Pashtun, Pathan in Sri Lanka


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

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, Pathan in Sri Lanka.

* 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

People Name General Pashtun, Pathan
People Name in Country Pashtun, Pathan
Pronunciation pahsh-TOON
World Population 11,817,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names पश्तून, पठान
People ID 21537
ROP3 Code 116298
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 9
Largest States
Eastern
11,000
Western
9,600
Central
6,900
North Western
5,500
North Central
2,700
Sabaragamuwa
2,200
Northern
1,000
Southern
900
Uva
800
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 9
  Eastern 11,000
  Western 9,600
  Central 6,900
  North Western 5,500
  North Central 2,700
  Sabaragamuwa 2,200
  Northern 1,000
  Southern 900
  Uva 800
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tamil
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 4
Secondary Languages
Bengali Pashto, Southern Urdu
Primary Language Tamil
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 4
Secondary Languages
  Bengali
  Pashto, Southern
  Urdu
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1727-2002)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
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 Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Finding Peace
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Bible Visuals
General God's Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download Bible from Google Play Store
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
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 Soham Banerjee  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 Sri Lanka census data.  Current values may differ.