Introducing Dir District & the Lowari Pass
Wedged between the districts of Swat and southern Chitral is Dir, little more than the watershed of the Panjkora River (a tributary of the Swat River). Once an independent state, it is now part of Malakand Division. For today’s travellers, as for the British in the 19th century, Dir is mostly a place to get through on the way to Chitral.
Dir’s people have been mostly Yusufzai Pashtuns since the 16th century. In 1895 the British forced their way through Dir and over the Lowari Pass to relieve the siege of Chitral, but otherwise left the region to its own devices until Partition. Dir and its nawab (prince) remained largely autonomous until the 1960s, when it was formally absorbed into Pakistan as Dir district.
In 1950 a seasonal road was completed over the Lowari Pass into Chitral. A much-delayed tunnel through the pass is nearing completion to offer year-round access to Chitral, almost inevitably to Dir’s economic detriment.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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