THE ROLE OF THE KOTWAL
Police officers at work and play
Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi gave an administrative set up to all the cities which came under his domain. The foundations of Lahore was laid as the city called MAHMUDPUR. And the administrative control was set up in it. Malik Ayaz was the man who gave LAHORE the face of the Cultured City of the region. Yes, every city was protected by a Fort, here the Lahore Fort, but the Fort we see today is a product of Emperor Akbar. Certainly a hill-lock was there, and it is reputed that the City Fort was near the Chuna Mandi Lahore. The commander of the Fort , was called the KOTWAL, and he was the chief Military Officer of the city. More like the Commanders we have in the Lahore Cantt these days.
There are many names of Kotwals we can pick up in history books, but mentioned in the passing. The first real mention is that of Kotwal of Lahore, who the elders of Lahore (Mian Ashiq, Mehr Maskhdum, Abid Khan, Muhammed Azim, Hafiz Muhammed, Mehr Shadi, Ahmad Bhandari, and Jan Muhammed), instructed to open the city gates (Lohari Darwaza) to Ranjit Singh, as an agreement that one dacoit is better than many dacoits. A proposal to get rid of the tyranny of the three Sikh rulers of Lahore. The first Kotwal in British times was Khuda Baksh, a Kakayzai by race, and a resident of Mohalla Kakayzais in Lahore. It is interesting that we have even a photograph of him. We also have a photograph of Chaudry Rahmat-ullah who was also a Kotwal of Lahore in 1901.
The most ancient Police Station in Lahore still retains the same name even today as PURANI KOTWALI. This kotwali functioned for centuries, till it was shifted outside the Delhi Gate Lahore. This new Kotwali also mentioned till its name was changed and a new administrative structure of Police Officers were appointed in Lahore. A new regime had become in operation.