District Dir is located in the north of northwest frontier province. Dir has long border with Afghanistan. Dir is considered the most sensitive area in Pakistan in term of religious extremism. Religio-political parties have good roots in Dir like JUI, JI and TNSM etc. The development indicators of Dir have always been not very encouraging. Dir was running under the ruling of prince dynasty till 1969. There were no facilities for education, health, road, transportation and communication for the inhabitants of the Dir State.
District was merged into Pakistan under a presidential order of the president of Pakistan. Dir was declared as Dir Agency, till 1969. It was declared as District running under Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) till 1990s. District Dir was bifurcated into Dir Upper and Dir Lower in 1996. District Dir Lower is composed of two sub divisions i.e. Timergara and Jandool (Samarbagh) Sub-divisions in Dir Lower and Wari and Dir Subdivision in Dir Upper
The population of lower Dir district is more than one million, the growth rate is 3.42 per annum as 1981 and 1998. The literacy ratio of the district among the population aged 10 years and above is 29.90 percent which has increased significantly since 1981 when it was just 10.16 percent .The male literacy ratio is higher i.e. 40.76% as compared to 12.25% percent for females, according to census report 1998.
The area is marginalized from the state times where they did not have any rights. They were opposing all forms of social and economic development and especially suspicious of any subject who sought a modern education. The same trend was continued with minor improvements. Still there is strong hold of the religious groups and Jihadi organizations.
Over the years, the area has served as the breeding ground for volunteers willing to wage holy war in Pakistan’s neighbors, Kashmir and Afghanistan. According to some data, around 100 seminaries are operational in Dir districts alone. There are dozens of Illegal FM channels operating in the area and broadcasting the religious and sects’ thoughts of their own. Some Madrassas are still under-construction, are being built using “foreign capital” and are mostly run by Jihadi organizations and extremist political groups and parties. Dir occupied the centre of the Jihadi stage when Tehrik-Nifaz-e-Shariat-Muhammadi’s Sufi Muhammad mobilized thousands of volunteers to fight the US-backed Northern Alliance forces along with the Taliban after Washington launched air strikes on Afghanistan in October 2001. Hundred were killed and many are still missing and nobody knows about their presence. The previous district government started the Nizam-I-Swalat by force and offices and shops were closed by the district administration.
In Dir the economically active population is 16% of the total population, main occupations are Professionals 5.4%; Agriculture workers 43.2 per cent; Elementary occupations 25 per cent; Trade 10 per cent and Transport 5 per cent. Females are not allowed to take part in decisions; the honor killing cases are prevailing highly in the areas as compared to other areas. The jirgas resist on registering the cases of the honor killing.
In the Past the issuance of the orders by a religious leader of the TNSM in Dir District calling the inhabitants to kill Westerners in the Maidan area and to kidnap and force female employees of NGOs to get married.