Waziristan is a mountainous region in the northwest of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km². The area is entirely populated by ethnic Pashtuns. The language spoken in the valley is Pashto. It is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, considered to be separate from the country’s four core provinces. Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south. Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory until 1893, remaining outside the British Empire. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British, eliciting frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan in 1947. For administrative purposes, Waziristan is divided into two “agencies”, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, with estimated populations of 361,246 and 429,841 respectively. The two parts have quite distinct characteristics, though both tribes are subgroups of the Wazir Tribe and speak a common Wazirwola language. They have a reputation as formidable warriors, and are known for their frequent blood feuds.
|North Waziristan Main Language:||Pashto (99.6%)|
|North Waziristan Time Zone:||PKT (UTC+5)|
|North Waziristan Density:||77/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|North Waziristan Population (1998) Total:||361,246|
|North Waziristan Area Total:||4,707 km2 (1,817 sq mi)|
|North Waziristan Established:||1910|
|South Waziristan Established:||1893|
|North Waziristan Headquarters:||Miranshah|
|South Waziristan Headquarters:||Tank, Pakistan Wana, Pakistan|
|North Waziristan Government Political agent:||Muhammad Yahya Akhunzada|
|South Waziristan Area total:||6,619 km2 (2,556 sq mi)|
|South Waziristan Population (1998) Total :||429,841|
|South Waziristan Density:||65/km2 (170/sq mi)|
|South Waziristan Main language(s):||Urdu, Pashto|
|South Waziristan Time zone:||PST (UTC+5)|
|South Waziristan Climate:||The Agency has hot summers and very cold winters. In winter, temperatures go below freezing point in places of high altitude. The summer season starts in May and ends by September. June is generally the warmest month when the mean maximum temperature rises slightly over 30 degrees Celsius. The winter starts in October and continues until April. December, January and February are the coldest months.|
|North Waziristan Climate:||The climate of the area is cold in winter and warm in summer. Summer season starts from May and continues until September. June is generally the warmest month. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during the month of June are 31 and 18 degrees Celsius, respectively. Winter starts in October and continues until April. December, January, and February are the cold months.|
North Waziristan is the northern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering 11,585 square kilometres (4,473 sq mi). Waziristan comprises the area west and south-west of Peshawar between the Kurram River (Tochi River) to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Miranshah is capital of North Waziristan. Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lies immediately to the east. The region became an independent tribal territory in 1893, remaining outside of the British empire and Afghanistan. Tribal raiding into British territory was a constant problem for the British, requiring frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan upon its independence in 1947.In 1910, North Waziristan Agency was constituted as a full-fledged agency with its headquarters at Miranshah. It is inhabited by the Pashtun Wazir and Dawari tribes. The agency lies from 32.35 degrees to 33.22 degrees north latitude and 69.22 degrees to 70.38 degrees east longitude. It is bounded on the north by Afghanistan, Kurram Agency and Hangu District, on the east by tribal areas adjoining the Bannu and Karak Districts, on the south by South Waziristan Agency and on the west also by Afghanistan. The total area of the agency is 4,707 square kilometres (1,817 sq mi).
Geography and brief history of South Waziristan
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan are areas bordering Afghanistan, outside the four provinces, comprising a region of some 27,220 km (10,507 sq mi). The area has Afghanistan to the north-west, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) to the east and Balochistan to the south. The area is colloquially referred to as Pakistan’s Tribal Belt or Pak tribal belt. The geographical arrangement of the seven Tribal Areas in order from north to south is: Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan. The geographical arrangement of the six Frontier Regions in order from north to south is: Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Dera Ismael Khan. Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km, is divided into two agencies, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, with estimated populations of around 0.6 million and 0.8 million respectively. South Waziristan is the southern part of Waziristan. It comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Waziristan is named after the Pashtun Wazir tribe. South Waziristan is the largest FATA in size. It has two headquarters: Tank is the winter headquarters of the Agency while Wana is its summer headquarters. Mullah Nazir has clout in this area presently. It has been functioning since 1895. It is bounded to the north by the North Waziristan Agency, to the north-east by Bannu and Lakki Marwat Districts, to the east by Tribal Area Adjoining Tank District and D.I. Khan Districts, to the south by Zhob District of Balochistan Province and Tribal Area Adjoining D.I. Khan District, and to the west by Afghanistan. The total area of the Agency is 6,619 km.The Agency is mostly a mass of rugged and complex hills and ridges. There are no regular mountain alignments. The land rises gradually from south and east to north and west. The dominating range is the Preghal in the west along the border with Afghanistan. It is the highest peak which is 3,515 metres high. Zarmelan, Wana, Shakki, Zalai, Spin and Tiarza are the main plains of the Agency. The Mahsuds and Waziris are the two main tribes of this Agency. The Mahsud tribe inhabits the northern regions of South Waziristan near Razmak in North Waziristan.North Waziristan is the northern part of Waziristan. It comprises the area west and south-west of Peshawar between the Tochi river to the north and the Gomal river to the south, forming part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Miran Shah is capital of North Waziristan.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 4,707 square kilometres.The chief tribes in North Waziristan are the Utmanzai Wazirs and Dawars. Militant Commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur has clout in this area presently. The North Waziristan Agency consists of three sub-divisions and nine Tehsils. The Miran Shah sub-division comprises the Miran Shah, Ghulam Khan, and Datta Khel tehsils. The Mir Ali sub-division contains the Mir Ali, Spinwam, and Shewa tehsils. The Razmak sub-division consists of the Razmak, Dossali, and Garyum tehsils.South Waziristan has been a centre of militants and Jihadi Organizations for past 25 years. Security forces entered South Waziristan in July 2002 for the first time since 1947. The security forces first launched operation against foreign militants but widened its scope later as militants struck back. First peace agreement was made in April 2004 while second in February 2005 but both the agreements could not sustain and skirmishes continued surging. Suicide attacks on security forces convoys and check-posts also increased. The following groups have been active in South Waziristan: Baitullah Group, Mullah Nazir Group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, Mullah Yaseen Group, Abu Qatada Group and Uzbek Group. According to security forces, many suicide bombers training centers are present in Mehsud area.
Education wise the area of South Waziristan is very much neglected. Although there are some schools in the area, but colleges are insignificant. The only main college in the whole region is Cadet College Wana. Another cadet college is announced to be open in Spinkai, but at the moment cadet college Wana is the only main college. Most of the students have to go to Dera Ismail Khan for further education. People of the region also don’t prefer getting much education. It is evident from the fact that according to an estimate the ratio of education is just 3% for females and 17% for males. Women education is almost insignificant. The local people don’t prefer that their women should get education due to prevailing socio-cultural factors.
Waging War in Waziristan
Waziristan is a remote district of Pakistan populated by fiercely independent tribes who owe allegiance to no one and unite only to repel invaders or wage jihad. Its mountainous landscape is a natural fortress-sanctuary to the Taliban, probable refuge of Osama bin Laden, and widely regarded as the “epicenter of terrorism.” Waziristan is as much a powder keg today as it was when India was part of the British Empire. It was here that the infamous Fakir of Ipi waged guerrilla warfare against the foreigners and evaded the 40,000 troops sent to capture him. In this very timely book, Andrew Roe captures the essence of Waziristan’s tribal culture, explains how the British managed to contain this volatile area, and provides new insight into why Bin Laden chose to hide there.Roe, a career soldier with on-the-ground experience in the region, distills the hard-earned lessons gained by the British. He explains how they sought to counter Russian expansionism in Central Asia, which was seen as a threat to tribal autonomy in India’s North-West Frontier; he then tells how they pursued a policy of containment rather than control by working through indigenous forces and utilizing a combination of incentives and force to subdue and appease the tribal areas.Roe persuasively argues that many of the measures that were effective in pacifying the region in the past are equally applicable today. He stresses the importance of using force as a last resort and of harmonizing political and military activities. His bottom line: the British solutions to similar problems in the same geographical area, even though from a different era, have considerable utility for today’s policymakers and military commanders in this region.
Offering valuable insights, Roe’s work shows how the British (long before “counterinsurgency doctrine” was embraced) grew to understand whom they were dealing with and what was possible and revised their aims accordingly—lessons the United States and its allies could well heed.
Russian military delegation visits North South Waziristan
A Russian military delegation, accompanied by senior officers of the Pakistan Army, visited Miran Shah in North Waziristan Agency and Wanna in South Waziristan Agency, said a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).The delegation of the Russian army, the first ever to visit the conflict-stricken areas, was led by Deputy Chief of General Staff Colonel General Israkov Sergi Yuryevich.“The delegation was briefed about Pakistan Army’s efforts to clear FATA from terrorists of all hue and colours,” said the ISPR statement.The visiting Russian military officers were also briefed about border management on the Pak-Afghan border and socio economic development projects in the area.
“The delegation acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s achievements in the fight against terrorism and efforts to bring stability in the region,” added the statement.Cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and Pakistan has grown in recent times.In September 2016, a contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for the first ever joint Pak-Russian exercise.Around 200 military personnel of both countries participated in the drills. The special operations drills codenamed ‘Druzhbha-2016’ — a Russian word meaning “friendship” — saw Russian troops and Pakistani special forces working in close cooperation.Building upon the cooperation, Russian Navy’s largest anti-submarine warfare ship Severmorsk arrived in Pakistan for participation in the Aman 2017 international naval exercises in February 2017.
Pakistans new Waziristan strategy
On 4 June 2007, the National Security Council of Pakistan met to decide the fate of Waziristan and take up a number of political and administrative decisions to control “Talibanization” of the area. The meeting was chaired by president Pervez Musharraf and it was attended by the Chief Ministers and Governors of all four provinces. They discussed the deteriorating law and order situation and the threat posed to state security.
The government decided to take a number of actions to stop the “Talibanization” and crush the armed militancy in the Tribal regions and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- The NSC of Pakistan has decided the following actions will be taken to achieve the goals:
- Deployment of unmanned reconnaissance planes
- Strengthening law-enforcement agencies with advanced equipment
- Deployment of more troops to the region
- Operations against militants on fast-track basis
- Focused operations against militant commanders
- Action against madrassah’s preaching militancy
- Appointment of regional coordinators
- Fresh Recruitments of police officers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
The ministry of interior has played a large part in the information gathering for the operations against militants and their institutions. The Ministry of Interior has prepared a list of militant commanders operating in the region and they have also prepared a list of seminaries for monitoring.
The government is also trying to strengthen the law enforcement in the area by providing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police with weapons, bullet-proof jackets and night-vision devices. The paramilitary Frontier Corps will be provided with artillery and APC’s. The state agencies are also working on studying ways to block FM frequencies of illegal FM radio channels.
The civil administration of South Waziristan Agency has been functioning since 1895 under a Political Agent who administers civil criminal and revenue cases in accordance with the Frontier Crimes Regulations and Customary Law. The Agency is divided into three administrative sub-divisions of Sarwakai, Ladha and Wana. These three sub-divisions are further divided into eight Tehsils: Ladha, Makin (Charlai), Sararogha, Sarwakai, Tiarza, Wana and Toi Khullah.
Birmal Sarwakai is administered by Assistant Political Officer whereas Ladha and Wana Sub Divisions are administered by Assistant Political Agents. Each tehsil is headed by a Political Naib Tehsildar. The Malik system introduced by the British government is functioning in the Agency. Maliks used to work like media between administrations and the (Qaum) or Tribe. A Maliki is hereditary and devolves on the son and his son so on and so forth for which regular benefits and subsidies are sanctioned from time to time. Lungi system known as Sufaid Resh is slightly lower form of Maliki.
Language and MusicSouth Waziristan
The language spoken in South Waziristan is Pashto. But the form of Pashto spoken in Waziristan is very different from the Pashto spoken in rest of the KPK province. The version of this Pashto language is called as Waziri Pashto. It has some common words of normal Pashto, but there are a number of words which are different in Waziri Pashto. For example “singay” a word of normal Pashto is spoken “saranga” in waziri Pashto.
Music is very much liked by the common people of South Waziristan. People listen to songs in waziri Pashto and perform a dance named “Aataan” on songs. Aataan is done on weddings as well. A musical instrument named “Sareenda” is also played by the people of this region.
South Waziristan is not only filled will culture but it is also rich in mineral resources like chromite and coal. Most of the area is covered with beautiful mountainous region. There are beautiful rivers and streams flowing in these mountains. But unfortunately at the moment this piece of land is facing a tough time. As army operation is being taking place and the people of region have been displaced in different parts of country. The current local population of agency is insignificant at the moment because of the ongoing operation. It is hoped that the current difficult time for the region and its people will soon be over and the people will go back to their homeland
Administrative setupNorth Waziristan
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. The Miranshah sub-division comprises the Miranshah, Ghulam Khan, and Datta Khel tehsils. The Mir Ali sub-division contains the Mir Ali, Spinwam, and Shewa tehsils. The Razmak sub-division consists of the Razmak, Dossali, and Garyum 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.
A new post of Additional Political Agent has been established who looks after the developmental sector of the whole agency. The need was felt for reason of high level intervention in developmental sector by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. In addition to these duties the Additional Political Agent acts as Political Agent in his absence. Furthermore all the Line Directorates work under supervision of Additional Political Agent.
Political Tehsildars and Political Naib- Tehsildars are in charge 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.