Kurram Agency takes its name from the river Kurram which passes through it. The Kurram Agency region bordering Afghanistan is overwhelmingly Shia with most of the Turis and some Bangash – the two Pushtun tribes – subscribing to this doctrine. Surrounded by Sunni tribes on all sides, these Shias were inspired by the Iranian Revolution and began displaying Khomeini’s posters, which angered their old tribal rivals. The influx of Afghan refugees and Mujahideen – nearly all Sunnis – raised concern among the local Shias of a radical shift in the demography of the Agency. Demonstrations in the early 1980s compelled the military regime to make special concessions for Shia jurisprudence. Such actions only further agitated the Sunni militants.
The headquarters of the agency is located at Parachinar. The agency lies between 33°20' to 34°03' north latitudes and 69°50' to 70°45' east longitudes. The Agency is bounded on the north and west by Afghanistan (the provinces of Ningarhar and Pukthia respectively), on the east by Orakzai and Khyber Agencies, on the southeast by Hangu and on the south by North Waziristan Agency. The agency is 115 kilometers long with a total area of 3.380 square kilometers.
The principal mountain range in the agency is the Koh-e-Safaid or Spinghar with highest of Sikaram Sar 4,728 meters height which forms a natural boundary and water shed with Afghanistan. It remains covered with snow through out the years. South of the Peiwar Kotal the hills of the Mandher range rise gradually till they drop the south–west corner of the plateau at Kharlachi, the point where Kurram River enters the valley.
A part from the high mountains, the other important feature is the Kurram valley. The valley starts from Thall in Hangu district towards northwest upto Peiwar Kotal on Pak Afghan border. It can be divided into two parts i.e. the Lower Kurram and the Upper Kurram. The Lower Kurram extends from Thall in Hangu district to Sadda. It is narrow and hedged by low hills on either side of the Kurram River. After that the valley opens up into the Parachinar plateau which is a large oval shape plain sloping towards southeast. The Upper Kurram valley from Sadda to Peiwar Kotal is bounded by high mountain on all side. The Kurram River enters the agency in the west near Kharlachi from Afghanistan and runs in northwest to southeast direction and leaves the agency at Thall in the southeastern corner of the agency. Several hill torrents and Nullahs join Kurram River.
The most economic mineral in the agency is soapstone. The area of mineralization of soapstone lies in the eastern extreme of Koh-e-Safaid and makes the upper parts of Daradar valley. The soapstone associated with the dolomite is an important mineral commodity of the area. It may also be pointed that the dolomitic limestone formation is recrystallized and also embodies lithological variation; there is every chance of having marble and industrially feasible dolomitic deposite. Some marbalized horizone have been noted around Zuhra and Gandao area.
The climate conditions everywhere are generally favorable. In January and February discomfort is experienced from snow, rain and chilli weather and sometime fogy, while from the middle of June to the middle of August, the temperature is moderate. For the rest of the year the climate is in every way excellent, and indeed its admirers call it ideal.
The area, which forms the present day Kurram Agency, was a part of Afghanistan before the second Afghan War, 1878-79. The local Turi population continuously resisted and resented the Afghan domination. During the second Afghan war they assisted Lord Roberts and were thus liberated from the Afghan control. Due to internal strifs, intrigue and also British manipulation, they failed to establish satisfactory self-government. In 1892, British intervened on the request of the Turi tribes and brought the area under British rules. Later on the people of Kurram valley took part in the liberation movement of India so when India was liberated from British rule this area became a part of Pakistan.
The population of Kurram valley consists of a number of tribes namely Turi, Bangash, Parachamkani, Massozai, Alisherzai, Zaimusht, Mangal, Kharotai, Ghalgi, Hazara. Turi are in majority followed by Bangash and others.
RIVERS AND STREAMS
The Kurram River takes its origin in the junction of a number of small streams at no great distance above Kharlachi. From Kharlachi its junction with Kirman 19 kilometers down stream, it receives no further supply except from occasional float torents from Koh-e-Safaid, though an innumberalbe series of ravines cut into the plateau. For another 26 kilometers the only contribution to the river is rain drainage from the hills, but at Sadda it receives Khurmana. Beyond village Tangi (Lower Kurram) it receives no further supply within the agency and crosses over to Thall from where it enters into North Waziristan.
DRESS AND ORNAMENTS
People wear traditional Pakhtoon dress of Shalwar, Kamees, Turban and Chadder. The women wear Shalwar, Kamees and Chadder designed for them. In the past due to inaccessibility to the area and the poverty of people, local woolen cloths were prepared to suit the cold winters. With time and prosperity, traditions have changed and people mostly wear Swati and Direy (Dirorigion) caps instead of turbans, and fine factory cloth is used for dresses.
Most of the houses are made of clay and are clustered in villages as well as towns. A house generally consists of two or three rooms with a verandah. People usually live in joint family system. The quality and construction of the houses have improved with the prosperity brought in the people working mostly in the Middle East countries.
Generally, people are not literate and earn living by farming as tenants on land owned by others. However, surprisingly a significant number of locals are residing and working abroad and have brought prosperity to the area.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Parachinar is the headquarter of the agency. It is a big market for the people of surrounding area. It is also famous for timber and dry fruits.
Sadda has grown enormously during the past ten years due to the concentration of refugees in its neighborhood. It is big trade market for the people of Lower Kurram and Central Kurram.
Dogar is a big village in the Central Kurram. It is an important market for local made arms.
Political Agents as the head, the agency is divided into three sub-divisions i.e. Upper Kurram, Lower Kurram and Central Kurram each headed by an Assistant Political Agent. The former two sub-divisions have long been administrated and record exist for most of the farmed area in these two sub-divisions, although settlement has not been carried out since the 1940s Central Kurram, however, remained inaccessible terrain till today. It remains the least tractable of the three sub-divisions. Its level of development lags substantially behind that of the other two sub-divisions but efforts are being made to bring it at par with the other area. Upper and Lower Kurram, being administered areas, are controlled directly by taking cognizance of all offence which are dealt with under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, Kohat pact and customary law (Turizuna). The Administration in the Central however, is indirect, through the tribal elders.
¦Assistant Political Agent Upper Kurram
¦Assistant Political Agent Lower Kurram
¦Assistant Political Agent, Central Kurram
¦Tehsildar Mahal Parachinar
¦Political Naib Tehsildar FR Kurram
¦Political Naib Tehsildar – I
¦Political Naib Tehsildar - II