Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Abbottabad

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Introduction/Geographical Details; Abbottabad District

Abbottabad district is located between 33° 50Ꞌ to 34° 23Ꞌ north latitudes, and 72° 35Ꞌ to 73° 31Ꞌ east longitudes. It is bounded by Mansehra district on the north, Haripur district on the west and southwest, Muzaffarabad district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on the east, Rawalpindi district on the south, and Islamabad on the southeast. The two rivers, River Jhelum in the east, and River Kunhar in the northeast, serve as boundaries between Abbottabad district and Muzaffarabad district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The district is at an altitude of 1,225 m (4,002 ft) above mean sea level (MSL) and is surrounded by the lush green hills of Sarban. It is situated on the Karakorum Highway (the ancient Silk Route) to China, which is 120 km from Rawalpindi/ Islamabad, and 205 km from Peshawar.

Figure ‎1.3 An Aerial view of Abbottabad City

Abbottabad District at a Glance

Name of District Abbottabad District
District Headquarter Abbottabad City
Population[1] 1,332,912 persons
Area[2] 1,967 km2
Population Density[3] 759.1 persons/ km2
Population Growth Rate[4] 2.2%
Male Population[5] 50.8%
Female Population[6] 49.2%
Urban Population[7] 22.0%
Tehsils/Talukas 2 Tehsils:

1.    Abbottabad Tehsil

2.    Havelian Tehsil

Main Towns Abbottabad, Havelian, Bagh, Nawanshehr, Nathiagali, Ayubia, Dungagali, Thandiani, Kakool, Sherwan
Literacy Rate[8] 69%
Male Literacy Rate[9] 82%
Female Literacy Rate[10] 59%
Major Economic Activity[11] Community, Social & Personal Service 29.9%
Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding, Fishing etc. 19.1%
Construction 17.3%
Wholesale/ Retail, Hotel/ Restaurant 14.1%
Transport, Storage & Communication 9.9%
Others 9.7%
Main Crops Wheat, maize, barley, maash, moong, rapeseed and mustard
Major Fruits Cherry, apples, oranges, plums, apricots, grapes, and pomegranates
Major Vegetables Soya bean, potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric, and peas
Forests (Area)[12] 80,820 HA[13]
Total Black Topped Road[14] 772.6 km
Shingle Roads[15] 304.2 km
No of Grid Stations[16] Electricity is dependent on the national grid. 71% of the rural and 96% of the urban areas of the district have electricity. There are 03 grid stations, of which 2 are 132 KV capacity, and 1 is 66 KV
No. of Tel. Exchanges[17] 31 telephone exchanges with 23,596 connections
Industrial Zones[18] One Small Industries Estate, and 78 Industrial Units, of which 65 are running and 13 are closed
Major Industry[19] Flour Mills 18 Units
Furniture 07 Units
Marble & Chips 14 Units
Cement Based 02 Units
Vegetable Ghee/Oil 1 Unit
Engineering 08 units
Metal Works 04 Units
Mining 1 Unit
Plastic & Rubber 2 Units
Biscuits and Sweets 03 Units
Wood[20] 03 Unit
Household Size[21] 6.5 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water Inside[22] 29.9%
Houses with Electricity[23] 75%

Table ‎1.1 Abottabad District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census

[2] 1998 Census

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] Pakistan Social and Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); Latest available.

[9] PSLM

[10] PSLM

[11] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[12] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[13] Land Utilization Statistics report 54,593 HA under forests.

[14] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[15] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[16] Peshawar Electric Supply Company Official Website

[17] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[18] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[19] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[20] For a complete list please refer to article on “Industry’

[21] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[22] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[23] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHistoric Places/ Tourist Attractions, and Picnic Spots

Brief History of Abbottabad District

The area now comprising Abbottabad district has always been a part of the Southern Hazara Region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is located east of River Indus and is comprised of 6 districts: Abbottabad, Battagram, Haripur, Mansehra, Kohistan, and the newly formed district Torghar (formed in 2011). The early history of the area now comprising Abbottabad district is, thus, mostly the history of the Hazara Region, which is, historically, a part of Kashmir.

The Imperial Gazetteer of India states:

The origin of the name Hazara is obscure. It has been identified with Abisara, the country of Abisares, the chief of the Indian mountaineers at the time of Alexander’s invasion. Dr. Stein [Hungarian-British archeologist] regards it as derived from Urasa, the ancient name of Pakhli; but a possible derivation is from Hazara-i-Karlugh, or the Karlugh legion which was settled in this tract by Timur [Tamerlane] after his invasion of India.

The name indeed occurs in the Ain-e-Akbari[1] and is mentioned by Farishta.[2] From these writings we gather that the Hazara plain formed part of the Attock governorship, while other parts of the modern district were held by the same Gakhars who played so prominent a part in the history of Rawalpindi. (v. 13, p. 76)

The name “Urasa” still survives in the Orash Valley, and is probably a version of the Uraga mentioned in the Mahabharata.[3]

The history of this region can be traced up to the invasion of Alexander the Great. He crossed the Indian Hindu Kush Mountains (then called Caucasus) and advanced into the Indian Swat and Bajaur regions. The region of Hazara was not on Alexander’s path, but the city of Taxila (at a distance of only 100 km) surrendered to the armies of Alexander.

The region was subsequently ruled by the Mauryan Empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya (322-187 BC). During the rule of his grandson Ashoka (269-232 BC), Buddhism was made the official religion of the area, and this region became a part of the Taxila and Gandhara Civilizations. Today, the Rock Edicts of Ashoka, inscribed on three large boulders near Bareri Hill (now in Mansehra district), serve as evidence of his rule in the area. The Mansehra Rocks record 14 of Ashoka’s edicts, presenting aspects of the Emperor’s dharma or righteous law, and represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to the middle of the 3rd century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharoshthi script.

Some stories connect the legendary Hindu Raja Rasalu of the 2nd century with the parts of Hazara district which now belong to Abbottabad district. It is said that the hillocks of Haripur plains are formed out of stones collected by Rasalu’s army; the cave at the top of Sarban Hills[4] is said to be his rest stop during his hunting expeditions. The Gandgar Range (now part of Haripur district, and a part of the Orash Valley Mountains) was a scene of an episode in his conflict with the Rakshas or giants.[5]

After the Mauryan Empire, the Kushan (30-230 AD) and the White Huns (450-560 AD) ruled the area.

The Shahi Dynasties[6] (500-1010 AD) ruled the area one after the other. After the fall of the Shahi Dynasties in the 11th century, the Kashmiris took control of the region. In 1398, Amir Timur (historically known as Tamerlane, a Turko-Mongol), invaded India and on his return to Kabul via Bannu in March 1399, established the rule of the Karlugh Tribe[7] in the region to protect the important route between Kabul and Kashmir. The Karlugh Turks started calling the region Hazara, a word that is a derivative of the Turk word ming meaning a “regiment of a thousand men.” Hazara is, thus, translated to mean the country of Turkish ming or regiment.

By 1472, Prince Shahab-ud-din Ghori, a Turk and descendant of Amir Timur, arrived from Kabul and established his rule over the Hazara Region. He founded an estate and named it Pakhli Sarkar (now Mansehra), choosing the village of Guli Bagh as his capital. The Mughals began establishing their control in India with Babar’s victory in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. During the entire period of Mughal ascendancy in the Indian subcontinent, they acknowledged the Karlughs as the rulers of Pakhli Sarkar. In addition, presumably due to their common Central Asian origins, the Mughals never levied taxes on the State of Pakhli Sarkar.

The last Karlugh Turk ruler of Pakhli Sarkar was Sultan Mehmood Khurd. His brother, Sultan Muqarrab, was Wali-e-Dhamtor [ruler] of the Orash areas (Orash Valley) of present-day Abbottabad.

The Afghan Durranis defeated the Karlugh Turks of the Pakhli Sarkar in the 18th century, and with the decline of the power of Mughal Emperors, Nadir Shah Durrani attacked and defeated the Mughal Governor Nazar Shah of Kabul in 1738 AD, but retained him as his feudatory.

The Sikh invasion began in 1818, when Hashim Khan Turk of Manakrai[8] (grandson of Sultan Mahmud Khurd), invited Makhan Singh (the Governor of Rawalpindi) to help him defeat Kamal Khan and Tareen Khan, allies in an internal feud against him. Makhan Singh invaded Hazara and built a fort at Serai Saleh (Haripur district). In 1819, Kashmir was taken over by the Government of Ranjit Singh of Lahore. Makhan Singh, encouraged by the rising Sikh power in Lahore, levied tax on the Hazara inhabitants. A jirga of chieftains refused to obey and started planning to expel the Sikhs from Hazara. Makhan Singh was eventually assassinated by the rebel tribes. Ranjit Singh sent a number of expeditions, but none succeeded in subjugating the Hazaras. Eventually, Ranjit Singh himself attacked Hazara and reduced the warring tribes to submission, and Southern Hazara (including areas now part of Abbottabad) thus came under Sikh Rule. Hari Singh Nalwa, the Sikh Ruler of Kashmir, ruled the area up to 1837, when he was killed in the Jamrud War.[9] Gulab Singh (1792-1857) was then appointed Governor of Kashmir and Hazara. He was later given the title of Raja. After the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, under the terms of the Peace Treaty of Lahore, the Sikhs were obliged to give up the Jammu, Kashmir, and Hazara regions to the British. The British later sold the areas of Kashmir, including the Hazara Region, to Raja Gulab Singh who later became the first Raja of the Princely State of Kashmir.

In 1847, Gulab Singh gave up the territory of Hazara to the British, and retained Kashmir (specifically, a tract near Jammu). The British appointed Sir James Abbott to manage the administration of Hazara. After the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh war in 1849, Hazara was made part of the British Empire along with the rest of Punjab. Sir James Abbott was then appointed as the first British Deputy Commissioner of Hazara Region—a post he retained till 1853, when he was transferred, and Major (later Sir) Herbert Edwardes was made the Deputy Commissioner in his stead.

Sir Edwardes’ first act after taking charge was to select a site for a new cantonment; he chose the south-end of the Rash plain and named it Abbottabad.

During British rule, Abbottabad became the capital of Hazara district. Major Abbott is noted for having written a poem titled “Abbottabad” prior to his return to Britain, in which he wrote of his fondness for the town and his sadness at having to leave.

Abbottabad became, and still is, an important military cantonment and sanatorium, being the headquarters of a brigade in the Second Division of the Northern Army Corps. In June 1948, during the first war between India and Pakistan, the British Red Cross opened a hospital in Abbottabad with the capacity to treat 80-100 patients daily brought in from the Kashmir front.

The foundation of the Hazara Muslim League was laid by Jalal-ud Din Jalal Baba who was a very popular leader of the Indian subcontinent. Jalal Baba joined the Muslim League in 1937, at Abbottabad, in the first public meeting held in Company Bagh, when Chaudhary Khaliq-uz-Zaman, accompanied by K.B. Saadullah Khan, was presiding over the meeting. The Hazara Muslim League acquired great strength and popularity, and played a very active part in the fight for independent Pakistan.

Post Partition; Abbottabad district

After the dissolution of One Unit[10] in 1970, when West Pakistan was divided into provinces, Hazara district, along with 2 Tribal Agencies, was merged to form one Hazara Division, with its capital at Abbottabad. The Division was initially composed of 2 districts: Abbottabad and Mansehra. Within a few years, however, Haripur district was bifurcated from Abbottabad district, and Battagram district was bifurcated from Mansehra district.

In the year 2000, administrative divisions were abolished, and districts became the third tier of government. At that time, Hazara Division consisted of the following districts:

  • Abbottabad district
  • Battagram district
  • Haripur district
  • Kohistan district
  • Mansehra district
  • Torghar district (Tribal Areas part of Mansehra district till 2011)

In 2005, the district was hit by a massive earthquake, which killed hundreds, and destroyed a large number of buildings.

[1] The Ain-e-Akbari [The Constitution of Akbar] is a 16th Century detailed document recording the administrative minutiae of Akbar’s Court.

[2] Farishta was a Persian historian, the author of Tarikh-i-Farishta [Farishta’s History] and other history books

[3] Hazara District Gazetteer 1907

[4] These hills surround the present-day city of Abbottabad

[5] Please refer to the chapter on Haripur district for details

[6] The Shahi Dynasties were also known as the Shahyias, and the reign has historically been divided between the Buddhist Turks and the Hindu Shahis, hence the plural

[7] The Karlugh tribe belonged to a sub-tribe of the Turks called the Karlugh Turks

[8] Manakrai is now in Haripur district

[9] The Jamrud War was fought between the forces of the Sikh Empire and the Emirate of Afghanistan (today Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)

[10] In 1954-55 the Government of Pakistan merged the four provinces of the west part of Pakistan into one province and named it West Pakistan as was the case with East Pakistan. The Policy under which this action was taken was called the One Unit Policy.

Governmental Structure; Abbottabad district

At the Federal level, Abbottabad district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 2
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 5

Under the Local Government Act, Abbottabad has 1 District Council constituted by general seats, seats reserved for women, peasants/ workers, youth, and non-Muslims as prescribed under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act 2013. Abbottabad District Council is composed of 51 general members, 17 women members, 3 peasants/ worker members, 3 minority members, and 3 youth members.

Administrative Divisions; Abbottabad district

The district has a total area of 1,967 km2 and is divided into 2 tehsils as follows:

Abbottabad Tehsil 35 Union Councils
Havelian Tehsil 16 Union Councils

Table ‎1.2 Abbottabad Administrative Divisions

Historic Places/ Tourist Attractions, and Picnic Spots; Abbottabad district

There are 21 archeological places/ monuments in the district which are protected under Federal Laws. They are:

  • Excavated remains of Jandial
  • Sir Sukh City
  • Marchabad
  • Jaulian Site, Jaulian
  • Iplan Site, Jaulian
  • Garhian (Lal Chak) stupa & monastery
  • Garhian, Ancient Site Bhamal, Badalpur Stupa & Monastery, Badalpur
  • Tofikian mound, Tofikian
  • Therr Bajran sites B,C,D, Tofikian
  • Pind Ghakran Mound, Pind Ghakran
  • Mirpur Mound, Mirpur, Abbottabad
  • Tope Site (Mound), Jaulian
  • Bhera Mound, Bhera, Abbottabad
  • Chitti Site, Chitti; Abbottabad
  • Tarnawa Site A and B, Tarawa
  • Burj or Tuma Site, Garamthun
  • Bhai Dheri, Kutehra
  • Dana Wali, Kutehra
  • Tope Site, Kamalpur
  • Part of Site Dobandi
  • Zuro Dheri, village Shin Kiari

Non-protected heritage sites include:

  • House of Bari Imam, on the banks of Haro River
  • Abbott House: A small hill bungalow built by Major Abbott. There are believed to be two extant buildings that could be his house; one source says it was a small bungalow, (also pictured in Hazara District Gazetteer of 1883) near Shimla Hills. In 1930, another, and bigger, house has been confirmed as having belonged to him
  • Ilyasi Mosque: constructed over a spring with fresh mineral water

Figure ‎1.10 First of Two Houses attributed to Major Abbott


Figure ‎1.11 Second of the Two Houses attributed to Major James Abbott

Tourism is a major economic activity of the district. Abbottabad is a small town in a spacious valley surrounded by green hills. It is a popular summer resort, located at the end of the Murree-Abbottabad hill tract at a height of 1,220 m, noted for its parks, gardens, golf course, and pine covered hills. Abbottabad serves as the gateway to some of the most beautiful places in Pakistan; the city, thus, serves as a transit city for tourists. The city is the junction from where one can go to places like Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu, and Indus Kohistan, of the Karakoram Range. Other places accessible via Abbottabad include Swat, Swati Kohistan, Dir, and Chitral of the Hindu Kush Range, as well as Naran, Saiful Malook Lake, Shogran, and Babusar Pass of the Himalayan Range. Neelum, Lipa, and Jhelum Valley of Azad Kashmir are connected through Abbottabad, as are the Karakorams, the Himalayas, and the Hindu Kush. While other hill stations are deserted during winter, Abbottabad has visitors due to the bracing winter.

The district boasts beautiful gardens, polo grounds, football, hockey, golf courses, and pine covered hills. Abbottabad city, Ayubia, Dungagali, Nathiagali, and Thandiani are a few of the district’s favored tourist destinations. Abbottabad city is surrounded by the Sarban and Simla hills. The city has 1 main park, 2 gardens, a Golf Club, and numerous areas of tourist attractions. One such site is the Ilyasi Mosque, with its natural spring, considered sacred by the local population.

Ayubia is a cluster of 4 small hill stations which include Khanaspur, Khairagali, Changlagali, and Ghora Dhaka. The Chair Lifts are the main attraction. It is home to one of the Protected National parks of Pakistan: the Ayubia National Park.

Dungagali is situated on the slopes of Mukeshpuri Hills.

Nathiagali is clad in pine, walnut, oak, and other trees; it is the prettiest of all the hill resorts. It is 2,501 m above MSL and is surrounded by lush green mountains.

Thandiani is located 2,700 m above MSL on a plateau surrounded by pine forests.

Miranjani (3,313 m; Himalyan Range) and Mukeshpuri (Nathiagali Range) are the highest peaks.

Figure ‎1.13 Abbottabad-Nathiagali Road


Figure ‎1.14 Ilyasi Mosque, Abbottabad


Figure ‎1.15 A General View of Abbottabad City


Figure ‎1.16 Commissioner’s House, Abbottabad


Figure ‎1.17 Jalal Baba Auditorium, Abbottabad


Figure ‎1.18 St. Lukes Church, Abbottabad

Topography of Abbottabad District

The district is located in a predominantly mountainous tract. The average elevation of the peaks in the district ranges from 2,500 m to 2,700 m (the Miranjani peak is 3,313 m and is the highest point). These mountains form a part of the Lesser Himalayas.

The district is located at the end of the Murree-Abbottabad hill tract, at a height of 1,260 m above MSL. The topography of the district is divided into 3 parts:

  • The plains of Havelian and Rash/ Orash Valley in Abbottabad, suitable for vegetable and fruit production
  • The mild hills of the Tanawal-Sherwan belt, well suited for livestock and fodder
  • The high hills of the Gulliyat, suitable for tourism, forestry, and some off-season vegetable cultivation

The plains of Havelian and Orash/ Rash Valley: Along the northern boundary of the district, a series[1] of low lying hills form a barrier to the Mangal tract in Mansehra district. To the south of these hills lies the Orash or Rash plain, with an area of about 6 km2 and 1,219 m above MSL. Once a vast lake, the center of this plain is still marshy, but most of it is drained, and excellent maize and potato crops are grown. Another such tract is Dhan, which is an elevated basin enclosed by the Nara Hills. Other small cultivable tracts are along the valleys of rivers and streams. The plain tract of Dor Valley to the south is one of them, which merges with the Haripur Plain in the south and thus forms the largest plain tracts. On the Dhund branch[2] of upper Haro is the Lora tract (in Havelian tehsil).

The mild hills of the Tanawal-Sherwan Belt: The Tanawal-Sherwan Hills extend to the west of Abbottabad in the shape of a crest. Shimla Hill, a hill of this Range, affords a bird’s eye view of Abbottabad town.

High Hills of the Gulliyat: The Gulliyat or the hilly region/ tract is a narrow strip or area roughly 50–80 km northeast of Islamabad, extending on both sides of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa‒Punjab border, between Abbottabad and Murree. The word itself is derived from the plural of the Urdu word gali, which means an alley; it thus denotes an alley between two mountains on both sides of which are valleys. The high hills of the Gulliyat, Abbottabad district, are a part of the Lesser Himalayas and dominate the landscape.

One of the ranges of the Lesser Himalayas, the Dungagali Range, flanks the right banks of Kunhar and Jhelum Rivers, and enters Abbottabad district from the north. This Range has several off-shoots that vary in elevation from 2,500 m to 2,700 m. The spurs projected towards the west are longer, with valleys lying in between.

Miranjani peak, at 3,313 m, is the highest point. The peak is located in Ayubia National Park in the Western Himalayan Range.

Figure ‎1.5 Hike towards Miranjani Top


Figure ‎1.6 Satora Valley, Havelian

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes; Abbottabad district

The significant rivers of Abbottabad district are Haro, Dor, and Siran Rivers. The Siran River and the Dor River have innumerable tributaries, including the permanently flowing kathas and the scant-flowing kassies.

The Dor River originates at the northern end of Nathiagali Range and joins the Siran River near the town of Haripur. The Haro River originates at the southern end of the Dongagali Range and flows through the district as two separate streams; the northern or upper stream is known as Karlal Haro, while the southern or lower section is called the Dhund Haro. The Karlal Haro originates near Changagali and flows south to Satura village, joining the second branch near the Jabri Forest Rest House. The Dhund Haro originates near Kuldana and flows down to the north of Lora village. Ultimately, both streams of the Haro River flow into Khanpur Lake. The Siran River enters the district from the northeast and flows south along Abbottabad’s western border, exiting the district near Kachhi Village. River Kunhar flows along the northeastern boundary of the district and joins the Jhelum in the east.

These rivers sprout countless tributaries, some of which are permanent and are known as katha, while others are seasonal, and are known as kassi. In addition to the above mentioned streams, the Kunhar River flows along the northeastern boundary of the district, joining the Jhelum River in the east. The Jhelum River itself flows along the eastern boundary of the district.

Other smaller streams include Samandur Katha, Salhad Nullah, Khaner Kass, and Gujrat Katha.

Figure ‎1.7 River Kunhar, Abbottabad


Figure ‎1.8 River Jhelum, Dalai, Abbottabad

Mountain Passes; Abbottabad district

Some notable mountain passes in the district are Bara Gali, Tarpai Gali, and Chhala Gali.

Famous Mountain Peaks; Abbottabad district

Miranjani (3,313 m, Himalayan Range) and Mukeshpuri (2,800 m, Nathiagali Hills) are the highest peaks in this district.

Forests; Abbottabad district

According to Abbottabad: State of Environment and Development by IUCN (p. 30):

Abbottabad District occupies 1.8% of the total land area of KP but accounts for 5.4% of the province’s forest resources. The forests cover 36,394.6 HA amounting to 21.4% of the district’s total area. Forests in the area consist of three major forest types:

  • Himalayan Moist Temperate Forests which are further subdivided into 1) pure blue alpine (Pinus wallichiana), locally known as Kail These forests account for 50.0% reserved forests and 30% guzara forests in the District. 2) Pure silver fir (Abies pindrow also known as Abies wabiana) forests. 3) Mixed coniferous forests containing blue pine and fir as well as deodar (Cedrus deodara) and spruce (Picea smithiana). 4) Mixed broad leaved forests occurring in greater proportion in the Gallies reserved forests and these serve as a source for firewood for both Abbottabad and Murree
  • Subtropical Pine Forests. The Chir pines are reported in lower Tanawal, Makhnail and Satura
  • Subtropical broad-leaved scrub forests. These forests occur at elevations below 1,060 m

The main coniferous species of the Moist Temperate Forests are kail or blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), deodar or Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara), Kachal or Himalayan spruce (Picea smithiana) and partal or silver fir (Abies pindrow). Among the broad-leaved trees, rein or white oak (Quercus incana), barungi (Quercus dilatata), and banjar or brown oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) are prominent in the outer margins of the zone, with rose tree (Rhododendron arboreum) as their most common associate. Among the shrubs, Indigofera (a genus of about 700 flowering shrubs), Lonicera (perennial shrub, a member of the honeysuckle genus), Rosa, Desmodium (perennial flowering plant belonging to the pea family), and Rubus (rose family) are typical.

The most common flora of the Subtropical Pine Forests is the Chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) trees with a ground cover of thick grass, consisting of Arundinella setosa, cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica) and Themeda anathera.

The flora of Subtropical Broad-Leaved Scrub Forests consists of kahu (Olea ferruginea), phulai or palosa (Acacia modesta), honey tree (Tecoma undulata), and kakar singhi or kakra (Pistacia integerrima), while sanatha (Dodonaea viscosa), ganger (Reptonia buxifolia), karir (Capparis aphylla), pataki (Gymnosporia royleana), and various forms of ber (Zizyphus spp.) form the shrub cover.

The following table shows the area and type of forests in Abbottabad district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Forest Area 199,710 A Resumed Land – A
Reserved Forests 38,428 A Communal Forests – A
Protected Forests – A Guzara Forests 20,291 A
Un-classed Forests[3] 69,530 A Private Plantation 70,703 A
Miscellaneous 758 A Section 38 Forests[4] – A
Linear Plantation 111 km

Table ‎1.3 Abbottabad Forests

There are 3 forest ranges in the Hazara Valley; these are under the administrative control of Abbottabad Wildlife Department and Haripur Forest Division. 5 major reserved forests—Sarla Reserved Forest, Margala Reserved Forest, Kohala Lassan Reserved Forest, Rahi Reserved Forest, and Stoura Reserved Forest—are located in the Haro River Valley. Other smaller reserved forests of the district include Bandi Pahar Reserved Forest, Kakul Reserved Forest, Tarnwai Reserved Forest, Lari Reserved Forest, and Samli Dheri Reserved Forest.

  • Soils of Abbottabad district

Most of the soil of the district is grey in color (under moist forests), and coarse in texture. The soil is formed by snow deposits as well as water and sedimentary rock, and is mostly dry-farmed for subsistence cropping. Farm soil may be classified into 4 categories as follows:

  • Loam and clay: mainly non-calcareous
  • Loam: steep and shallow soils (humid mountainous regions)
  • Loam and clay: partly non-calcareous with loess traces
  • Loam: contains stones and is shallow (sub-humid mountain region).

Seismic Activity; Abbottabad district

The district belongs to Zone 3 of Pakistan’s Seismic Zone Map, which means moderate to severe damage due to earthquakes.

Climate of Abbottabad district

The district is situated on the Karakoram Highway (Silk Route) to China, and is 120 km from Rawalpindi/ Islamabad and 205 km from Peshawar. The climate is temperate, with 4 distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

The district is mostly mountainous. Its climate varies with altitude, which ranges from 600 m to 2,800 m. During the winter season, snowfall occurs above 900 m, which includes Abbottabad city, the surrounding mountains and the area above Changlagali, and Barian in the Gulliyat. The months of December, January, and February are extremely cold especially in the Gulliyat area, which receives the brunt of the snowfall, whereas March and April tend to be pleasant especially in the low lying areas. Summers are pleasant and enjoyable.

Monsoon rains usually start in the month of July lasting till September. This is followed by a dry spell lasting for about two months. The average annual rainfall in the Abbottabad district is 2,673 mm. The rain occurs during the Monsoons (July to September) and due to western disturbances (December to April), resulting in a twin peak type distribution, with the maximum precipitation occurring in the months from July to September. October and November are the driest months, with less than 30 mm rainfall. The Gulliyat area of Abbottabad district receives about 89 rainy days a year, or one-fourth of the year. The Murree-Gallies Mountain areas are the wettest mountains in Pakistan.

The summers of the district are pleasantly cool (20 to 26 °C) while winters are severe with considerable frost and small quantities of snow in the month of January. Humidity in July and August is greater than 70%. It ranges between 40 to 70% during the rest of the year, but at no time does the humidity fall below 40%.

[1] Extracted from Abbottabad: State of Environment and Development by IUCN.

[2] Haro River is divided into 2 branches; the eastern branch is called Dhund branch and the western is known as Kharral branch.

[3] Un-classed Forests are owned by the Government

[4] Section 38 Forests were Private lands voluntarily given up by the owner

Population of Abbottabad district

The following table shows the population of the district as per 2017 Census:

District Area


Population Male % Female % Urban


Growth Rate %
Abbottabad District 1,967 1,332,912 50.8 49.2 22 2.2
Abbottabad Tehsil 1,967 981,590
Havelian Tehsil Created after 1998 351,322

Table ‎1.4 Abbottabad Population Statistics

Religions; Abbottabad district[1]

Muslims 99.5%
Christians 0.2%
Hindus Negligible %
Ahmadis Negligible %%
Scheduled Castes nil
Others 0.2%

Table ‎1.5 Abbottabad Religions

Languages; Abbottabad district[2]


Urdu 1.1%
Punjabi 2.3%
Sindhi 0.1%
Pushto 2.2%
Balochi Negligible %
Seraiki Negligible %
Others 94.3%

Table ‎1.6 Abbottabad Languages

The major languages spoken in the district are Chhachi/ Hindko, Pahari, Potohari, Majhi, and Gojri dialects of the Punjabi language as well as Urdu. Other languages spoken in the district include Pashto and Kohistani.

[1] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity; Abbottabad District

The economy of Abbottabad relies mainly on tourism, as well as on income generated from the various military and educational institutions. Following are the major economic occupations of the district (1998 Census, 2017 Census data has not been made public yet):

  • Community, Social & Personal Service (29.9%)
  • Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding, Fishing etc. (19.1%)
  • Construction (17.3%)
  • Wholesale/ Retail, Hotel/ Restaurant (14.1%)
  • Transport, Storage & Communication (9.9%)
  • Others (9.7%)

Land Use; Abbottabad district

The following table shows the land use statistics of the district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Area 196,700 HA Reported Area 178,401 HA
Total Cultivated Area 47,214 HA Net Sown 43,626 HA
Current Fallow 3,588 HA Uncultivated Area 131,187 HA
Culturable Waste 20,500 HA Forest Area 54,593 HA

Table ‎1.7 Abbottabad Land Use Statistics

Agriculture; Abbottabad district

About 17.8% of the population[1] depends upon agriculture for its sustenance. The major crops grown are wheat, maize, barley, maash, moong, rapeseed, and mustard. Wheat is the staple food of the district. Lentils, rape, mustard, canola, barley, and fodder are the minor crops grown in the area.

Apples, plums, walnuts, peach, loquat, apricot, and persimmon (a variety of amlok), are the major fruits grown in the district. Soya bean, chilies, and potatoes are the major vegetables whereas turnips, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, and radish are the minor vegetables.

Flowers grown for commercial purposes are roses, tuberoses, jasmine sp., jasmine yellow, narcissus, marigold, gladiolus, and motia. The wild tulip grows widely all over the district as well. This species is highly desirable in the European market; however, the plant with the greatest potential for wide scale development is the rose.

Nearly 43 varieties of medicinal plants and herbs are found and grown in the district.

Figure ‎1.9 Floriculture in Abbottabad

Livestock Breeding; Abbottabad district

The following table shows the statistics of livestock for the district as per Livestock Census 2006 (latest available; qtd. in KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Cattle 111,415 Heads Buffaloes 104,582 Heads Sheep 13,109 Heads
Goats 245,060 Heads Camels 712 Heads Horses 935 Heads
Mules 1,079 Heads Asses 9,930 Heads

Table ‎1.8 Abbottabad Livestock Statistics

The kaghani breed of goats and sheep are indigenous to Abbottabad district.

Poultry Farms; Abbottabad district

Since Independence, one poultry farm at Abbottabad is providing productive breeds of poultry in the form of chicks and breeding eggs to the farmers’ community. This farm serves as a model farm, and encourages people to invest in poultry production. Backyard rural poultry farming is still characterized by an overall traditional style of management.

According to Table 17 (Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock) there are 275 poultry farms in the district.

Fishing; Abbottabad district

An estimated 117 km of rivers and streams run through Abbottabad district in addition to countless springs, but fishing is not taken up as an economic activity in the district. Most of the local fish consumption needs are met through imports. There are two major water bodies which, if developed, can be a source of fishing as an economic activity. These are the Thandiani Stream in Kalapani and the Daur River.[2]

Bee Keeping’Apiary; Abbottabad district

Bee keeping is an important strategy in the development of mountain agriculture.[3] Honey bee keeping is mostly practiced in the rural areas of the district. The bees are kept in a container called toun. This is an earthen bucket-shaped receptacle which is hardened in the sun light. It has an opening on its upper end, and a small hole in its base. The honey is collected from the hole at the bottom.

The honey thus collected is sold not only in Abbottabad but other parts of Pakistan.

[1] 1998 Census, 2017 Census data has not een made public.

[2] Abbottabad: State of Environment and Development by IUCN.

[3] Survey of Managed F. (Apidae: Hymenoptera) Population in Galiat, Murree and Islamabad by Elizabeth Stephen Waghchoure-Camphor and Mohammad Irshad

Irrigation Network; Abbottabad district

Abbottabad district belongs to the Barani Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Agriculture depends mostly on rain. However, some parts of the district rely on natural springs and kathas. In the river plains, the depth of the groundwater is about 9 to 15 m, and the quality of the water is usually suitable for irrigation. The following table gives the mode and area irrigated (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Irrigated Area 5,500 HA Canal Irrigated (Govt. Owned) 4,960 HA
Tube Wells 400 HA Wells 60 HA
Tanks 30 HA Lift Pumps 50 HA
Others – HA Private Canals – HA

Table ‎1.11 Abbottabad Irrigation Statistics

Mining; Abbottabad district

At present, soapstone and magnesite are being mined in the Sherwan Area, while the phosphate stone is being extracted from Kakul and Tarnawi. Other minerals found and mined in the district are barites, dolomites, fireclay, laterite, iron ore, limestone, and shale.

Licenses have been awarded for oil and gas exploration in the Margala area, which includes Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Abbottabad districts.

Industry and Manufacturing; Abbottabad district

There is 1 Small Industries Estate in the district. According to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Development Statistics 2018-19, there are 78 industrial units in the district. Of these, 13 units are closed and 65 are working. The following table shows the number and type of running industrial units in the district:

Industry Number Industry Number
Biscuits & Sweets 03 Flour Mills 18
Furniture 07 Printing Presses 01
Marble & Chips 14 Silk 01
Plastic and Rubber 01 Wood 03
Vegetable Ghee & Oil 01 Cement Based 02
Engineering 08 Garments 01
Leather 01 Metal Works 04

Table ‎1.9 Abbottabad Industries

Trade (Import/ Export); Abbottabad district

Apples, apricots, fig, pear, persimmon, plums, and walnuts are the major exports of the district. Medicinal plants/ herbs are also exported, and a large number of cereal crops are imported.

Handicrafts; Abbottabad district

The only handicrafts of the district are needlework, and weaving in the style of Kashmiri products, mostly done by women.

Economic Infrastructure of Abbottabad district

District Abbottabad, because of its hilly and mountainous terrain, lacks a first-rate road network. However, the main city and towns are linked with metalled roads. Rail communication exists, but only up to Havelian, and the district is connected with Rawalpindi.

Road Statistics; Abbottabad district

Some of the important roads of the district include:

  • Abbottabad‒Thandiani Road
  • Havelian‒Kanyal Road
  • Maqsood Lora‒Goragali Road
  • Abbottabad‒Sherwan Road
  • Havelian‒Kalabagh Road

Two major highways traverse the district: the Karakorum Highway (National Highway N 35) and the Murree‒Abbottabad Road.

Road Statistics of the district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19 are as follows:


Black Topped Roads 772.6 km
Shingle Roads 304.3 km
Total Road Length 1,076.9 km

Table ‎1.10 Abbottabad Road Statistics

Rail and Airways; Abbottabad district

The district is linked to most of Pakistan by rail. Havelian is the terminus station of a branch railway and is the only railway station in the district. There is a small commercial airport in the district called Abbottabad Airport and the nearest major airport is the Islamabad International Airport.

Radio and Television; Abbottabad district

Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation has 1 AM radio station in Abbottabad; in addition there is one privately-owned FM radio station in the city. The district has a modern cable TV network as well.

Telecommunications; Abbottabad district

Abbottabad is connected[1] to other parts of Pakistan and the world via a modern digital telephone exchange. There are 31 automatic telephone exchanges in the district. These exchanges provide 23,596 connections. Cellular phone services, with considerable coverage in all major towns are also available.

Post Offices; Abbottabad district

There are a total of 135 post offices[2] in the district with 1 Head Office, 45 Sub-Post Offices, and 89 Branch Offices in the district.

Electricity and Gas; Abbottabad district

There is no power generation in the district, but electricity is provided through the national grid, while natural gas is supplied through pipelines. Rural areas depend on wood for fuel.

[1] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[2] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

Banking/ Financial Services; Abbottabad district

Most of the major banks of Pakistan have branches[1] in Abbottabad; some have ATM facilities as well.

According to the List of Reporting Bank Branches 2019 by State bank of Pakistan, the following banks have their branches in the district:

  • Al Baraka Bank Ltd.
  • Alfalah Bank Ltd.
  • Allied Bank Ltd.
  • Askari Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Al Habib Ltd.
  • Bank Islami Pakistan Ltd.
  • Burj Bank Ltd.
  • Dubai Islamic Bank (Pakistan) Ltd.
  • Faysal Bank Ltd.
  • First Women Bank Ltd.
  • J S Bank Ltd.
  • National Investment Bank Ltd.
  • Silk Bank Ltd.
  • Sindh Bank Ltd.
  • Soneri Bank Ltd.
  • Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Ltd.
  • Summit Bank Ltd.
  • Bank of Punjab
  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • Industrial Development Bank Pakistan
  • The Bank of Khyber Ltd.
  • Meezan Bank
  • Muslim Commercial Bank
  • National Bank of Pakistan
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd.

In all there are 76 branches of various conventional banks and 21 branches of different Islamic banks in the District.

Educational Institutions; Abbottabad district

Situated amidst high mountains with thick natural forests, Abbottabad is home to the most prestigious military institution—the Pakistan Military Academy. This is the principal institution that trains undergraduate military cadets, and has rendered commission to tens of thousands of military officers. The valley is home to high quality educational and boarding institutions like Army Burn Hall College, Abbottabad Public School, and Ayub Medical College.

Abbottabad is famous throughout Pakistan for its high quality educational institutions. It has one of the highest literacy rates in KP/ NWFP (66%; 2014 figure). The following table shows the number of Government Educational Institutions in the district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 707/549 Middle Schools 82/81
High Schools 73/48 Higher Secondary Schools 15/12
Mosque Schools 51 Degree Colleges 03/07
Polytechnic Institutes 01 Commerce Colleges/ Institutes 02
Vocational Centers 02 Private Primary Schools 156
Private Schools (Middle Secondary) 402 Post Graduate College 3
Universities[2] 01 Engineering Colleges/University[3] 02
Medical Colleges[4] 5 Military Institutes 04
Homeopathic College 01 Law Schools 02

Table ‎1.12 Abbottabad Educational Institutes

Figure ‎1.19 Ayub Medical College


Figure ‎1.20 COMSATS University in Winter (Abbottabad)


Figure ‎1.21 Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul

Healthcare Facilities; Abbottabad District

The following table shows the government health care institutions in Abbottabad district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Hospitals 11/1,410 Dispensaries 44/-
Rural Health Centers 02/28 Basic Health Units 55/-
Mother Child Health Centers 02/- Sub-Health Centers 01/-
Leprosy Clinic 01/- TB Clinics 01/-
Private Hospitals -/- Private Medical Practitioners 406

Table ‎1.13 Abbottabad Health Institutes

Policing; Abbottabad district

The District Police Officer (DPO) is directly responsible to the Zila Nazim for public safety. The Police Department is headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). The SSP supervises and controls the police force in maintaining law and order, and investigation of cases of a criminal nature. The Police Department operates under the Police Rules. There are 4 Police Circles in Abbottabad district: Abbottabad Cantt., Sherwan, Havelian, and Gulliyat. Each circle is headed by a Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), except Sherwan Circle, which is controlled by the SSP. Moreover, Station House Officers (SHO) and a number of Police Personnel also support the SSP. There are 13 police stations[5] in the District including women police stations.

[1] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[2] Hazara University, Abbottabad Campus

[3] University of Science & Technology Peshawar, Abbottabad Campus and COMSATsS University Islamabad Abbottabad Campus.

[4] Women Medical College; Ayub Medical College; Frontier Medical and Dental College; NIMS College of Medicine; Ayub Medical College

[5] Table no. 19.7 (a) Number of Police Stations by Division/District by Federal Bureau of Statistics.

Environment and Biodiversity; Abbottabad District

Located at a convenient distance from the federal capital on the main Karakorum Highway, Abbottabad is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. Abbottabad’s mountainous landscape is characterized by vertical vegetational variations which occur along sloping terrain. With its unique bio-ecology and diverse ecosystem, the district offers a rich natural environment to support a variety of wild flora and fauna.

Generally, the district is free from air pollution.

Flora and Fauna; Abbottabad district

There are 12 habitat types in KP. Of these 12, 3 are located in Abbottabad. About 80 endemic species are found in the Hazara area, and of these, more than 50% are found in Abbottabad. The district supports more than 1,300 plant species, 18 wild mammal species, 149 resident and migratory bird types, and 19 different reptiles.[1]

Flora; Abbottabad district

Maple (acer), pine (pinus), poplar (populas), kail or blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), spruce (picea), fir (abies), deodar (Cedrus deodara), oak (Quercus), elm (Ulmas), yew (taxus), and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) are the major tree species of Ayubia National Park as well as other parts of the district. Other common flora of the district include phulai (Acacia modesta), pipal (Ficus religiosa), walnut (Juglons regia), dhareek or bakain (Melia azardarach), sumbul or silk cotton (Salmalia malabarica), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo), sanatha (Dodonaea viscosa), kau (Olea cuspidata), kikar (Acacia albida), mulberry (Morus alba), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), and bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea).

Some of the medicinal plants of the district include sultani booti (Achillea mollefoliun), gul khaira (Althea rosea), nil kanth (Gentiana kurroo royle), podina or mint (Mentha pierita), akash bail (Cuscuta reflexa), and datura (Datura stramonium).

Main coniferous species of the Moist Temperate Forests are kail or blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), deodar or Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara), kachal or Himalayan spruce (Picea smithiana) and partal or silver fir (Abies pindrow). Among the broad-leaved trees, rein or white oak (Quercus incana), barungi (Quercus dilatata) and banjar or brown oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) are prominent in the outer margins of the zone, with rose tree (Rhododendron arboreum) as their most common associate. Among the shrubs, Indigofera (a genus of about 700 flowering shrubs), Lonicera (perennial shrub member of honeysuckle genus), Rosa, Desmodium (perennial flowering plant belonging to pea family) and Rubus (rose family) are typical.

The most common flora of the Subtropical Pine Forests is the chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) trees with a ground cover of thick grass, consisting of Arundinella setosa, cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica), and Themeda anathera.

The flora of Subtropical Broad-Leaved Scrub Forests consists of kahu (olea ferruginea), phulai or palosa (Acacia modesta), honey tree (Tecoma undulate), and kakar singhi or kakra (Pistacia integerrima), while sanatha (Dodonaea viscosa), ganger (Reptonia buxifolia), karir (Capparis aphylla), pataki (Gymnosporia royleana) and various forms of ber (Zizyphus spp.) form the shrub cover.

Some common shrubs are bhaikar (Adhatoda vesica), bhang (Canabus sativa), bathu (Chenopodium betrys), arind (Ricinus communis), aak (Calatropis procera), pataki (Gymnosporea royleana), and malla or ber (Zizyphus jujuba).

Common grasses of the district include khabbal (Cynodon dactylon), khawi (Cymbopogan jawarnica), dab (Desmostachya bipinnata), kana (Saccharum munja), murka (Dicanthium annulatum), chimmer (Eleusine flagellifera), and bansi ghass (Panicum antidotale).

Fauna; Abbottabad district

Fauna of the district includes leopard, black bear, lions, wolf, chimpanzee, jackal, hare, Himalayan goral, barking deer, rabbits, wild boar, porcupines, mongoose, Kashmir hill fox, red flying squirrel, Himalayan palm civet, masked civet, and rhesus macaque.

Avifauna includes house sparrow, house crow, mynah, parrots, pigeon, koel, red-vented bulbul, common teal, little egret, ruddy shelduck, mallard, hoopoe, Indian robin, grey and black partridges, falcon, shikra, houbara bustard, eagle, jalkookri, fakhta or dove, yellow-throated marten, Himalayan griffon vulture, honey buzzard, kestrel, Indian sparrow hawk, hill pigeon, spotted dove, and collared dove.

Reptiles include cobra, Indian krait, spiny-tailed lizard, fringe-toed lizard, brown turtle, and Indian monitor.

Amphibians include frogs and common toads.

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Fauna; Abbottabad district

There are 2 wildlife protected areas in the district, as follows:

  • Ayubia National Park which covers an area of 3,312 HA, established in 1984
  • Qalandarabad Game Reserve, covering an area of 8,940 HA, established in 1980

Both these areas provide sanctuary to the common leopard, common red fox, Himalayan palm civet, jungle cat, Murree vole, musk deer and woolly flying squirrel (mammals) as well as Eurasian woodcock, forest eagle owl, kalij pheasant, koklass pheasant and warbler (birds).

[1] Abbottabad District: State of Environment and Development IUCN