3 South Waziristan

South Waziristan

Infobox Pakistan agency
agency = South Waziristan
area =
population =
pop_year =
density =
caption = District map of FATA and NWFP - Districts of FATA are shown shown in blue, Waziristan is located in the south.
region = FATA
established =
agent =
tehsils =
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website =

South Waziristan (Pashto: جنوبی وزیرستان) is the southern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² (4,473 mi²). 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). The North-West Frontier Province lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory from 1893, remaining outside of British-ruled empire and Afghanistan. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British, requiring frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. The region became part of Pakistan in 1947.

Waziristan is divided into two "agencies", North Waziristan and South Waziristan, with estimated populations (as of 1998) of 361,246 and 429,841 respectively. The two parts have quite distinct characteristics, though both tribes are subgroups of the Waziris and speak a common Waziri language. Mehsud or Maseed is the dominant tribe inhabiting most of the hilly and green area of South Waziristan. The name of this famous tribe is usually spelled "Mahsud" in the literature, while the local pronunciation is something closer to "Mah-SIT." Ahmadzai wazir occupy only the fertile plain area of WANA, Shakai and Bairmal (hilly border area with Afghanistan). Ahmadzai wazir before the WANA operation were one of the most prosperous tribe because of their direct trade with Afghanistan and their income from fruit and vegetable. Maseeds on other due to their terrain and historical legacy and hilly terrain are tilted towards government jobs especially Education, Army and Beaurucracy. You will hardly find any Ahmadzai wazir in Army or FC whereas many Maseeds are serving in Army and Bearucracy. Bhittanis occupy the hot and unculitvable land near Tank while entering into South Waziristan. Jandola is their main town. They are descendents of Bhitt Baba. Near Ladha in the bottom of Asman Manza there is historical town of Kanigurem, inhabited for over a thousand years and is the main habitat of the Burki (also called, but rarely used, Ormar). They speak the Ormuri language, as well as Pashto. The Burkis have close ties to the Mahsud who surround their territory/lands which are around Kaniguram. The origins of the Burkis isn't clear but they considered themselves as Pashtun or Pathan. Bayazid Ansari (Pir Roshan) belonged to this town and was a Burki. He is the first prose writer in Pashtu literature and founder of historical Roshania Tehreek movement. He was also the first Pashtun to lead a major insurgency against the powerful Mughal dynasty under Emperor AKbar. North Waziristan comprises Dirdooni Wazir and Dawar. They have a formidable reputation as warriors and are known for their frequent blood feuds. Traditionally, feuding local Waziri religious leaders have enlisted outsiders — in the Pakistani government, and more recently U.S. forces hunting al-Qaeda fugitives — in attempts at score-settling. The tribes are divided into sub-tribes governed by male village elders who meet in a tribal jirga. Socially and religiously, Waziristan is an extremely conservative area. Women are carefully guarded, and every household must be headed by a male figure. Tribal cohesiveness is so strong through so-called Collective Responsibility Acts in the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

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. It has been functioning since 1895. It is bounded on the north by the North Waziristan Agency on the north-east by Bannu and Lakki Marwat Districts, on the east by Tribal Area Adjoining Tank. Tank District and D.I.Khan Districts on the south by Zhob District of Balochistan Province and Tribal Area adjoining D I.Khan District and on the west by Afghanistan. The total area of the Agency is 6.619 square Kilometres.


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 3515 metres high. Zarmelan, Wana, Shakki, Zalai, Spin and Tiarza are the main plains of the Agency.

Direction of water courses, in general, is from west to south i.e. from the watersheds of Sulaiman Mountains to the Indus. There are two principal rivers in the Agency viz. Gomal of Luni and Tank Zam. Some important rivulets are Khaisora, Shaktu, Splitoi, Wana Toi, Shuza, Shinkai and Shahur. The rest are merely mountain streams generally insignificant but they all become dangerous and impassable during heavy rains which frequently occur during the months of July and August. The Gomal River rises in two branches in the eastern slopes of the western Sulaiman range in the Birmal District of Afghanistan not far from the source of the Tochi River. The Tank Zam is formed by the junction of the Tauda China and the Baddar Toi, at Dwa Toi, south of Razmak.


There is hardly significant mining to be mentioned. Coal mines have been discovered in the disputed area of Neeli Kach Tehsil Wana. Copper is found in Preghal and Spin Kamar.


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. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures for this period are 10 and -2 degrees Celsius, respectively. The Agency is outside the monsoon zone, yet at higher altitudes a fair amount of rainfall is received. South Waziristan Agency has an arid climate, receiving minimal precipitation. The western portion, bordering Afghanistan, receives more rainfall than the eastern portion touching Tank and D.I.Khan districts. Most of the Agency receives mean annual rainfall of 6 inches, while a small area in the southeastern corner receives less than 10 inches of rainfall annually.


From the time of taking over the Frontier from the Sikhs, in 1849 the Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu controlled all political matters in Waziristan up to 1895. These areas did not come under British control until November 1893, when the Amir of Afghanistan signed a treaty renouncing all claims to these territories. After attack on the Delimitation Commission Escort at Wana in 1894 and subsequent large military operations in 1894-95, a Political Agent for South Waziristan was permanently appointed with headquarters at Wana. Another was also appointed for the Tochi area (North Waziristan) with headquarters at Miranshah. The post of Resident in Waziristan was created in 1908. The Political Agent in North Waziristan was subordinate to the Resident, who was directly responsible to the Chief Commissioner of North Western Frontier Province. With the withdrawal of Indian government to the settled districts, the regular armed forces were withdrawn and, instead, a local militia was raised in 1900. However, large scale disturbances occurred in 1904 resulting in the murder of the Political Agent and Militia Commandant at Sarwakai. Later, a plot to murder all the British officers seized the Wana fort and handed it over to Mullah Powindah, the self-styled king of Waziristan, was discovered. The Political Agent and the Commandant, on the same night, disarmed and dismissed all the Mahsuds from the Militia. A few months later, they were again enlisted, but once again, they were disbanded in 1906.

Races and tribes

The Mahsuds and Waziris are the two main tribes of this Agency. There are also the Burki (who enclave is in the heart of Mahsud territory), some Dotanis and other Powindah settlers in the southwest corner of the Agency between Thati to Zarmelan. The Bhittanis inhabit a strip of country along the southeast border of the Agency. According to their own traditions, the Waziris call themselves the descendants of Waziri who was the son of Sulaiman, the son of Kuki, the son of Karlan and grandson of Qais Abdur Rashid. They are usually described as being a tribe of Karlani Pashtuns. From this common origin come the Wazirs, a title which properly includes both the Wazirs and Mahsuds, although in practice the word Wazir has come to primarily represent the former. The Mahsuds are divided into three main divisions referred to as the Dremahsuds. These are Alizai (Shabi Khel and Manzai), Shaman Khel and Bahlolzai. Each of these are divided into sections and sub-sections. These three divisions share benefits and losses equally according to what is known as Nikat. The Manzais are divided into Giddi Khel and Palli Khel. The Manzais have a small number of Syeds as their Hamsayas (neighbors), and they are said to have come either from Yemen or Turkistan. The Shaman Khel of Shah are commonly known as "Shahoor Shaman Khel" are a mixed community of Khalli Khel and Char Khel but are treated separately. The Marsanzai is a small tribe living in Shaktu.

The Mahsud tribe is well known for their courage and many Mahsud are in the Pakistani army. They are more educated compared to other Wazir tribes. The Mahsud tribe inhabits the northern regions of South Waziristan near Razmak in North Waziristan. There are no flat-plains type geography in the Mahsud tribal regions, thus the Mahsud tribe moves nomadicly through these mountainous regions and have no primary source of business or trading. They rely on the Burkis for their armaments.

Dress and ornaments

The tribal people of this area wear distinctive dress. The dress of men consists of a turban smock; Shalwar and Chaddar. The smock is generally white or grey and occasionally embroidered on the chest with silk or cotton. Their Shalwars are baggy and big. Maliks and the wealthy wear white cotton smocks and carry Chaddar on their shoulders. The young educated males wear modern dress as worn by people elsewhere in the country. Women wear different colored clothes as to be identified. Married women put on dark-blue or dark-red smocks of coarse cotton. The spinsters (needs definition) invariably of both married and unmarried women are similar and fit closely below the knee.


The people of South Waziristan eat simple food of wheat and maize bread. They are also fond of rice cooked in mutton. Pullo and roasted meat are served on special occasions.


The houses in settlements are built of Pucca bricks, plastered with mud, giving the appearance of a fort with a tower for defense. Along Tank-Wana road, passing through rocky country hills, there are scattered groups of neatly built mud houses, standing in the middle of grazing grounds and cultivated patches and dominated by tall watchtowers. The principal villages of the Mahsuds are Makin and Kanigurram.


The majority of Wazirs and Mahsuds of South Waziristan are pastoral. The Wazirs breed horses and sheep and earn their livelihood from sheep-rearing. A large number of Mahsuds are employed in the Army, as levies and Khassadars in militia and scouts. Mahsuds have also taken to business in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan driving buses and trucks. The Agency also produces or trades charcoal, wool, potatoes, chilghozas and a few varieties of locally grown fruits.

Places of interest

Wana is the summer headquarters of the Agency. It is an important tehsil and a camp similar to Razmak. The population is mostly of Ahmadzai Wazirs. It has a vast plain with extensive valleys surrounded on all sides by hills. It is an important industrial and agricultural center. Ladha, Makin, Sararogha, Azamwarsak and Angoor Adda are also important places of the Agency. Kaniguram is inhabited principally by a tribe called Burki. There are some Mahsuds who also live there but no others. It is, population wise, the largest habitation in South Waziristan at 7000 feet above sea level.The tribesmen manufacture small arms and knives, which are most known for their finish and performance and much-liked by the tourists and foreigners.


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. 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.

Pakistan’s new Waziristan strategy

On June 4, (Year?), 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 the NWFP.

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 madrasahs preaching militancy
* Appointment of regional coordinators
* Fresh recruitment of police officers in NWFP

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 NWFP Police with weapons, bulletproof jackets and night-vision devices. The paramilitary Frontier Corps will be provided with artillery and Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). The state agencies are also studying ways to block broadcasting of illegal FM radio channels.cite web
last = Khan
first = Ismail
year = 2007
url = http://www.dawn.com/2007/06/26/top4.htm
title = Plan ready to curb militancy in Fata, settled areas
work = Newsweek international edition
publisher = Dawn.com
accessdate = 2007-06-27

See also

* Battle of Wana
* Waziristan
* North Waziristan
* Islamic Emirate of Waziristan
* Federally Administered Tribal Areas
* Sararogha Fort raid
* Jandola


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