valley of Swat, covering 10,360 sq.km, is about 170 km north-east
of the NWFP capital, Peshawar, and about 160 km north-west
of Islamabad. With its clean rivers, open fields and forests,
tourism has traditionally been the main source of revenue
for many of its 1.8 million people, most of whom are ethnic
In 327 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the area. Around
the second century BC, the valley was occupied by Buddhists.
From the eighth century onwards, Islamic Arab leaders started
to exert pressure from the west and in 1001, the Afghan ruler,
Mahmud of Ghazni, launched several invasions of the Indian
sub-continent, conquering Swat.
The British, colonial rulers of the Indian sub-continent
from 1858 to 1947, recognised the state as one of many princely
regions in India in 1926.
At Partition in 1947, when Pakistan broke away from India
and independence was gained from Britain, the ruler of Swat
ceded the state to Pakistan while retaining considerable autonomy.
The princely state was abolished in 1969 by the Pakistan government.
Swat is an administrative district of NWFP; it does not lie
within Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
and does not border on Afghanistan. The capital is Saidu Sharif
but the main city is Mingora, adjacent to Saidu.