Bannu, a town and district of British India, in the Derajat division of the North-West Frontier Province. The town (also called Edwardesabad and Dhulipnagar) lies in the north-west corner of the district, in the valley of the Kurram river. Pop. (1901) 14,300. It forms the base for all punitive expeditions to the Tochi Valley and Waziri frontier.
The district of Bannu, which only consists of the Bannu and Marwat tahsils since the constitution of the North-West Frontier Province in 1901, contains an area of 1680 sq. m. lying north of the Indus. The cis-Indus portions of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan now comprises the new Punjab district of Mianwali. In addition to the Indus the other streams flowing through the district are the Kurram (which falls into the Indus) and its tributary the Gambila. The valley of Bannu proper, stretching to the foot of the frontier hills, forms an irregular oval, measuring 60 m. from north to south and about 40 m. from east to west. In 1901 the population was 231,485, of whom the great majority were Mahommedans. The principal tribes inhabiting the district are: (1) Waziri Pathans, recent immigrants from the hills, for the most part peaceable and good cultivators; (2) Marwats, a Pathan race, inhabiting the lower and more sandy portions of the Bannu valley; (3) Bannuchis, a mongrel Afghan tribe of bad physique and mean vices.
The inhabitants of this district have always been very independent and stubbornly resisted the Afghan and Sikh predecessors of the British. After the annexation of the Punjab the valley was administered by Herbert Edwardes so thoroughly that it became a source of strength instead of weakness during the Mutiny. The inhabitants of the valley itself are now peaceful, but it is always subject to incursion from the Waziri tribes in the Tochi valley and the neighbouring hills. Salt is quarried on government account at Kalabagh and alum is largely obtained in the same neighbourhood. The chief export is wheat. A military road leads from Bannu town towards Dera Ismail Khan. The Indus, which is nowhere bridged within the district, is navigable for native boats throughout its course of 76 m. The chief frontier tribes on the border are the Waziris, Battannis and Dawaris. All these are described under their separate names.