Who are the Pathans?
YesPakistan.com Staff Writer
Pathans live in Northern Pakistan
and Afghanistan. The group is made
up of some 60 Pushto-speaking tribes.
The Pathans, also known as Pakhtuns,
Pashtuns, Pushtuns, and Pakhtoons,
number some 10 million in Pakistan
and some 8 million in Afghanistan.
They make up the largest ethnocultural
group in Afghanistan.
Pathans comprise distinct groups.
Some live as nomads in the high mountains
with herds of goats and camels; others,
such as those living in the Swat Valley,
are farmers; and still others are
traders or seasonal laborers. However,
this ethnographic description defies
the fact that they constitute more
than 20% of Pakistan's armed forces
and dominate Pakistan's transportation
industry and have provided the most
popular Pakistani president Ayub Khan
who lead the major industrialization
movement which Pakistan has seen in
the last 54 years.
British attacked the Pathans in the
late 19th and early 20th century.
They were finally forced to offer
the Pathans a semiautonomous area
between the border of British India
and Afghanistan. After the creation
of Pakistan in 1947, the new nation
annexed the Pathan border regions.
the early 1950s, the Soviet Union
through Afghanistan supported Pathan
ambitions for the creation of an independent
Pushtunistan (also called Pakhtunistan)
in the border areas of West Pakistan.
Several border clashes and ruptures
of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan
and Pakistan ensued. The movement
was never able to gain popular support
considering that Pathans in Pakistan
were always better off than Pathans
also helped liberate the part of Kashmir
which is now under Pakistan's control.
Their support and hospitality to more
than four million Afghan refugees
was crucial in Afghan's liberation
from the Soviet Union.
Pathans are known as people who are
brave, simple, and sincere in their
dealings with others. They are noted
as fierce fighters, and throughout
history they have offered strong resistance
to invaders. They staunchly hold on
to their cultural traditions and connect
with one another in a visceral way.
are guided by a tribal code of ethics,
Pakhtunwali, or "way of the Pakhtun
(Pathan)." Tribal customs and
traditions make up the biggest part
of the Pathan society. The tenets
of Pakhtunwali show the true essence
of Pathan culture and these rules
are followed religiously. It incorporates
the following major practices: "melmastia"
(hospitality and protection to every
guest); "nanawati" (the
right of a fugitive to seek a place
of refuge, and acceptance of his bona
fide offer of peace); "badal"
(the right of blood feuds or revenge);
"tureh" (bravery); "sabar"
(defense of property and honor); and
"mamus" (defense of one's