Tribal and Ethnic Diversity

FATA is characterized by a very strong tribal structure and very rich ethnic diversity and cultural heritage. There are about a dozen major tribes with several smaller tribes and sub-tribes. Utmankhel, Mohmand, Tarkani and Safi; are the major tribes living in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies. Afridi, Shilmani, Shinwari, Mulagori Orakzai are settled in Khyber and Orakzai agencies, while the FRs of Peshawar and Kohat are occupied by Afridis. Moreover, Turi, Bangash, and Masozai inhabit Kurram Agency. The major tribes of North and South Waziristan are Darwesh Khel Wazirs, with Mahsuds living in the central part of the region. Other tribes of the region include; Utmanzai, Ahmadzai Dawar, Saidgai, Kharasin and Gurbaz. The Bhittani tribe occupies FR Lakki and Tank, while, the Wazirs belong to FR Bannu. Lastly, the Ustrana and Shirani tribes live in FR D.I. Khan.

The cultural heritage of FATA is very rich in terms of hospitality, tribal arts and crafts, historical places, ethnic diversity and natural beauty. The tribes are accustomed to looking after their own resources and solving local problems. They take collective action in support of economic and social activities such as, supporting each other on special occasions like death and marriage ceremonies, harvesting and threshing of crops, construction of Hujras (a meeting place), mosque and other buildings, the cleaning of irrigation channels, protection from flood, maintaining paths, wood and grass cutting etc.

The Jirga system and the Malki system are strong and powerful local institutions for the reconciliation and resolution of local disputes and to punish those who violate the local rules and customs.

A Malik has his own status in his tribe. The PA gives him some amount as Mojib (allowance) periodically, to run his local hospitality expenses. The local people respect Maliks as they possess a good quality and quantity of weapons and the number of male members for using these weapons.

Traditionally, the household head has a strong hold and decision-making power for the whole family. The wives are traditionally submissive to their husbands and the likelihood of divorce or separation in the tribal society is negligible.

The tribesmen wear their traditional clothes, which includes a large turban and a rifle on the shoulders. The women-folk generally use printed clothing and observe strict purdah from outsiders by wearing a burqa/niqab when they go outdoors. Their working and festival dresses are all the same with the exception that they wear new dresses on festivals, like Eid and marriage ceremonies or when visiting relatives outside the village. In the winter season, the males wear a woolen shawl over their normal clothing, while the female dress remains the same. Tribal women are very fond of wearing ornaments and jewelry of all types, made of gold and silver. A lot of money is spent on local ceremonies, particularly on marriages, funerals, birth and other ceremonies/festivals like the celebration of Eid and performing Haj.

People of FATA are fond of games and sports, which are essential for healthy living and positive growth of the youths. There are a variety of local games and sports played commonly all over the region, both indoors and outdoors. These include; hunting, shooting, wrestling, swimming and local children’s games, dog/cock/bird fights and many other games. Despite the sports enthusiasm of its people, the region generally lacks sports facilities.