Sialkot

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Sialkot is that name of a city and district situated in the north-east of the Punjab province in Pakistan at the feet of the snow-covered peaks of Kashmir near the Chenab river.

It is the capital of Sialkot District and, formerly, it has been the winter-capital of the State of Kashmir. The city is about 125km north-west of Lahore and only a few kilometres from Jammu in India. Sialkot District of Punjab, is also known as the Darap region, and also part of the Bar region of Punjab.

From 1748-1773, Sialkot, remained part of Kashmir, under the rule of Rajput King Ranjit Deo. The Pathans, managed to take many villages, under their fiefdom, until the Sikhs took the area, in 1770s, and once again made is part of the Punjab, from Kashmir.

Pir Daud Bandagi Kirmani (1513-1575), converted about 80% of Hindu Jatts of Sialkot district, to Islam, the Jatt clans that converted under him were Bajwa, Sandhu, Maan, Chatha, Ghumman, Virk, Basra, Kahlon, Cheema, Assoun, Dehotar, Hanjra, Waraich, Goraya, Sahi, Samra, Tarar, Aulakh, Korotaneh, who started to form a majority, because of their conversion upon to Islam, between 1550-1575, and at the same time many Hindu Jatts, of Sialkot became Sikhs,

The recorded history of Sialkot covers thousands of years. Sialkot has, since its foundation, changed hands from Persian, Greek, Scythians, Saka, Huns, Kushan, Pali, Jatts, Hindu Shahi, Rajputs, Afghan, Turk, Sikh and British rule to that of present-day federation of Pakistan.

During the decline of the short lived Durrani regime, Sialkot was occupied from the Pashtuns by the Sikhs in about 1773, Akali Baba Natha Singh Ji Shaheed, who was appointed as the Administrator of Sialkot, and managed the two Sikh Shrines of Gurdwara Bair Sahib (Sialkot), and Gurdwara Baoli Sahib, Sialkot (City). Between 1797 to 1810, Maharaja Ranjit Singh occupied Sialkot, Daska, Pasrur, of Sialkot District. The Sikh Empire extended from Peshawar in the west, to Kashmir in the north (touching) the borders of Tibet, to the Indus river in the south near Multan and, in the east, to the modern-day Tibet (autonomous region in China).

The Sikhs formed only about 15%, in Sialkot District of the Punjab, Punjabi Hindus, forming about 30%, as the Punjabi Muslims formed, about 85%, making Muslims a majority, in all of the district, which then also included parts of Narowal, Zafarwal, on banks of river Ravi.

The Bhatra Sikhs, were the main Sikh tribe, of the district, to also note that Sikhs do not beleive in Caste system, but still, as the records of the past, do say that Bhatra Sikhs, were the main Sikh population, in Sialkot District, followed by the Jatt Sikhs, who were 28% in 1931, And there were many Hindu Jatts, who were about 20%, in Sialkot district.

Ranjit Singh and his Sikh generals were capable of conquering such a great expanse of land for many reasons, varying from their European-trained army, Sikh rules of discipline, their modern European weaponry, modern British maps and the presence of ex-European mercernaries in the Sikh armed forces.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in 1839, In 1849, with the fall of the Sikh Kingdom, the British officers were appointed in Sialkot. Sialkot was annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849. The British laid the foundation of the Sialkot cantonment in 1849 which was completed in 1852.

For establishing the Sialkot cantonment, the British Commander-in-Chief, Sir Lord Napier, surveyed and selected the area between the seasonal streams, Bher Nala and Palkhu Nala, from the point of view of defence. The Area Command laid its foundation in 1852 under the leadership of Major-General Angulas.

During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 it was the scene of heavy fighting, and the Sialkot Fort was used by the Europeans for protection. The native troops plundered the treasury and destroyed all the records.