Chitral District

Chitral District

Chitral fort
Country  Pakistan
Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Capital Chitral
Established 1970
  Total 14,850 km2 (5,730 sq mi)
Population (2014)
  Total 414,000
  Density 25/km2 (60/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Number of Tehsils 6

Chitral (Urdu: ضلع چترال) is the largest district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, covering an area of 14,850 km². It is the northernmost district of Pakistan.[1] It shares a border with Gilgit-Baltistan to the east, with Kunar, Badakshan and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan to the north and west, and with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa districts of Swat and Dir to the south.[2] A narrow strip of Wakhan Corridor separates Chitral from Tajikistan in the north.[3]

Shandur, chitral


Tirich Mir mount chitral
For more details on this topic, see Chitral (princely state).

Chitral shares much of its history and culture with the neighboring Hindu-Kush territories of Gilgit-Baltistan, a region sometimes called "Peristan" because of the common belief in fairies (peri) inhabiting the high mountains.

The entire region that now forms the Chitral District was an independent monarchical state until 1895, when the British negotiated a treaty with its hereditary ruler, the Mehtar, under which Chitral became a semi-autonomous princely state within the Indian Empire. Chitral retained this status even after its accession to Pakistan in 1947, only being made an administrative district of Pakistan in 1969.[4]

Topography and access

Chitral is counted amongst the highest regions of the world, sweeping from 1,094 meters at Arandu to 7,726 meters at Tirichmir, and packing over 40 peaks more than 6,100 meters in height. The terrain of Chitral is very mountainous and Tirich Mir (25,289 feet) the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, rises in the north of the district.[5] Around 4.8 per cent of the land is covered by forest and 76 per cent is mountains and glaciers.[6]

Chitral Ayun

Chitral is connected to the rest of Pakistan by two major road routes, the Lowari Pass (el. 10,230 ft.) from Dir and Shandur Top (elevation 12,200 ft.) from Gilgit. Both routes are closed in winter. The Lowari Tunnel is being constructed under the Lowari Pass.[7] A number of other high passes, including Darkot Pass, Thoi Pass and Zagaran Pass, provide access on foot to Chitral from Gilgit-Baltistan in Ghizer District.


The district has a population of about 414,000.[1] The general population is mainly of the Kho people, who speak the Khowar, which is also spoken in parts of Yasin, Gilgit, Dir and Swat. Chitral is also home to the Kalash tribe, who live in Bumburet and two other remote valleys southwest of Chitral town.


Laspur Valley Chitral

According to the research of Rehmat Aziz, Director of Kohwari Academy, most of the minority languages are Dardic, including Shina, Kashmiri, Kalasha, Gawar Bati, Dameli, Pashayi, Shina, Kohistani, and Palula.

Iranian languages and Pamir languages spoken by immigrant groups in Chitral include Pushto, Munji, Yidgha, Tajik and Wakhi. The Turkic languages Kyrgyz and Uzbek are also spoken in minority.

The Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although the predominant language of Chitral is Khowar, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mun, Palula, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Gujar, Wakhi, Uzbeki, Kyrgyz, Dari and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu or Pashto.

Chitral Town

The town of Chitral is the main town in the district and serves as its capital. It is situated on the west bank of the Chitral River (also known as the Kunar River) at the foot of Tirich Mir which at 7,708 m (25,289 ft) is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush. Until 1969, it served as the capital of the princely state of Chitral.


The district of Chitral is divided into twenty-four union councils and two tehsils:[8][9][10]

The district elects by direct popular vote, one member of the National Assembly (MNA) and two members of the Provincial Assembly.[11][12]

See also


  1. 1 2 "District Government Chitral". Chitral District Government Web Portl.
  2. Cutherell, Danny. "Governance and Militancy in Pakistan's Chitral district" (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  3. Nusser, Marcus; Dickoré, Wolf Bernhard (2002). "A Tangle in the Triangle: Vegetation Map of the Eastern Hindukush (Chitral, Northern Pakistan)" (PDF). Erdkunde. 56 (1): 37–59. JSTOR 23218603.
  4. Marsden, Magnus (2010). "A tour not so grand: mobile Muslims in northern Pakistan". In Osella; Filippo; Soares; Benjamin. Islam, Politics, Anthropology. Chichester, England: Royal Anthropological Institute by Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 57–75, page 58. ISBN 978-1-4443-3295-7.
  5. "Disaster Vulnerability Assessment Report, District Chitral, KPK, Pakistan" (PDF).
  6. "Chitral, Pakistan Flash flood risk assessment, capacity building, and awareness raising" (PDF).
  7. 1 2 Butt, Qaiser (13 October 2013). "Dwindling funds: No light at the end of Lowari Tunnel?". The Express Tribune. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015.
  8. Chitral National Reconstruction Bureau website
  9. "Pakistan: North West Frontier Province: District, Tehsil and Union Code Reference Map (MA518-pak-NWFP UCs A3-v01)" (PDF). Pakistan: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 1 July 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2013.
  10. "List of Tehsils/Talukas with Respect to Their Districts". Statistics Division, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Statistics, Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010.
  11. Cutherell, Danny. "Governance and Militancy in Pakistan's Chitral district" (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  12. "Constituencies and MPAs (tenure 2008–2013)". Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013.

Coordinates: 36°15′N 72°15′E / 36.250°N 72.250°E / 36.250; 72.250

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