The Chitral Relief Force left Nowshera on 1 April 1895, under the command of Sir Robert Low. To keep the enemy divided, it was decided that Mora and Shah Kot passes be threatened and the main attack should be made on the Malakand, the strategy adopted some four centuries earlier by the Yusufzais themselves against the then defender of Swat. The attack was carried out on third of April. The tribesmen, most whom were unarmed, defended themselves with great gallantry, against the well-equipped and well-organised massive British troops. They continued their resistance and stopped the advance of the troops and artillery of the largest State of the world till 1895. The Britishers succeeded in making their advance and for the first time since the days of Zain Khan leader of Akbar’s armies, a host from the south entered the green belt of the Swat valley. They established garrisons at Malakand and Chakdara. The Political Agency of Dir and Swat was also instituted with its head quarter at Malakand, which was given under the direct control of the Central British Indian Government because of its significance.
At the flight of Umara Khan of Jandol, the British Indian Government reinstalled Sharif Khan as the Khan of Dir. All the territories previously occupied by Umara Khan were bestowed upon him and he was raised officially to the status of the Nawab of Dir.
It was easy to win hearts of the people. They considered presence of the British Indian authority as a common danger. Emotions ran high and within the passage of barely two years the most formidable revolt against the British arms took place that was ever witnessed even in the north -west Frontier of India. There was great unrest not only in swat but throughout the tribal belt on north- west border of the British Indian Empire In such a time the Sartor Faqir appeared in the upper Swat in July 1897. He claimed that his mission is to turn the British off the Malakand and out of Peshawar.
The English gave little importance to the new movement at first, but gravity of the situation could no longer be ignored towards the end of July. The troops stationed in the neighborhood were alerted and were asked to be ready for action at the shortest notice, and on 26 July 1897, the guides were summoned from Mardan.
The Sartor Faqir started his march from Landakai, on 26 July, for Malakand and Chakdara. His standard became a rallying point for thousands of fighting men from Upper Swat, Buner, the Uthman Khel country and even more distant parts. On the British side, the Guides arrived from Mardan at Malakand on the other day, 27 July, after their famous march. By 28 July the mobilisation of more troops in India was ordered. Heavy fighting continued at both the places, actually almost never ceased, until Malakand was relieved on the 1st August and Chakdara on the second.
Releasing the severe nature of the uprising, the Governor General in Council sanctioned the dispatch of the Malakand Field Force, on 30 July 1897, for holding Malakand and the adjacent posts and for punishing the tribes involved. For the support of the Field Force immediate formation of a Reserve Brigade was also decided early in the August 1897. The first and the last punitive expedition in the Swat valley was led.
The forces reached Mingawara on 19 August 1897, after facing stiff resistance at various places up the valley and after bearing heavy losses especially of H.L.S. MacLean and Lieutenant R.T. Greaves. Reconnaissances were made up to Gulibagh and the Ghwarband pass. After a stay for four days at Mingawara, the forces went back.
The severe nature of the fighting at Kota and Naway Kalay near Landakai at the time of the punitive expedition up the valley and its significance to the British can be judged from the fact that the British government awarded her highest award Victoria Cross to Lieutenant-Colonel Adams and Viscount Fincadtle, whereas Lieutenant MacLean was deprived due to his death in course of fighting, near Naway Kalay. Five person were awarded the Order of Merit.
The Swatis by their uprising of 1897,not only compelled the mighty British arms for a full week to fight against untold odds, but turned the year of the Diamond Jubilee of the English successful emergence from the Indian War of Independence 1857 in to surely one of the most troublous year in all Indian history.
During the post-Malakand War years, the Sartor Faqir, however, had made no significant armed struggle against the British Indian Government in Swat. Due to the intermittent struggle and faction fights within Swat and against the Nawab of Dir and the role of some of those that were influential but were ambitious for the ruler-ship and were in good terms with the Government, notable collision did not occur. It was in 1915, that once more a bid was made, after the formation of Swat State, though not with success.