Division into Miranzai and Kohat
The Bangash tribe seem from the time of their first settlement to have been divided into the Upper Bangashes of Miranzai or Hangu, and the Lower Bangashes of Kohat. The Samilzai tappa was sometimes attached to Hangu, sometimes to Kohat. Probably when they arrived they had no recognised chiefs, managing their affairs on the democratic system peculiar to these Pathan clans. When, however, they settled in a comparatively rich and open country, easily accessible to the armies of the Mughal Emperors, the latter would naturally have found it advisable to recognise certain leading men as chiefs, and to employ them in the collection of revenue and the furnishing of levies.
Sanad and Position of the Chiefs
The Khan of Hangu has a succession of sanads given to his ancestors dating as far back as 1632 (from the Emperor Shah Jahan). The earliest of these gives him the farm of Kachai and Marai. Another from the Emperor Aurangzeb, dated A.D. 1700, gives him the lease of both Upper and Lower Miranzai on a net revenue of Rs. 12,000. The succession to the chief ship in the Kohat family has been more broken, and probably the older sanads have been lost and mislaid. The earliest forthcoming dates from A.D. 1745 and was given by Muhammad Shah to Izzat Khan, the ancestor of the present chiefs.
The rule of the Khans of Kohat and Hangu must have been of the most intermittent character. The boundaries of their jurisdictions were perpetually varying, and they were constantly engaged in internecine disputes. Upper Miranzai seems to have been all along almost independent. Sometimes a powerful chief, with the support of the king, became Governor of the whole country from the Indus to the Kuram. For instance Ghulam Muhammad of Hangu in the time of Nadir Shah is said to have ruled over Baizai and as far as Matanni in the Peshawar district. Zabardast Khan, Izzat Khel of Kohat, in the time of Timur Shah, held the whole country as far as Biland Khel, the Hangu family being temporarily expelled. When the Durani monarchy broke tip, its dominions were divided among the numerous brothers of Fateh Khan, and from that time members of the Barakzai family constantly resided both at Kohat and Hangu overshadowing the local chiefs. These sometimes held a public position as lessees of portions of the country. At other times they sank into obscurity or fled for refuge into the neighbouring hills.
The detailed history of these Khans and lessees is very confused and of no interest to the general reader, though an acquaintance with it is very necessary for officers connected with the district. It will be found in detail in the appendices to Mr. Tucker's Settlement Report. The Bangashes now form the bulk of the population of the Kohat and Hangu tahsils.
The Niazi Tribe
Associated with the Bangashes are large numbers of Niazis, who are now hardly to be distinguished from them. The Niazis are by origin Pawandahs, the general name for the migratory tribes who carry on the trade between Afghanistan and the Panjab through the Gomal pass in the Dera Ismail Khan district. A remnant of this tribe to the number of about 400 men are still engaged in the Pawandah trade. These Niazis are a Lodi tribe; their first settlements were in the Tank tahsil. They spread thence about the end of the 15th century into the Bannu district. Being driven out by the Marwats they moved on into Isa Khel and Mianwali, where they are now the dominant class. According to Sr. Thorburn they settled in Isa Khel about A.D. 1600 and in Mianwali about A.D. 1750.
Settlement in Kohat
Little is known of the settlement of the Niazis in the Kohat district. It must have taken place a century or two before their settlement in Isa Khel. According to local tradition they arrived here in the time of Daulat Khan son of Bai Khan. This would make their settlement contemporaneous with that of the Baizai Bangashes, which seems to have taken place previous to the time of Babar's invasion (A.D. 1505). It is probable, however, that they arrived before the settlement of Baizai. They probably first established themselves along the lower course of the Kohat toi, about Kamal Khel, and spread along one of its main feeders up the Sumari valley to where it debouches on Miranzai near Togh., Tegh, Barabbas Khel and Kotki in Miranzai, the two villages of Samari, Gadda Khel and a number of villages lower down on the Kohat toi, as well as the large villages of Togh east of Kohat, are now occupied by Niazis. In the Bangash pedigree tables, showing the allotment of shares in the land to the different sections, the Niazis are shown among the original sharers, but I expect that most of their lands were acquired independently of the Bangashes. The Niazi villages form a lone strip interposing between the Khattaks and the Bangashes from Togh, in Miranzai to Manda Khel, a distance of more than thirty miles. Except in Upper Miranzai the Khattaks and Bangashes hardly ever come directly in contact. The Baizai Togh is acknowledged to have been founded by settlers from the Miranzai Togh, when the Kohat lands were partitioned among the Baizais. This alone proves that the Niazi settlement must have been of very old date.
The Bangashes, including the Niazis, occupy the Hangu tahsil and the Baizai and Samilzai tappas round Kohat. The Khattaks hold all the rest of the district.