CHARSADDA: Elders and youngsters of a village attentively listen to a sexagenarian who narrates history at a hujra in Tarkha village, known as “village of soldiers”. “There was a time when people had the lone weapon of arrow and bow. With the passage of time, sword came into being. The ability to ride a horse expedited wars and conquests. After much time came the other weapons like rifles and other modern weapons,” says Imdadullah Shalmani, an assistant sub-inspector in the Police Department. The event was a jirga of the Shalmani tribe held at the hujra of Fazal Dad Shalmani, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP). According to Inspector Hameed Khan Shalmani, the area is known as the village of soldiers because it not only has a large number of residents who are serving in the security forces personnel, many of its soldiers have died in various actions. To name a few, Jehan Sultan was an army soldier from the village who was killed in a US mission in Somalia, police officer Muhammad Islam died during a clash with outlaws and police officials, Khan Bahadur and Iftikhar Khan also died in a similar action against terrorists. Similarly, Syed Ajmeer Shah, son of a retired army officer Syed Murad Shah, was a constable and he won promotions for his brave actions and good performance. Ajmeer also died during an operation against outlaws in 2011. Besides being the village of soldiers, Tarkha is also an old village. It is unknown when it was built, but antiques show that people were living in the village during 100 BC; for evidence, there are some Buddhist era “Dheris” and other artifacts such as coins and rings discovered during excavations in Dheri Shabli and Shadalam. The great Greek warrior Alexander the great had passed away through this village. According to the book “The Pathans” written by Sir Olaf Caroe, Alexander used the way, which leads from Shabqadar to Charsadda near the bank of River Kabul. The village lies on the bank of River Kabul. Majority of the villagers are from the Shalmani tribe. During Friday’s jirga, there was a wave of excitement among the elders and youngsters alike who are sitting in charpoys in the hujra. The voices of the speakers, who speak by turn, echo in the place during the jirga, attended by elders from Malakand, Swat, Peshawar, Charsadda and Shangla. “Our platform should be social welfare. We just want to work for welfare of Shalmanis who lag behind in education and other sectors,” stated DSP Fazal Dad Shalmani. According to Tazkira Pathan, a famous history book authored by Pir Roshan, Shalmani tribe originally migrated from Israel to Arabia and later to Iran and Afghanistan. Historians say that the Shalmanis migrated to Pakistan along with Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and Shahabuddin Ghauri during their attacks on the subcontinent. Currently, Shalmanis inhabit Malakand, Swat, Peshawar, Charsadda, Shalman area of Khyber Agency, Hazara Division and certain other areas in the country. All Pakistan Shalmani Qaumi Movement president Muhib Gul Shalmani said they were carrying out activities to assemble the tribesmen on a single platform. He added that they may decide to contest elections from the movement’s platform in the future. The movement’s provincial president Jan Muhammad Shalmani said the tribesmen are patriotic people and most of them were serving in security forces. He said the movement is purely a social service and there is no other motive.