Fata’s primary attraction: The ‘Little London’ of Waziristan

Published: August 27, 2012
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An interesting contrast characterises Razmak – on one hand the city remains clouded by conflict as the operation against the Taliban continues, while on the other locals from all over the region arrive to enjoy snow-capped hills, rain-swept streets and lush greenery.

An interesting contrast characterises Razmak – on one hand the city remains clouded by conflict as the operation against the Taliban continues, while on the other locals from all over the region arrive to enjoy snow-capped hills, rain-swept streets and lush greenery.

RAZMAK: Razmak, called ‘Little London’ by the British before the partition, is a beautiful landscape no less spectacular than the famed Murree hills of Pakistan. Hills covered with evergreen forests and numerous streams passing through the area make it a potential tourist spot. However, constant neglect by authorities concerned and deforestation by tribesmen is robbing the place of its beauty.

Razmak was strategically built. The British established ‘The Razmak Fort’ to control warrior tribes on both sides of the Shora Alqad. About 3km south of Razmak Bazaar, it divides the Wazirs of North Waziristan and the Mehsuds of South Waziristan.  It was the favourite destination of the Faqir of Eppi (Haji Mir Zali Khan), who fought countless wars against British rule in the region.

A famous Pashtu song of a local folk singer, late Kamal Mahsud about the area says ‘Dha Thazhaa Thazhaa Waziristan Dai, Tharikh Yaa Malom Pa Tool Jahan Dhai’ is a beautiful brief poetic outline of the land and people of Waziristan.

Likewise, lyrics of another local folk singer, Abdur Rehman Darpa Khel’s ‘Shanaa Shanaa Dee Gharoona,’ also describe the scenic  area.

Gull Shameer, 47, a resident of Spin Wam Tehsil on vacation in Razmak, expressed grief that the city, once full of students and residents, is now seemingly deserted. “It makes me cry when I see the Cadet College Razmak empty. It was the only college in this area and now that too has shifted due to lack of security.”

Razmak Cadet College was established in 1976 by former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Due to the deteriorating security situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), many schools, including the cadet college, have been shut down.

While official neglect and negative publicity due to the law and order situation mean it has not received the popularity Murree enjoys, locals from North and South Waziristan have not stopped visiting Razmak in the summers in an attempt to find relief from the intense heat in the low-lying areas. An interesting contrast characterises Razmak – on one hand the city remains clouded by conflict as the operation against the Taliban continues, while on the other locals from all over the region arrive to enjoy snow-capped hills, rain-swept streets and lush greenery.

Pir Zada, a Razmak resident, told The Express Tribune that it rains in Razmak almost every day unlike in other regions of Waziristan. “The most famous places in Razmak are Bara Pishth, Alexandria, Charbandai, Mamotha and Shoi Dar Ghar,” he said, adding that the regions lush green mountains with snow-capped peaks were the city’s biggest attraction.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Farooq Mahsud
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Well done Zulfiqar Ali

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  • Fida Marvat
    Aug 30, 2012 - 12:29AM

    Mush/Zardari (Reps of Bush/Obama) claimed time and again that tribal area will be developed at par with the rest of the country. When are they going to live up to their words? We have not seen them taking any practical step since 2001.

    Where are US Blood Dollars provided for tribal areas by foreign governments?

    Why not just track the assets and princely life styles of the all Governor PKp, Political Agents, DMGs in Governor Sectt, and FC commanders since 9/11?

    Their families occupy palatial houses in Hayat Abad , Rawal Pindi and Islamabad. One wonders as to what extra-ordinary traits they have? Or what meritorious services they have rendered to deserve such princely life styles?

    Government has given palatial houses in Behria Town to MNAs and Senators from the Fata areas. One wonders as to what meritorious services they have rendered to deserve this special reward. Not only are these legislators not empowered to make or amend laws for their own areas, they did not even ask for such powers under the 18th Amendment. They enjoy the same perks and privileges as representatives from other parts of the country. They enjoy touring the country as federal ministers, but what they cannot do is to visit their own areas.

    Pakistan is fighting the “US War for terror” for past 10 years.

    Have WE ???

    Have we brought peace to the area by fighting somebody else’s war?
    Have we made the tribal areas more developed than before?
    Have we made the areas safer?
    Have we made daily life easier and more comfortable for Fata residents since the launching of the operations?
    If not, then shouldn’t we reconsider our options and not insist on finding a solution through military means?

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