Orakzai Agency

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Orakzai
Agency
District map of FATA and NWFP. Districts of FATA are shown in orange; Orakzai is located in the centre.
District map of FATA and NWFP. Districts of FATA are shown in orange; Orakzai is located in the centre.
Country Pakistan
Established 30 November 1973
Headquarters Hangu District
Tehsils 4
Government
 • Political agent Mr Khushal Khan
Area
 • Total 1,800 km2 (700 sq mi)
Population
 • Total 450,000
 • Density 250/km2 (650/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Main language(s) Pashto, English
Website Orakzai.com

Orakzai Agency is one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. It has a population of 450,000 and an area of 700 square miles (1,800 km2). The Orakzai tribe comprises 18 subsidiary tribes.

History[edit]

The Orakzai tribes take their name, which literally means the lost son (Wrak Dzoy), from a romantic legend about their ancestor, Sikandar Shah, who was a prince from Iran, was exiled or lost, and after many adventures married and ruled in Tirah (you can say Orakzai is a Persian Royal family).[citation needed] The tribal area now forming Orakzai Agency was previously included in Frontier Region Kohat district and remained as such until 30 November 1973.

The Biland Khel, a small pocket measuring about 6.5 square kilometres, is also part of this agency and lies a couple of kilometres off Thall, bordering North Waziristan and Kurram agencies. Responding to a long-standing demand of the Orakzais, the then President of Pakistan announced the creation of Orakzai Agency on 3 November 1973 and was formally inaugurated on 1 December 1973. Prior to its upgrading to agency status, this area was administered as a Frontier Region of the Kohat district by the Deputy Commissioner of Kohat.

The Orakzai Agency consists of two sub-divisions: Upper sub-division and Lower sub-division. The Upper sub-division comprises two Tehsils, Upper Tehsil and Ismailzai Tehsil, while the Lower sub-division also has two Tehsils, Lower Tehsil and Central Tehsil. The land of the Orakzai tribes is located between 33° -33' to 33° -54' north latitudes and 70° -36' to 71° -22' east longitudes. It is bounded in the north by Khyber Agency, in the east by FR Kohat, in the south by Kohat and Hangu districts, and in the west by Kurram Agency. The total area of the agency is 1,538 square kilometres.

Certain Orakzai tribes like the Masozai and half the Lashkarzai find themselves in Kurram Agency for historical and administrative reasons. An Ethnic Pashtun Bangash tribe, the Buland Khel, is attached to the Orakzai agency also for administrative and historical reasons, although they live at some distance from the agency between Thall and Bannu, North Waziristan.[citation needed]

Then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto announced the creation of the agency at a grand tribal jirga at Samana (Orakzai) and it began functioning on 1 December 1973. Before this, the Orakzai tribes were part of the Kohat and Hangu Frontier region. The headquarters of the agency are at Hangu District, but tehsil-level headquarters are situated in Kalaya and Ghiljo.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

The valley is flanked by mountain ranges 6,000 to 7,000 feet (2,100 m) high. Among the seven tribal agencies, Orakzai Agency is the second smallest in area after Bajaur Agency. It is bounded by Kurram Agency in the west, Khyber in the north, Kohat District on the south and Peshawar in the east. The whole of the territory of Orakzai agency is a mountainous tract dissected by numerous dry water courses, especially in the south-western part of the agency. The two major streams are the Mastura River and Khanki Toi River, both of which originate from the hills to west and run the east.[citation needed]

Orakzai Agency is a hilly region with a fertile valley. The elevation of the hills varies from over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the west and to less than 6,650 feet (2,030 m) in east. Generally the elevation of the plain varies from 5,200 to 5,500 feet (1,700 m) above sea level. Important peaks are Sangla (6325 ft) and chara Kandaco (5643 ft). The height of Kalaya and Sangla is nearly equal.[citation needed]

Orakzai Agency is characterized by intensely cold winters and mild summers. December, January and February are the coldest months and snowfall occurs in these months. Summers are mild and the maximum temperature does not go above 30 degrees Celsius. Surrounding mountains are covered by dense and thick forests, which produce a cooling effect in summer. Due to geographical position of Orakzai and its thick forest cover, it rains throughout the year. In winter, the precipitation is in the form of snowfall over the surrounding mountains as well as in valley itself. There is no rain gauge, but rainfall is estimated to be around 36 inches (910 mm) per year.

Subdivisions[edit]

Upper Orakzai[edit]

Upper Orakzai is a National Assembly constituency situated in the Orakzai Agency.[1]

Some of main areas of Upper Orakzai include:

Upper Orakzai Agency is the Sub-Division of Orakzai Agency. The main office are situated in the Ghiljo City of A' Khel section. Upper Orakzai include in big four section Ali Khel Mola Khel Mamozai Ali Sherzai

Lower Orakzai[edit]

In order to bring revolutionary changes in lives of tribal folk and ensure socio-economic uplift of guardians of frontiers, the FATA ADP 2014-15, that carries a total outlay of Rs 19 billion with a foreign aid component of Rs 1.9 billion, mainly focuses on improving education, health, communications network and livelihood. This is in line with the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan’s determination to put the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the track of speedy development. The development schemes for FATA have been pitched at 941 for 2014-15 with enhanced allocation for the ongoing schemes leading to expeditious completion. There are Rs 1.7 billion funds for the FATA Development Authority, which works in six sectors. The education, communication and health sectors have been given top priority in the ADP as they receive Rs 3.8 billion, Rs 3.6 billion and Rs 1.6 billion respectively. The value of the previous ADP for the tribal areas was Rs 18.5 billion, so the current one is 2.7 percent higher than it, shows an official document.

In addition, FATA will get Rs 4 billion under the prime minister’s special package program. The funds will be used in four different sectors to be identified in consultation with parliamentarian and experts. The document showed all FATA portfolios had been enlarged to 40 percent with a focus on service delivery, while consolidation, standardization, strengthening and rehabilitation had been given top priority in planning opposed to expansion. It said the solarization of existing facilities in different sectors had been accorded high priority. “The government is also installing solar panels in school labs, hospitals and offices of several departments to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity.” Spokesman of the Directorate of Information FATA Fazal Ullah said.

An official said the Civil Secretariat FATA couldn’t approve a scheme, whose value exceeded Rs.200 million. He said the secretariat had to request the federal government for approval of mega projects. Another official said on the directives of the governor, the planning and development department had excluded dozens of incomplete and unapproved schemes from the ADP 2014-15. They said the governor had directed the relevant authorities to clear arrears of contractors, while the un-utilized funds of abandoned projects would be diverted to other key projects. The officials said the projects had been mainly conceived and approved by the officials concerned, to favor some influential people and that they had nothing to do with the community’s welfare. As for the sector wise allocation, Rs. 3.8 billion have allocated for education, Rs.1.6 billion for health, Rs.1.2 billion for public health engineering, Rs3.6 billion for communication, Rs.485 million for housing, Rs.120 million for power, Rs.340 million for agriculture, Rs.419 million for livestock and dairy development, Rs.709 million for forest, Rs.18 million for fisheries, Rs.172 million for rural development, Rs.986 million for regional development, Rs.1.26 billion for irrigation, Rs.206 million for minerals, industries and technical education, Rs.32 million for social welfare and Rs.113 million have been year marked for sports, culture and youth affairs. The ADP is distributed among seven tribal agencies and six Frontier Regions (FRs) on the basis of area, population and backwardness. Currently, the share of South Waziristan Agency in the ADP is 10.39 percent followed by Khyber Agency with 8.71 percent and Bajaur Agency 8.30 percent, Kurram Agency 8.11 percent, North Waziristan Agency 8.07 percent, Mohmand Agency 5.87 percent, Orakzai Agency 3.95 percent, FR Peshawar 0.86 percent, FR Kohat 1.43 percent, FR Bannu 0.82 percent, FR Lakki Marwat 0.19 percent, FR Tank 2.03 percent and FR Dera Ismail Khan 1.27 percent.


1 Comment ‘Collective responsibility’:

9/8/2014 1 Comment

Orakzai levies demand administration stop halting salaries

“It is shocking that whenever a major [security] incident happens in a particular area of the agency, the administration stops the salaries of our colleagues based there,” said Hawaldar Pir Gul.

Over 100 levies officials protested outside the office of the political agent in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday, demanding authorities drop the policy of halting their salaries under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). They also demanded that the process of giving them pay should be made easier.

“It is shocking that whenever a major [security] incident happens in a particular area of the agency, the administration stops the salaries of our colleagues based there,” said Hawaldar Pir Gul. He added fines are also imposed on tribesmen living in the area where the incident takes place.

Subedar Zandi Gul, hawaldar Zameer Gul, sepoy Jamadar Gul all said there was no presence of the political administration and officials paid no attention to difficulties faced by the levies.

Zameer said decisions like the one to hold their salaries under the FCR will not be tolerated any longer. He pointed out dozens of his colleagues lost their lives in the war against militants and were even given awards by the government. Gul added the paramilitary force was determined to protect its soil.

Soldiers faced tremendous complications in getting their salaries and sometimes have to queue up for two to three days. This is in addition to facing hostility from the clerical staff, said Zandi.

“We are not beggars and must be treated fairly like government servants working in other parts of the country,” he said.

The levies personnel said they were finding it difficult to repay loans due to the delayed salaries.

The demonstrators said the federal interior minister, K-P governor, Kohat division commissioner and Orakzai political agent should shun the policy of halting or deducting their salaries under the FCR. They said officials must place a mechanism which allows the soldiers to get their salaries without hassle or there will be more protests.

The administration has been asked to replace levies personnel who are 60 years or older with their younger relatives. However, the paramilitary officials complained authorities stood idle over the issue.

“Officials reaching retirement age should be replaced by their young relatives, but the administration is not willing to recruit fresh blood,” said Zandi.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the political administration said they are preparing a list of officials over 60. He added there was a provision in the FCR to halt officials’ salaries.


1 Comment Plight of Orakzai IDPs in Hangu

12/20/2012 3 Comments

By: Khitab Gul Orakzai

As a result of military operation in Orakzai Agency in April 2010, more than 0.2 million people have been displaced from the agency. Where the operation is getting prolonged, the plight of Orakzai IDPs is becoming deeper. Majority of Orakzai IDPs are settled in Hangu and Kohat districts.

Each month, International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is providing food ration to almost 32,000 internally migrated families who are now resided in Hangu. Some 13,000 Orakzai IDP families in Kohat, are assisted by World Food Program. Now most of the IDPs from Kohat are returned to their hometowns as security situation has improved in the lower part of the agency.

The IDPs from Upper Orakzai are still waiting for their turn to safely resume their normal life but they are quite pessimistic about the situation as fear and uncertainty still looms over them.

FRC correspondent in Hangu confirmed that there are handsome amount of IDPs who are unable to get ration and instead being looted for their registration by fake representatives of ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent Society, who jointly are assisting IDPs.

The unregistered IDPs complained that the procedure of IDPs’ registration is quite confusing. ‘We don’t know where to go for registration, there is no responsible office for it. We travel to distribution point, but no one listen to us there, we resort to office but they don’t open the doors of the office and pretend that a team will come to your village for registration. For sure teams, sometimes come for 2-3 hours to someone’s Hujra but goes back without even informing the IDPs. If you miss the team once, you have to wait for 4 months for your turn.’ An IDP told FRC researcher in a remote village in Hangu.

“I give 2000 rupees to a man who had pledged me for registration and issuance of card for food ration but soon he disappeared after looting score others like me,” another IDP told.

Some IDPs are confronted with the dilemma of proving their identity as IDP. FRC researcher founded that there are plenty of IDPs who have their NI cards on Hangu district but they were permanently living in Orakzai Agency. Some are those who have double addresses on their CNIC, one of Hangu and other of Orakzai Agency, such like card holders are bluntly denied of registration for ration.

It was further revealed that majority of IDPs prefer to live in rented houses and avoid to reside in IDP camp. The main reason behind it, observed was cultural as there is no proper arrangement of purdah which tribesmen usually practice rigidly.

The extremely poor section of the migrated population is resorting to the lonely Togh Sarai IDP camp in the district, which is running by CERD a local NGO and funded by UNHCR. Among 1587 families only 499 are left in the camp while others have either returned to their hometowns or they have managed to get rented houses in Hangu.

Talking to the home-returned IDPs in lower Orakzai Agency, FRC correspondent came to know that people are not happy with the security situation and the economic assistance for which they were pledged by the government officials.

“Many houses are damaged either by Army shelling or the devastating monsoon rains of August 2010. Our cattle are missing and many are fled to jungles and not been returning to houses. The security situation is uncertain and no economic activity is possible to be resumed,” a repatriated IDP in lower Orakzai told FRC.

Culture[edit]

Culture of the area is dominantly Pashtun, with people adhering strongly to the Pashtun code of conduct also known as "Pakhto or Pashtunwali". Religion is evident in their lifestyle. People are very much social and maintain Hujra culture. Hujra is a community centre, guest house, meeting place, court and shelter. People adhere strongly to the jirga system for peace and justice where saying of the respectable elders is observed. Pakhto or Pashtunwali". Religion is evident in their lifestyle. People are very much social and maintain Hujra culture. Hujra is a common among Pashtuns.

Talibanization and Army offensive[edit]

Talibanization of the area started back in 2006 when sectarian violence was at an apex. In the beginning, the Taliban were welcome because no one knew their real intentions, they intermingled with the locals in the start and when they were in sufficient numbers, they started to dictate the people. The local people found themselves helpless and were forced to obey. The Shia population resisted Talibanization in the first place.There are many incidents to cite.In Kalaya village,August 2013, an incident happened.The Taliban attacked and kidnapped 230 Orakzai people.Some of the old,young men, women and children were arrested .Taliban tortured a lot and martyred 80 innocent people.After one week the remaining people founded Pak army's operation against Talibans.So many people were injured .Taliban destroyed whole kalaya village and Orakzai's business.People migrated to different places and different countries to save their lives. After a humiliating defeat in Waziristan, the Taliban fled to Orakzai Agency. Very soon the area witnessed intense violence and the Army started an unannounced offensive (Orakzai and Kurram offensive). The army cut them in the west from the Kurram Agency, in the south from Kohat and in the east from Bara and started an attack. Locals supported the army to their capacity and soon they were forced to flee and evacuate the lower subdivision. Heavy damages were inflicted upon them in the upper subdivision also and their influence in the area reduced very much. This resulted in the mass evacuation of the IDPs towards Kohat and Hangu where they were given shelter in camps. The situation has defused greatly in Lower Orakzai division, but an army operation against Taliban militants continues in Central and Upper sub-divisions.[2]

Lower Orakzai Agency Village Kalaya. It is a small village in the centre of Lower Orakzai Agency. People say it the Heart of Orakzai. A small village ″Terai″ situated in lower orakzai agency consider to be the first and ancestor of Orakzai people.

References[edit]