lost the battle and fled with the Yousafzai in pursuit. Malik Ahmad Khan moved systematically, occupying and consolidating, by ejecting the local population and colonizing the Yousafzai in their stead.

Having secured Swat, Malik Ahmad Khan turned his attention to the surrounding areas. The villages, of Talash valley were conquered after which the Mutravi the lands to the south of the Swat River were attacked.
A village called Balogram was home to their chief Malik Hassan. The inhabitants considered themselves Yousafzai having come from Kandhar much earlier. This did not spare them and they too were killed and the land occupied.

All this hostile take over’s had brought Malik Ahmad to Babur’s attention, who was getting regular updates. Babur sent a formal invitation to Malik Ahmad to come and present himself at court.

The Dalazak who were uncomfortable with the aggressive expansion had strengthened their favour with Babur. They were strongly against Malik Ahmad coming to court and winning over Babur .

Malik Ahmad spent a couple of days in Kabul appraising the situation and familiarizing himself with the working of Babur’s court, before alerting them to his arrival. The constant negative reports of the Dilazak made Babur give him a cold welcome.

Malik Ahmad proceeded to unbutton his outer garment, an intrigued Babur inquired into the reason. Malik Ahmad replied that it was his understanding that Babur intended to put him to death with his bow and arrow, and now with so many eyes upon them he wanted to make sure that Babur did not miss his target. Babur was amused with the reply and asked Malik Ahmad:
“You knew Behlol Lodhi, what sort of man is Behlol Lodhi?"
"He was but a giver of horses," said Ahmad.
"And of what sort of man is his son Sikandar?"
"A giver of robes"
"And what sort of man is Babur?"
"You sire, are a giver of heads."
Babur laughed and said, "I give you yours."

Leaving Kabul under good terms with Babur, Malik Ahmad returned home, but the next year (1518) Babur invited him back to Kabul. Malik Ahmad sent his cousin Shah Mansur son of Suleiman Shah in his stead. Babur on meeting Shah Mansur mainly inquired about Malik Ahmad Khan and his activities. Babur did not happy with the excuse of Malik Ahmad’s absence and expressed his displeasure.

Babur followed Shah Mansur back to Bajaur and set camp at Diyaron. Babur on marrying Bibi Mubaraka promised to leave the Yousafzai alone and shortly left.

The Yousafzai settled deeper and deeper into Swat and other Pukhtun tribes namely the Gigiani moved into the Doaba area. Once again quarrels broke out, this time between the Gigiani and the Dalazak.

The Gigiani turned to Kabul for help to fight the Dalazak. Malik Ahmad was not happy about outside interference in what he though to be strictly Pukhtun matters. Babur who had needed an excuse came riding back in 1519 and set camp near a village of the Umerkhel of the Dalazak. A fierce battle on the banks of Kalpanri stream took place, where the Umerkhel bravely fought against an army that outnumbered them by the thousands. The defeated Dalazak fled to the “Karamar” hills. Staying at Langar Kot (present day Gari Kapura), Babur spent the night. marching to Doaba through Ashnaghar the next day. There he attended a feast arranged in his honour by Malik Humza the chief of Gigiani. Awarding royal robes and honours, Babur then marched back to Kabul.

Malik Ahmad had managed to stay neutral throughout all this, but found the developments very interesting. The Gigiani sought the support of the Mohammadzais, their neighbour in Nangrahar. Together they attacked the Dalazak in a battle at Gulbela, which resulted in massive loss of lives, and property on both sides. This time the Dalazak were victorious.

Fearing retribution, the Gigiani turned to Malik Ahmad Khan for help. Keeping an eye on the strength and activities of Dalazak, he called a meeting of the elders of the Yousafzai of Swat, Sama, Ashnaghar and Bajaur. He also met the Utmankhel, Gaddun and Shalmani. Sending Shaikh Milli to the Gigiani of Doaba and Kabul, Mohammdzai of Nangrahar, and Tarklani of Lughman, Malik Ahmad Khan succeeded in forming a confederacy.

Under the command of Malik Ahmad Khan a large army encamped on the bank of the Guddar stream near Katlang. Anoher contingent of armed men camped at Bigyara shortly following them to Guddar. The Dalazak camped out at Langar Kot (present Garhi Kupura) and Shehbaz Ghara, their men were from Peshawar, Hazara, Tarbela, Pehure, Sherdara, Punjtar.
The Dalazak advanced to Guddar and surprised Malik Ahmads men by attacking earlier than anticipated. The Guddar stream was overflowing with the dead, ultimately Malik Ahmads men were victorious. The defeated Dalazak were pursued as far as 30 miles till Jalbai and Jalsai From there the Dalazak dispersed to Munara  Now Zarobai( finally crossing the Indus into Hazara.

Malik Ahmad Khan issued orders that all prisoners be immediately released and treated honourably.

Shaikh Malli came up with a system to distribute the land equally among the victors which is still in use today. Malik Ahmad died in 1535.

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