Archive for the 'Tribal Areas' Category


Waziristan my home

South Waziristan? Where is that? My friends would ask every time I told them I’m going to visit my grandparents there during summer and winter holidays. Much to my disappointment, all that changed after 9/11. Suddenly everyone knew about Waziristan… as the most dangerous place on earth.

Destruction en route

My brother’s wedding was just last summer. Following the ceremonies, we decided it was time to introduce the new bride to our family roots in Waziristan. Two American friends of mine were visiting from the US and they unwittingly found themselves on a spur of the moment visit through the tribal areas of Pakistan as well. Despite nasty international headlines, the couple realized that they might never get an opportunity like this again. We began our journey in Peshawar on a hot sunny day. Destroyed buildings and other remnants of war were visible on our way. But along with the destruction there were signs of progress as well, roads were being constructed and the Frontier Scouts were keeping watch from above the hills.

Road construction in Dara Adamkhel

The Tank family was ready to celebrate as soon as we arrived. But the real partying would have to wait, first the groom had to proof himself worthy of his bride by participating in a target shooting competition against tribesmen and local militia. The mark was a white brick and it was about 150 yards away, my brother nailed it and everyone rejoiced. In the midst of all the firing one bullet ricocheted off a tree and managed to hit our American friend’s arm. An inspection revealed that there was no bleeding or bruising but I am sure the story about him getting shot in Waziristan has been told and embellished upon countless times in the US.

Throughout the afternoon despite the burning heat, Kalashnikovs were fired in the air and the thumping of the dhols (drums) carried on nonstop. Rupee notes were showered and tribesmen danced with their Kalashnikovs and AK-47s. Strict purdah is observed in Waziristan, so while the men celebrated outside the women played their dhols and danced inside. While the groom was proving his manhood outside with target shooting, inside the bride was scrutinized from head to toe. Everything from her hair, to her clothes and jewelry were inspected. After meeting everyone’s approval, the dancing began and continued till dinner time.

The tribesmen prepared a feast in honour of the wedding.  Huge pots of palau and chicken curry were cooked over wood fire and fresh naan were baked in the tandoor oven. We devoured the delicious hot food and enjoyed the moment as temperatures cooled in the evening. The dhols played on in the distance throughout the night interpreted by celebrative gunfire every now and then.


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