A tribal journalist, Mairaj Wazir Khalid, and his family have been evicted from their home in South Waziristan, a tribal region in Pakistan, after a tribal council (jirga) ordered them to leave the area because of a Facebook post by Khalid.
According to Khalid, he had posted a video on his Facebook page against the Jirga decisions in which they were going to demolish the houses of some people as order by the tribal elders. He said that he had received threats from some tribal elders and members of the local peace committee, who accused him of defaming the tribe and violating the tribal code of conduct.
On September 24, 2023, a jirga was held in the village, where Khalid and his family were asked to appear. The jirga decided that Khalid had committed a grave offense and ordered him and his family to vacate their house and leave the area within 24 hours. The jirga also imposed a fine of 0.4 million Pakistani rupees on Khalid and warned him of dire consequences if he failed to comply.
Khalid said that he had no choice but to obey the jirga’s decision and leave his ancestral home with his wife and children. He said that he had appealed to the authorities and human rights organizations for help, but no one had responded to his plight.
Khalid is a freelance journalist who has been working for various local and national media outlets for the last 10 years. He said that he had faced harassment and intimidation from different groups in the past for reporting on sensitive issues such as militancy, human rights violations, and corruption in South Waziristan.
South Waziristan is one of the seven tribal districts in Pakistan that have been merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2018. The region has been a hotbed of insurgency and violence for decades and has been under the control of the military and tribal elders. The region lacks basic facilities such as education, health, and infrastructure. The tribal people are governed by a centuries-old system of justice known as Pashtunwali, which is based on honor, revenge, and collective responsibility.