UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


North Waziristan Agency

Wazirs are the most important tribe in the tangle of mountains that form the western border of the North-West Frontier Province with the Zhob District of Balochistan. Administratively it is divided into two agencies: North Waziristan Agency and South Waziristan Agency. The Wazirs are further divided into the Utmanzai and Ahmadzai clans. The former live in the North Waziristan Agency, while the latter live in the South Waziristan.

In the north, the North Waziristan agency is bounded by Paktia Province of Afghanistan, and Shawal tribal region of Pakistan in the west. The Birmal area of Afghanistan and the South Waziristan Agency of Pakistan in the west, and the Frontier Region of Bannu District in the east. The North Waziristan Agency is to the north of the South Waziristan Agency, Zhob District of Balochistan in the south, Katawaz area of Afghanistan in the west and Dera Ismail Khan District in the east.

North Waziristan Agency was constituted as a full fledged agency in the year 1910, with its headquarters at Miran shah. It is inhabited by extremely gallant and valiant tribes of Wazirs and Daurs. The agency lies from 32.35 degrees to 33.22 degrees latitudes and 69.22 degrees to 70.38 degrees longitudes. It is bounded on the north by Afghanistan, Kurram Agency and Hangu District, on the east by Tribal Areas Adjoining Bannu District and Tribal Area Adjoining Karak and Bannu Districts. On the south by South Waziristan Agency and on the west also by Afghanistan. The total area of the agency is 4707 square kilometers.

Geographically, the whole of Waziristan is a single unit. However for the administration convenience it has been split into two agencies i.e. North and South Waziristan. The area has been described as the land of high and difficult hills with deep and rugged defiles. The mountains of North Waziristan are geographically apart from the larger mountain system of the Koh-e-Sufaid in the north and the Sulaiman in the south. The Waziristan hills were subject to igneous activity during the late Cretaceous period. The highly mineralized zone of Razmak is connected with it. The mountains and hills form a rampart between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Average height of the Waziristan hills are about 1500 to 2500 meters above the sea level. The important ranges in the Waziristan hills are Derwesta, Laran, Vezda, Ingame, Shoidar, Shawal, Eblunkai, Alexandra, Muzdak and Zakha. Tochi river flowing through the agency have formed the Tochi Pass named after the river, through which armies, people and cultures have moved in and out of this region. The Tochi Pass connects Ghazni in Afghanistan with Bannu in Pakistan. Tochi river has carved sufficiently large and important valley which is bounded by hills and mountains on all sides except the eastern side. It is about 100 kilometres in length and opens up into Indus valley near Bannu. The Tochi valley is fertile and cultivable. Ketu and Kurram are the other two minor rivers which flow in the northern part of the agency.

Following minerals have been found in the area. Copper associated with volcanics at Boya, Manzarkhel Spinkamar (east of Shora-Algad). Manganese associated with cherts. Chromite associated with serpentinites. There are only two mining sites of chromite at Mohammad Khel and Saidgi. In some hills ordinary stones are mined for construction of buildings etc.

The climate of the area is cold in winter and warm in summer. Summer season starts from May and continues till September. June is generally the warmest month. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during the month of June are 31 and 18 degree Celsius respectively. The winter starts in October and continues till April. December. January and February are the cold months. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during the month of January are 10 and minus 2 degree Celsius respectively. Rainfall is scanty except in the Razmak area where the rainfall is slightly higher.

During the Mughal rule, Waziristan was a part of Mughal Empire, and once Bahadur Shah, son of Aurangzeb personally visited this place and received the tribute from the Wazirs and Daurs. After the fall of Mughal Empire, the Sikhs could extend their sway up to Bannu only. Their short rule was confined to sporadic forages as far as they could not dare to got near the tribal areas. Both tribes, Wazirs and Daurs accepted ,the influence of the Mughal and Durrani Kings who counted on them as a solid army always in readiness to help them in exigencies. When the British took over the administration of the settled district of Bannu in 1849, the tribes of North Waziristan were under the sovereignty of the Kabul government. As both the Wazirs and Daurs used to be at logger heads amongst themselves, the Daurs invited the British to enter their country in order to establish peace in this area and to give them protection from Wazirs. The British, therefore, entered North Waziristan in 1894 and made agreement with the tribes. The Britishers introduced a regular system of land record and revenue administration for the most fertile part of the Tochi valley. It was later in the year 1910 when North Waziristan was made a full fledged agency. In 1935-36, a Hindu-Muslim clash occurred over a Hindu girl of Bannu, who had married a Muslim which led to disturbance in Waziristan. The tribesmen rallied round one Mirzali Khan, Tori Khel Wazir, who was later on given the title of the Faqir of Ipi. Jehad was declared against the British and the Faqir of Ipi with his huge Lashkar (force) remained at war with the British till the latter evacuated the area in 1947. The Faqir of Ipi died in 1960. Inspite of his opposition to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan the Jirgas in Waziristan decided in favor of joining Pakistan.

The chief tribes in North Waziristan are the Utmanzai Wazirs and Daurs. Besides, there are small tribes like the Gurbaz, Kharsins, Saidgis and Malakshi Mahsuds. These tribes, except Saidgis, are Pakhtoons. According to the tribal annals they are descendants of Karlaur, who in turn descended from Kais Abdur Rashid. As regards the ethnic origin some historians believe that they are semites, but it is the general belief that they are of Aryan origin. The traditions of the tribesmen however indicate that they are descendants of Karlan and Ghurghust, and are, therefore, generally accepted as being a tribe of Karlanri or Ghurghust Pathans. The Saidgis are the descendants of a Syed who accompanied the founder of the Wazir tribe. The Wazirs dominate the hilly tracts; Khaisora. Sherathala Plain, Kaitu valley, Lower stretches of the Kurram River and upper parts of Tochi valley beyond Kharakamar. They are divided into three main sections namely. Ibrahim Khel; Wali Khel and Mamit Khel. These sections are further divided into several sub-sections. The Daurs are divided into two main sections viz: Upper Daurs and Lower Daurs and the area occupied by them is also known as Upper Daur and Lower Daur. They have settled in the fertile Tochi valley, mostly on the left bank of Tochi river from Khajuri to Kharkamar. The Kharsins are affiliated with Bora Khel and Madda Khel Wazirs. They live near the Durand Line to the north-west of the agency flanked by Madda Khel Wazirs and Saidgis. Mahsuds are the cousins of Wazirs; both have common ancestor, viz. Wazirs. A section of Mahsuds called Bahlol Zai Malakshai occupy a small portion of Razmak surrounded by Bora Khel and Tori Khel Wazirs. The Saidgis occupy Zoi valley, Shawal. Dawegar and Dande plain near the Durand Line.

There are five notable rivers namely: Tochi; Kaitu; Kurram; Khaisor and Shaktue. There are some streams namely: Khoni Aigad; Chashma Aigad; Saidgi Algad; Kanungo Aigad; Sagga Aigad; Tauda China Algad; Damoma Algad; Tarkhobi Algad; Suedar Aigad.

The common dress of tribesmen consists of shirt, trousers, Waist-coat, sheet of cloth, turban and Chappal. The Wazir woman wears a sleeved blouse or petti-coat and a long heavy shirt with trousers. She covers her head and body with a sheet of cloth. A married woman wears coloured trousers while unmarried wears simple trousers. On festivals and marriages Wazir women put on colourful and ornamented blouse and a multi-coloured frock some times made of 40 metres cloths. To further adorn themselves the women put on rectangular pieces of silver and gold that hung on their forehead and side-ways down to ears. A Daur woman's dress is almost similar to a Wazir woman. As footwear she uses Chappal of leather.

The staple food of the tribesman is wheat or maize bread. Milk is taken in its various Forms. Roasted meat Larmin is relished much.

The Daurs live in houses closed together in a compact area. In case of Wazirs a large joint family lives either in one and the same house called Ket or Kot or in houses adjacent to one another, but separated from the houses of the other families. A walled enclosure of mud or mud and stones three to five meters high is called Kot. Most of the Kots have fort like structure with a tower in the center of every Kot used as a strategic point for fighting with the enemy, when hostilities break out. Every section in a village has a Masjid and a common sitting place. One or several households have a private guest house hujra attached to the house. [in a house there may be one or several rooms.

Due to the rugged nature of terrain and lack of education inhabitants look forward to government services. Sizeable number of people earn their livelihood by going abroad for labour. Local people have also invested in transport business.

Miranshah town is the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, It is connected with Bannu and other important places in the agency by metalled roads. This town houses the offices of all government departments in the agency and also serves as a market centre for people of the area.

Razmak valley is a summer resort Ghulam Khan Pak-Afghan border and Keitu valley which also share Pak-Afghan border are some of the other places of interest in the agency.

The agency is under the general charge of a Political Agent who administers civil, criminal and revenue cases in accordance with Frontier Crimes Regulation and Customary Law. The North Waziristan Agency consists of three sub-divisions and nine Tehsils. Each of the sub-division is headed by an Assistant Political Officer/Assistant Political Agent. The Political Agent is assisted by three Assistant Political Agents in criminal cases and other official work including matters maintaining law and order in the agency. Assistant Political Agents assist the Political Agent in tackling problems of the agency. They perform their duties like a Liaison Officer between the Political Agent and the tribes. They also decide cases of minor criminal nature and civil suits. Political Tehsildars and Political Naib- Tehsildars are incharge of Tehsils and their main duty is to control the tribes and maintain law and order within their own areas. They are answerable to the Political Agent through the Assistant Political Agent. They deal with all cases occurring in the protected area of their respective Tehsils. Land revenue administration in some parts of the agency is carried on exactly on the same lines as in the settled districts of Pakistan. The Frontier Crimes Regulation is applicable in this area. Cases occurring in the unprotected area are decided by the tribes themselves through their elders who are known as Maliks and Motabars. The Maliki system introduced by British government was the same in North Waziristan Agency as functioning in other FATA. Maliks use to work like a medium between administration and the Qaum or tribe. A Maliki is hereditary and devolves on the son and his son so on and so both for which regular benefits and subsidies are sanctioned from time to time. Lungi system known as Sufaid Resh is slightly lower form of Maliki. In North Waziristan Agency there are 1620 Maliks and Lungi holders.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:03:01 ZULU