Stories about Tribal people

‘The Wandering Falcon’: Understanding Balochistan, the literary way

Jamil Ahmad’s The Wandering Falcon cruised into my bucket list when it was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and Commonwealth Book Prize, but that was not the sole reason for it clicking with me. It was the debut work of the author at the age of 78 and was written long before we mired our stream of consciousness by replacing people with numbers and empathy with stock language for the tribal people of Pakistan. Penned down some 34 years ago, the work of fiction has become extremely relevant to the current global situation rampant with discourse of convenience. The short stories shot to ...

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I am from FATA and, today, I don’t feel Pakistani at all

I was shocked when I heard that the governments of Punjab and Sindh have barred Waziristan’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from entering their provinces. Belonging to the tribal areas, I know how much our forefathers have sacrificed for this country. It was our people who took part in Pakistan’s first war against India in 1948, to save Kashmir – and this was when Pakistan’s own army general had refused to fight. Today, whatever part of Kashmir comes under Pakistani territory, it’s all thanks to the efforts of my people. When the USSR attacked Afghanistan and Pakistan decided to be part of the United States-led ...

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The Baloch tribal system isn’t all that bad

Bijjar is a Balochi word which means cooperation or help. We have all heard our esteemed intellectuals on national television talk about how the tribal system has multiple drawbacks. The primary reason these intellectuals like to rail against the tribal system is because they themselves have minimal knowledge about this structure. Their knowledge about the tribal system is restricted merely to its problems, which encompass things like the Sardari system, a hierarchy where the head is a sardar (chief), the exploitation by feudal lords, the culture of ammunition and strict ideologies against women education. Unquestionably, some aspects of the tribal system do more harm than good to a ...

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Why didn’t Peshawar celebrate Eid?

Fringed by continued military operations, residents on one side of the Khyber Agency question their fate of being tribals, separated by a wall called Shah Kas, which was constructed by a martyred police official, Malik Saad, to halt heavy drug trafficking. I was in Phase 5 of Hayatabad, Peshawar, which borders the Khyber Agency, during my Eidul Azha holidays, when I heard the sound of artillery, automatic machine guns and rocket launchers. It was at that moment that I imagined the level of anxiety children in the conflict zone must be facing. Hearing the sounds of mortars all through the ...

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Reforms in FATA will not help

The Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) was legalized by the British government in 1901, to control tribal territory through a political agent. However, the recently introduced amendments in the infamous FCR are cosmetic ones, and will not bring any visible change to the life of tribal people. The amendments state the follows: 1- No one can be indefinitely detained, and people will have the right to appeal in the FCR tribunal which will have equal power as the High Court. 2- Cases will be decided in a fixed time frame and those arrested can be released on bail. 3- Women and children below the ...

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