Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Orakzai

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Introduction

Orakzai Tribal District takes its name from the Orakzai tribe that inhabit the area. The District 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 Tribal District, in the east by Kohat District, in the south by Kohat and Hangu districts, and in the west by Kurram Tribal District.

Figure 1.3 A Dense Settlement in Orakzai Agency

Tribal District (TD) at a Glance

Name Of Tribal District Orakzai Tribal District
Headquarters Hangu. Tehsil level headquarters are at Kalaya (Lower Orakzai) and Ghiljo Bazaar (Upper Orakzai)
Population[1] 254,356 persons
Area[2] 1,538 km2
Population Density[3] 165 persons/ km2
Growth Rate[4] 0.64%
Male Population[5] 50.1%
Female Population[6] 49.9%
Urban Population[7] None, entire population is rural.
Administrative Units 2 Subdivisions with 4 Tehsils:

1.    Upper Orakzai

a.    Upper Tehsil

b.    Ismailzai Tehsil

2.    Lower Orakzai

a.    Lower Tehsil

b.    Central Tehsil

Main Towns Dabori, Kool, Badan, Ghiljo, Samana, Kalaya, Togharam, Darra Adam Khel, Feroze Khel, Shinkai, Mishti Mela, and Kurez
Literacy Rate[8] 37%
Male Literacy Rate[9] 85%
Female Literacy Rate[10] 10%
Major Economic Activity[11] Economic Activity figures for FATA are not available; subsistence level agriculture with its allied livestock breeding and fishing is the major employer. Other activities include small scale businesses, mining, and elementary occupations. Immigration to other districts in search of jobs to send remittances home is a major economic activity
Main Crops Wheat, maize, pulses (moong, maash etc.), barley, poppy, rapeseed, canola, barley, rice, poppy, red beans, ground nut, and soya bean
Major Fruits Apricots, apples, peach, walnut, pear, citrus, ber, and olives
Major Vegetables Arum, okra, tinda, eggplant, pumpkin, tomatoes, potatoes, bottle gourd, turnips, carrots, spinach, chillies, garlic, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage, and radish
Forest Area[12] 5,070 HA[13]
Black Topped Roads[14] 439.0 km
Shingle Roads[15] 323.0 km
Electricity Electricity is supplied by Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Company (TAESCO). Data on number and size of Grid stations is not available
Telephone Exchanges[16] 04 Telephone Exchanges with 534 connections
Industrial Zones[17] No industrial estate but 170 registered industrial units, of which 136 units are working in the T D
No. of Industrial Units[18] Coal Extraction 169 Units
Stone Crushing 1 Unit
Household Size[19] 8.8 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water[20] 19.4%
Houses with Electricity[21] 54.2%

Table 1.1 Orakzai TD  at a Glance

[1] District profile, Orakzai Agency 1998 (Government of Pakistan)

[2] 2017 Census

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2019-20

[9] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2019-20

[10] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2019-20

[11] FATA Sustainable Development Plan 2007-2015, Civil Secretariat FATA, Peshawar

[12] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Development Statistics 2020-21.

[13] According to Land Utilization Statistics; Forestry Statistics report 48,294 HA (FATA Development Statistics; KP Development statistics do not report area under forests of the new Tribal Districts).

[14] KP Development Statistics 2020-21

[15] KP Development Statistics 2020-21

[16] KP Development Statistics 2020-21

[17] FATA Development Authority, Industries Survey Report, 2010 (latest available)

[18] FATA Development Authority, Industries Survey Report, 2010 (latest available)

[19] 1998 Census; 2017 Census has not been made Public Yet.

[20] 1998 Census; 2017 Census has not been made Public Yet.

[21] 1998 Census; 2017 Census has not been made Public Yet.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHistoric/ Heritage SitesRecreational Areas/ Tourist Attractions

Brief History

The original inhabitants[1] of Tirah were the Tirahis, who were probably a Tajik race. They were ruled by different rajas (kings) and were driven out of the country by the Pir-e-Roshan,[2] or the “the apostle of light”. Most of them fled to Nangrahar (Afghanistan) when Pir-Roashan conquered the region. In 1619 or 1620, Mahabat Khan, the Subedar (Governor) of Kabul under the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, massacred 300 Daulatzai Orakzai, who were Roshnia converts; later, Ghairat Khan (a commander in the Mughal force) was sent with a large force via Kohat to invade Tirah. The Mughal force suffered great losses and was defeated.

After Emperor Jehangir’s death, in 1627, most of the Afghan tribes revolted against Mughal domination. Muzaffar Khan (a Commander in the Mughal army), for example, was attacked by the Orakzais and the Afridis, and Abdul Qadir (a Roshnia follower) attacked Peshawar. However, Abdul Qadir had to abandon his siege due to the jealousy of Afghans, and returned to Tirah. The Mughals sent a fresh force against the Roshnias, Yousafzais, and the Orakzais. This time, the Mughals were successful, and the tribes submitted to Mughal rule again. In 1658, the Orakzais again revolted but were induced to submit. This time the Mughals granted them lands near Panipat (Bhopal Area).

Dost Muhammad Khan of the Orakzai tribe became the founder of the State of Bhopal India (now in Madhya Pardesh), and his descendants were remained the Nawabs of Bhopal.

After the downfall of the Mughal Empire, Tirah became virtually independent, though it owed a nominal allegiance to Kabul at times. During the Great Pathan Uprising of 1897-98 against British dominion, the Orakzais also revolted against the British thus giving a chance to the British to enter their territory. The Orakzais attacked the Samana, and the Afridis attacked Landi Kotal as well as other posts in the Khyber Pass. The British dispatched 34,500 men into Tirah, led by Sir William Lockhart. The British troops advanced across the Khanki and Mastura valleys, over the Sampagha and Arhanga passes to Maidan and Bazar, whence the whole of Tirah was overrun. After the end of the campaign, British forces returned to Peshawar via the Bara valley in December.

The Orakzais have been the object of various British military expeditions, most notably in 1855, 1868, 1869, and 1891, as well as the Tirah campaign of 1897.

At the time of Partition, the area now forming Orakzai TD was part of Federal Region Kohat (FR Kohat) and remained so till 1973, when it was declared a separate Political Agency. This was done due to the demand of people of this area for a separate administrative structure that could bring rapid development. Initially, Dabari area of Upper Orakzai Tehsil was selected as the headquarters for Orakzai Agency. However, the people of Dabari did not give land for the construction of government buildings; therefore, Kalaya was selected. When this choice was rejected by the inhabitants, Hangu City of Hangu district was made the headquarters of Orakzai Agency. To-date Hangu City is the headquarters of the TD

Governmental Structure ps2id id=’Governmental’ target=”/]

At the Federal level, Orakzai Tribal district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 1
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 1

Under the Local Government Act, the Tribal District has 46 Councils, which include 42 Village and 04 neighbourhood Councils.

Administrative Divisions

Administratively, Orakzai TD comprises of two Subdivisions:

Upper Orakzai 02 Tehsils: Upper Orakzai, Ismailzai
Lower Orakzai 02 Tehsils: Lower Orakzai, Central Orakzai

Table 1.2 Orakzai TD Adminitrative Divisions

[1] The following account of the history of Orakzai has been extracted from North West Frontier Province Gazetteer 1908

[2] Pir-e-Roshan was an Afghan warrior poet and freedom fighter. He founded the Roshnia Movement which gained many followers in the 16th century Pashtunistan region.

Historic/ Heritage Sites

Some of the important and ancient buildings which need government protection for their preservation are: (Study on Tourism Potential of FATA by FATA Development Authority)

  • Gulistan Fort or Fort Cavagnari, constructed by the British
  • Shrines and darbars in Kalaya
  • Shrine of Mast Mir Qasim in Zaira
  • Old Camp of the British constructed in 1929 in Dargai

Recreational Areas/ Tourist Attractions 

In addition to the above historical places, other sites of interest to a tourist are:[2]

  • Samana, with its green mountains and water springs. During British Rule, local disputes were settled here
  • Gulistan Fort, a green hilly area thickly wooded with pine trees
  • Kalaya, considered to be the most beautiful valley in Orakzai. It is situated on the banks of River Mastura. A number of historically important shrines and darbars are located here. Cricket tournaments are also held in the local stadiums.
  • Zaira, a beautiful valley surrounded by thickly wooded mountains. River Mastura flows through the valley. The shrine of Mast Mir Qasim is located here. An egg gambling festival is held in the valley each year
  • Kurez, known for its natural beauty and coal mines
  • Dargai, a green mountainous area
  • Landok, located 2,133 m (7,000 feet) above sea level with green fertile land, with numerous springs and forests
  • Nanawar, a natural cave of about 200 m depth
  • Khalwat, an old shrine situated on top of Landak

Figure 1.4 Kalaya, Orakzai TD

[2] Study on Tourism Potential of FATA, by FATA Development Authority.

Topography

Orakzai TD is a hilly region[1] with fertile valleys. The elevation of the hills varies from more than 3,000 meters in the west to less than 2,000 meters in the east. These hills are dominated by the mountains of Karagh Ghar Range (also spelled as Kahu Ghar), a spur of Safed Koh, dissected by numerous water courses. The hill ranges are densely covered with low brush wood. Occasional groves of pines are also found along these ranges. These hills are interspersed with passes. One of the more important passes is the Lozaka Pass.

Important peaks include Sangla (1,928 m) and Chara Kandao (1,720 m).

The TD consists of small plains with a low gradient on both banks of the River Mastura. These plains are further subdivided by streams joining the main Mastura River. The main valleys/ plains are the Khanki, Mastura, Kharmana, and Bara.

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

There are 2 main rivers draining the TD—these are the Mastura and the Khanki. Mastura River runs east to west, and joins the Bara River. Both these rivers are fed by numerous smaller streams many of which are seasonal. Some smaller streams of the TD include the Kharmana, Kandi Mishti, and Kundi Nadi. Most of the streams take the name of the place they drain.

Forests

The TD has 8 major forested[2] areas. The main forested areas are Bar Ahmed Khel, Mani Khel, And Khel, Uri Khel, Mala Khel, Mishi Area, Sheik Khan, and Ali Khel. The following tree species are indigenous to the Agency:

  • cinnamon oak or Rinji (Quercus Incana)
  • Phulai (Acacia Modesta)
  • Kao or sanatha or wild olives (Olea Cuspidata)
  • blue pine or Kail (Pinus Wallichiana) at a higher elevation

Other trees in the area include deodar (cedrus deodara), and gurgura (Monotheca boxifolia).

The following table shows the status of forests as per FATA Development Statistics 2015-16: (KP Development Statistics 2020-21 do not record Forest Statistics for former Tribal agencies)

Total Forest Area 338,964 A Man Made Plantation 34,425 A
Natural Forests 84.671 A Linear Plantation 242 km

Table 1.3 Orakzai  TD Forests

Soils

The soils of the TD are residuum colluvium[3] from shale, limestone, and sandstone. The soils are shallow/ moderately deep, well-drained, moderately to strongly calcareous, coarse to medium textured (gravelly sandy loam, and clay loam) and moderately eroded. These occur on lower to middle mountain slopes. Piedmont soils are gravelly loam.

Climate

The TD can be ranked as being a cold-temperate region with mild rains.

The climate of the TD is pleasant in summer and extremely cold[4] in winter. The summer season begins from May and lasts till October. June, July, and August are the hot months. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during the month of June (which is the hottest month) are about 40 °C and 27 °C respectively. Winter begins around November and continues till April. December, January, and February are the cold months. January is the coldest month, with mean maximum and minimum temperatures of about 18 °C and 6 °C respectively. The annual rainfall ranges between 250 to 500 mm. The relative humidity ranges from 25 to 85 percent.

Seismic Activity

The TD belongs to Zone 2B of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan, which means minor to moderate damage due to earthquakes.

[1] Extracted from Socio-Economic Profile of Orakzai Agency 1993 by USAID and Community Motivation & Development Organization Orakzai Agency Development Profile

[2] Socio-Economic Profile of Orakzai Agency, by Technical Support and Planning Unit (TSPU), Tribal Areas Development Project (TADP) and Rural Development Division for USAID

[3] Residuum soils are those that are formed by the weathering effect on limestone and dolomite bedrocks. Colluvium soils are loose, unconsolidated sediments.

[4] There is no meteorological observatory in the area; however, climatic data recorded at Kohat has been taken as a close proxy.

Population

The following table shows the population of the TD as per the 2017 Census:

Agency Area

km2

Population Male% Female% Urban

%

Growth Rate %
Orakzai Agency 1,538 254,356 50.1 49.9 0.64
Central Tehsil[1] 399 59,132 49.8 50.2 1.2
Ismailzai Tehsil 275 23,963 50.3 49.7 -0.97
Lower Tehsil 565 107,323 50.1 49.9 2.63
Upper Tehsil 299 63,885 50.6 49.4 -1.43

Table 1.4 Orakzai TD Population Statistics

Religions[2]

Muslims 99.7%
Christians Negligible %
Hindus 0.1%
Ahmadis 0.1%
Scheduled Castes Negligible %
Others 0.1%

Table 1.5 Orakzai TD Religions

Languages[3]

Urdu 0.2%
Punjabi Negligible %
Sindhi Negligible %
Pushto 99.7%
Balochi Negligible %
Seraiki Negligible %
Others Negligible %

Table 1.6 Orakzai TD Languages

[1] Fields have been left blank where no data is available

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 data has not been made public yet.

[3] 1998 Census; 2017 data has not been made public yet

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity

The local economy[1] is based on subsistence level agriculture, livestock breeding, and small businesses conducted locally. People mostly seek employment in other areas of the country or outside Pakistan.

[1] Employment by Industry numbers for FATA are not available

Land Use

The following table shows the main land use statistics of Orakzai TD as per FATA Development Statistics 2015-16 (KP Development Statistics 2021-22 do not record statistics for former FATA Agencies):

Total Area 153,800 HA Reported Area 153,761 HA
Total Cultivated Area 17,530 HA Net Sown 9,356 HA
Current Fallow 8,174 HA Uncultivated Area 136,231 HA
Culturable Waste 2,752 HA Forest Area 4,986 HA

Table 1.7 Orakzai TD Land Use Statistics

Agriculture

The crops of the TD include wheat, maize, pulses (moong, maash etc.), barley, poppy, rapeseed, canola, barley, rice, red beans, ground nut, and soya bean.

Apricots, apples, peach, walnut, pear, citrus, ber, and olives are some of the fruits grown in the TD.

Arum, okra, tinda, eggplant, pumpkin, tomatoes, potatoes, bottle gourd, turnips, carrots, spinach, chillies, garlic, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage, and radish are some of the vegetables grown in the district.

Livestock Breeding

Livestock farming is a dominant occupation of the farming community with more than 15 million animal heads and about 22 million poultry birds’ habituating the KP Province. However, this occupation is mostly to supplement family nutritional and cash requirement. The capitalist trend in this sector is still lacking, resulting in weak and non-descriptive breeds with low level of milk and meat productivity.

The following table shows the livestock position in Orakzai TD as per Livestock Census 2006 (qtd. in FATA Development Statistics 2015-16; KP Development Statistics do not record data for former FATA Agencies):

Cattle 68,671 Heads Buffalos 13,450 Heads Sheep 49,951 Heads
Goats 111,849 Heads Camels 259 Heads Horses 190 Heads
Asses 13,390 Heads Mules 2,774 Heads

Table 1.8 Orakzai Agency Livestock Statistics

Balki, Tirah, or Afridi sheep are the indigenous breeds of cattle of the Agency.

Poultry

Table 17 (Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock) does not include data on number of commercial poultry farms in Orakzai TD.

Fishing

The various rivers and streams[1] that traverse the TD harbour a variety of fish, depending on the climatic regime. Cold waters in the upper reaches, for example, are suitable for trout, while warmer waters in the lower reaches favour carp. These aquatic resources are ideally suited for the development of fisheries.

Fishing is carried out in the streams, rivers, and lakes, but most of this fish is consumed locally.

Bee Keeping

The Government of Pakistan promotes the bee keeping/ honey production industry in Former FATA Agencies to help create employment and for income generation purposes.

Minerals and Mining

The mountains of the Tribal Areas[2] yield a variety of minerals, ranging from marble and granite to copper and gold. Since mineral extraction depends heavily on labour, the mining industry can serve as an immediate means to create employment in the region. Considering the reserves that have already been identified, the sector has the potential to become a major employer in the long term.

At present, coal is the only mineral being commercially mined in Orakzai Tribal District. Mineral potential includes copper, and stones like marble.

Irrigation

The major sources of irrigation[1] in the TD are privately-owned and dug water channels which bring water to the farmlands. The following table shows the mode of irrigation system used and area irrigated by each (KP Development Statistics 2020-21):

Total Irrigated Area 2,766 HA Government Canal Irrigated 55 HA
Tube Wells 455 HA Private Canals Irrigated 2,148 HA
Wells/ Lift Pumps – HA Others 108 HA

Table 1.10 Orakzai TD Irrigation

[1] Data on Agro-Ecological zones of FATA is not available

Industry

There are no industrial zones/ estates in Orakzai Tribal District, but there are 170 registered industrial units, of which 136 are working in the region. There are 169 Coal Extraction Units and 1 Stone Crushing Unit in the TD.

Handicrafts

Household items made of the leaves of the mazri palm are the main handicrafts of the TD. Other items include embroidery on clothes, and the raising of silk worms.

[1] Sustainable Development Plan 2007-15, Civil Secretariat FATA

[2] Sustainable Development Plan 2007-15, Civil Secretariat FATA

Economic Infrastructure

The Tribal District’s headquarter is connected with other parts of the Tribal District via black topped roads. The Tribal District is also connected to Kohat and Hangu (both in KP) and thus other parts of Pakistan through black topped roads. The National Highway N-55 also known as Indus Highway passes through the TD. But there is no air or railway connection.

Roads

There are two types of roads in Orakzai TD: High type and Low type. The following table shows the road statistics as per KP Development Statistics 2020-21:

High Type 439.0 km
Low Type 323.0 km
Total 762.0 km

Table 1.9 Orakzai TD Road Statistics

Important roads of the district include:

  • National Highway N-55 passes through the Agency near Mattani
  • Khyber-Orakzai Road
  • Orakzai Agency Road
  • Shahukhel Road connects the Agency to Kohat
  • Dargai-Ghakhi-Sharo Dhogal
  • Dargai-Shamimkhel

Rail and Airways

There is no Railway station in the TD, nor is there an airport.

Radio and Television

No data available.

Telecommunications

According to the KP Development Statistics 2020-21, there are 04 telephone exchanges in Orakzai Tribal District. These exchanges provide 464 connections. In addition, private cellular companies provide their services in the region.

Post Offices/ Courier Services

According to KP Development Statistics 2020-21 there are 09 branch post offices in Orakzai Tribal District.

Banking/ Financial Institutions

There are a total of 03 Branches of Habib Bank Ltd., operating in the Tribal District (KP Development Statistics 2020-21).

Electricity and Gas

TAESCO (Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Corporation) supplies and distributes electricity in FATA. Sarhad Hydel Development Organization (SHYDO), and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) are responsible for power generation in the Tribal Districts.

Education

The total literacy rate of Orakzai TD as per the Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2019-20 is 37%. Male literacy rate is 85%, while female literacy is 10%. The following table shows the number of government educational institutions in Orakzai Tribal District (KP Development Statistics 2020-21):

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 241/130 Mosque Schools 06
Middle Schools 17/11 High Schools 21/06
Higher Secondary 03/01 Community Schools 32
Degree Colleges 02/02 Universities
Govt. Elementary College Agricultural Universities
Commercial Training Polytechnics 01
Cadet Colleges Vocational Training Inst.

Table 1.11 Orakzai Agency Educational Institutes: Government

Health

The following table shows Government Health care Institutions in Orakzai TD as per KP Development Statistics 2020-21:

Institution No/Beds Institution No./Beds
Hospitals 05/270 Dispensaries 30/-
Rural health Centers 01/08 Basic Health Units 23/-
Child Health Centers 02/- Mother Child Health Centers
TB Clinics 09/- Leprosy Clinics -/-

Table 1.13 Orakzai Agency Health Institutes

In addition there are 134 Private Medical Practitioners[1] in the Agency.

Policing

The District Police Officer (DPO) is directly responsible to the District Mayor for public safety. The Police Department is headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). The SSP supervises and controls the police force in maintaining law and order, and investigation of cases of a criminal nature. The Police Department operates under the Police Rules. There are 02 Police Stations in the District. (KP Development Statistics 2020-21).

The Levy Force, Khassadars and the Scout Troops operating in the erstwhile Orakzai Agency have been absorbed into the KP Police as per the KP Levies Force Bill 2019

[1] KP Development Statistics, 2020-21

Environment and Biodiversity

The ambient air quality in the Tribal District is excellent due to minimal sources of air emissions. The only source of impact on the quality of the ambient air is the rare vehicular traffic on the roads, which causes some dust emissions whose impact is localized. The main pollutants from vehicle exhaust are lead, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. These emissions temporarily affect the air quality in the immediate vicinity of the roads.

Flora and Fauna

Flora

The flora of the Tribal District includes cinnamon oak or rinji (Quercus incana), phulai (Acacia modesta), kao, sanatha or wild olives (olea cuspidata), blue pine or kail (Pinus wallichiana), eucalyptus (eucalyptus sp), sheesham (Dalbergio sissoo), kachnar or orchid tree (Bauhinia variegate), chir pine (Pinus roxburghii), poplar (populous sp), tree of heaven (Ailanthus), walnut (Juglans regia), Karir (Capparis decidua), sirin (Albizia procera), kikar (Acacia nilotica), bakain (Justicia adhatota), aak (Calotropis procera), and ber (Ziziphus Mauritania).

Pakistan has a rich history on the folk use of plants. Some of the plants used in medicines are olives, aloe vera (Alhagi sp), datura or bhang (Datura stramonium), mulhathi (Glycerrhiza glabra), harmal or Syrian rue (Peganum harmala), vegetable rennet or paneer (Withania coagulans), sweet basil or niaz bo (Ocimum bascilicum), and mint or podina (Mentha longifolia).

Fauna

The fauna of the TD includes bear, wild boar, ibex, porcupine, jackals, leopards, and bats. The avifauna includes species of pheasants, and migratory birds.

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Wildlife

At present, there are no wildlife protected areas in the Former FATA regions, but the GoKP has passed a law for the creation of protected areas in the region.

Endangered wildlife of the region includes nearly all of the mammals and birds found in the TD.