Kurram Agency takes its name from the river Kurram which passes through it. The headquarters of the agency is located at Parachinar. The agency lies between 330-20¢ to 340-03¢ north latitudes and 690-50¢ to 700-45¢ east longitudes. The Agency is bounded on the north and west by Afghanistan (the provinces of Ningarhar and Pukthia respectively), on the east by Orakzai and Khyber Agencies, on the southeast by Hangu and on the south by North Waziristan Agency. The agency is 115 kilometers long with a total area of 3.380 square kilometers.
|Province:||Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)|
|Area:||3,380 km2 (1,310 sq mi)|
|Population :||619,553 (2017)|
|Density:||180/km2 (470/sq mi)|
|Time zone :||PST (UTC+5)|
|Government Type:||40 FCR|
|Political agent:||Baseer Khan|
|Agency is bounded:||North and west by Afghanistan|
|Mountains :||Koh-e-Safaid or Spinghar and Sikaram Sar|
|River :||Kurram River|
|Places of Interest:||Parachinar, Sadda, Dogar & Kurram Valley|
|Location:||Located in the northwestern part of Pakistan|
|In Urdu:||کرم ایجنسی|
|Local Language Name:||Pashto (98.6%) & English & Urdu|
|Coordinates :||33° 49′ 0″ N, 69° 58′ 0″ E|
The principal mountain range in the agency is the Koh-e-Safaid or Spinghar with highest peak of Sikaram Sar 4,728 meters height which forms a natural boundary and water shed with Afghanistan. It remains covered with snow through out the years. South of the Peiwar Kotal the hills of the Mandher range rise gradually till they drop the south–west corner of the plateau at Kharlachi, the point where Kurram River enters the valley. A part from the high mountains, the other important feature is the Kurram valley. The valley starts from Thall in Hangu district towards northwest upto Peiwar Kotal on Pak Afghan border. It can be divided into two parts i.e. the Lower Kurram and the Upper Kurram. The Lower Kurram extends from Thall in Hangu district to Sadda. It is narrow and hedged by low hills on either side of the Kurram River. After that the valley opens up into the Parachinar plateau which is a large oval shape plain sloping towards southeast. The Upper Kurram valley from Sadda to Peiwar Kotal is bounded by high mountain on all side. The Kurram River enters the agency in the west near Kharlachi from Afghanistan and runs in northwest to southeast direction and leaves the agency at Thall in the southeastern corner of the agency. Several hill torrents and Nullahs join Kurram River.
The Kurram Valley in ancient times offered the most direct route to Kabul and Gardez. The route crossed a pass 3,439 m (11,283 ft) high, just over 20 km west of modern Parachinar, that was blocked by snow for several months of the year. The valley is highly irrigated, well populated and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, to which a fine background is afforded by the dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Safed Koh. The beauty and climate of the valley attracted some of the Mughal emperors of Delhi, and the remains exist of a garden planted by Shah Jahan. According to the Gazetteer of Kurram, the richness of the land gradually weaned the Turks from their nomadic life. Sections built villages and settled permanently; they ceased to be Kuchi and became Kothi this abandonment of their nomadic habits by the majority of the resulted, as it was bound to do, in a contraction of the area in effective possession. The upper Kurram plain was safe as their head-quarters, but hills and slopes below the Safed Koh and Mandher over which their graziers had kept an efficient watch, now afforded a menace as a place in which an encroaching tribe could established itself. To guard against this settlements of Mangals and Muqbols or Muqbils were half invited half allowed to push themselves in conditions of vassalage, and on promise to afford a buttress against any enemy aggression. In the lower Kurram, where for climatic reasons candidates for settlements were fewer, the problem was not easily solved.
- Upper Kurram Agency.
- Lower Kurram Agency.
- Central Kurram Agency.
Tribes of the Kurram
Tribes of Upper Kurram
It was the end of the fifteen-century that the Turi tribe first came into prominence. They wandered in nomadic fashion till they came to Ariob in Afghanistan, the adjacent area at the top of the valley and they established their summer headquarters and in the winter took their flocks down as for as the river Indus. From Nilab, on the bank of Indus River near Attack, the tribe appears to have annually immigrated during the hot weather to the Kurram Valley, then owned by the Bangash. In his dairy of the 1506 A.D. the Emperor Babur mentions the presence of Turis in the Kurram valley.
Bangash is one of the major Pakhtun tribe. Though, some traditions has a claim of their Arab origin but it is hard to testify this claim and its validity in term of who they are. it suffices to note that by all standard they are perfect afghans are Pakhtuns. Their commons ancestor Ismail, lived at Gardiz in Afghanistan but they were hard pressed by the powerful Ghilzai tribe and thus sometime toward the end of fourteen or in the beginning of the fifteen century they migrated eastward. After, wandering through Multan, Derajat and Khost area for almost two centuries they finally settled in the Kurram valley by the time came the Turis, who at the first were subordinate to them but gradually in their own turn decline the Bangash and pushed them in to the Kohat district .However, a significant number of them still live in big villages of Shalozan and Zeran in the upper Kurram. They are no more different from their co-religious Turi, accept, perhaps in the pride of family and tribal origin. They are mostly referred together as Turi- Bangash and enjoy equal rights. Sharing the faith of Shiaism in Islam, they follow their common religious and traditional leadership. Like the Turi, they also deeply revered Sayeds families and at the same time equally divided in the Drewandi and the Mian Murid factions.
- Mangals and Maqbals
Mangals, Muqbils and Zadrans,, according to Olaf Caroe are believed to be the descendent of the same line of their ancestors as that of Turis , Zazi and Khogianis. Majority of these tribe are living across the border in Afghanistan of Paktia and Khost provinces. For different reason some of them come into the valley and started living along side the Turi in Kurram. The Mangal setters also came originally from Gabar and are settled in a scattered habitation from the Paiwar kotal to Zeran in the vicinity of Spin Ghar lower hills and higher villages behind the villages of Paiwar, Shalozan, Mulana, and Zeran. The villages they hold directly under their control are Turi kotri sursurang under the Paiwar kotal.
Tribes of F.R. Kurram
- Ali Sherzai
The Alisherzai,s occupy a strip of country screeching from Sadda along the top of Zaimusht area . The Alisherzai are of Orakzai origin for the purposes of jurisdiction they are divided into pitao and sorai (those who live on the sunny side of the hill and those who live in the shady side). The former are under the kurram political jurisdiction and the later Kohat . Some of the Alisherzai own property and live in Sada (a sub-division and flourishing market), Kurram Agency . They have practically less connection with there co-tribes man in the inaccessible area. with the rest of the Alisherzai tribe the Kurram authorities have little dealing.
Massuzai are also Orakzai the factional division are formed into the Gar & Samil Massuzai . The former consist of the Mastukhail and Dilmarzai and later of the Ashkhel and khwajAkhel. A section of the tribe live in the Khurmana valley in Tirah. Massuzai have no land in upper and lower kurram. The Gar Massuzai, used to have land at some dissent period Ibrahimzai and Baleshkhel villages near sada. It finally passed over from their hands but on a compromises, whereby the, new in habitant became bamsayas of the Gar Massuzais, and were bound to entertain the Jurga when it came to Sada.
The Chamkanis are traditionally supposed to belong to the Ghoriakhel section of the Sarbani pakhtoon. Some authority assign them a Persian origin. They certainly have no connection with the Afridies are Orakzai but by their Sarbani origin they are related to the Mohmands, Daudzai, and Khalils tribe settled in and around Peshawar in the sixteenth century, some of them moved to the north of the east of the kurram valley near Kirman village on the northern slopes of the Sikharam of the spin Ghar range. However, most of the tribe is at present located in the Thabai and awi Darras, in the Khumana valley in Tirah. Although, there is some doubt as to whether the tribe should be called Chamkani are Para Chamkani, since it is contended that the later name belong on the to the Haji khel section. The matter is however, of academic interest only, because people of the kurram in talking of the tribes speak of them as Parras, omitting all together the tag Chamkani.
- Major Dams
Kurram Agency has a few water reservoirs locally called Dams. Basically these are water supply schemes for domestic purposes. No hydroelectric power is generated in these constructions nor are they used for irrigation purpose.
- Malana Dam
Locatad in the north of Parachinar town this dam was constructed in 1857. Most of the population of Parachinar town depend on this reservoir and the dam is famous among the locals as a picnic resort. A guest house is built here by the Agency administration.
- Zeran Dam
Zeran dam is located to the north-east of Prachinar. It is also famous for its scenic beauty. This reservoir served water for Parachinar town before the construction of Malana dam, still the dam contributes much water to a large part of the town Parachinar.
- Kot Ragha Dam Malikhel
This is a small size reservoir, largest in the kurram, and was built in Kot Ragha(Malikhel). It contains about 70,000 fishes and has capacity to provide water about 2500 km² area.
More Imformation About Kurram Agency
Rivers and streams
The Kurram River takes its origin in the junction of a number of small streams at no great distance above Kharlachi. From Kharlachi its junction with Kirman 19 kilometers down stream, it receives no further supply except from occasional float torents from Koh-e-Safaid, though an innumberalbe series of ravines cut into the plateau. For another 26 kilometers the only contribution to the river is rain drainage from the hills, but at Sadda it receives Khurmana. Beyond village Tangi (Lower Kurram) it receives no further supply within the agency and crosses over to Thall from where it enters into North Waziristan.
Most of the houses are made of clay and are clustered in villages as well as towns. A house generally consists of two or three rooms with a verandah. People usually live in joint family system. The quality and construction of the houses have improved with the prosperity brought in the people working mostly in the Middle East countries.
Dress and Ornaments
People wear traditional Pakhtoon dress of Shalwar, Kamees, Turban and Chadder. The women wear Shalwar, Kamees and Chadder designed for them. In the past due to inaccessibility to the area and the poverty of people, local woolen cloths were prepared to suit the cold winters. With time and prosperity, traditions have changed and people mostly wear Swati and Direy (Dirorigion) caps instead of turbans, and fine factory cloth is used for dresses.
Places of Interest
Parachinar is the headquarter of the agency. It is a big market for the people of surrounding area. It is also famous for timber and dry fruits.
Sadda has grown enormously during the past ten years due to the concentration of refugees in its neighborhood. It is big trade market for the people of Lower Kurram and Central Kurram.
Dogar is a big village in the Central Kurram. It is an important market for local made arms. Political Agents as the head, the agency is divided into three sub-divisions i.e. Upper Kurram, Lower Kurram and Central Kurram each headed by an Assistant Political Agent. The former two sub-divisions have long been administrated and record exist for most of the farmed area in these two sub-divisions, although settlement has not been carried out since the 1940s Central Kurram, however, remained inaccessible terrain till today. It remains the least tractable of the three sub-divisions. Its level of development lags substantially behind that of the other two sub-divisions but efforts are being made to bring it at par with the other area. Upper and Lower Kurram, being administered areas, are controlled directly by taking cognizance of all offence which are dealt with under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, Kohat pact and customary law (Turizuna). The Administration in the Central however, is indirect, through the tribal elders.
The Kurram Valley in ancient times offered the most direct route to Kabul and Gardez. The route crossed the Peiwar Pass 3,439 m (11,283 ft) high, just over 20 km west of modern Parachinar. The Kurrum River flows through the Kurrum Valley across the Afghan-Pakistani border west to east (crossing from the Paktia Province of Afghanistan into the Kohat border region of Pakistan), about 80 km southwest of Jalalabad. The valley is highly irrigated, well peopled, and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, to which a fine background is afforded by the dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Safed Koh (White Mountain). White Mountain separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. The highest point is Sikaram and is 15,000 ft high from sea level. The beauty and climate of the valley attracted some of the Mogul emperors of Delhi, and the remains exist of a garden planted by Shah Jahan. In the Rigveda, the Kurrum is mentioned as Krumu.