Mianwali District was an agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley Civilization followed by the Vedic Civilization. In 997 CE, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi took over the Ghaznavid dynasty empire established by his father, Sultan Sebuktegin. In 1005 he conquered the Shahis in Kabul, followed by the conquests of Punjab region. The population of the Punjab region became majority Muslim, following the conquests by various Muslim dynasties from Central Asia. Immediately preceding the annexation of the Punjab by the British after the Anglo-Sikh Wars, this area was part of the Sikh Empire. During British rule, the Indian empire was subdivided into provinces, divisions and districts; afterward, the independence of Pakistan divisions remained the third tier of government until 2000. The British had established the town of Mianwali as tehsil headquarters of Bannu District then part of Dera Ismail Khan Division of Punjab province.
Though Mianwali is claimed an integral part of the Saraiki speaking belt by the Saraiki language activists, Punjabi-Saraiki division seems to hold little influence on common people in this district. Inhabitants of Mianwali district speak a great variety of Saraiki. Besides Saraiki and Punjabi, Pashto and Urdu languages are also spoken or used for communications by the people of Mianwali.
District Mianwali is spread over an area of 5,840 square kilometers and is in vicinity of district Attock on North-East, Chakwal and Khushab districts on East and Bhakkar on South and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on its West and North-West. River Indus flows across the district from North to South. Three branches of the Thal Canal Emerging from Jinnah Barrage on river Indus near Kalabagh irrigate the vast areas. Another canal called Chashma Link Canal connects river Indus with river Jhelum through Chashma Barrage. The district has extreme hot and cold climate. The maximum temperature during the summer shoots up to 51 C while the minimum temperature recorded in winter is as low as 2 C. The average rainfall in the district is about 250mm.
Namal Lake is located on side of the Namal valley in Mianwali District, Punjab, Pakistan. It was formed following the construction of Namal Dam in 1913. The lake has a surface area of 5.5 square km. There are mountains on its Western and Southern sides while the other two sides are the agricultural areas.
The Kala Bagh Dam is a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Indus River at Kala Bagh in the Mianwali District, Punjab, Pakistan. The issue has been intensely debated along ethnic and regional lines for over 40 years. If constructed, the dam could generate 3,600 MW of electricity. It is also suggested and promoted as a potential solution to the chronic flooding problems and the related water crises in the country. Over the decades, the understanding of the environmental impacts of mega dam projects have grown, and Pakistan Economy Watch has demanded a national debate on the KBD issue.