- Orakzai Agency
Orakzai — Agency — Country Pakistan Established 30 November 1973 Headquarters Hangu District Tehsils 4 Government - Political agent Mr Khushal Khan Area - Total 1,800 km2 (695 sq mi) Population - Total 450,000 - Density 250/km2 (647.5/sq mi) Time zone PST (UTC+5) Main language(s) Pashto, English
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. 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
There are eighteen major Orakzai tribes:
- Ali Khel
- Mullah Khel
- Mishti 
- Shikhan
- Rabia khel
- Ber muhammed khel
- Mani khel
- Feroz khel
- Massozai
- Akhel
- Sepoy
- Ali Sherzai
- Mirazi khel
However, these tribes have been assimilated into the Orakzai culture and are considered[by whom?] to be Orakzai. Certain Orakzai tribes like the Masozai and half the Lashkarzai find themselves in Kurram Agency for historical and administrative reasons. A small 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 Thal and North Waziristan.
Then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto announced the creation of the agency at a grand tribal jirga at Samana 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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of main areas of Upper Orakzai include:
- (Sultan Zai) most of the land of Sultan Zai, which is about 10000 canals, of one well known family of khan Hashmatullah khan son of rafi ullah khan who give 480 canals land to the government for the kalaya headquarters.
The Shia area includes Zira, Andkhel, Merazai, Dorankai,Darma, Kalaya,Panzary,Char Bagh,Sarobi Gari, Kadda,Mandai, Tharngai, Jabber, Kadola, Dappa, Sra Mela, Choryano Mela, Kharkai, Khamal, Maura, Abu dak, Handou, Laka seza, Dargee,Khinsar, Dobsana, Kurez, Pera, star sam, Sepoy, and Darwazeye etc. An astonishing feature of Mani Khel darra (A town near Kalaya) is a natural tunnel, called Nanawar. Locals state that no one has been to the end of the tunnel so far. The people are more than 50% educated people,however they are more social. They still maintain Hujra system, a symbol of their unity and community culture. Lower Orakzai has some very good landscapes and picnic spots, featuring lush green meadows and mountains covered by forests, however there are some small hotels for stay and so many tourists schemes. The people are very much hospitable, and they provide accommodation to the guests in Hujra. Coal and wood are the major product of the area. Crops are grown on a small level while others items of daily use are purchased from Kohat and Hangu.
Culture of the area is dominantly pashtoon, with people adhering strongly to the pashtoon 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 center, 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 by everyone. Jirga system provides swift, quick and accessible justice. People are hospitable, religious minded, social and have strong and violent sentiments of revenge. They love music but hate singers, love weapons but hate to be a part of some army. Self liberty, freedom of speech and self esteem is the specialty. Anyone can raise its voice for any injustice, everyone is respected. Oppressors are hated and oppressed are supported, even a widow can summon the most powerful person of the area to justice. Instead of all these good qualities, the moster of sectarian clashes and talibanization fades the beauty of the culture.
Talibanization and Army offensive
Talibanization of the area started back in 2006 when sectarian violence was at apex. In start, Taliban were welcome because no one knew their actual objectives, they intermingles with the locals in 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. Shia population resisted talibanization in the first place. After a humiliating defeat in Waziristan, 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 Kurram agency, in the south from Kohat and in the east from Bara and started a three pronged attack, locals supported the army to their capacity and soon they were forced to flee and evacuate the lower sub division. Heavy damages were inflicted upon them in the upper sub division 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 is defused greatly and now coming to normal.
Lower Orakzai Agency Village Jalaka Mela. It is a small village in the centre of Lower Orakzai Agency. People say it the Heart of Orakzai. Sohbat Khan the leader of Orakzai belong to this village.
- ^ a b c Shaharyar M. Khan, (2000). The Begums of Bhopal: A History of the Princely State of Bhopal, Appendix 2: The Orakzai People
- ^ "List of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers of the National Assembly Constituencies". Election Commission of Pakistan. http://www.ecp.gov.pk/content/ROARONA.htm. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
Agencies Frontier RegionsBannu · Dera Ismail Khan · Kohat · Lakki Marwat · Peshawar · Tank
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