South Asian Jewish in Pakistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* From latest Pakistan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The history of the Jewish people in Pakistan dates back to 1839 when a number of Jewish people living in Mashhad, Persia fled the country due to persecution. They settled in Rawalpindi, Punjab Province of Pakistan. The Jewish community of Mashhad, Iran formed in the 1740s, when the Persian leader, Nadir Afshar, (ruled 1736 to 1747) ordered that over 40 Jewish families were to be relocated from other cities in Persia to Mashhad, which was under Persian control at that time. Afshar gave them freedom to maintain their Jewish heritage and traditions. Unfortunately, in 1839 a pogram known as The Allahd (God's Justice) was perpetrated by Muslims against the Jewish community in Mashhad. On the very first day of their attack the Muslims burned down their synagogue, looted their homes and murder an estimated 40 of their people. They terrorized the Jews and forced them to vocally proclaim their "allegiance" to Islam. The Jewish leaders at the time instructed the estimated 2,400 Jews to verbally convert in order that they would live. Following this event, many of the Mashhadi Jews remained in Mashhad, took Muslim names, and went to the mosques. However, in secret they met to read the Torah and practice their Jewish traditions. A small number of them escaped and some settled in Rawalpindi in the current state of Punjab, Pakistan in 1839. They mainly worked as traders and lived in the Babu Mohallah area of as this was the business center of Rawaipindi. They built a beautiful synagogue. The affluence and grandeur of this synagogue indicated these Mashihadi Jews were a wealthy group of people in the community. In 1861 another Jewish group, the Bene Israel, migrated from India and about 150 of them settled in the Sindh Province of Pakistan, primarily in Karachi. They worked as tradesmen, artisans and civil servants. When India was partitioned in 1947, Muslim refugees flooded into Pakistan. The Pakistani Muslims began to destroy Jewish synagogues, prayer halls and schools. When Israel became an independent country in 1948 the Muslims intensified their attacks against the Jewish people throughout Pakistan. Many of the Mashhadi Jews from Rawaipindi migrated to Bombay, India. Those from Karachi primarily went to Israel. Their next large exodus was in the late 1960s following the Arab-Israel war. In 1980 a small number of Palestinians living in refugee camps located in Lebanon were killed by Israeli forces who were defending themselves. In retaliation the Muslims in Pakistan attacked the Jewish people in their country. This persecution caused many of the remaining Pakistani Jews to leave Pakistan. The beautiful synagogue of the Mashhad Jews in Rawaipindi is in shambles. It is occupied by three families who have isolated themselves from others in the community. The Jewish Pakistani people are gradually beginning to disappear from the country.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of these Pakistani Jews are removed from their Jewish traditions and belief in God as given in the Torah. They are scattered throughout Islamic Pakistan, a country that bitterly dislikes Israel and the Jewish people. A number of these Jews deny their Jewish identity especially when it comes to their jobs. In their mix marriages the Jewish spouse usually converts to Islam and becomes a nominal Muslim.

There are basically four main South Asian Jewish communities in India, each from a different origin and with different cultural characteristics and traditions: the Cochins, the Bene Israel, the Baghdadis and the Bene Menashe.
What Are Their Beliefs?

Although they may be aware of some of their Hebraic roots grounded in the laws and tenets of their faith derived from the Torah, Hebraic writings and Jewish prayers they are not practicing. They do not have synagogues where they can go on Sabbath, High Holy Days and to join in congregational fellowship. One factor that is strong in their cultural Jewish identity is they are usually not open to other religions nor do they feel compelled to draw others to them based on religious beliefs.

What Are Their Needs?

Their isolation, mix-marriages and disconnection with their Jewish religion all contribute to their need to know God and the saving grace of Jesus, their Messiah. They need strong believers to show them God's message through the internet, social media, radio, JESUS Film, and gospel recordings.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will open a way for these people to be reached through his word given through the internet, social media, radio, JESUS Film and gospel recordings. Pray that they will understand that becoming a follower of Jesus does not mean that they lose their Jewish identity; instead it enables them to enter into the joy of knowing God's plan of salvation. Pray that if they accept the Lord they will grow in faith and with wisdom reach out to their own people with the gospel. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Jewish people in Pakistan.

Scripture Prayers for the Jewish, South Asian in Pakistan.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Jewish, South Asian
People Name in Country Jewish, South Asian
Natural Name South Asian Jewish
Pronunciation AY-zhun joo
Alternate Names Bene Israel; Shanvar Teli; Yahudan; Yahudi; Yudan; ज्यू, साउत एशियन
Population this Country 900
Population all Countries 8,100
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 19239
ROP3 Code 115649
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Sindh 900
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Subdivision: Judaism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Pakistan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Sindhi (900 speakers)
Language Code snd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Sindhi (900 speakers)
Language Code snd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Sindhi

Primary Language:  Sindhi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1825-1981)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1890-1992)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1954)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Recorded oral Bible Oral Bibles
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Sindhi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video The Hope Video Mars Hill Media
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text, audio, video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General Gospel website in this language General / Other
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Sindhi YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Sindhi YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Sindhi Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source Emmanuel DYAN - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.