Sacrificing Our TODAY for the World's TOMORROW
FATA is "Federally Administered Tribal Area" of Pakistan; consisting of 7 Agencies and 6 F.Rs; with a 27000 Sq Km area and 4.5 m population.
MYTH: FATA is the HUB of militancy, terrorism and unrest in Afghanistan.
REALITY: FATA is the worst "VICTIM of Militancy”. Thousands of Civilians dead & injured; Hundreds of Schools destroyed; Thousands of homes raised to ground; 40% population displaced from homes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

'Faqir of Ipi' or 'Ipi Faqir'; Legendary Waziristan Fighter and Saint - Personalities of FATA

Faqir of Ipi
Brief Profile:
Name: Mirza Ali Khan S/O Sheikh Arsala Khan
Born: 1897; in Village Shankai Kirta, near Khajuri Camp in North Waziristan.
Tribe: Wazir è Turi Khel è Madda Khel è Bangal Khel
Education: Theology / Traditional Medicine / Spiritual guidance in Qadiriyya
Marriage: Daughter of Qari Hayat-uddin Bannuchi in 1920s
Performed Hajj: 1923
Settled in: Ipi village near Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Shot to Prominence: 1937~1947; Islam Bibi Case (Hindu-turned-Muslim girl’s love with a Muslim man and her subsequent death at the hands of her Hindu relatives). Faqir of Ipi organized an armed struggle against the British Raj for its role in this episode.
Pukhtoonistan Movement: 1947~1958; Strong proponent and leader of Independent Pukhtoonistan movement.
Died: 16 April, 1960.
Buried: Village Ipi near Mir Ali, North Waziristan.

Helen of Waziristan, Islam Bibi - Background of Ipi Faqir’s Uprising
It was in Bannu in 1936 that a Hindu girl, Ram Kor, fell in love with a Muslim, Amir Noor. Ram Kor eloped with Amir Noor, married him after embracing Islam and was named Islam Bibi.
Mansa Devi, the girl’s mother, lodged an abduction complaint with the Police against Amir Noor and his family. The couple tried to flee to the adjoining Waziristan region but was arrested by the Police. In her statement before the British magistrate, Islam Bibi insisted that she had embraced Islam and would not go back to her mother.
The British courts decided the case in favour of Mansa Devi and Amir Noor was given prison sentence. The British administration secretly whisked Islam Bibi and her parents away to Punjab. It is widely believed that Islam Bibi was later killed by her relatives for not re-converting to Hinduism.
The British role in the whole episode sent a wave of anger across Bannu and Waziristan and led to the popular anti-British uprising by the ‘Faqir of Ipi’
Faqir of Ipi and the ‘Waziristan Uprising’ (1937~1947)
In 1937 many tribal fighters from across the border drifted into Waziristan in response to the Faqir's call for Jehad against the British. The situation became critical when the lashkars surrounded the government forces at Miranshah and Mir Ali forts, threatening the very presence of the British in the NWFP. The army was brought to a regular war footing and warplanes were used to bomb and strafe the lashkars in order to break the siege of these forts. The lashkars next turned their fury upon the Bannu brigade and again the warplanes went into action to relive the British forces. The hit-and-run tactics of the lashkars proved very successful and the air action against them became increasingly frustrated as the tribals learned to take shelter behind huge boulders and in deep ravines. These tactics soon became standard procedure and formed the basis of a long drawn battle of wits between the adversaries which would stretch over two decades. Two infantry brigades had moved into Waziristan and two warplane Squadrons were brought in to operate from Miranshah. The tribal forces avoided pitched battle and would quickly disperse into the mountain shelters after an attack.  This led to combined air-ground operations, in which the aerial attacks were immediately followed up with army action to raze the structures down to the ground. However, neither side was able to evolve a decisive strategy and the volatile situation lingered year after year till 1947, when Pakistan came into being.
Faqir of Ipi and the ‘Pukhtoonistan Movement’
On 12th May, 1948, the Faqir of Ipi published and issued an anti Pakistan poster from his headquarters in Gurwek. In that poster, he claimed that “Pakistan was a creation of the British and Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a British agent.” He further declared that he would start an operation against the Government of Pakistan.
The Frontier government issued a long press communiqué charging that the Faqir of Ipi with a small group of hostile men, on June 15, (1948) started attacking a few posts in North Waziristan.
On August 12, 1949 a number of Afridi tribesmen and their Sarishta party met at Tirah Bagh and proclaimed the creation of an “Independent Pukhtoonistan”.
Over a broadcast from Radio Kabul, this proclamation was greeted with great enthusiasm in Afghanistan when the Government announced that it was extending immediate recognition and support.
Meetings of various tribes of Waziristan, Khattaks, Marwats, Bhittanis, Turis and Bannuchis were held in January 1950 for the election of Pukhtoonistan National Assembly (Waziristan Branch) and its President. The Assembly thus elected unanimously decided to have the Faqir of Ipi as its first president. In that capacity the Faqir demanded the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Pukhtoon territories and appealed to the United Nations for recognition of Pukhtoonistan.
Under his President-ship there existed, as it was claimed, departments with several functions of the “state”. The Faqir claimed control over an area of 5,000 square miles centering on Gurwek, North Waziristan.
He continued to be a troublemaker for the Pakistani authorities for many years. The Faqir’s position, however, was weakened when his principal lieutenant, Khalifa Mehr Dil Khattak, surrendered to Pakistani officials in Bannu in November 1954.
It was reported in October, 1958 that the Faqir of Ipi had discarded the so-called Pukhtoonistan Flag and hoisted instead his own flag, the “Faqiri Flag”.
On 16th April, 1960, he died of asthma and His funeral prayer led by Maulvi Mir Rehman was attended by thousands of people. He was buried in Ipi village.
Note: All info is shared here "in good faith" and after all thorough research possible. However, "FATA Awareness Initiative" Team may not be held responsible for any discrepancy in the info that may explicitly and/or implicitly damage anybody's interests. Corrections will, however, be made if any errors in the info are pointed out.

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"FATA Awareness Initiative" Team.

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