Chained by ‘Rahdaree’: In South Waziristan, Mehsuds feel cut off

Tribesmen require additional documentation to move about.


Zulfiqar Ali August 20, 2012

PESHAWAR: Mehsud tribesmen will now be required to obtain a Registration Card or Rahdaree in addition to the national identity card, even if they want to travel within their native South Waziristan due to militancy in the region.

The Rahdaree is mandatory for the Mehsuds only; other South Waziristan tribes like the Wazir, Dotani and Suleman Khel are exempted. Those issued registration cards are similarly exempted from obtaining Rahdaree. Women and boys younger than 12 are exempt as well.

A few thousand tribesmen, mostly former Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have returned to their homes, have been provided registration cards for travelling between Wana, Ladha and Sarwakai sub-divisions in South Waziristan and settled areas. The remaining hundreds of thousands of Mehsud tribesmen must first obtain the Rahdaree from their respective political administration before they make travel plans.

The term ‘Rahdaree’ is the Urdu equivalent for travel permit. It is meant to certify that the Mehsud tribesman is not a militant. The document requires signatures of two tribal elders (Maliks) and the assistant political agent (APA). The document permits travel for a limited duration, usually three to 12 days.

Khan Zeb, 47, an IDP living in Tank said in order to request the document he had to pay Rs100 to an application writer and Rs100-300 outside the APA’s office.

“We need the Rahdaree to travel to our own land where we have lived since time immemorial,” he lamented, adding that the government needed to stop this discrimination against the Mehsuds.

According to local journalist Farooq Mehsud, “The APA threatened to imprison me under the Frontier Crimes Regulation if I questioned the Rahdaree.”

The political agent of South Waziristan was unavailable for comments on the Rahdaree system. Another senior official in the political administration said “The system is for the Mehsud’s own good.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.

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