Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bodies swapped in Kurram Agency

Bodies swapped in Kurram Agency
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Our correspondent

PARACHINAR: Taking initiatives for bringing normalcy to the area, the Peace Jirga of the local elders Tuesday exchanged at least 24 bodies and two prisoners between Tori and Bangash tribes at Balishkhel checkpost Tuesday.

A meeting was held at the checkpost which was attended by the members of the peace jirga, including Sajid Hussain Tori MNA, Senator Engineer Rasheed Ahmed, Bismillah Jan, former Senator Abdul Aziz, Maulana Khurshid Anwar Jawadi, Malik Abdullah Jan and others.

Addressing on the occasion, the speakers said the jirga formed to restore peace in the area would perform its responsibilities efficiently, adding that it is the only opportunity to bury grudges and hatred and try to live brotherly.

About 2,000 families had been displaced from the areas, including Gulbazana, Parachinar, Sadda, Arawali, Bagzai, Monda, Jalamay and Chardiwar, would be brought back to their villages, they said.

A large number of the local residents arrived at the checkpost to receive the bodies of their relatives, who were killed during the sectarian clashes. About 21 bodies were handed over to Bangash tribe while 3 bodies to Tori tribe besides swapping prisoners. They said the jirga would also resolve other issues like closure of Peshawar-Parachinar Road, taking back the properties occupied by the rival groups, facilitating the hospitals lacking medicines and restoration of power supply to the area that has been suspended for the last three months. So far 1,500 people have been killed and 5,000 injured during the clashes in Kurram Agency.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sectarianism in Kurram Agency

KURRAM Tribal Agency is one of the most scenic and picturesque valley of Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan, having the geographic distinction of sharing a border with Afghanistan on three sides. The area forming the present day Kurram Agency was a part of Afghanistan before the Second Afghan War of 1878-79. The Kurram Valley got their independence in 1880, however, the administration was undertaken by the British government in 1890 not as a British district, but as a loosely administered area. In Lord Curzon’s reorganization of the frontier in 1900-1901, the British troops were withdrawn from the forts in the Kurram Valley, and were replaced by the Kurram militia, reorganized in two battalions, and chiefly drawn from the Turi tribe. Kurram Agency is the only tribal region in the country’s semi-autonomous seven tribal territories which has a large number of Shiites - the rest of the six tribal agencies are overwhelmingly inhabited by Sunni Muslims. According to official figures, its total population is 500,000, with 58 percent Sunni and 42 percent Shiite. The majority of the Shiites live in the upper part of the Kurram Agency, while Sunnis inhabit lower and central Kurram. The population of Kurram valley consists of a number of tribes, namely Turi, Bangash, Parachamkani, Massozai, Alisherzai, Zaimusht, Mangal, Kharotai, Ghalgi and Hazara. There was also a sizeable sikh population but most of them have left the valley. The multi-ethnic communities share common cultural, linguistic and historical heritage, but due to a history of sectarian violence the cities are bifurcated according to sect, and there are no longer any mixed localities. Sectarian violence is not a new phenomenon in Kurram Agency where well over 4000 people have been killed in clashes between the Sunni and Shia tribes since the decade of 1980s. However, the clashes going on for nearly two years have become more alarming because of the reported involvement of Taliban in the ongoing violence. Parachinar and the agency were predominantly Shia until a large influx of Sunnis started with the US-Russia war in Afghanistan, when the Mujahideen used it to raid Afghanistan. With the rise in Sunni numbers, there was also a rise in sectarian violence. When the US pressurized the Taliban in Afghanistan, they moved to the adjoining Tribal Areas of Pakistan and re-grouped and re-organized there. Now, resurgent for the eighteen months or so, they have been building up their presence in Swat, Bajaur, Khyber, Dara Adam Khel and the suburbs of Peshawar. It was this resurgence coupled with their desire for an alternate route into Afghanistan that has made the Taliban interested in Parachinar. In recent years the Kurram Valley has once again assumed a very strategic position and has been an area of intense military activity between the Taliban and American and allied forces. The fresh violence had been engineered by Al Qaeda in order to divert the attention of the Pakistan army from its on-going operations against the jihadis in the Swat Valley. The violence between Sunni Bangash and Shia Turi tribesmen has plagued the agency bordering Afghanistan for one and a half years. As many as 900 people have been killed in the sectarian violence in Kurram Agency since April last year. Land routes to most parts of the Kurram valley have been cut off from the rest of the country, triggering a severe shortage of food and medical supplies. People coming to Peshawar have been forced to travel via the Paktia province of Afghanistan. In December, 2007, there was a fresh flare-up of clashes between the Shia Turi tribals and Sunni tribals belonging to al Qaeda and the newly-formed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Some leaders of the Shiite community have blamed the Sunni Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked foreign militants in the tribal region for the latest wave of violence in Kurram.While condemning violence in Khurram Agency, Pakistan religious leaders foresee a conspiracy to ignite the fire of sectarianism meant to destabilize Pakistan. The people of the area urged to foil the designs of those elements who are trying to divide Muslims of Kurram Agency. Islam is a religion of peace and there is no room in it for anyone to impose his “brand of religion” on others. The only way forward is to promote the true Islamic values of accommodation, tolerance and peace and ignore those out to spread darkness, narrow mindedness, extremism and intolerance. These forces are presenting a warped image of Islam and are thereby damaging it enormously. It is matter of immense concern that why these values of forgiveness, patience and tolerance have vanished from the society. The pathway out of the current predicament is to open the issue for stakeholders’ debate and let the political leaders to address the real issues facing the people through constructive dialogue. In this connection, a 100 member grand jirga of Kurram Agency has brokered a peace deal between warring sectarian groups in the region. Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to: (1) Exchange kidnapped people (2) Reopen all roads to ensure supply of foodstuff, medicines and other essential items. (3) Allow the displaced people to return to their villages. (4) Bunkers would be vacated and handed over to the Frontier Corps. (5) A fine of Rs 60 million will be imposed for any violation of the agreement. The tribal elders promised to cooperate with the government in maintaining peace.The Government is earnestly endeavouring to resolve the sectarian issue and bring the Tribal Areas at par with other four provinces of the country with special focus on education, developmental work, political stability, and pro-poor policies. The armed clashes in Kurram Agency are not sectarian but some hidden external hands are involved in the conflict. Miscreants and militants are the main factors for resurgence of violence in Kurram agency. The people of Kurram agency are fully aware of the fact that the war in the area is not in their interest. The Government should curb the activities of conspirators and save Parachinar from becoming an incubator and a launching pad for sectarian violence all over Pakistan.

by Ibn ul Hasan Shah

Daily Mail NEWS

Friday, October 24, 2008

Motorcyclist died in accident

PARACHINAR: A motorcyclist died while another injured when a speedy motorbike plunged into deep ravine at Luqmankhel here Thursday.

According to political authorities here, Hasmat Ali was on the way home when he lost control over vehicle and was plunged into deep ditch. Resultantly, Hasmat Ali succumbed to his wounds while his friend Ishaq Hussain sustained critical injuries and was hospitalized in the Agency Headquarters Hospital Parachinar.

Associated Press of Pakistan

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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Kurram Valley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  (Redirected from Kurram Agency)
Kurram Agency
Map of Federally Administered Tribal Areas with {{{district}}} highlighted
District map of FATA and NWFP - Districts of FATA are shown shown in blue.
Area3,310 km²
Population (1998)
 • Density
 • /km²
Time zonePST (UTC+5)
 • Political Agent
 • Number of Tehsils

Main language(s)Pashto, Urdu, English

Kurram or Karam (Urduکرم ) tribal agency is located in the FATA area of Pakistan.Geogrpahically it covers Kurram Valley (Urduوادی کُرم) which is a beautiful valley in the northwestern part of Pakistan neighboring Afghanistan.

Until the year 2000, when divisions were abolished, Kurram District used to be part of the Peshawar Division of the North-West Frontier Provinceof Pakistan.The name Kurram comes from the river Kurram which flows along the valley. The valley in the north is surrounded by white mountains (the safed Koh) which also forms the natural border with Afghanistan.

The Kurram River drains the southern flanks of the Safed Koh mountain range, and enters the Indus plains north of Bannu. It flows west to east and crosses the Paktia Province Afghan-Pakistan border at 33°49′N 69°58′E about 80 km southwest of Jalalabad, and joins the Indus nearIsa Khel after a course of more than 320 km (200 miles). The district has an area of 3,310 km² (1,278 sq. miles); the population according to the 1998 census was 448,310[1]. It lies between the Miranzai Valley and the Afghan border, and is inhabited by the Pashtun Turis, a tribe of Turkiand Pathan origin on the western and central side who are supposed to have subjugated the Bangash Pashtun about six hundred years ago. The language of the tribe is Pashto, but unlike majority of the Pashtuns they are Shias. Eastern portion of the valley is now inhabited mostly by Sunni Pukhtoons mostly Mangals and Paras and Sunni Bangash.




The Kurram Valley in ancient times offered the most direct route to Kabul and Gardez. The route crossed the Peiwar Kotal Pass 3,439 m (11,283 ft) high, just over 20 km west of modernParachinar, but was blocked by snow for several months of the year.

The valley is highly irrigated, well peopled, and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, to which a fine background is afforded by the dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Safed Koh. The beauty and climate of the valley attracted some of the Mughal emperors of Delhi, and the remains exist of a garden planted by Shah Jahan. According to the Gazetteer of Kurram, the richness of the land gradually weaned the Turks from their nomadic life. Sections built villages and settled permanently; they ceased to be Kuchi and became Kothi this abandonment of their nomadic habits by the majority of the resulted, as it was bound to do, in a contraction of the area in effective possession. The upper Kurram plain was safe as their head-quarters, but hills and slopes below the Safed Koh and Mandher over which their graziers had kept an efficient watch, now afforded a menace as a place in which an encroaching tribe could established itself. To guard against this settlements of Mangales and Muqbols were half invited half allowed to push themselves in conditions of vassalage, and on promise to afford a buttress against any enemy aggression. In the lower Kurram, where for climatic reasons candidates for settlements were fewer, the problem was not easily solved. The Chardi Turis seem to have been the first to abandon their nomadic life.As the numbers who went down to graze every year became less,the area under control contracted. Sangroba and Hadmela were left far behind and as the Turis receded the Watizai Zaimushts gradually pushed in, until all that was left was a settlement at and about Alizai. On the western side the Saragallas retained, and still largely retain their habits. They too put in settlements around Biliamin and after much intervening warfare had finally to admit Bangashes brother not as vassals, but for the rest they retain unimpaired the rights on the western bank which they acquirerd at the time the conquest.

With Chardis this was for from being the course left unsupported by their Kuchis they maintained a precarious existence at Alizai until even then they had to give three-fifths of their land to the Watizai Zaimushts in return for their assistance in a feud they had entered upon with Bilyamin. Consequently the hills and the grazing grounds passed from the Turizun to the Zaimushtzun and as the other Zaimushts section being unopposed had settled themselves on the left bank below Sadda.

In the early 19th century the Kurram Valley was under the government of Kabul, and every five or six years a military expedition was sent to collect the revenue, the soldiers living meanwhile at free quarters on the people. It was not until about 1848 that the Turis were brought directly under the control of Kabul, when a governor was appointed, who established himself in Kurram. The Turis, being Shiah Muslims, never liked the Afghan rule.

During the second Afghan War, when Sir Frederick Roberts advanced by way of the Kurram Valley and the Peiwar Kotal to Kabul, the Turis lent him every assistance in their power, and in consequence their independence was granted them in 1880.

The administration of the Kurram Valley was finally undertaken by the British government, at the request of the Turis themselves, in 1890. Technically it ranked, not as a British district, but as an agency or administered area.

Two expeditions in the Kurram Valley also require mention: (1) The Kurram expedition of 1856 under Brigadier-General Sir Neville Chamberlain. The Turis on the first annexation of the Kohat district by the British had given much trouble. They had repeatedly leagued with other tribes to harry the Miranzai valley, harbouring fugitives, encouraging resistance, and frequently attacking Bangash and Khattak villages in the Kohat district. Accordingly, in 1856 a British force of 4,896 troops traversed their country, and the tribe entered into engagements for future good conduct. (2) The Kohat-Kurram expedition of 5,897 under Colonel W. Hill. During the frontier risings of 1897 the inhabitants of the Kurram valley, chiefly the Massozai section of theOrakzais, were infected by the general excitement, and attacked the British camp at Sadda and other posts. A force of 14,230 British troops traversed the country, and the tribesmen were severely punished. In Lord Curzon's reorganization of the frontier in 1900-1901, the British troops were withdrawn from the forts in the Kurram Valley, and were replaced by the Kurram militia, reorganized in two battalions, and chiefly drawn from the Turi tribe.

In recent years the Kurram Valley has once again assumed a very strategic position and has been an area of intense military activity between the Taliban and American and allied forces.

[edit]Major locations

[edit]Parachinar Cantonment

Parachinar is the political head quarter of Kurram valley. It has offices of political agent, levy, and Kurram Militia, part of Frontier core (FC). It is located on the western and northern side of the valley. This makes it a part of Upper Kurram. The name of Parachinar comes from 'Para', one of the tribes of the valley and 'Chinar', the maple trees which are found in abundance in Kurram value in general and Parachinar in particular. The town of Parachinar has population around thirty thousand with Turi majority. The town has government hospital and many government schools.

[edit]Major Towns


Sadda is capital of Lower Kurram. FC maintains there posts here. It is mostly inhabited by Sunni tribes now and most of the Turis have left. There was also a sizeable sikh population but most of them have left the valley.


Peiwar is located on the north west corner of the valley. It is raised plateau and has many small villages. Most of the area is inhabited by Turis. Peiwar is important for political and geographical reasons.

[edit]Major Dams

[edit]Maulana dam

Maulana dam is a small dam in Safed Koh north of Parachinar city. It is close to Maulana village and is famous for its scenic beauty.

[edit]Zeran dam

Zeran dam is located on north east of Prachinar. It is also famous for its scenic beauty.


Climate of the valley is very pleasant all year around. In winters it can become slightly cold with temperature reaching -20 degree Celsius. It also snows in northern and western parts of the valley. Apart from that weather is pleasant all year around with much precipitation during spring and summer season. Autumn and winter are usually dry.

[edit]Flaura and Fauna

The valley has wide variety of plant and animal species.

[edit]Mentioned in Rigveda

In the Rigveda, the Kurrum is mentioned as Krumu.[2]

[edit]Taliban Activity

In recent years the Kurram Valley has once again assumed a very strategic position and has been an area of intense military activity between the Taliban and American and allied forces.

Local people of Kurram agency have realized that long lasting peace can only be achieved by abandoning the Taliban activities in the region and controlling their influx into the agency as well. The people of different communities have assured their support in this regard and realized the need for practical steps in this regard.


Parachinar Kurram.
Parachinar Kurram.
Dandar Road Parachinar.
Dandar Road Parachinar.
Malikhel Parachinar.
Malikhel Parachinar.
Mazri Forest Baggan.
Mazri Forest Baggan.