Sheenkhalai (Pashtun Hindki) in Pakistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

The Pashtun have been called the largest Muslim tribal society in the world. There are at least 30 major tribes, and countless sub-tribes and clans. Pashtuns share a unique sense of common identity based on four elements: Heritage, Islam, the Pashtunwali Code of Honor, and to some extent, language (Pakhtu or Pashto). A Pashtun's primary loyalty is to his particular social group (tribe, sub-tribe or clan).
There have been efforts to reach the Pashtun since 1818, when William Carey translated parts of the Old Testament into Pashto, based on interaction with Pashtun traders who caravanned and settled across north India and beyond. The first intentional mission to the Pashtun was launched by the Church Missionary Society in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1853. This was followed by over 150 years of faithful witness. Despite this record, a vibrant, indigenous, disciple-making movement has yet to take root and spread. Pashtun are the largest group within the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan.
Pashto, the language of the Pashtuns, is a complex language. There are many varieties of the one language Pashto. Even women, who have less interaction with outsiders and other language groups, are said to speak a distinctive variety of Pashto.
The Pashtun Hindki or Sheenkhalai are a small sub-tribe of the Pashtun. They live in northern India and northern Pakistan. There are few if any believers among the Pashtun Hindki. Their primary language is Northern Pashto. The complete Northern Pashto Bible became available in 2019.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Pashtuns in Pakistan have a low literacy rate, which holds them back economically and socially. Those who have a good education often work as professionals or with government agencies, especially police departments. Those in rural areas sometimes earn a good income by renting out family-owned farmland or selling horses. The rural poor among them suffer from unsanitary conditions caused mainly by poor water and lack of access to modern medicine. The main occupations of rural Pashtun Hindki are animal husbandry and agriculture.
Pashtuns in Pakistan as well as other parts of South Asia have an affinity for Bollywood actors and actresses with the surname of Khan, which they attribute to their own ethnic group. Some Khans are Pashtun, but not all of them.
Honor and conversely, shame refer not to personal feelings or a psychological state, but to one's public reputation in the eyes of others. In a collectivistic society like the Pashtun, where community is emphasized over individualism, a person's identity is defined by his/her group. Everything one does is a matter of honor. Where you sit at a meal, who you marry, where you work, how you make decisions or spend money, all are affected by social expectations, and in turn affect one's reputation (honor). Although the practice of Pashtunwali may be decreasing among urban Pashtuns, it remains a unifying theme.
Women are both the weakest link, and most important symbol, of the honor of any Pashtun man, family, and tribe. For a woman, honor is equated with modesty. The notion of modesty involves far more than dress and includes the total demeanor of a woman and her submission to the men (father, husband, brothers) in her family. A Pashtun man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. Children, especially boys, are seen as blessings from Allah.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all Pashtuns are Sunni Muslims. Right religious practice tends to be more important than right belief. Actual religious practice and piety vary according to context. As in other parts of the Muslim world, some Pashtuns are cultural Muslims. Others are secular, or non-practicing; still others identify with the mystical tradition of Islam.
Pashtuns fear the influence of demons and evil spirits and seek protection by visiting the shrines of Muslim saints. They use amulets and charms and engage in astrology, and fortune telling. Driven by felt needs—healing, desire for a son, relief from an abusive spouse—women especially turn to folk practices to ward off evil and seek Allah's favor.

What Are Their Needs?

The Pashtun Hindki in Pakistan need to be liberated from the spirit world. They need a higher literacy rate so they can thrive in Pakistan's rapidly developing urban economy. Most of all, they need to have their sins forgiven by Isa or Jesus.

Prayer Points

Pray for each subgroup of Pashtuns in Pakistan to have a movement to Christ which will bless them economically and spiritually.
Ask God's Spirit to soften hearts to the truth of the gospel, to confirm the Word with signs and wonders,
Ask God to anoint, and grant wisdom, favor and fruitfulness to workers and agencies focused on the Pashtun.
Most Pashtun women are troubled by fears and have deep needs. Ask God to touch their hearts, especially through radio and television, and to help them put their faith in the Almighty Savior Jesus.

Scripture Prayers for the Sheenkhalai (Pashtun Hindki) in Pakistan.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Sheenkhalai (Pashtun Hindki)
People Name in Country Sheenkhalai (Pashtun Hindki)
Alternate Names
Population this Country 8,400
Population all Countries 12,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 22309
ROP3 Code 119121
ROP25 Code 309139
ROP25 Name Sheenkhalai
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
  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 8,200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Pakistan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Pashto, Northern (8,400 speakers)
Language Code pbu   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Pashto, Northern (8,400 speakers)
Language Code pbu   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
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  (1895-2019)
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( 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 DAVAR Partners recording, New Testament DAVAR Partners International
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Love Story General / Other
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Pashto, Northern Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rock International: King of Glory Rock International
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 or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General General Ministry Resources General / Other
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App Android Bible app: Pashto, Northern YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Pashto, Northern YouVersion Bibles
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.

Joshua Project logo    Joshua Project    Copyright © 2024