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Bannu

Banu or Bannu (Pashto Urdu About this soundpronounce (help·info)) is a city located in Bannu District in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Founded by Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes in 1848 during the British colonial era, Bannu was once a British military base used for action against the Pashtun border tribes of the Tochi Valley and Waziristan. Bannu's residents are primarily members of the Banuchi tribe and speak a dialect of Pashto that is similar to the distinct Wazir dialect.

The major industries of Bannu are cloth weaving, sugar mills and the manufacturing of cotton fabrics, machinery and equipment. It is famous for its weekly Jumma fair. The district forms a basin drained by the Kurram and Gambila (or Tochi) rivers, which originate in the hills of Waziristan. Although Bannu is surrounded by rugged and dry mountains, it is a fertile place, and early English visitors had been known to refer to it as a "paradise"  see the beautiful description by Edwardes quoted by Thornton. The city of Bannu is the only urban area of any kind throughout the entire district of Bannu. In recent years, population growth has stagnated in the city, leading it to have fallen to be the second-largest city in Bannu Division and the 25th largest city in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

History

The town was founded in 1848 by Herbert Benjamin Edwardes, a lieutenant in the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers Regiment of the East India Company's private army. He ordered the construction of the fort named Dhulipgarh (Dalipgarh) in honour of the Maharajah of Lahore at the same time. At the time of its founding, the town was named Dhulipnagar (Dalipnagar). Its name was later changed to Edwardesabad in 1869. In 1903, it received its current name, Bannu. Bannu was used as the base of operations for all punitive expeditions undertaken by troops of the British empire to the Tochi Valley and the Waziristan frontier. A military road led from the town of Bannu toward Dera Ismail Khan. This road was built by military engineers under the supervision of a Bannu engineer, Ram N. Mullick. Mullick graduated from Banaras Engineering College and had served in Iraq and Lahore as an expert in heavy earth-moving equipment before the independence of Pakistan in 1947.

The population in 1901 was 14,291, including cantonment and civil lines (4,349). It was founded in 1848 by Lieutenant (afterwards Sir Herbert) Edwardes, who selected the site for political reasons. The fort, erected at the same time, bore the name of Dhulipgarh (Dalipgarh), in honour of the Maharaja of Lahore; and the bazar was also known as Dhulipnagar (Dalipnagar). A town gradually grew up around the bazar, and many Hindko speaking Hindu traders moved there from Bazar Ahmad Khan, which had formed the commercial center of the Bannu valley prior to annexation. The Church Missionary Society supports a small church and a high school founded in 1865. The cantonment centers in the fort of Dhulipgarh. Its garrison consists of a mountain battery, a regiment of native cavalry, and two regiments of infantry. The municipality was constituted in 1867.

The municipal receipts and expenditure during the ten years ending 1903–1904 averaged Rs. 46,000. In 1903–1904 the income was Rs. 47,000 chiefly derived from octroi; and the expenditure was Rs. 55,000. The receipts and expenditure of cantonment funds during the ten years ending 1902–3 averaged Rs. 4,200 and Rs. 3,700. The profuse irrigation and insufficient drainage of the surrounding fields render Bannu an unhealthy station. The town has a considerable trade, including fish guts and butts. Also, embracing the whole traffic in local produce of the Bannu valley. The nearest railway station is at Kohat on the Khushalgarh-Thal branch of the North-Western Railway, 79 miles distant by road. A weekly fair collects an average number of 8,000 buyers and sellers. The chief articles of trade are cloth, live-stock, wool, cotton, tobacco and grain. Bannu possesses a dispensary and two high schools, a public library and a town hall known as the Nicholson Memorial.