Malik Faridullah Khan

This is from three years ago, but I thought it was relevant to the difficulties in negotiating peace with tribal elders in Waziristan. From Zahid Hussain’s book Frontine Pakistan1:

[Nek Mohammad’s] supporters led by Abdullah Mehsud, had continued to engage Pakistani security forces in a drawn-out guerrilla war. Their targets included those tribal chiefs who had collaborated with the Pakistani military. One by one, all those who had backed military operations against the militants in South and North Waziristan were killed. Faridullah Khan, a Waziri tribal elder and former senator, virtually signed his own death warrant when, in March 2004, he facilitated the entry of army troops to his home village, Shakai in South Waziristan. His men helped soldiers to demolish the houses of the tribesmen linked with the al-Qaeda. He even permitted soldiers to use his fort-like house.

I saw Faridullah at an army sponsored tribal jirga in Shakai in April 2005. Escorted by armed guards, Faridullah, who sported a huge turban and a bushy moustache, declared, ‘Al-Qaeda were all over the valley. But this year they are on the run. Peace has been restored.’ Twenty-four hours later, Faridullah was dead. The killers had waited at a diversion of the main road, when his jeep passed on the way from a meeting with the army commander. The militants had blasted the vehicle with rocket-propelled grenades. Ironically, Faridullah was killed a day after General Khattak had declared that South Waziristan had been cleared of foreign terrorists.


1Hussain, Zahid. “Tribal Warriors.” Frontline Pakistan. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2007. 152-3

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