Pashtun in Pakistan


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Subgroups: 371 (10 largest shown)  Show all

Subgroup Name Population
Yusafzai 2,096,000
Khattak 873,000
Kakar 826,000
Mohmand 799,000
Afridi 745,000
Usman Khel 381,000
Marwat 359,000
Tarkani 308,000
Niazi 303,000
Tarin 302,000

Introduction / History

The Pashtun of Afghanistan and Pakistan have been called the largest Muslim tribal society in the world. There are at least 30 major tribes, and countless sub-tribes and clans. Spread over a vast geographical area and riven by socio-economic, political, tribal and linguistic (dialectical) differences, Pashtuns nevertheless share a unique sense of common identity. Pashtun identity is based on four elements: Heritage (descent from a common ancestor); Islam (99.9% Muslim); the Pashtunwali Code of Honor (“The Way of the Pashtun”); and to some extent, Language (Pakhtu or Pashto). They live primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though there is a significant Pashtun diaspora in the Arab Gulf and many Western countries.
There have been efforts to reach the Pashtun since 1818, when William Carey translated parts of the Old Testament into Pakhto, based on interaction with Pashtun traders who caravanned (and settled) across north India and beyond. (In South Asia, the name “Pashtun/Pakhtun” was anglicized to “Pathan”—a name immortalized in Rudyard Kipling’s novels and British colonial history; today, the Pashtun in India, Bangladesh, and throughout South Asia are known as “Pathan”.) The first intentional mission to the Pashtun was launched by the Church Missionary Society in Peshawar, Pakistan (then North West India) in 1853. This was followed by over 150 years of faithful witness, through mission hospitals, schools, colleges, literature, friendship evangelism, and other forms of witness by national Pakistani (Punjabi) Christians and expatriate missionaries. Despite this record, and the slow but growing number of scattered Pashtun believers, a vibrant, indigenous, disciple-making movement has yet to take root and spread.


Where Are they Located?

The majority of Pashtun live in Pakistan. They are concentrated mainly in the northern and western provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. The Durand Line (the border established under British colonial rule) divides traditional Pashtun homelands in Afghanistan and present-day Pakistan. However, due to tribal, linguistic, social and economic ties, the border is porous, and volatile—fertile ground for the drug trade, smuggling, and cross-border militancy.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Pashtun are the largest people group among Afghanistan’s peoples. More significant than dialectical differences, a Pashtun’s primary loyalty is to his particular social group (tribe or sub-tribe). The Pashtun were the traditional rulers of Afghanistan for over 250 years. Since the overthrow of the Afghan king, communist coup and Soviet invasion in the 1970s, Afghanistan has been in a state of constant conflict. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands were the launchpad for mujahideen (“freedom fighters”) who, with Western, Saudi, and global support, resisted and overthrew the communist regime. The cost was high: Over 3.5 million refugees settled into hundreds of refugee camps in border provinces of Iran and Pakistan; one-third of the population was displaced. During the 1990’s, Pashtun tribal areas and thousands of Arab-funded madrassas (religious schools) throughout Pakistan, became the seedbed for the rise of the Taliban movement. Driven by a combination of religious zeal and Pashtun nationalism, and fueled by Arab money, the “Taliban” (a term for “religious students”) imposed a harsh, hyper-conservative (Wahabi) version of Islam on the country. Unfortunately, attempts toward a peace accord and durable central government have, to date, been unsuccessful. Armed opposition continues. Instability, endemic corruption, and on-going violence have led to widespread disillusionment—and the migration of tens of thousands of Afghans (mainly young men) seeking jobs and opportunity in Europe and the West.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Although most Pakistani Christians are from a former low-caste background and speak Punjabi, some have overcome social, language and prejudice barriers to reach out in love to their Muslim neighbors. Despite growing anti-Western and anti-American sentiment over the last 20 years, Pakistan still offers opportunities for investment, learning, business and service. Many expatriates have enjoyed the renowned hospitality and friendship of Pashtuns and other Pakistani peoples.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Pashtun in Pakistan.

* Media. Pray for the production and distribution of all forms of media in the Pashto language, including literature, videos, music, movies, radio, websites, and social media. The demand and response have increased!
* Scripture. Pray for Bible translations in progress!
* Laborers. Pray for more workers to serve among the Pashtun people—in education, business, healthcare, development, and other professional areas!
* Believers. No one knows how many Pashtuns are following Jesus. Seeds of the Gospel have been sown widely. The greatest barriers to faith are social and cultural. Pray for God’s Spirit to strengthen and protect new believers and to empower their lives and witness!


Profile Source:   Anonymous  
Expanded PDF Profile

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-11-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-11-13
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-11-21
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-11-22
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-06
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-04-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-05-24
People Name General Pashtun, Northern
People Name in Country Pashtun
Pronunciation pahsh-TOON
World Population 29,123,000
Total Countries 16
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 518
Alternate Names Afghan, Eastern Pashto, Eastern Pathan, Khan Saheb, Khans, Musalman, Paktoons, Pashtun, Western, Pathan, Pushtun, Pushtun Afghan, Safi, Shafi, Western Pathan, पश्तून, नॉर्दर्न
People ID 14256
ROP3 Code 107909
Affinity Bloc Persian-Median
People Cluster Pashtun
People Group Pashtun, Northern
Ethnic Code CNT24a
Total Subgroups 371 (only 15 largest shown)
  Yusafzai 2,096,000
  Khattak 873,000
  Kakar 826,000
  Mohmand 799,000
  Afridi 745,000
  Usman Khel 381,000
  Marwat 359,000
  Tarkani 308,000
  Niazi 303,000
  Tarin 302,000
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 8
Largest States
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
14,392,000
Federally Administer
4,305,000
Balochistan
2,733,000
Punjab
2,377,000
Sindh
1,357,000
Azad Kashmir
180,000
Gilgit-Baltistan
41,000
Islamabad
19,000
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 8
  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 14,392,000
  Federally Administer 4,305,000
  Balochistan 2,733,000
  Punjab 2,377,000
  Sindh 1,357,000
  Azad Kashmir 180,000
  Gilgit-Baltistan 41,000
  Islamabad 19,000
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Pashto, Northern (11,974,000 speakers)
Language Code pbu   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 33
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Pashto, Central
8,410,000
Pashto, Southern
1,336,000
Urdu
1,051,000
Kohistani, Indus
322,000
Khowar
163,000
Hindko, Northern
94,000
Hindko, Southern
91,000
Saraiki
72,000
Punjabi, Western
66,000
Sindhi
38,000
Shina
38,000
Torwali
31,000
Shina, Kohistani
29,000
Tajik
17,000
Kalami
15,000
Primary Language Pashto, Northern (11,974,000 speakers)
Language Code pbu   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 33
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Pashto, Central 8,410,000
  Pashto, Southern 1,336,000
  Urdu 1,051,000
  Kohistani, Indus 322,000
  Khowar 163,000
  Hindko, Northern 94,000
  Hindko, Southern 91,000
  Saraiki 72,000
  Punjabi, Western 66,000
  Sindhi 38,000
  Shina 38,000
  Torwali 31,000
  Shina, Kohistani 29,000
  Tajik 17,000
  Kalami 15,000
People Groups Speaking Pashto, Northern

Primary Language:  Pashto, Northern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1824-2010)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1818-1991)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1895)
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Pashto, Northern
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Film / Video The Savior 0 - The Savior Trailer
Film / Video The Savior 4 - Sowing of the Word
General General Ministry Resources
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Multi-Language Media
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
100.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Don LaVange  Creative Commons  Used with permission
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Anonymous  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Pakistan census data.  Current values may differ.