Gakhar and later Khanpur (Jagir)
The ancestor of the present Raja, was Kaid of Isfahan, said to be a son of Bahram V, the Sassanid ruler of Persia, his descendants controlled a sizeable area of the Hazara and Rawalpindi districts prior to the coming of the Muslim invaders from the North/North West around the 10th-11th centuries. Gakhar legends say that they were converted to Islam before joining with Sabuktigin, founder of the Ghaznavid Empire, and father of Mahmud of Ghazni, in his invasions of India. The clan later joined forces with the Mahmud of Ghazni in his invasion of 1008 and were rewarded with the kingdom of Potohar, which has since been their territory. The Gakhars converted to Islam en masse around 1205 during the rule of Muhammed Ghori. Thereafter it is a continual series of conflicts with their Mughal overlords.
The best primary source comes from the Baburnama (The Memoirs of Babur). In his chapter "Recent History of Bhera", in 1519 Babur noted: "There were the Jats, the Gujjars, and many other peoples living in the mountains between the Nilab and Bhera (in Jhelum district), which are connected to the mountains of Kashmir. Their rulers and chieftains belong to the Gakhar clan whose chieftainship is like that of the Jud and Janjua."
Khanpur is one of the 44 Union Councils, administrative subdivisions, of Haripur District in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It is located to the south of the district capital Haripur and about 30 km from Islamabad in a beautiful green hilly town. It is famous throughout Pakistan for its oranges and is also known for Khanpur Dam. The history of Khanpur is dominated by the Gakhars Chiefs who played an important role in shaping the history of the region. The Khanpur Estate was established by the Gakhar Chief Sultan Fateh Khan in early 18th Century. Khanpur jagir that consists of 84 villages of comprises of an area of 1,554 km2. Gakhar (also Gakkhar or Ghakhar or Ghakkar) are an ancient aristocratic and warlike clan now located in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Jhelum, Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan (Tibet), Chitral, and Khanpur (NWFP) regions in modern day Pakistan. Over the years Ghakhar has grown and now its area is about 7 kilometres (10 miles). Ghakhar Mandi is in Gujranwala District, tehsil Wazirabad.
  • GAKHAR (an ancient aristocratic clan in modern Pakistan and they also exists in some part of India as well)
  • The Gakhar (also Gakkhar or Ghakhar or Ghakkar) were a fiercely independent and warlike clan now located in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Jhelum, Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Khanpur (NWFP) and Mirpur regions in modern day Pakistan. They formed a feudal aristocracy over the territories they controlled. This tribe settled in the Potohar region, between the river Indus and Jhelum. Some claim the confusion of origin to be caused by different Rajput/Jat tribes which are geographically related, such as the Kukhran/Khokharan and the Gakhar/kakar/khakhar tribes. This ambiguity can be illustrated by well documented historical figures such as Sheikha and Jasrat being regarded as Khokhar by some but Gakhar by others, or in some works by H. A. Rose who even states that he is assuming the Gakhar and Khokhar to be the same. The Gakhar arrived in the Potohar region as Persian settlers after the invasion of Sasanians in 565 CE or they arrived with the fleeing Sasanians after the Arab invasion in 651 CE. In 682 CE some disputes arising between the Gakhar and the Raja of Lahore, caused this race to make a treaty of alliance... with the Afghans, who compelled the Raja of Lahore to submit to terms from the Gakhars, to whom he could otherwise himself have dictated conditions. This treaty included the cession of certain territories in perpetuity to the Gakhars. When Mahmud of Ghazni (979-1030), the first Muslim  attacked Peshawar in 399 AH (1008 CE) to avenge the collaboration and assistance provided by Anand Pal of Lahore to Abu'l Fateh Daud bin Nasir, the Qarmatid ruler of Multan. The Gakhars has joined other warlike tribes of the region to obstruct the invader. A narrative reported of the battle reports the presence of 30,000 bare-headed and bare-footed Gakhars. The battle resulted in total victory for Mahmud and the annihilation of the allied army of Indians.
  • Kai Gohar......................................................fl. 1030
  • The Ghaznavid Empire ended in 1149 with the capture of Ghanza by Ghorid sultan, Muiz al-Din Muhammad bin Sam. Ghaznavid power continued in northern India until the conquest of Lahore in 1187. Ferishta describes the Gakhars as wild barbarian involved in infanticide and indulging in polyandry before the conversion to Islam.
  • Unknown rulers
  • In 1204 to 1205 they (Gakhars) rose up against the rule of Muhammad Ghori (Sultan Muiz al-Din Muhammad bin Sam), who took strong measures against them and quelled the rebellion with an iron hand. After this crushing defeat they were so demoralized that their Chief, simply because of a Muslim captive had initiated him into the tenants of Islam, willingly became a convert, followed by his tribe en masse. Gakhars murdered Sultan Muiz al-Din Muhammad bin Sam on 14th Mar 1206 at Dhamik near Jhelum, while he was passing through their territory. Later on they collaborated with the Mongols when they proceeded towards Lahore in November 1241 (639 AH). After the Mongols had withdrawn, Sultan Nasir al-Din Mahmud of Delhi inflicted severe punishment upon the Gakhars for their cooperation with the Mongols.
  • Malik Haider...................................................fl. 1342
  • In 743 AH (1342), during the reign of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlug (725 - 752 AH), Malik Haider, a Gakhar chief, invaded Punjab, and slew Tartar Khan, the viceroy of Lahore. Khwaja Jehan was sent to Lahore and he reduced the enemy.
  • Sultan Gella
  • Sultan Meer
  • Sheikha (or Shuja) Khokhar..........................fl. 1393 - 1398
  • Sheikha occupied Lahore in 1393 (AH 796). This was during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Shah bin Muhammad (795 - 815 AH). Sarang Khan, governor of Deepalpur, confronted the Khokhars at Ajudhan (modern name: Pakpattan). Sarang Khan obtained the victory and Sheikha Khokhar went into Lahore. In the night, however, he collected his wives and children, and fled to the Jud mountains. On the following day, Sarang Khan obtained possession of the fort of Lahore, and giving his brother Malik Kandhu the title of Adil Khan, he left him there, and himself returned to Dibalpur. In 1397 came Tamerlane (Timur) himself, whose troops occupied Uch and Multan , sacked Tulamba, raided the Khokhars of the Ravi Valley and passed on across the Bias to Pakpattan and Delhi. In 1398, from Dehli, Tímur returned by the skirts of the hills, and made prisoners of those people who had remained in the hills. When he arrived at Lahore, he plundered the city, and he made Sheikha Khokhar prisoner, with his wives and children, and all those who had taken refuge with him. This Sheikha Khokhar, through enmity to Sarang Khan, had early joined Timur, and had acted as his guide, in return for which he had received mercy and favour. Timur granted the fiefs of Multan and Dibalpur to Khizr Khan, and sent him thither. Then he marched through Kabul to his own territories, and arrived at his capital, Samarkand. On the death of Taimur in 1405, Jasrat (or Dashrath Khokhar, son of Shaikha Khokhar) escaped from prison, returned home and assumed the leadership of his tribe and set himself up at Sialkot. He involved in the selection of a new ruler and intervened in the civil war in Kashmir between the two brothers Ali Shah and Shahi Khan. He favoured Shahi Khan (later known as Sultan Zain al-Abidin ibn Sikandar 1420-1470 CE in Kashmir) and due to this gained immensely by his victory. Gakhars power gradually increased due to the absence of a strong and central government at Delhi at that time.
  • Jhanda Khan....................................................fl. 1493
  • Mahmud of Ghazna, gave the ruined city to a Gakhar Chief, Kai Gohar. The town, however, being on an invasion route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakhar Chief, restored it and named it Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Gakhars until Muqarrab Khan, which became the last Gakhar ruler.
  • Tatar Khan
  • Hathi Khan..........................................fl. 1519 - 1526
  • Concerning the Gakhar clan, Babur goes on to say: "At that time (1519), the chieftains of the peoples on the mountainsides were two cousins, Tatar Khan and Hathi "Elephant" Gakhar. Their strongholds were the ravines and cliffs. Tatar's seat was Pharwala, which is way below the snow-covered mountains. Hati, whose territory was adjacent to the mountains, had gained dominance over Kalinjar, which belonged to Babu Khan of Bisut. Tatar Khan had seen Dawlat Khan and owed him total allegiance; Hati, however, had not seen him and maintained a rebellious attitude towards him. With the advice and agreement of the Hindustan Begs, Tatar had gone and camped at a distance as though to lay siege to Hathi. While we were in Bhera, Hati seized upon some pretext to make a surprise attack on Tatar, kill him, and lay hands on his territory, his wives, and everything he had." In the case of both the Janjua and the Gakhar clans in the Medieval period, Babur paints a clear picture of heavily armed warrior elites living off the tribute of many acquiescent villages and in turn paying reluctant homage to their Turko-Mongol overlords. The Battle of Pharwala in 1519 is Babur's vivid account of his attack on Hathi Gakhar at the fortress of Pharwala. The battle took place as Janjua, who were old enemies of the Gakhar, reported that Hathi Gakhar had recently turned outlaw. He was engaging in highway robbery and bringing ruination upon the people. It was necessary to do something to drive him from the area or else to teach him a good lesson. Hathi escaped and later, letters of appeasement were send by Muhammad Ali Jang’s servant. At the end of 1526 (933 AH), Hathi Khan waited on the emperor during his return to the Punjab (after the First battle of Panipat in which Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodhi). Whence Hathi Khan was defeated by Babur (who recruited the local Janjua Rajputs for this battle), he was later assasinated by an aged Sarang through poison. Sarang, now claimed leadership of the turbulent Gakhar tribe.
  • Sultan Sarang Khan, Chief of Gakhars....................1526 - 1546
  • He was born in Pharwala fort and his father was a Gakhar chief Tatar Khan. He greatly assisted in procuring supplies for the Mughal army. Mughal Emperor Babar fully recognised his services, making him a handsome present and conferring on him the title of Sultan. Gakhars became so strong that they ruled the area from Attock to Jehlum, struck their own currency and had the chiefs name in Khutba. He had two known sons Kamal and Said. In order to further cement his relations with the Gakhars and use them as an ally against the tubulent Afghans, Akbar in accordance with his well-known policy, contracted matrimonial alliances with them. Akbar's son Prince Salim was married to a daughter of Said Khan. Said Khan had fought under the Mughal General Zain Khan against the Afghans in Swat and Bajaur at Hashtnagar. Gakhars refused to accept Sher Shah Suri after their defeat and exile of Humayun in 1540. The headquarter of Gakhars was a fort in Sultanpur situated eight kilometers from Mangla. According to the Akbarnama, Sher Shah Suri personally led an expedition and started a genocidal war against the Gakhars. Sultan Sarang Khan Gakhar who remained loyal to Humayun, building the massive Rohtas Fort in 1541-43 (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997) in an effort to crush the Gakhars, to whom the fort was finally surrendered ten years after Sher Suri's death. Sultan Sarang was later captured by Emperor Sher Shah and flayed alive. Sultan Sarang died in 1546 CE and is buried in tomb in Rawat Fort with many of his sons. His brother Adam Khan assumed leadership of the tribe upon his demise.
  • Sultan Adam Khan, brother of Sarang Khan................1546 - 1555
  • Adam Khan was brother of Sarang Khan and had several skirmishes with the troops of Islam Shah. In 1552, the Mughal Prince Kamran sought shelter with the Gakhar chief, who gave him up to Humayun. Humayun rewarded Adam Khan with robes of honour, kettle drums and other insignia of nobility. Later Humayun blinded his brother Kamran. Adam Khan issued his own coins with mint name: Pharwala, which are published in Stan Goran and JP Goenka book "The coins of the Indian Sultanate" (Copper coinage: SG1: Falus 12g and SG2: half Falus 6g at page 491). From that time Pharwala fort was the headquarters of the turbulent Gakhars of the Potohar plateau. He got married and had a known son Raja Lashkar Khan. According to Ansari: "Sultan Adam was imprisoned at Pharwala Fort by his nephew Kamal Khan, one of Sultan Sarang's sons. Adam died in captivity. Kamal Khan also hanged Adam's son Lashkar Khan who had been found guilty of an illicit love affair with the wife of Kamal Khan's brother. Abul Fazl in his Akbarnama gives a different version omitting all reference to the love-affair and asserting that on a petition from Kamal Khan, Akbar ordered the division of the Gakhar territory between him and his uncle Adam; this resulted in a pitched battle in which Adam was utterly defeated and captured. This was clearly a stratagem which Akbar employed to punish the rebellious chief by pitting his own kinsman against him and to implant his overlordship firmly in the territory of the Gakhars."
  • Sultan Kamal Khan, son of Sarang Khan
  • Sultan Said Khan, son of Sarang Khan...........................fl. 1597
  • Sher Shah Suri built the Rohtas Fort in 1605 near the Jhelum River to stop the opposition of Gakhars against his rule. After his death, the Mughal emperor Humayun reorganised his army and made an agreement with Gakhars. The agreement was that if Humayun is victorious and occupies Delhi, he would grant them the region ten miles south of Chenab River. Therefore, after his success, Gakhars established their state called Ghakhar. Borders of this state were recognized by building a post which can still be seen near Ghakhar Grid Station. Saidpur Village, Islamabad, is a little quaint village, famous for its pottery, is part of Islamabad today. It is located off the Hill Road to the east of Daman-e-Koh. Sultan Said Khan son of Sultan Sarang Khan founded Saidpur. He gave his daughter in marriage to Mughal Prince Saleem who later became Emperor Jehangir. Saidpur was considered a garden resort and a perpetual spring provided water for drinking and for watering gardens around during the Mughal period.
  • Allah Kuli Khan.........................................1681 - 1705
  • Aurangzeb also honoured the Gakhar chief Allah Kuli Khan by marrying one of his daughters to his son prince Muhammad Akbar.
  • Sultan Muqarrab Khan................................fl. 1719 - 1769
  • Muqarrab was a local chieftain of a marauding tribe. The territory under his control was barren and unproductive. Agriculture was dependent upon rain and even that was only possible where ground level was available. There was not much trade or commerce either. Rock salt and small quantities of coal were mined and exported. Akbar's policy of pacification and reconciliation had its desired effect and we find the Gakhars leading a peaceful and uneventful life during the major part of the Mughal rule. They seem to have have only reluctantly accepted the Timurids as their overlords however as a celebrated Gakhar warrior-chief, Muqarrab Khan, sided with Nadir Shah Afshar and took part in the battle of Karnal in 1152 AH (1739), which showed up the crumbling fabric of the Mughal empire. As a reward for his services, he was confirmed in his possession of the fort of Pharwala and on his return to Kabul, Nadir Shah conferred upon him, as a mark of further favor, the title of Nawab, this seems to have been a personal title as no later Gakhar chief ever used it. In his days the Gakhar power was greater than it had perhaps ever been before. He defeated the Yusafzai Afghans and Jang Kuli Khan of Khattak, and captured Gujrat, overrunning the Chib country as far north as Bhimber. He was finally defeated by the Sikhs (Gujar Singh) under Sardar Milka Singh at Gujrat in 1765 and had to surrender the whole of his possessions up to the Jehlum. Four year later in 1769 (1183 AH), he was treacherously captured and put to death by a rival chief, Himmat Khan. Muqarrab's son succeeded to his dominions, until 1810, when he fell before the irresistible power of Ranjit Singh's thrice attacks.

Rupee. 1131 AH [1719 CE] 10.92g. Mint: Sultanpur [Sultanpur fort located about 8 kilometers from Mangla]. Metal: Silver. Obverse: (Darmiyan) Attock wa Jehlum shud (M)uqarrab Badshah - (Zar)b Sultan(pur) [words in brackets are off flan]. [Translation: Between Attock (River Indus) and Jehlum (River Jehlum) only Muqarrab is King, Mint: Sultanpur]. Reverse: Kalma written in a script similar to Naskh without any outline or border: La Ilaha Ila Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah. Ruler: Nawab Sultan Muqarrab Khan Gakhar.
Here a comment is irresistible: The significance of year 1131 AH (1719) is great in the history of India. Sind was recently lost by Mughal Empire to a local dynasty: Kalhora in 1718. Mughal Empre was not stable as was declining rapidly. It suffered from severe internecine conflicts and four Mughal Kings occupied the throne of Delhi in succession. Farrukhsiyar 1124-1131AH (1713-1719), Rafi al-Darajat (Mar-Jun 1719), Shah Jahan II (Jun-Sep 1719) and Muhammad Shah (Sep 1719 to Apr 1748). A rebel, Muhammad Shah Nikusiyar also ruled some parts of Mughal Empire during Mar-Aug 1719. The central authority at Delhi was, therefore, in the state of disarray and control over the provinces and other peripheral regions, was diminishing. Against this backdrop, several subedars became independent of the central authority at Delhi while new powers like the Sikhs consolidated their gains and emerged as independent states.
Falus. 1168 AH [1755 CE] 5.58g. Mint: Pharwala. (Near Islamabad). Metal: Copper. Obverse: Darmiyan Attock wa Jehlum shud Muqarrab Badshah [Between Attock (River Indus) and Jehlum (River Jehlum) only Muqarrab is King]. Reverse: Bey hamdey' hee Zarb Pharwala [By his (God's) grace, struck at Pharwala]. Ruler: Nawab Sultan Muqarrab Khan Gakhar.
The probability that the coinage under Muqarrab was not issued regularly but only sporadically is because, mostly coinage of neighboring kingdoms were used. It is obvious that a few silver and copper coins were minted to support Muqarrab's claim to the throne, independent of Mughal supremacy.

Pharwala Fort (Urdu: قلعہ پھروالہ‎) is a 15th century fort located about 40 km from Rawalpindi in Punjab, Pakistan. The fort is naturally defended by one side by a small Himalayan range and the other by the Swaan River. Coordinates: 33.61944°N  73.29917°E.
The fort was built by the Gakhars in the 15th century. The Mughal Emperor Babur conquered the fort in 1519, however after the Mughals reconciled with the Gakhars the fort was returned to the Gakhars. Under British rule, the Pharwala Gakhars were disbanded and their Jagir grants taken away after 1857.
The fort is in a bad shape. Being situated in the Kahuta area, is only open for Pakistani visitors. Foreigners need a No Objection Certificate to enter the area. A small community of Gakhars still lives inside the fort these days (around 50 people). An old and huge Banyan tree is also found inside the fort. There is no road to the fort. The Fort is not so easily accessible: there is no bridge, you have to cross the river on foot.

  • KHANPUR (Jagir)
  • Dewan Fateh Khan, founder of Khanpur Estate and son of Sultan Said Khan.
  • Sultan Sarang gifted the estate to his grandson Fateh Khan. At that time the estate compromised of 225 villages including Dhund and Karral Hills.
  • Shahid Baig Khan
  • Sultan Ajmair Khan
  • Sultan Bisharat Khan
  • Sultan Namdar Khan
  • Sultan Jalal [or Jaleel/Jehlum] Khan
  • Sultan Nawazish Ali Khan
  • Nur Khan......................................................fl. 1825
  • In 1825, the Sikh forces of Gurmukh Singh Lamba conquered the Rohtas fort from the Gakhar chieftain Nur Khan. The fort was also thereafter used for administrative purposes by the Sikh Empire until its collapse by the British in 1849.
  • Sultan Mehdi [or Mehnd] Ali Khan..............................fl. 1835
  • Raja Najaf Khan...............................................fl. 1836
  • Raja Haider Bakhsh Khan S/o Najaf Khan........................fl. 1857
  • confirmed in his jagir (84 villages) with area of 600 miles after defeating the Sikhs with the British in 1858, following loyal services in the Indian Mutiny.
  • Khan Bahadur Raja Jehandad Khan...........................? - 1930
  • He was born in 1870. Became Chief of Gakhars, C.I.E. (Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire), Kaiser-i-Hind, was the descendant of Sultan Sarang. Raja Jahandad was conferred the title of Khan Bahadur on 24th May 1881 and was bestowed Order of the Indian Empire on 1st Jan, 1904. He remained Assistant Commissioner, Punjab and was sent as ambassador of British Government to Afghanistan to congratulate Amir Habibullah Khan on his accession. He married into the Royal Family of Amir Sher Ali Khan of Kabul. He had two sons; Capt. Raja Haidar Zaman Khan and Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Maj. Raja Abdulaziz Khan. Khan Bahadur Raja Jahandad Khan, who has made a most painstaking study of the original authorities and gave the following statement: "All the historians before the time of Ferishta agree that the Khokhars, not the Gakhars, killed Shahab-ud-din Ghori. Ferishta certainly confused these two tribes, in other cases: thus he frequently refers to Sheikha and Jasrat as Gakhar Chiefs; there are no such names in the Gakhar tree, whereas Sheikha and Jasrat appear as father and son in the genealogy of the Khokhars".
  • Capt. Raja Haidar Zaman Khan...........................1930 - 1938
  • Son of Raja Jahandad Khan, born in 1892, educated at MAO College, Aligarh; Imperial Cadet Corps, Dehra Dun in 1912, was awarded the Delhi Durbar Medal 1911, King George Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 and Coronation Durbar Medal 1937, M.B.E. [cr.1938]. He married and had a son Raja Rukan Zaman Khan.
  • Raja [Safdar ?] Rukan Zaman Khan.......................1938 - 1963
  • Son of Raja Haider Zaman, born in 1921 and married to Malka Meher Afroz daughter of Khan of Makhad Sher Mohammad Khan and Zaibunnisa Kureishi - a prominent estate in Attock. He was educated at Cambridge School, Dehra Dun and Aitchison College, Lahore. He remained memeber of West Pakistan Legislative Assembly from Hazara district (1956-1958). He had two children: Raja Eraj Zaman Khan (Son) and Anjuman Ara (daughter). Other prominent member of this family are Raja George Sikandar Zaman (younger brother of Raja Rukan Zaman), Raja Shahjahan (b. 1920 - d. 1988), Raja Basharat and Raja Amir Zaman.
  • Sultan Raja Eraj Zaman Khan........................Oct 1963 - date
  • He was born in 1940 and Raja Sahib of Khanpur and the present Chief of Gakhars. He is the great grandson of prominent Gakhar Chief Khan Bahadur Raja Jahandad Khan and son of Sultan Raja Rukan Zaman. He was educated at Army Burn Hall College, Abbottabad. He was crowned SULTAN by Field Marshall Ayub Khan in a grand ceremony also attended by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The Sultan is the grandson (maternal) of Khan of Makhad - a prominent estate in Attock. His nephew Raja Sikander Zaman (son of Raja Haider Zaman Khan) is a former acting Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province from 12 November 1996 to 12 February 1997. Raja Eraj remained Member Majlis-e-Shoora during General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's military regime. He was also Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Khanpur, NWFP. He got married to (late) Ruby Imtiaz and has three sons and one daughter.
    • Raja Sheraz Haider Zaman Khan (son)
    • Rani Amber Eraj (daughter) - is currently married to Safdar Mummunka on 23rd Oct 2010. The couple have a daughter named Ayeza Safdar Mummunka. Safdar's maternal grand mother was Qamar Sultan; daughter of Khan of Makhad.
    • Raja Sheharyar Haider Khan (son)
    • Raja Faraz Haider Khan (son)
Sources of Information:
Pakistan's province of Punjab.
Countries / Territories
Chiefa Coins