ABSTRACT

Pakhtun tribesmen have been nomads for centuries, before permanently settling in the sixteenth century. One very important land settlement during this period was that of Shaikh Mali, who is still venerated for his extraordinary land distribution system amongst the Pakhtun tribesmen. However, apart from the Peshawar valley, which was vast and more productive, the rest of the Pakhtun areas and the southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province were barren and mountainous, unable to produce enough sustenance for its inhabitants. Pakhtun menfolk have therefore always been in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Under British colonial rule, many Pakhtuns, especially those from the southern districts, worked in the main cities of India such as Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Bombay (now known as Mumbai). As part of this larger labour emigration movement, the Pakhtuns of the Miranzai valley also started going to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries because their own land’s production was not enough to feed their families and there were no industries in the valley where they could earn their livelihoods. With the creation of Pakistan, Pakhtuns in search of jobs started migrating to Karachi, Pakistan’s first capital industrial city and only port city for a long time. It was only in the early 1970s, after the oil boom, that they started immigrating to the GCC countries. It was also during this period of time when the government of Pakistan encouraged its citizens to immigrate to the GCC countries in order to bring home much needed foreign remittances – the country sustained enormous economic losses due to the East Pakistan crisis and a war with India from 1970-1971. The Miranzai valley is a beautiful but narrow valley located in the southern part of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The valley is sandwiched between Kohat and Thall towns, and is home to the Bangash tribe of Pakhtuns/ Afghans. It is also bounded on its north-western sides by the tribal area of Orakzai, and its political administration headquarters is in the town of Hangu. The Orakzai tribesmen have added an extra demographic burden on the valley by migrating and settling in the valley to seek better living conditions as compared to their own homeland. Traditionally, uneducated tribesmen of the valley would join defence forces and law enforcing agencies. However, after the Gulf oil boom, a large number of

them moved to the GCC countries – Saudi Arabia and UAE in particular. Economically, these emigrants earned a lot of money. However, this brought new challenges to the socio-cultural and socio-economic traditions of the valley that were centuries old. There was a blend of positive and negative impacts on the traditions of the tribesmen of the valley that influenced their daily lives. These brought changes to the demographic situation, tribal structure, social behaviour, political and religious outlook, and attitude towards women and education. Ultimately, these changes disturbed the tribal structure of the valley – traditional elite families who once had influence and control over the tribesmen were now challenged by the neo-rich of the society who previously had no say in tribal affairs. This study set out to analyse the changes in the valley, and to investigate why such changes did not take place earlier in the area though migration had remained part and parcel of the tribesmen’s lives. Another objective was to analyse the changes in the tribal structure and organisation of the tribes, and the resulting impacts that ensued. This study also focused on the new phenomena of religious fanaticism, which was non-existent a few decades earlier. This chapter has been divided into different sections and sub-sections in order to detail the impacts and changes that have been witnessed. The study was subdivided into the following areas: Pakistani emigration to the GCC countries and remittances inflow: patterns and volume; reconfiguration of social hierarchy or changes in social sphere of the community; changes in the economic sphere of the community; changes in the educational sphere; changes in healthcare; changes in the political sphere; changes in dressing, arts and culture. This chapter also discusses the negative impacts of emigration that have created issues concerning law and order in the valley. This chapter concludes by highlighting the government’s apathy towards the emigrants and their families, in hopes that the relevant authorities will be able to come forth with practical and beneficial policies for the stakeholders. The data for this study were primarily collected from field trips to the Miranzai valley of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the primary educational institution of the province viz. the University of Peshawar where personal interviews were conducted. Interviews were conducted mainly in 2011 and 2012, in person, on the phone, and through written requests. In terms of secondary research, relevant Internet sources and published materials were consulted. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed for research, and the confirmatory approach, together with data mining and data integration, were the methods employed for analysis.