Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-D I Khan

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Introduction/Geographical Location Dera Ismail Khan District

Dera Ismail Khan is the southern-most district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is located between 31° 15Ꞌ to 32° 32Ꞌ north latitudes and 69° 55Ꞌ to 71° 22Ꞌ east longitudes. It is bounded on the north by Tank and Lakki Marwat districts, on the east by Mianwali and Bhakkar districts (Punjab), on the south by Dera Ghazi Khan district (Punjab) and on the west by Zhob district of Balochistan

The word “Dera” means “abode or place of residence”. Thus, Dera Ismail Khan means abode of Ismail Khan.

Dera Ismail Khan District at a Glance

Name of District Dera Ismail Khan District
Headquarters Dera Ismail Khan Town
Population[1] 1,695,688 persons
Area[2] 9,326 km2
Population Density[3] 181.8 persons/ km2
Growth Rate[4] 3.2% (Average growth rate of both D I Khan and Tribal Areas)
Male Population[5] 51.6%
Female Population[6] 48.4%
Urban Population[7] 22.3% (D I khan district and nill Tribal Areas)
Literacy Rate[8] 44% (D I Khan District and 14.3% for Tribal Areas)
Male Literacy Rate[9] 60.0% (D I Khan District and 22.4% for Tribal Areas)
Female Literacy Rate[10] 28.0% (D I khan District and 5.9% for Tribal Areas)
Administrative Units

05 Tehsils:

1.    Dera Ismail Khan Tehsil

2.    Paharpur Tehsil

3.    Paroa Tehsil

4.    Kulachi Tehsil

5.    Daraband Tehsil

6.    Local Area D I khan (Ex. FR DIKhan)

Main Towns D I Khan Town, Paharpur, Kulachi, Paroa, Darband, Sheikh Budin Hills, Solomon’s Peak, Chogallah, Kotla Syedan, and Bilot Shareef
Major Economic Activity[11] Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding & Fishing



Community, Social & Personal Services 21.2%
Construction 17.6%
Wholesale/Retail, Hotel/Restaurant 6%
Transport, Storage & Communication 3.2%
Others 3.8%
Main Crops Chickpeas, moong, wheat, jowar, guarseed, cotton, sugarcane, rice, bajra, barley, maize, mustard & rapeseed, sesanum, sugarbeet, linseed, sunflower, millet, sorghum, and fodder
Major Fruits Citrus, mango, apple, guava, banana, dates, watermelon, musk melon, leechee, and loquat
Major Vegetables Coriander, peas, okra, tomato, cauliflower, potato, onion, turnip, carrot, cabbage, spinach, and radish
Forest Area[12] 30,159 HA[13]
Black Topped Roads[14] 1190.1 km
Shingle Roads[15] 253.1 km
Electricity[16] Peshawar Electric Supply Corporation looks after supply and transmission of electricity
Telephone Exchanges[17] 23 telephone exchanges, with 10,569 working connections
Industrial Zones[18] There is one Small Industry Estate. The total no. of working Industrial units is 33.
Major Industry[19] Ice Factory[20] 14 Units
Four Mills 5 Unit
Rice Mills 4 Units
Sugar 4 Units
Household Size[21] 7.6 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water[22] 13.8%
Houses with Electricity[23] 73.1%

Table 1.1 D I Khan District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census (Population of both DI Khan and Tribal Areas D I Khan)

[2] 1998 Census; added 2000 km2 area of Tribal Areas DI Khan

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] Pakistan Social & 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 3,993 HA under forests.

[14] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[15] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[16] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[17] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[18] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[19] KP Development Statistics, 2018-19

[20] For a detailed list of all working industrial units 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/Heritage Sites, Tourist Attractions

Brief History of Dera Ismail Khan District

The areas belonging to Dera Ismail Khan (D I Khan) were part of the pre-Harappan civilization, a fact corroborated by the excavations carried out at the Rehman Dheri (or Rahman Dheri) archeological site in the region. The Rehman Dheri archeological site was first explored in 1971 by Ahmad Hasan Dani, in 1976-82 by Farzand Ali Durrani, and then again by Durrani, Ahsan Ali and G. Erdosy in 1990.[1] This site is situated 22 km north of Dera Ismail Khan town and is believed to be a pre-Harappan site dated about 4000 BC. The rectangular mound covers about 22 HA and stands 4.5 m above the surrounding fields. The ruins of the fortified town of about 10-15,000 inhabitants show signs of early town planning. Pottery, stone and metal tools have been discovered at the site. Rehman Dheri is now being studied to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The archaeological settlements of the Kafir Kot Temples and Fort show signs of Hindu Shahi domination.

Until the discovery of the Rehman Dheri Mound, however, little was known of the early history of the area. The 1961 District Census Report Dera Ismal Khan states:

The earliest traditions current in this remote quarter of the country refer to its colonization by immigrants from the south, who found this part of the country entirely unoccupied. Tradition tells of two Hindu Princes, the builders of the forts of Kafir Kot who were driven out by Muslim invasion in the early days. The ruins[2] of these forts still exist on the banks of the Indus River near Bilot. (p. I-5)

There was an influx of immigrants from two directions, both of whom found the country to be completely desolate: the first influx was an immigration of the Jats and the Baloch from the south, and the second was that of the Powindah Pathans from the northwest. The mixed tribes of Jats arrived in the beginning of the 15th century from the direction of Multan and Bahawalpur. The Baloch arrived towards the end of 1489, also from the south, with Malik Sohrab as their leader. These Baloch were called in by Sultan Husain, the Langah ruler of Multan, who assigned the Indus frontier regions (which included the areas of present day Dera Ismail Khan district) to Malik Sohrab as his Jagir.

Malik Sohrab had three sons: Ismail Khan, Ghazi Khan and Fateh Khan. During his rule, Malik Sohrab founded three towns and named them after his three sons, calling them Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Fateh Khan (Dera Ghazi Khan district). This Hoth (also spelled Hot) Family[3] held sway in the Upper Derajat[4] region for 300 years[5] until it was reduced to vassalage by Ahmad Shah Durrani (also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali) in 1750.

Malik Sohrab Khan established posts and forts to guard against invasions from the west. In 1794, Shah Zaman, the Durrani emperor, conferred the government of this area, together with the title of Nawab, upon Muhammad Khan Sadozai, an Afghan of the Sadozai tribe, related to the governors of Multan. Muhammad Khan Sadozai remained the ruler not only of the whole district of Dera Ismail Khan, but a considerable tract of land east of the Indus as well. He made Mankera, located on the east of River Indus, his headquarters.

Muhammad Khan Sadozai died in 1815 and was succeeded by his grandson, Sher Muhammad Khan, under the guardianship of his father, the late Nawab’s son-in-law. Ranjit Singh, however, conquered the territories east of the Indus, and retired across the River to Dera Ismail Khan (D I Khan), retaining his domination of this area for 15 more years, subject to quit-rent[6] to the Sikhs. In 1836 Nao Nihal Singh (also spelled Nau Nihal Singh) crossed the Indus at the head of a Sikh army and annexed the district to the territories of Lahore.

Under Sikh rule the Upper Derajat was given to Diwan Lakhi Mal, from whom it passed to his son Daulat Rai. In 1847 the first British officer, Sir Herbert Edwards, visited the area.

After the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the district was annexed by the British, like the rest of Punjab. Initially, Bannu district was a part of Dera Ismail Khan, but later, in 1861, Bannu was separated. The D I Khan district had 5 tehsils from 1861 to 1901: D I Khan, Tank, Kulachi, Bhakkar, and Layyah or Lieya. D I Khan was also made the divisional headquarter of the Derajat in 1861 and remained as such till the formation of Northwest Frontier Province or NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in November 1901.

In 1901, when NWFP was created, the trans-Indus areas of Bhakkar, Layyah and Vehova Circle of Dera Ghazi Khan were separated and added to Punjab. The D I Khan district then had 3 tehsils: Dera Ismail Khan Tehsil, Tank Tehsil and Kulachi Tehsil.

After Partition in 1947, D I Khan became a part of Pakistan. Its administration remained unchanged until 1992, when Tank Tehsil was upgraded to the status of a district. Paharpur area of D I Khan was made into a tehsil in 1995.

Paroa Tehsil and Daraband Tehsil were created later; Paroa was created from D I Khan and Daraband from Kulachi Tehsil.

History of the former Tribal Area (Local area D I Khan)

The main tribes living in Local Area D I Khan are the Shirani and Ustranas. The area belonging to the Shiranis is known as Largha[7] Shirani Area; the Ustranas occupy the highlands or Bargha lands of the district. A brief history of both these tribes is being recounted here.

The Shiranis originally hailed from Afghanistan, and occupied the principal portion of the mountain known as the Takht-e-Suleiman (Suleiman’s Throne) as well as the region southeast to the border of Dera Ismail Khan district (now FR D I Khan), and upto some parts of Balochistan (now Sherani district in Balochistan). Around 1556 they succeeded in subjugating the Jats and the Baloch population.[8]

The Ustranas are the descendants of a Sayyed (Syed) who settled among the Shiranis and married a Shirani woman. Since then, the Ustranas have a close connection with the Shiranis. In the 18th century, the Ustranas acquired a major portion of plain country below the hills (where they still live), subjugated the Baloch inhabitants, and encroached northwards upon Shirani lands.

  1. A. Rose, author of Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of Punjab and Northwest (1911) discusses the Shiranis and Ustranas. According to Rose,

These are the most recently located of the Trans-Indus Tribes of Dera Ismail Khan. Thus the Pathans hold a broad strip of Tans-Indus portion of the district running northwards from the border of the Khetran (District Barkhan Balochistan) and Kasrani/Qaisrani Balochs (Dera Ghazi Khan District), along the foot of the hills and including the western half of the plain country between them and the Indus. They also hold the Trans-Indus Salt Range and the Sulaiman Hills as far south as the Baloch border. (vol. 3, pp. 242)

Governmental Structure; Dera Ismail Khan district

At the Federal level, D I Khan 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[9]
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 7 (2 are women Members)

Under the Local Government Act District D I Khan has one 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. D I Khan District Council is composed of 49 general members, 16 women members, 3 peasants/worker members, 3 minority members, and 3 youth members.

There is one Member in the KP Provincial Assembly who looks after the affairs of all Ex. Tribal Regions adjoining parent Districts

Administrative Division, DI Khan district

The total area of the district is 9,326 km2 (1998 Census) and this is divided into 6 tehsils as follows:

Dera Ismail Khan Tehsil 21 Union Councils
Paroa Tehsil[10] 07 Union Councils
Kulachi Tehsil 04 Union Councils
Paharpur Tehsil 11 Union Councils
Daraband Tehsil[11] 04 Union Councils
Local Area D I Khan 12 Village Councila and 01 Neighbourhood Council

Table 1.2 D I Khan Administrative Divisions

[1] retrieved November 2020

[2] Kafir Kot Forts and Temples

[3] Imperial Gazetteer of India v.11 p. 262

[4] Derajat is the plural of word Dera it is a cultural region and consists of Dera Ghazi Khan Punjab), Dera Ismail Khan (KP) Rajanpur (Punjab) and Tank districts (KP)

[5] Impeial Gazetteer of India; Provincial Series; NWFP 1908

[6] Quit rent is a fixed rent payable to a feudal superior

[7] Largha means lowlands. This area is situated on the foothills of Suleiman Range and this is why it is called Largha

[8] Zhob District Gazetteer 1908 p.75

[9] One seat is shared by Tank district

[10] Created after 1998 Census

[11] Created after 1998 Census

Historic/Heritage Sites, Tourist Attractions; Dera Ismail Khan District

The following sites of historical significance are being protected under Federal Government Laws:

  • Northern Temples and ancient fort at Kafirkot, Umerkhel, D I Khan: These were built from the 6th to the 11th centuries AD. Kafirkot Temples represent the earliest experiments in this region, and are a proof of Hindu existence in the area
  • Graveyard including four tombs at Lal Marah Sharif, Lunda Pahar, D I Khan: This graveyard is located east of Dera Ismail Khan on Bakhar road. It houses four tombs dating to the 12th century
  • Rehman Dheri, Hisam, D I Khan: This is a pre-Harapan site, dated 4000 BC. Since the earliest occupation, except for the extension outside the city in the south, the entire habitation area was enclosed by a massive wall, built from dressed blocks made from clay slabs.The low mound of this fortified town is visible from Bannu Road. This rectangular mound covers about 22 HA and stands 4.5 m above the surrounding field. The fortified town that could accommodate 10,000 to 15,000 inhabitants shows signs of town planning. Pottery, as well as stone and metal tools were found
  • Southern Kafirkot, Ancient Fort and Temple, Bilot, D I Khan: There are two forts on small hills attached to the lower spurs of the Khisor Range, overlooking theRiver Indus. One is located a few miles south of Kunda, and the other near Bilot:

Other sites of interest include:

  • The Chashma Lake and Barrage: Located just beyond the D I Khan’ district’s borders, the lake and the barrage are extremely popular picnic spots
  • The Sheikh Buddin National Park and Wildlife Reserve  (DI Khan district) is another very popular tourist area and picnic spot.
  • The Banks of River Indus *D I Khan) also provide good spots for picnics

In addition to the above, there are parks/gardens and playgrounds in the district where family and friends can spend time outdoors.

Kafir Kot - Wikipedia

Figure 1.7 Fort at Kafirkot, Bilot, D I Khan

Figure 1.8 River Indus flowing by Dera Ismail Khan

Figure 1.9 Hindu Temples of Kafir Kot


Figure 1.10 A British Built Prison on Sheikh Budin Mountains

Topography of Dera Ismail Khan District


The district is the southernmost district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and is located in the piedmont plains[1] of the Suleiman Range. The district forms an irregular cone, pointing south, and its base or north being formed by the crest of the Bhittani and Marwat Ranges. The district’s eastern border is formed by the River Indus, and the western border by the Shirani and Suleiman Hills. The Marwat Range runs up to the Pezu Pass in the district’s southwest. The Khisor Range, also called Ratta Koh (Red Mountain), penetrates its northeastern corner for some kilometers, intervening between the Indus and the eastern end of the Bittanni Hills, which, here, turn to the northeast and run parallel to the Khisor Range. The highest point in Khisor Range is 1,046 m above sea level, while the highest point of Marwat Range is 1,376 m high. The southern extremity is 32 km in breadth, and adjoins the district of Dera Ghazi Khan.

The Suleiman Mountains in the west of former FR D I Khan are of considerable height, as well as some comparatively lower hills on the eastern side of the Range. A number of peaks in Suleiman range are over 2,750 m high. Takht-e-Suleiman is the highest point, with a height of 3,441 m. This range is covered by coniferous forests. The average height of the hills along the eastern side is around 700 m. The northern side of the Local Area D I Khan is bounded by the Gomal Pass in the Suleiman Mountains. This Pass connects Afghanistan with Tank and Local Area Dera Ismail Khan.

The rest of the district is divided between the Kachha or the Indus riverine area and the Daman or “the skirts of the hills”. Daman is a level plain between the Kachha area and the hills, intersected by numerous hill torrents which flow from the eastern slopes of the Suleiman Range and form deep fissures in its level expanse. Without these streams, Daman would be a desert.

The Kachha or Indus Riverine area is a narrow strip of alluvial land beneath the old bank of the Indus.

Rivers, Streams and Lakes; Dera Ismail Khan district

The western boundary of the district is surrounded by mountains and hills of Waziristan Agency and Tribal Areas adjoining D I Khan. The western part of the district is therefore drained by a large number of streams and hill torrents flowing down from these hills. Some of the important streams/ hill torrents flowing through the district are Gumal/Luni, Gejastan, and Sawan in the west, and Gudh and Paniala in the north. These streams reach River Indus only when there is flooding.

River Indus flows along the eastern boundary of the district and most of the hill torrents drain into it.

The hill torrents that have perennial flow are locally called Zam; some of the zams of the district are Gomal Zam, Daraban Zam, Chaudhwan Zam, Lar Zam (at Paniala), and Shaikh Haider Zam.

A large number of hill torrents flow down from the Suleiman Mountains. Important streams/ hill torrents in Local Area D I Khan are Tangi Khwar and Raghasar Khwar. They are the main tributaries of the Khora River (also called Daraban Zam), Khora River is one of the perennial hill torrents/ streams flowing down into the plains. Other smaller streams are Gat Tangi Khwar, Spinkai Ghasha, and Manda Nullah.

Forests; Dera Ismail Khan district

Most of the forests are sub-tropical and are widespread in the upper sides of the district. Species grown in D I Khan district include kikar (Acacia), eucalyptus, sirin (Albizzia), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo), khagal (Tamarix Aphylla), sukh chain (Pongamia glabra), mazri (Nannorhops ritchieana), vann or pilu (Salvadora oleoides), karir (Capparis decidua), jand (Prosopis cineraria), mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), ber (Zizyphus nummularia), and ber (Zizyphus muritiana). The Wildlife Department has reported that three species of partridge and houbara bustard are also found, along with sand grouse in the rakhs (dry scrub forests) of the district.  

The following table shows the type of forests in D I Khan district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Forest Area 74,525 A Resumed Land 838 A
Reserved Forests 38,336 A Communal Forests
Protected Forests – A Guzara Forests
Unclassed Forests[2] Private Plantation 35,351 A
Miscellaneous – A Linear Plantation 3,035 km

Table 1.3 D I Khan Forests


Sheikh Buddin National Park and Wildlife Reserve is a major forest area of D I Khan district. Other smaller Rakh/Forests (in Miran) include Rakh Ghaus and Rakh Lakri. Zarkani Game Reserve, River Indus Game Reserve, and Dewan Shah Game Reserve are Government-owned protected game reserves of the district. Thath Solhan, Dewan Shah and Takwara (Hathala) are community-owned game reserves. There are privately-owned protected game reserves in the district as well; these are Daraban Kalan, Musazai Sharif, Hathala and Jhandar Abdul Sattar (Chaudhwan).

Soils of Dera Ismail Khan district

The soils of the district can be broadly classified into sandy/loamy sand, loam/silty loam and silty clay loam.

The soil in most areas is a firm, hard clay called pat. Water does not easily penetrate it, but after continuous rains, it turns into a soft, tenacious mud. Piedmont deposits consist of gravel and boulders with clay that forms the alluvial fans.

Climate of Dera Ismail Khan district

Dera Ismail Khan has a hot desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation mainly occurs in two distinct periods: in the late winter and early spring (from February to April), and in the Monsoon (in June and July).

The summer season is hot and dry, and its duration is from April to October. The months of May, June, July and August are extremely hot, with June being the hottest month. During June, the mean maximum and minimum temperatures recorded are 42 °C and 27 °C. May and June are very dry, and the area remains under periodic dust storms, with hot winds (locally called ‘loo’) blowing across the district.

The cool weather begins in October, with December, January, and February being winter months. During these months, the day temperatures are not very low, but the drop in night temperatures is quite marked. January is the coldest month, when mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 20 °C and 4 °C

Most of the rain occurs during the Monsoon months—July and August. The 30-year mean average rainfall at Dera Ismail Khan Station is 270 mm.

Seismic Activity/Seismicity Dera Ismail Khan district

Part of the district belongs to Zone 2A, and a part of it is in Zone 2B of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan. This means the district will suffer minor to moderate damage in case of an earthquake.

[1] Piedmont plains refer to the foot hill plains.

[2] Owned by Government

Population of Dera Ismail Khan district

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




Population Male % Female % Urban % Growth Rate %
D I Khan District 9,326 1,695,688 51.6 49.4 22.3 3.45
D I Khan Tehsil NA 724,895
Kulachi Tehsil 2,769 101,854
Paharpur Tehsil NA 383,984
Daraban Tehsil NA 123,933
Paroa Tehsil NA 292,466
Local Area DI Khan 2,008 68,556

Table 1.4 D I Khan Population Statistics

Religions; D I Khan district[1]

Muslims 99.4%
Christians 0.2%
Hindus 0.1%
Ahmadis 0.1%
Scheduled Casts Negligible %
Others 0.2%

Table 1.5 D I Khan Religions

Languages; D I Khan district[2]

Urdu 3.3%
Punjabi 0.9%
Sindhi 0.1%
Pushto 22%
Balochi 0.1%
Seraiki 72.5%
Others 1.2%

Table 1.6 D I Khan Languages

[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; Dera Ismail Khan District

The mainstay of the economy is agriculture. The main economic occupations[1] of the district are:

  • Agriculture with its allied livestock breeding and fishing (48.2%)
  • Community, Social & Personal Services (21.2%)
  • Construct (17.6%)
  • Wholesale/Retail, Hotel/Restaurant (6%)
  • Transport, Storage & Communication (3.2%
  • Others (3.8%)

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

Land Use; Dera Ismail Khan district

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

Total Area 9,326,000 HA Reported Area 1,053,399 HA
Total Cultivated Area 25,4601 HA Net Sown 138,716 HA
Current Fallow 115,885 HA Uncultivated Area 798,798 HA
Culturable waste 365,547 HA Forest Area 3,993 HA

Table 1.7 D I Khan Land Use Statistics

Agriculture; Dera Ismail Khan district

The district belongs to the Barani or Rain Fed Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Agriculture of the district is mostly subsistence level, and depends on rainfall, and spate/rod kohi irrigation, as well as on irrigation from Chashma Right Bank Canal and its distributaries.

Chickpeas, moong, wheat, jowar, guarseed, cotton, sugarcane, rice, bajra, barley, maize, mustard & rapeseed, sesanum, sugarbeet, linseed, sunflower, millet, sorghum, and fodder are the main crops of the district. Main fruits of the district are citrus, mango, apple, guava, banana, dates, watermelon, musk melon, leechee, and loquat. Some of the vegetables produced and grown in the district are coriander, peas, okra, tomato, cauliflower, potato, onion, turnip, carrot, cabbage, spinach, and radish.

Chickpeas and moong beans[1] are the specialities of the district. The district is a top producer  of gram, moong, jowar, guarseed, cotton, mango and dates in KP province. Many varieties of dates[2] are produced in the district including Gulistan, Basra, and Mujahidi but the Dhakki dates are most well known in Pakistan and abroad for their quality and taste.

Figure 1.3 Date Orchard, D I Khan

Livestock Breeding; Dera Ismail Khan district

The following table shows the livestock population in D I Khan district as per Livestock Census 2006 (qtd. in KP Development Statistics 2018-19; Livestock population of former FR DI Khan has been added)

Cattle 515,941 Heads Buffaloes 206,007 Heads Sheep 416,329 Heads
Goats 783,018 Heads Camels 15,015 Heads Horses 5,061 Heads
Mules 543 Heads Asses 47,752 Heads

Table 1.8 D I Khan Livestock Statistics

The local cattle breeds are Lohani, Rojhan, Dani and mix breeds. Balkhi sheep is also native to the district.

Figure 1.4 Balkhi Sheep

Figure 1.5 Lohani Cow

Poultry Farms; Dera Ismail Khan district

The data for total number of poultry farms in D I Khan district is not available in Table 17 (Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock).

Fishing; Dera Ismail Khan district

Fishing is one of the more important economic activities in D I Khan district. River Indus flows for 120 km along the eastern borders of the district, and provides ample opportunities for fishing. Fishing is also carried out in various canals and water bodies of the district.

Bee Keeping’ Apiculture Dera Ismail Khan disrict

Honey is an important non-wood forest production of the province. KP offers ample opportunities for the promotion of bee keeping, and the Government is providing training to its rural population in the art of apiculture and honey processing.

Sedar (ber in Urdu) and acacia modesta (Phulai in Urdu) honey are produced in the highest quantities in KP. The total number of beekeeper entrepreneurs (farm) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is about 3,800 and 17,500 people are directly employed in these farms.[3]   

Honey Bee keeping is practised in the Sheikh Buddin Hill forests and Khisor Range of D I Khan district.

Minerals and Mining; Dera Ismail Khan district

Dolomite, fireclay, laterite, limestone, sand stone, shale clay and silica sand are being mined on a commercial basis in the district.  In addition, there are iron laterite deposits which need to be explored and mined.

Oil and Gas is being explored in the Marwat Block which is located in D I Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat Districts.

Irrigation Network Dera Ismail Khan district

Generally, the area belongs to the Barani (rainfed) Agro Ecological Zone of Pakistan, and agriculture is mostly dependent on rainfall and hill torrents. Spate irrigation or Rod Kohi Irrigation is practiced on a large scale in the district. The water from the hill torrents and rain is collected in ponds and then used for irrigation purposes.

During the British Raj, an inundation canal was built, called Bilot Creek. The extension of this creek was called Paharpur Canal, which started its operation in 1907; it remained a seasonal canal till 1970, and became a perennial canal after the completion of the Chashma Barrage Headworks. The Chashma Right Bank Canal is now the main canal providing irrigation water to the district. Other smaller distributaries/water courses include Rakh Distributary, Shahkot Minor, and Segra Minor.

The following table shows the area and mode of irrigation in the district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Irrigated Area 170,308 HA Government Canals 148,310 HA
Private Canals 2,547 HA Tube Wells 15,300 HA
Lift Pumps 3,775 HA Others 283 HA

Table 1.11 D I Khan Irrigation Statistics

A number of small dams are being constructed in DI Khan District for irrigation and for the generation of electricity; these are Daraban Zam Dam (on Daraban Zam), Chaudwan Zam Dam and Sheikh Haider Dam.

Figure 1.11 Chashma Right Bank Canal D I Khan

Figure 1.12 River Indus at D I Khan

Industry and Manufacturing; Dera Ismail Khan district

There is a Small Industries Estate in the district. At present there are 34 running industrial units in the District. The following table shows the type and number of industrial units in the district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Type of Industry No. of Units Type of Industry No. of Units
Flour Mill 06 Ice Factories 14
Plastic & Rubber 01 Pharmacy 01
Furniture 01 Sugar 04
Textile Mills 01 Vegetable Ghee/Oil 02
Wood Working 04

Table 1.9 D I Khan Industries

Handicrafts of Dera Ismail Khan district

Embroidery, also known as desert embroidery, is one of the most important and well known handicrafts of the area. Most known types of embroideries are Cross-stitch, ari, kacha tanka, tar kashi, shadow work, sheesha, ribbon work, kinari, moti tanka, thilla work, arr (kundi), lace (dori), kacha kasheeda, corner and gota work.

Hand-knotted carpets, handmade daggers, knives with intricately decorated handles, and other handicrafts similar to Multani handicrafts are also made in the district. Ornamental shoes, popularly known as tillaydar chapli, are quite famous not only in the district but in other parts of the province as well.

[1] Profile of D I Khan by South Asian Partnership, Pakistan

[2] District Profile, D I khan by SMEDA

[3] Small Medium Enterprise Development Authority, Honey Processing & Packaging Common Facility Center – Mingora Swat

Economic Infrastructure; Dera Ismail Khan District

The district is lacking in economic infrastructure. Until 1985, the district was connected to Bhakkar in Punjab via a Boat Bridge, which was replaced in 1985 by the Darya Khan Bridge over River Indus when it was opened for traffic, making communication easier. A road constructed over Chashma Barrage established a connection between the district and Mianwali. The National Highway N-55 or Indus Highway has now connected the district to all parts of Pakistan.

Road Statistics; Dera Ismail Khan district

KP Development Statistics 2018-19, gives the road statistics of D I Khan district as:

High Type 1190.1 km
Low Type 253.1 km
Total 1,443.2 km

Table 1.10 D I Khan Road Statistics

Important roads of D I Khan district include:

  • Indus Highway or National highway N-55
  • D I Khan-Daraban Road
  • D I Khan-Kulachi Road
  • D I Khan-Bannu Road
  • D I Khan-Tank Road
  • D I Khan-Paharpur Road
  • The National Highway N 50 passes close to Darazinda (Kuchlack Dera Ismail Khan via Zhob). This highway connects Zhob to South Waziristan Agency, connecting a number of important villages of Ex. F R D I Khan in the process

Rail and Airways; Dera Ismail Khan district

There is one railway station in Paharpur Tehsil of the district. The nearest railway station for D I Khan city is at Darya Khan (Bhakkar district).

There is a commercially operated domestic airport in Dera Ismail Khan.

Radio Television; Dera Ismail Khan district

Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) has one AM and one FM Radio Broadcasting Station in D I Khan. There are 3 privately-owned radio stations in the district.

TV can be viewed through cable.

Telecommunications; Dera Ismail Khan district

According to KP Development Statistics 2018-19, there are 26 telephone exchanges in D I Khan with 10,196[1] connections.

Post Offices/ Courier Services; Dera Ismail Khan district

There are 115 post offices in DI Khan district, with 1 head office, 39 sub-post offices and 75 branch post offices in the district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19).

Banking/ Financial Institutions; Dera Ismail Khan district

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

  • Allied Bank Ltd.
  • Askari Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Al Falah Ltd.
  • Bank Islami (Pakistan) Ltd.
  • Faysal Bank Ltd.
  • J S Bank Ltd.
  • Meezan Bank Ltd.
  • The Bank of Punjab Ltd.
  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • The Bank of Khyber Ltd.
  • Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.
  • National Bank of Pakistan Ltd.
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Tariqiati Bank

In all there are 64 branches of various conventional banks and 12 branches of different Islamic banks in the District.

Electricity and Gas; Dera Ismail Khan district

Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) looks after electricity distribution and transmission to all the districts of KP. PESCO networks own and maintain KP’s electricity distribution system via 132, 66, and 33 KV sub-transmission lines and sub-stations, as well as 11 KV and 440 V low tension lines with distribution transformers that deliver electricity to domestic and commercial users.

[1] Added Ex FR DI Khan

Educational Institutions; Dera Ismail Khan district

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 799/505 Middle Schools 126/77
High Schools 83/49 Higher Secondary Schools 28/13
Mosque Schools 53 Degree Colleges 08/05
Polytechnic Institutes 02 Commerce Colleges/Institutes 02
Vocational Centers 03 Private Primary Schools 115
Private Schools (Middle to Higher Secondary) 179 Medical Colleges[1] 01
Engineering Colleges 01[2] Universities[3] 01
Homeopathic Colleges 02 Law Schools 02

Table 1.12 D I Khan Educational Institutes

In addition, there is a Cadet College and an Agricultural Research Institute in the District.

Healthcare Facilities; Dera Ismail Khan district

The following table shows the Government Health Care Institutions in D I Khan district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Hospitals 12/673 Dispensaries 40/-
Rural Health Centers 02/48 Basic Health Units 41/-
Mother Child Health Centres 07/- Sub-Health Centers 02/-
Leprosy Clinic TB Clinics 01/-
Private Hospitals Private Medical Practitioners 99

Table 1.13 D I Khan Health Institutes

Policing; Dera Ismail Khan district

The District Police Officer, D I Khan (DPO) is in-charge of policing D I Khan district. The DPO reports to the Deputy Inspector General Police (DIGP) who in turn reports to the District Co-ordination Officer. There are 08 police stations[4] in D I Khan district.

Figure 1.14 A Bund made for rod Kohi Irrigation, D I khan

Figure 1.15 Allah Nawaz Castle of the Nawab of Dera Ismail Khan


Figure 1.16 Gomal Medical College

Figure 1.17 Women Displaying Hand Embroidered Dresses in D I Khan

Figure 1.18 Ashiana Shopping Center in D I Khan

Figure 1.19 Kulachi Gate

Figure 1.20 Gomal University D I Khan

Figure 1.1 A British Era Building in D I Khan

[1] Gomal University

[2] Gomal University

[3] Gomal Medical College

[4] Table no. 19.7 (a) Number of Police Stations by Division/District

Environment and Biodiversity; Dera Ismail Khan District

D I Khan is one of the lesser developed districts of Pakistan, with poverty being a major factor contributing to environmental degradation. Most of the rural areas are devoid of clean drinking water, education or health care. The district lacks major industry and thus the atmosphere is relatively free of pollution. The only pollutants are dust particles and emissions from vehicular traffic.

Flora and Fauna; Dera Ismail Khan district

Flora DI khan district

Most common floral species grown in district include kikar (Acacia), eucalyptus, sirin (Albizzia), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo), khagal (Tamarix aphylla), sukh chain (Pongamia glabra), mazri (Nannorhops ritchieana), vann or pilu (Salvadora oleoides), karir (Capparis decidua), jand (Prosopis cineraria), mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), ber (Zizyphus nummularia), and ber (Zizyphus muritiana).

The medicinal trees, shrubs and grasses include (among others):

Phulai (Acacia modesta), babul or kikar (Acacia nilotica), bui booti (Aerva javanica), camelthorn or jawan (Alhagi maurorum), aak (Calotropis procera), kisani boti or kasni (Cichorium intybus), karthuma or bitter apple (Citrullus colocythis), gandi booti (Cleome brachycarpa), dhaman or fagonia (Fagonia cretica), jungle mooli (Farsetia jackquemontii), wild rue or harmal (peganum harmala), date palm or khajji (Phoenix dactylifera), Indian pond weed or badari pairkhatai (Potamogeton nodosus), and kana or Bengal cane (Saccharum benghalensis).

Fauna; D I Khan District

Markhor and mountain deer are the only wildlife species still visible in the district. The region continues to provide a safe haven for a large number of birds which include cranes, ducks, chakor, grey and black partridges, houbara bustard, sand grouse, see-see partridge, black and grey francolin, quails, lesser whistling duck, greyleg goose, varieties of shelduck, varieties of geese, Eurasian wigeon, mallard, varieties of ducks, varieties of pochards, greater scaup (endangered), Eurasian wryneck (endangered), variety of wood peckers, black-rumped flameback(resident bird), coppersmith barbet (rare), hoopoe, two varieties of roller, variety of king fishers, three varieties of bee-eaters, varieties of cuckoos, koel, greater cuckal (resident), two varieties of parakeet, three varieties of alpine swift, varieties of owls, night jar, pigeons, varieties of doves, water rail (rare), and coots.[1]

The River Indus flowing near the district supports the critically endangered blind dolphin of Pakistan. Quite a few varieties of turtles are also found in the district; they include spotted pond turtle, Smith’s turtle, braiminy turtle, Indian roofed turtle, Ganges soft-shell turtle, peacock soft-shell turtle, Indus mud turtle, and chitra turtle.

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Fauna; Dera Ismail Khan district

Following are the wildlife protected areas of the district:

  • The Sheikh Buddin National Park; D I Khan district
  • Zarkani Game Reserve; D I Khan district
  • A part of River Indus Game Reserve; D I Khan district
  • Dewan Shah Game Reserve; D I Khan district
  • Thath Solhan Game Reserve (Community-owned); D I Khan district
  • Takwara Game Reserve (Hathala town; Community-owned); D I Khan district
  • Daraban Kalan Game Reserve(Privately-owned); D I Khan district
  • Musazai Sharif Game Reserve (Privately-owned); D I Khan district
  • Hathala Game Reserve (Privately-owned); D I Khan district
  • Jhandar Abdul Sattar (Chaudhwan) Game Reserve (Privately-owned); D I Khan district

These areas provide sanctuary to endangered flora and fauna like markhor, mountain deer, cranes, ducks, chakor, black partridge, grey partridge, houbara bustard, and other water fowl, as well as greater scaup, Eurasian wryneck, coppersmith barbet, and water rail. The Government of KP is also providing protection to turtles.

Figure 1.6 Greater Scaup


[1] Birds of Dera Ismail Khan District of North West Frontier Province in Pakistan by JUHA KYLÄNPÄÄ