Governance and Administration


Orakzai Agency forms part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), enjoys special independent status that is protected by the constitution of Pakistan. The Articles 246-247 of the constitutions guarantees  that “Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and the executive authority of a Province shall extend to the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas therein---Article247(1)” and “Neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court shall exercise any jurisdiction under the constitution in relation to a Tribal Areas, unless parliament by law otherwise provides---Article 247(7).” Like other areas of FATA, the law and order in Kurram is governed through the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901.

Orakzai is represented in the National Assembly with one legislators, however it is directly administered by the Federal Government through the Governor of the Province who acts as the representative of President (Articles 51, 59 and 247).

Agency Administration

The administration in the Agency is run by the Political Agents (PA) who is accountable to the Governor of KPK who also acts as an Agent to the President for tribal areas. The PA coordinates the functions the development agencies and the line department in the Agency and controls the tribesmen through a system of tribal and territorial responsibility. The PA also acts as District Magistrate and Session Judge Administration. The Political Agent usually does not interfere in the affairs of the tribesmen and intervenes only when a grave situation arises. The PA is assisted by a small band of officers, including Assistant Political Officers, Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars and so called Mirza.

The Orakzai Agency consists of two sub-divisions; Upper sub-division and Lower sub-division. The Upper sub-division comprises two Tehsils i.e. Upper Tehsil and Ismailzai Tehsil. The Lower sub-division has two Tehsils i.e.Lower Tehsil and •Central Tehsil. Some of main areas of Upper Orakzai include: Dabori, Kool and Badan




Upper Tehsil and Ismailzai Tehsil


Lower Tehsil and •Central Tehsil

The sub-divisions are looked after by Assistant Political Agents. The four Tehsils of the agency are headed by Political Tehsildars and Political Niab Tehsildars. The Malik system introduced by the British government is the same in Orakzai Agency as functioning in other FATA. Maliks used to work like a medium between administration and the (Qaum) or tribe. In Orakzai Agency there are 8,639 Maliks and lungi holders.

Judiciary and Conflict Resolution

All civil and criminal cases in FATA are decided under the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 by a jirga (council of elders). The Political Administration keeps its interference in local matters to a minimum. The tribes are allowed to settle their dispute in accordance with their customary rules and unwritten codes that are characterized by collective responsibility for the actions of individual tribe members and territorial responsibility for their area. The government functions through local-level tribal intermediaries, the maliks (representatives of the tribes) and lungi holders (representatives of sub-tribes or clans), who are influential members of their respective clan or tribe.

Although most of all Pakistan Laws including Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code have been extended to the tribal areas, the predominant procedure applied in Judiciary is the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901. More than 90 per cent of the area is inaccessible or tribal, in which the cases are decided by the tribesmen through a council of Elders or Jirga, where it determines the guilt of the accused under the customary law and sentence is passed accordingly by Political Agent/Assistant Political Agent. The conviction under certain acts mentioned in the FCR may consist of imprisonment as well, while in other cases only fine can be imposed.


Unlike most tribal agencies, the security situation is complex and has sectarian dimensions in addition to rise of militancy after 9/11. There are three different but mutually reinforcing component of militancy in Orakzai; chronic sectarian conflict between the minority Shia population with the majority Sunni population; a religiously inspired, locally motivated movement similar to the Malakand Uprising usually known as Tehrik-i-Nifaz Shariat-Muhammadi (TNSM) in the Swat Valley; and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan-inspired insurgency against armed forces of Pakistan[1].

The TTP capitalized on sectarian violence between Sunnis majority and Shia minority (about 10% of the population) and have managed to recruit a large number of youth for militant activities.

After years of relative peace since 1996, there has been new surge in sectarian violence that began in April 2007. This was the deadliest fighting that paralyzed life in the agency and resulted into migration of Shia population towards Afghanistan and towards settled cities in Pakistan[2].[B1] 

Besides sectarian violence, the Taliban has succeeded in establishing their rule in parts of Kurram Valley in recent years and has been exploiting the existing sectarian schism. Taliban from the Mehsud and Wazir tribes of North and South Waziristan started their activities in Kurram in 2006, and since 2007 have been involved violence against Shia. The agency has witnessed full scale military operations to keep the agency peaceful, but still militancy exists in the area[3].


Unlike high-profile operations in Swat and South Waziristan, Pakistan Army conducted rather a quite operation in Orkzai Agency in 2010. In June 2010, the ISPR announced that visit by Chief of Army Staff “marks the successful conclusion of operations in the Agency. The operation caused more than 93,000 displaced people to nearby districts or refugee camps. About 120 Sikh families also fled their villages before Army operation as militants imposed Rs10 million as protection tax on minorities residing in Orakzai Agency. However, both IDPs and minorities have gradually returned to the Agency.


[1]Raheel Khan (2010). The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy and Conflict in Orakzai. New America Foundation

[2]Muhammad Khurshid Khan (2010). Kurram Agency Crises: An Analytical View and Suggested Way Forward. IPRI Journal X No.2

[3] FATA Research Center (2013). FRC Annual Security Report 2013.

 [B1]Is this about Kurum Agency?

 [B2]Kurum Agency?