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BAFFA

The Heart of Valley PAKHAL

Baffa

is a town and Union Council (an administrative subdivision) of Mansehra District in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan.It is located in Mansehra Tehsil and lies to the north of the district capital Mansehra.

The town is distinguished by two names which are: Baffa Khurd and Baffa Kala'n.This distinction is made on the basis of Baffa land situated on either side of the river that passes through the town.The area of the Town situated on the right side of the river is called " Baffa Khurd" while the land on the left side of the river is called Baffa "Kala'n". Baffa is famous throughout Pakistan for its specially locally made sweet called "Khowa".Along with this it is also famous for its "Kabab" made from beef meat. Pashto is the main language spoken throughout Baffa.

                                                

 View of Rivwe Siran in Baffa

 

Contents


History

 British rule

Baffa was given the status of municipality in 1873 during British rule, it was principal mart of Northern Hazara and of the neighbouring independent tracts. The population in 1901 was 7,029. The income during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 4,500, and the expenditure Rs. 4,600. In 1903-4 the income was Rs. 5,300, chiefly derived from octroi and the expenditure was Rs. 4,700. A vernacular middle school was maintained by the municipality and the District board[3].

 Location

Union Council Baffa is situated in the Sirran Valley of Mansehra District, the town is located on the right bank of the Siran river in the northern corner of the Pakhli plain[3]. It is 13 kilometres away from the district capital Mansehra in the North West. It is the Headquarters of the historical “Pakkhal Valley”. This valley is the last biggest plain area between Pakistan and China(The Deosai National Park is the biggest Plain land on the Pak-China Himalayan frontier, covering an area of 3000 km2). Beyond Pakkhal Valley is the continuous chain of the world largest mountains the Himalayas. Baffa is situated at the base of the Himalayan mountains. It used to be a big historical Market between Gilgit and Rawalpindi.

Baffa is the resting place of Mulana Ghous Hazarvi and historically the rally point of the Turks who had established their main cantonment at the village of Guli Bagh. The local dialects are Pashto and Hindko. The major tourist attractions are Nanga Baba shrine located at the top of a hillock overlooking the pakhal maidan (plain), Khar maidan, Guli Bagh and Mount Tingalai.

A number of crops are harvested, including paddy rice and vegetables, especially tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Finest quality Virginia tobacco is grown which has a major impact in improving local economic conditions.

It takes 30 minutes from Manshehra City to Baffa via the historic Karakorum Road. On the way there is a bridge linking the small town Inayat Abad to Baffa. This bridge was constructed by the British government in the year 1935. In the year 2002 floods damaged it badly however it has now been reconstructed. The scenery is very beautiful specially because of Baffa's river, lush green trees and the surrounding mountains covered with snow.

 Religion

By religion 100% population is of Muslim. Nearly all population is of the Sunni sect with exception of a family or two, which belong to the shia sect. The people of Baffa are mostly religious and very much moderate and give great respect to religious customs and culture.

Ziarat
  
 
Khaer Medaan

Sahibzada family is regarded and believed as the "Saints" (Pir). The Sahibzada Family of Baffa are the direct descendants of the Second Caliph Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA).The Late Sahibzada Haji Sahib was the Saint, Who's mausoleum is within the Baffa Town and is Famous by the name "Ziarat". Adjacent with the Ziarat is a Mosque called "Ziarat Mosque"where prayers are performed five times a day daily.The ziarat Mosque's well which is made at the brink of the Mosque is famous for its fresh and sweet taste of water it contains.People from far away distances also come to this well to fill drinking water for themselves.

A prominent religious leader Maulana Ghous Hazarvi (RA) also belonged to Baffa.

There are about 50 mosques within the Baffa Town boundary,with the biggest being named "Khaer Medaan".This is by nature a vast ground with half of its area boundary walled. The "Namaz e Eiden" (Eid Prayer) is offered here by the majority of the population.adnan

 Demography

 Tribes

The tribes of the union council are the Syed, Swati,Aawan mostly Qutab Shahi descendent of Hazrat Ali the fourth Caliph of Islam, Gujjar , and a few Turks. Swati is the leading and major caste of the U/C Baffa. They own the substantial part of the land. About 97 percent of the total land in U/C Baffa is owned by this caste. Swatis came in this area back in 17th century. Before that this area was ruled by the “Turks”. The last Turk ruler was Sultan Mehmud Khurd.Syed Jalal Baba was his son-in-law. Sultan Memud went to Delhi to see the then Moghal king Aurangzeb. During his absence Syed Jalal Baba invited Sawatis to attack Pakhal sarkar. Swathis were met with tough resistance at Jhanjal fort near Thakot(Battagram) by one of loyal general of Sultan Mehmud, shamsher Khan. But ultimately the fort fell to Sawathis after one and half month. The sons of Sultan Mehmud were minor and their mentor syed Jalal Baba, was already with Sawathis, therefore it was an easy success for invaders. Swati's came in this area from Swat. They conquered this area in 1703 under command of Syed Jalal Baba and established state. Turks were then expelled from the area and consequently they migrated to other parts of Hazara. Descendants of these Turkish rulers are living in various parts of Hazara. Prominent among them are the Turks(Rajas) of village Behali, district Mansehra and Manakrai district Haripu(Raja Amanuullah an ex speaker of NWFP assembly belonged to this village). Very few of them sustained their residence in this area which was then under the rule of Syed Jalal Baba son-in-law of Sultan Mehmud Khurd.

 Education

The overall literacy rate in U/C Baffa is satisfactory . Baffa has a lot of good education institutions serving Baffa and surrounding areas. There is one Government owned High School for boys and an Inter College for girls,two government owned middle schools.There are privately owned schools for boys and girls as well. There are 9 PhD Scholars in different subjects in Baffa which in fact is a very impressive figure for such a small town. There are considerable number of people having professional degrees in medicine, engineering, business etc. The Female literacy rate for elder population is not satisfactory in the area,but is very much satisfactory for the young female generation,as parents now prefer to send their daughters to schools and colleges. Recently a new university named Hazara University has been established just few kilometers away from Baffa Town which has motivated a lot of students to continue their studies specially female students who could not go far or live in other cities for higher studies. Mostly educated females of Baffa are engaged in teaching at different government and private schools. The ratio of educated women doing job other than teaching is extremely low.

 Agriculture

Some Agricultural Lands Of Baffa

Main agricultural yields include vegetables, wheat, maize, Rice, Sugarcane, and Tobacco. Tobacco produced in Baffa is of superb quality. “Super Virginia” Tobacco produced in the area is considered as the second best quality tobacco in the world. Two multinational Tobacco companies i.e. “Lacson Tobacco Company Limited” and “Pakistan Tobacco Company” are operating in the area. They purchase the locally produced tobacco and export it to Europe and USA where this is used in world’s top cigarettes Brands like Gold leaf, Marlbro, Capston etc. Tobacco farming is very tedious as well as very risky. Farmers may earn big profits or may suffer from a huge loss.Some families do not find it morally good to cultivate Tobacco so they turn to vegetables. Tomatoes, Potatoes and other vegetables are cultivated in large numbers. Unfortunately there are no fruit gardens, as people have not adopted the trend of fruit gardens, even though the climate is very suitable for a lot of fruits.

The climate of U/C Baffa is very suitable for tea farming. Research about tea production in Pakistan was first initiated by a local Farmer of U/C Baffa. There were privately owned tea farms in Baffa even in late 70s. Owner of the world leading tea company “Brook Bond” Mr. David Brooks visited Baffa in early 80s and admire the research work of the local farmer on tea production. Government of Pakistan established Pakistan’s first tea research centre “National Tea Research Institute (NTRI)” in Baffa.

 Development

Development works are a bit slow since the last two decades for such a big Town, it is has been neglected by the previous governments for development works. This is clear from the fact that Baffa Town being the top quality cultivator of Tobacco does not have high quality tobacco leaf roasting facilities like Natural Gas. The people of Baffa Town are desperately waiting for the supply of natural gas. Baffa Town was also effected by the October 2005 earthquake. Relatively it was not damaged as much as the surrounding areas like Batagram, Alai,Balakot etc,but still damaged various buildings of the town.These include specially the school buildings of boys and girls.Unfortunately government authorities or NGO's did not take interest in the rebuilding of the town specially due to its less damaging condition during earthquake.This non interest level of various organisation has totally left the town undeveloped as compared to the earthquake devastated areas development level. Electricity projects were started in the mid 1950s, Telecommunication sector of Pakistan "PTCL" started its services in mid 70's. There is one government owned Hospital in Baffa Town.

Recently a big restaurant and hotel has been made at a hilly picnic area which is attracting tourists from the surrounding areas.Looking at the peaceful area and the great weather conditions of Baffa town,well off people are interested in making tourist points and hotels for tourists.

There are various different markets available. Local commerce is carried out in the city centre specially Adnan Plaza which provides one of the best single stop commercial center available within a radius of 12 Square kilometers.

Departments And Offices

There are various public and private offices in Baffa town.The Agriculture Department has been shifted to Baffa.Earlier it was located in Dhodial where now the Hazara University has been established. The Agriculture department has been playing and is continuously playing a great role in helping the local farmers by selling good quality seeds to farmers on low rates compared to the market rates.Recently Wheat was sold by farmers/owners at this department in huge quantity, as this year Pakistan along with Baffa Town saw huge yield of wheat.

Laccson Tobacco company also has its office in Baffa,as Baffa town is well sufficient in tobacco cultivation. There are two different banks providing its services namely the National Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank Limited. There is one Pakistan Post Office and two Utility Stores.

Sports

Different sports activities carried in Baffa Town include football, volleyball, swimming and cricket. Every year a number of tournaments are held at the Boys High school ground Baffa.The most popular game is cricket. .