Pakistan’s Famous Chained Tree Has Been Under Arrest for Over a Century

The Chained Tree of Peshawar, in Pakistan, has been under arrest since 1899, when a British officer decided to teach it a lesson for moving away from him. It has remained chained ever since.

125 years ago, a drunk British officer by the name of James Squid performed one of the most bizarre arrests in history in Landi Kotal, a town near the Torkhan border. Convinced that the tree was trying to get away from him as he struggled to approach it, Squid ordered it chained to the ground and placed under arrest. The chains have remained in place ever since, and a plaque tells the story of the arrest for curious tourists.

“I AM UNDER ARREST,” the plaque reads. “One evening a British officer, heavily drunk, thought that I was moving from my original location and ordered the Mess Sergeant to arrest me. Since then I am under arrest.”

Located as the Khyber Rifles Officers Mess at Landi Kotal Way, the Chained Tree gets a lot of attention from tourists who find it hilarious. However, the locals consider the tree a symbol of the oppression of the British rule on the local population.

“Through this act, the British basically implied to the tribesmen that if they dared act against the Raj, they too would be punished in a similar fashion,” one local man commented.

Despite its controversial past, the Chained Tree of Peshawar remains an important landmark, one that draws much-needed tourism to the area.


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