South Waristan Agency


Lying at the southern side of two Waziristans and named after the Wazir tribe. South Waziristan Agency is the largest in size of all the FATA bordering North West Frontier Province. It has two headquarters. Tank is the winter headquarter of the Agency while Wana is its summer headquarter. It is functioning since 1895 A.D. It is bounded on the north by 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.


The Agency has hot summers and very cold winters. In winters the mercury goes 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 slighhtly over 30 degrees centigrade. The winter starts in October and continues till April. December, January and February are the coldest months. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures for this period are 10 and -2 degrees centigrade respectively. The Agency is outside the monsoon zone, yet at higher altitudes fair amount rainfall is received. South Waziristan Agency has an arid climate for the most part and receives little precipitation generally. 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 piece in the south eastern corner receives less than 10 inches annually.


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.


The tribal people of this area wear special and 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 other well-to-do 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 coloured clothes as to be identified. Married women put on dark-blue or dark-red smocks of coarse cotton. The spinsters invariably of both married and unmarried women are similar and fit closely below the knee.


The houses in settlements are built of Pucca bricks plastered with mud and give appearance like a fort with a tower for defence. Along Tank- Wana road passing through a grim rocky country hills, there are scattered groups of neatly built mud houses standing in the middest of grazing grounds and cultivated patches and dominated by tall watch towers. The principal villages of the Mahsuds are Makin and Kanigurram. Some of the Mahsuds and Wazirs are migratory who come down in winter and live in tents or huts in the district of Dera Ismail Khan.


Wana is the summer headquarters of the Agency. It is an important tehsil and a camp at par with Razmak. The population is mostly of Ahmadzai Wazirs. It has a vast plain and extensive valleys surrounded on all sides by hills. It is an important industrial and agricultural centre, Ladha, Makin, Sararogha, Azamwarsak and Angoor Adda are the important places of the Agency. Khanigurram is inhabited principally by a tribe called Urmar, whose origin is not thoroughly known, but are believed to be of Indian descent. They have a language of their own, and identify themselves with the Mahsud. The tribesmen manufacture small arms and knives, whichare.moosfor their finish and performance and much liked by the tourists and foreigners.