Alisherzai clan of the Orakzai

Alisherzai belong to the Lashkarzai division of the Orakzai tribe. The AliSherzai territory stretches from Badam on the Khurmana river in the west to Sadri on the Khanki river in the east. The Zaimukhts are settled on their south and Massozai and Mamozai in the north. The Pitao (sunny side) Alisherzai in the south of the Zinghar while the Sweri (shady side) Alisherzai are along the right bank of the Minjab and Khanki streaams which separate them from the Mamozai in the north.  The clan is divided into Sweri or northern and Pitao or southern subdivisions that are further divided into five sections, namely, Omar Khan Khel, Masa Khel, Mir Ahmad Khel, Kaisa Khel and Bain Khel. The last, though a separate Orakzai clan, is presently merged with Alisherzai.

In the past, Alisherzai were renowned for their swordsmanship and were the only Orakzai clan that had mounted warriors. The principal settlement of the Alisherzai is Satai Killi on the Khanki river. They, like Abdul Aziz Khels, had a recognized hereditary Khan-ship, residing at Tatang (ټاټنګ), a Pitao village. The ‘Khan Khels’ received revenue from a number of villages, namely, Tatang, Tindoh, Talpak, Krumb, Bagh, Haddo Shaghai, Ghuliangar, Satai, Chenar Kila, Tangu, Sari Kila, Khairullah Kila, Dhunda Kila, Pitao Kila and Satin. Of these villages, Tindoh and Krumb belonged formerly to the Ghurbinai section, later ejected by the Alisherzai. The ‘Khan Khel’ family have also extensive possessions in the Kurram valley. Haji Khan, the ‘Khan’ of Alisherzai, distinguished himself while fighting the British troops on Samana in 1897. Juma Khan, Muhammad Azam Khan, Golab Shah, Hakim Khan and Muhammad Ali Khan were the chief members of the ‘Khan Khel’ family that took active part in the 1897 uprising. Saadat Khan, son of Wilayat Khan, was the first ”Khan’ of the clan. Durab Khan, his son and the second ‘Khan’ of the clan, accompanied Ahmad Shah Abdali to Delhi.  On completion of the expedition the latter granted him a yearly allowance of Rs.12,000/ (Kabuli). Amir Dost Muhammad Khan of Afghanistan resumed this allowance and granted it to the then ‘Khan’, Khadi Khan. Later, instead of this allowance Amir Sher Ali Khan granted them occasional cash rewards. Subsequently, the British, granted revenue free lands in the Kurram valley and fixed monthly allowances to the leading members of the family. Reportedly, during the Saddozai rule, they also shared the Khyber Pass allowances with the Abdul Aziz ‘Khan Khels’. Though ‘Samil’ in politics, the Alisherzai generally followed the lead of their neighbours, the Mamozai, in all matters of importance affecting the tribe. They had often given trouble to the government. In 1891 and again in 1897, they joined the coalition against the British.  

There are several small Afridi colonies among the Alisherzai; the Malikdin Khels and the Kambar Khels have settlements in the Chanbazo and the Zawa Khandao valleys respectively. 


1- ”Monograph on the Orakzai country and clans’ by White King

2- ”History of the Pathans”, Vol-4, by Haroon Rashid

Malik Nazim Khan AliSherzai Orakzai, a ‘Khan’ of Tatang (Kurram district), 1951. Photo courtesy: Aziz Ur Rehman
Sword of Durab Khan Orakzai who was in the service of Ahmad Shah Abdali and fought in the third battle of Panipat. The sword was in use up to the times of Haji Khan. Photo courtesy: Aziz Ur Rehman



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