Chakwal is a samll town in Punjab province of Pakistan located at 129 kms south-east of the Islamabad. The town and the district is and is named after its founder Chaudhry Chaku Khan, who was chief of the Mair Minhas tribe ( 1525 CE ). It remained a small but central town of the Dhan Chaurasi area for many centuries. The area of Chakwal city is about 10 square kilometres
Chakwal and Dhan area was the home of the ancient Neolithic Soan valley civilization, several fossils and some stone tools have been found here. During the Indus Valley civilization the area would have also been an important trade post. The earliest Stone Age artefacts kept in Karachi & Lahore museum were found on the plateau, which are dating from 500,000 to 100,000 years. The crude stone recovered from the terraces of the Soan testify to human endeavor in this part of the world from the inter-glacial period.
Chaudhary Sidhar settled villages named after his sons Chaku, Murid and Karhan and as Chaku Khan became the chief, he decided to settle in Chakwal, the village named after him and made it the center of administration of the Taluka. Kassar chiefs founded the villages of Bal-Kassar and Dhudial.
Awans,Waince, Mair Minhas, Khokhar Rajputs,Bhatti Rajputs, Mughal Kassar and Kahut Quriesh were probably the Seven landowning tribes that were originally settled in this tehsil by the Mughal Emperor Zaheerudin Babur. The main concentration of the Mair-Minhas and Rajputs was in the center (Haveli-Chakwal), North-East (Badshahan), West (Rupwal) and South West (Thirchak-Mahal). The Kassar in the northern part of the tehsil, the area called 'Babial' and 'Chaupeda' and the Kahuts in 'Kahutani' in the South East.
These tribes, particularly the Mair-Minhas Chaudharials of Chakwal, rose to further prominence during the short rule of Sher Shah Suri who handed them control over the adjoining territories, as far as Swan River in Potohar and the Pind Dadan Khan plains in the South.
After the Mughal ruler, King Humayun, returned to India with the help of the Persians, he handed over Potohar, including Dhanni, to the Gakhars, who had helped him escape from India during Sher Shah's revolt and reign. The Gakhars moved the capital of the taluka from Chakwal to a neighbouring town, Bhon, and stationed their Kardars there.
The Mair-Minhas and Mughal Kassar tribes again rose to power after King Aurangzeb's death. They had supported his son Moazzam Shah in his quest for power and, in return, he re-appointed the Mair-Minhas chief Gadabeg Khan as the Taluqdar and Chaudhary of the entire 'Dhan Chaurasi', whereas the rule of the Kassar Chaudharys was confirmed in Babial and Chaupeda 'illaqa'.
Their rule over Dhanni continued during the Sikh era; Chaudhry Ghulam Mehdi had invited Sardar Mahan Singh to this side of Jhelum River. It was during that era that the Dhanni breed of horses became popular; even Maharaja Ranjeet Singh's personal horses were kept in the stables of the 'Chakwal Chaudhrials'. In 1801 Ranjit Singh visited the Dhanni, which had been in a very disturbed state, subduded it without resistance,and returned to Lahore with 400 fine horses. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was very kind to Chaudharials of Chakwal due to their obedient services.During the Independence War of 1857 Chaudharials of Chakwal strengthened the hand of the British Raj by escorting the treasury from Chakwal to Rawalpindi and got the khilats and Jagirs.
Awans remain the most prominent and dominant tribe of the
Chakwal keeping their holds in the central and westward areas of Salt Ranges and
adjoining areas on both sides of the ranges since their arrival in the region
with Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi and Qutab shah during the series of Ghaznavid
attacks on India. They also hold their domination in many but scattered villages
of Chakwal. (e.g. Bhaun, Sarkal Kassar, jand, mohra awan etc.) Shamsuddin of
Bhaun struggled a lot to get recognition of Awans in the area as Hindus were
known superior and local inhabitants of Chakwal area.
Chakwal's non-Muslim minorities departed during partition of the subcontinent in 1947 but the city is still in their heart and mind and had never forgotten it. In April 2009 a terrorist attack on the mosque killed more than 30 people
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