Who is a Pashtun?

Published: November 10, 2013

There is a long history behind the misunderstanding – prevalent both locally and around the world – that Pashtuns are either religious fanatics or just poor, ignorant fellows. The image of the Pashtun man that is usually portrayed comes either in the form of a bearded person, painted either with the colours of terror or presented as a symbol of outdated ideals. Pashtun women are presented as prisoners, kept within four walls, and their veil is seen as a trademark of cultural and religious suppression. The stereotyped image of a guard with a gun, a big moustache and big mole above the moustache, speaking funny Urdu is what every citizen of this country has in his or her mind. This man is seen as a comic figure everywhere. Pashtun girls are reluctant to own this misrepresented ideal just because it is considered a benchmark of backwardness throughout the world.

Pashtuns are sensitive beings and like everyone else, they want to live according to the ideals of their thousand-year-old cultural legacy. In times where almost every nation in this world is suffering through an identity crisis, Pashtuns are trying to hold on to their roots and their identity. The average Pashtun desires liberation from internal and external coercion and longs to contribute to the development of the world like a responsible citizen. He feels neglected and alienated from the mainstream world and laments this intolerable disdain.

Equally important are the sentiments and feelings of Pashtun women. They are suffering more than women from other parts of the world today and these sufferings should not be taken as a statement of cultural coercion. Pashtun women question why they cannot be part of the developed world without breaking away from their culture and tradition. The world is hearing the voices of a few people without paying attention to the millions who see their men as their idols.

Let this be cleared, once and for all, that Pashtuns are not against any religion, political ideology, ethnic identity or any plan that brings peace, development and education. However, at the same time, the Pashtun people want to live in a world that was built by their ancestors and they want to cherish the ideals that have kept them alive.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (70)

  • PAKhtoons
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:06AM

    An incomplete list of notable Pakistani Pashtuns.
    1- Abdul Qadeer Khan – Nuclear Scientist
    2- Ayub Khan – former Pakistani President
    3- Dilip Kumar – Great Actor
    4- Imran Khan – politician in Pakistan; former cricket player
    5- Naseerullah Babar – retired General of Pakistan Army
    6- Shahid Afridi – famous Pakistani cricketer
    7- Jansher Khan – former World No. 1 squash player
    8- Jahangir Khan – former World No. 1 squash player
    9- Shahrukhan – Bollywood superstar
    10- Younis Khan – famous Pakistani cricketer
    11- Junid Khan – famous Pakistani cricketer
    12- colonel Sher Khan Shaheed
    13- Malala Yousafzai – Child Education Activist

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  • Waqas Qaiser
    Nov 10, 2013 - 12:46PM

    i believe you consider each name ending on a KHAN is a pashtun. atleast i am confident that Qadeer Khan migrated from Indian state of Bhopal along with his family. It was a customary in Bhopal to call someone by the name of “ama khaan”.

    Secondly, Colonel Sher Khan.. is from Abbotabad Hazara, he was not a Colonel but a mere Captain, his name was Kernal Sher Khan,. Kernal might be connected to a city in east punjab now a province in India.

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  • Someone
    Nov 10, 2013 - 1:28PM

    I won’t deny that Pashtuns might have stereotypes associated with them, but they are not the only ones. Every ethnic group in Pakistan, including Punjabis, have their stereotypes. At the end, we must learn to overlook our differences and focus on co-existing as one nation. Pashtuns have always been an integral part of Pakistani society and will continue to be so. Karachi has the largest Pashtun population than any other city in the world. And the greatest Pakistani ever born, Imran Khan, is a Pashtun.

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  • Pak
    Nov 10, 2013 - 3:04PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:

    FOR YOUR ATTENTION Mr Qaiser, Capt kernel Sher khan Shaheed do not belong to any Abbotabad ,he belongs to Khyber pushtunkhwa province , swbe. May Allah give him place in jannat.

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  • Kohestani
    Nov 10, 2013 - 5:07PM

    @PAKhtoons….Half of the people in your list are not ethnically Pashtoons. You don’t become a Pashtoon just because your surname is Khan. You included the names of fake nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan (Mohajir), the most overrated actor Shahrukh Khan (father was probably Hindkowan), Ayub Khan (Hindkowan), Imran Khan (non-Pashto speaking Niazi), (not sure about Dilip Kumar though) in this list of “famous” Pashtoons but forget to include the names of real Pashtoon heroes like Khoshal Khan, Bacha Khan, Ahmed Shah baba, Pir Rosha and Rahman Baba in this list? This is blasphemy!

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  • Kohestani
    Nov 10, 2013 - 5:10PM

    Pashtoons also have some stereotypes associated with other ethnicities of Pakistan. Punjabis are mostly farmers, wear dhoti and lose every war they fight. Mohajirs are considered effeminate and braggart. Sindhis are too tolerant, but a peaceful people, only Balochs are given Although I accept that overall Pashtoons, unlike some other ethnicities, are not racist and they don’t take these stereotypes seriously.

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  • roadkashehzada
    Nov 10, 2013 - 5:18PM

    unable to understand purpose of this column/blog.
    anyway, i m not sure about society of KPK. are all residents of KPK pashtuns? do they have their working class like in punjab there are casts associated to trades? is everybody khan sahab in KPK? isnt there any impact of social status? met a goldsmith (sunar) pathan the other day, r they equal to maliks?

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  • Maaz khan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 5:59PM

    I won’t agree with u on sher khans issue he waZ not from hazara he waZ from sawabi a town located near nowshehra khyber pukhtoonkhwa.@Waqas Qaiser:

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  • Saeed Ullah Khan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:06PM

    Pir roshan also burki not pathan and all qbove r pathan brother either they speak pushto or not niazi tareen and uzbak qadeer khan uzbak imran khan niazi and ayub khan tareen so do u think that niazi tareen are not pushtun tribes
    @Kohestani:

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  • IHA
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:08PM

    @Kohestani

    Niazis are non-Pashto speaking Pashtoons. I dont think speaking Pashto is a prerequisite for being Pashtoon.

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  • kamranAbuzar
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:13PM

    I do agree with some points, shared by the writer but I don’t wan’t to become a … towards the Pashtoons. Although, the Gilgits and Tajik(Wakhi) people are more inclined towards the Pashtoons then that of the Punjabis and or Sindhis(might be because of some of our common cultural trait), but it is a fact that the Pashtoons plus we Tajiks and Gilgitis are more ‘Fight and Fright’ oriented. We have made the so called Molvi Oriented Islamic Teachings as our Ideal, which is only limited to Bread and get-up…Recommend

  • HUMAYUN KHAN
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:15PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    Dear friend just forur records Captain Gul sheer js frm my village (Sawabi, KPK) and he was born and bread in Pushtoon family. It is an honour for me that I offered his funeral Prayer. Dont take our pride from us and attach it with other cities just because of your lack of info.

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  • Zia
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:18PM

    @Waqas Qaiser: Sher Khan Belong to Swabi…not Abotabad

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  • Zaman
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:22PM

    It’s true that Pashtoons have been to subject to ill intended ridiculing and stereotyping but its also true that 80% of terrorists are Pashtuns. Moreover, they are also active in street crimes, thefts robberies and drug trafficking all over Pakistan.

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  • Tanweer Hassan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:23PM

    Kernel Sher is from Swabi KPK. In Swabi district his village & birth place is now known as “Kernel Sher Kalay”.

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  • Talat Haque
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:26PM

    I am sure there must be some non-stereotyped pathans somewhere – if you look hard enough you will find them ………… in the process of growing up ……….. i wish the rest would catch up ………. [Malala excepted!!!] …………….. her people seem to think of her as a freak …………… the less said about races and ethnicity the better …………… can everyone try to be a good human being ………. its not very hard if one tries

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  • Bangash
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:42PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    Dr Abdul Qadeer khan’s ancestors belonged to tirah valley of Orakzai agency.https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uy4EgtnDwBU#t=114

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  • factnotfiction
    Nov 10, 2013 - 6:50PM

    @ Kohestani, lets not go there. We all know about Pashtun culture and MALES. As for Punjabis losing every war they fight, tell that to Gujranwala born RANJIT SINGH.

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  • realitystrikes52
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:11PM

    I think we need to blame media for portraying such type of an image of Pakhtuns or the people of NWFP generally speaking. Have you guys got the chance to see the latest ufone ad which ended up by the guy saying that the people of NWFP are so intelligent and we all know that he was saying that ironically

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  • Faheem
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:13PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    with due respect kernal sher khan belonged to swabi! and he was a pukhto speaking pushtoon! besides when u talk about people from hazara region so they are the non pushto speaking pukhtoons. My ancestors belong to the hazara region and those uncles of mine who remained in that region now speaks hindko however we speak pushto since we were raised in pushto speaking part of pukhtunkhwa!

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  • bash gul
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:30PM

    All names with Khan are not Pushtuns.

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  • Besharam Khan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:54PM

    the first comment was so controversial that every 2nd person is discussing his list instead of this insane article which deserves more stronger criticism…..

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  • shakir
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:54PM

    Can anybody define the meaning of Khan?

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  • Khurram Awan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 8:50PM

    @Kohestani: Can you elaborate which wars did Punjabis lose specifically.?? Punjabi definition was vague until the 17th century for your information. The people of Punjab fall prey to the Religious appeasement and before that they were different. When Alexander came in this region then the first king who challenged him without surrendering was King Porus who was the king of Peruvia that is Known as Potohar region of Punjab in Pakistan. Also When Ranjit Singh attacked Peshwar then he challenged everyone to took his forces out of Qilla Bala Hisar Peshawar and no local Pushtoon king dared to challenge his forces in Peshawar upto Khyber Pass.

    Here is A small history lesson for you my friend.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIzGOOhPXEQ

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  • Teddy Orakzai
    Nov 10, 2013 - 8:59PM

    As someone who speaks Pashto, Yaqub Khan and Rahimuddin Khan are Pak heros, both identify as Pashtoon but do not speak Pashto. This is FALSE REQUISITE. you are pashtun if you are ehtnically pashtun.

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  • Khurram Awan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 9:07PM

    @IHA: For your info the Definition of Punjabi is different from Pushtoon identity. Punjabi identity is cultural and geographical. So if a Niazi living in Punjab accept the Punjabi language and its culture as their identity then they will be counted as Punjabis. For example the migrants from UP and North India who came in 1947 are now mostly being identified as Punjabis. Khwaja Saad Rafique belongs from a Migrant family but now he is simply identified as a Lahori and a Punjabi. Similarly Nawaz family itself has Kashmiri origins of the Past but now they are Punjabis.
    If you want to differentiate on the basis of Race then it is a different thing altogether otherwise for me Niazi, Rabbai and Durranis of Punjab are also Punjabis since they follow the same cultural traditions of the rest of Punjab.

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  • Nov 10, 2013 - 10:11PM

    @Shakir

    Khan a title for a ruler in Turkic and Mongolian languages and also used by Persians, Afghans/Pashtuns for chiefs and noblemen.

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  • Kamal
    Nov 10, 2013 - 10:21PM

    a tragedy is that there is no industry in KPK, so Pushtoon have to leave their born places for earning. this thing is changing pushtoons culture,as one living in kaarachi,lahore etc. must affected by the relative cultures and society.
    In education sector govt is just giving jobs as teachers, they are not getting quality education as other Pakistani kids are learning. so I think that pushtoon will remain in same condition for more then 50 years , because they r still living in 1960 style.
    We need , industry , technical education.
    Pushtoon are still great nation as they are trusted, where nobody knows their home address.

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  • shah
    Nov 10, 2013 - 10:36PM

    @Zaman
    You will find all ethnicities of Pakistan engaged in criminal activity.

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  • Indigent
    Nov 10, 2013 - 10:45PM

    Can anybody define the meaning of Khan?

    Meaning Someone who a short step away from stardom in the Indian film industry, popularly called Bollywood.

    Usage: If someone can take care of my goats, I can walk to Mumbai and get my uncle [Fill name here] Khan to make a movie for me in Bollywood.

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  • Brigitte Bardot
    Nov 10, 2013 - 10:58PM

    The only Pashtun intellectual who ever existed in history was the Sanskrit grammarian Panini, but then he was not a Moslem. Something to think about.

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  • sabi
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:12PM

    @Kohestani:
    Raja porus was also Punjabi and he fought Alexander ..On the other hand tiger Niazi was Pakhtoon and he lost the war.List is very big and space is short and you started it..
    cheers.

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  • Nov 10, 2013 - 11:16PM

    @Waqas Qaiser
    You information about Sher Khan is in correct. He is buried near Shawa village in the District of Sawabi. However I do not repudiate your claim about Qadeer Khan

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  • adnan khan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:27PM

    Mr.waqas qaiser … if have not any information then plz shut ur mouth & dont comment. This article is baseless & not represent just 2% of Phatans. This is a ridiculous article I hve ever read.

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  • aftab
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:39PM

    If you have watched The Lion King, you would know that Sheer Khan.. Agha um PAKHTUN ou.. Da Mardan.

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  • Besharam Khan
    Nov 10, 2013 - 11:53PM

    No doubt Col. Sher was from swabi but it is unfortunate that his own village didn’t changed its name and is still known as Yar Hussain though the neighboring village changed its name and is now known as SHER KHAN KALLAY

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  • Kohestani
    Nov 11, 2013 - 12:06AM

    Somebody will mention Ranjit Singh was quite anticipated. People can print his name in the largest and boldest fonts, but it will still not exalt his status. I wonder where were the brave sons of Gujranwala hiding when the Muslims of central India asked Ahmed Shah to take care of Marathas? If Afghans had not defeated them the future of Punjab would be very different. The most exalted warrior of Punjab was not even able to rout the rag tag Pasthoon tribes who didn’t have an organized army, modern weapons, artillery and western mercenaries. And the little success that was achieved in the Peshawar valley could have never been achieved if Afghanistan was not engulfed in the mire of civil war and internal conflict.

    P.S: Posts containing abusive remarks can be removed, but the ethnic and religious affiliation should not deter people from doing their duty fairly and honestly.

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  • Shahzad Khattak
    Nov 11, 2013 - 12:12AM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    Waqas pls donot post comment unless you have complete knowedge. Kernel Sher is from Sawabi not Hazara.

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  • Kohestani
    Nov 11, 2013 - 12:28AM

    @Sabi….lol!!!Stereotyping hurts, doesn’t it? And by mentioning Niazi you are biting what you can’t chew. Be careful…

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  • Jawad Khan Babar
    Nov 11, 2013 - 1:14AM

    A unique quality of Pushtuns is that they NEVER suffer from any identity crisis.

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  • KINGPORUS
    Nov 11, 2013 - 2:48AM

    @ kohestani, excuses, look at the length of that comment. lol.

    Ranjit Singh beat the Pashtuns in pretty much every battle.

    Ahmad shah? Marathas? Where is Afghanistan right now though?

    How many Pashtun boxing world champions have we ever had? None

    How many Pashtun wrestlers equivalent to the great gama have we had? None.

    The pashtuns have terrain to thank more than anything else.

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  • Nov 11, 2013 - 4:02AM

    Dear all
    Wait a minute, the surname in Pushtons are miss-conceptualized in Pakistan.
    the word, ‘Khan’ is stolen from Mughuls. This surname was originated from Mughul conqueror, ‘Chengez Khan’ and later frequently used by the Mughuls. If anyone is using this word does not mean they are Pushtoons.
    Please rectify yourself. do not steal someone’s title name. As I am sure if someone has a little bit knowledge of people’ history then they would never associate, ‘A title name’ as their ethnic ID.

    Thanks

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  • Ahsan Raza Bangash
    Nov 11, 2013 - 4:36AM

    This always happens, people fighting over their Pashtun heritage and who is “more” Pashtun than the other. And Also we are not talking about the elephant in the room, our proud Pashtun heritage is classified as number 1 threat to Pakistan. Pakistan Army fears Pashtun nationalism mixed in with Religious fanaticism will yield devastating consequences for the country.

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  • Maria
    Nov 11, 2013 - 6:43AM

    @Kohestani: I think boasting about races in Pakistan is pointless. No one disputes that the Pashtuns of Pakistan are a martial race but the Europeans and the British in particular held the Punjabi as the ideal of the martial soldier. This explains the British preference for them in the armed forces over all of the races of South Asia. The Punjabi Musalman is described as the “backbone” of the British native army. These same Punjabi soldiers fought alongside the British in the most violent battles of World War One and World War 2 where they distinguished themselves against the Germans, Italians and Japanese. Look at the medals and decorations garnered by them. That’s why their deeds are commemorated on Remembrance Day by the grateful British. Why not read up on this tomorrow on Remembrance Day? You may have your own axe to grind against Punjabis but objective British reports from battles attest to their fighting abilities and are probably more grounded in fact. Yes mismanagement by Pakistani politicians and generals have prevented the maximum battlefield application of all Pakistani solders but to impune the fighting character of the Pakistani soldier be he Punjabi, Pashtun, or Baluch is unfair and baseless.

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  • Pakhtoon
    Nov 11, 2013 - 6:54AM

    Waqqas Qaiser, please stop spreading lies, Karnal Sher Khan is from my village of Swabi, hence his grave is in Swabi, he is a Pashtun, unfortunate so many of you are evidently ignorant and make up stuff to justify the grandeur

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  • Gujesh
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:08AM

    Why no mention of Prithviraj Kapoor Khandan ?Recommend

  • Fareed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:03AM

    @KINGPORUS
    Ahmad shah? Marathas? Where is Afghanistan right now though?

    You forget so quickly.. yes? let’s have another go

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  • Fareed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:01AM

    @Where is Afghanistan right now though?

    And where is Pakistan now?

    umm not here….

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  • Junaid Khan
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:09PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    Sir for your Information …Abdul Qadir Khan Also Pashtun ..and Sher Khan belong to Nawe Kale (New Village ) Sawabi yousafzai …..dont B jealous ..Yahi tum loogo ki soch se Tafriqe aye hay country me

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  • Junaid Khan
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:15PM

    @Saeed Ullah Khan:
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….. Pir Roshan was Belong to Kaniguram Tehsil LADHA of South waziristan .he wrote the First Pashtu book …..if you dont have information then dont talk
    he was pure pashtun ..you jealous people ..Kabi sher Khan nahi kabi pir roshan nahi

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  • sameer
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:16PM

    @PAKhtoons: aq khan is pathan

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  • Junaid Khan
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:20PM

    @Saeed Ullah Khan:
    your totally idiot ..Tareen ,Niazi >Burki thats ALL pashtun Tribe .

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  • Nov 11, 2013 - 3:21PM

    Well,This article is baseless,this article do not represent 0.1% of Great pakhtoons.This man dont have knowlegde of pakhtoons.About punjabis,moslty they are farmers,losers,poors,beggers,criminals,rapers,theifers.95% punjabis dont pray,do not fasting,they are just by name muslims.if you dont want to live with pakhtoons,than go to INDIA.Recommend

  • Kabir
    Nov 11, 2013 - 3:23PM

    Pashtun or Pathan = Afghan. The more deep you dig the more clear it will be.. You are searching for your identity which you lost decades before!

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  • Shah Ji
    Nov 11, 2013 - 4:31PM

    @Waqas Qaiser:
    Dear Sir,
    Qadeer Khan is an ethnic Pathan same as Imran Khan. Qadeer Khan himself has once confirmed this in an interview with a TV channel. You can google it.
    Sher kHAN was from Swabi Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa and was a Pakhtun by origin, culture, lingua and nature.
    Ignorance is our enemy, not the stereotype or complexes.Recommend

  • IHA
    Nov 11, 2013 - 5:03PM

    @Khurram Awan

    I thought we were discussing ethnicity here not culture.
    The children of Afghani migrants who live and work in our area speak better seraiki/punjabi than I do and most can barely speak a few lines in broken pashto. The question is have they ceased being Pashtuns now?

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  • History
    Nov 11, 2013 - 6:34PM

    Panini the greatest linguist of ancient times came form Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was probably a Pashtun. But because he was hindu I guess the modern Pashtuns would disown him.

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  • Muhammed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:14PM

    @ IHA
    Afganistan is big country that is sparsely populated. Send the Afghans back there must be lots of good land for goat herding and growing opium.

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  • Khan_baba
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:16PM

    I am pukhton, but sorry to say that we pukhton hate others even within our tribes afraidi fight with sinwari and bannusi fight with wazir, we have huge complex of superiority we consider other punjabi and other ethic group as begrait and daal khoor we consider that we librate pakistan from Hindus and we did so many things bla bla bla… I accept the contribution of our ancestors but I hate this complex of pukhton people even I studied at best institute of kpk but I have seen very unbiased attitute of young pukhton brothers not all of them but their were some… Same goes to punjabi now I am in Australia I see punjabis making fun of pukhton I hate it…

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  • John
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:37PM

    It all come down to values and national character. Although, Pashtuns might have many faults, there is something in them that makes them distinct from other communities in the their neighborhood. Like all great races, existing and past, they are an extremely resilient and steadfast people with an immense love for liberty and freedom. As I as a foreigner have interacted with them, I have found them intelligent, courteous, and hospitable. Unlike the impression that they are an illiterate people, I found them having them almost having the same education level as other communities of Pakistan.

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  • arif khattak
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:52PM

    read almost all these comments….most of tarifhm r counter arguing each other,,,punjabis???comon mates who toppled great ussr in russia???who i sfighting great usa in afghanistan now??u ppl of punjab shoul thank us for sacrificing our lives for ur comfort..otherwise those so called taliban were about to capture our capital…but the pashtoons fell victim to a deadly war and still they r undergoing it,,jst to make the rest of pak peacefull…someone mentioned great gama or smthing like dat,,,thing he does is not bravery,,he jst steps in the ring to ammuse people..people go n watch him as an entertainer…hw could one compare him to the greats we had???the pashtoon land is the playground for world powers…if it wasnt the case,we could’ve excelled in almost all the fields n walks of life…

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  • Muhammed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:09PM

    @ John
    OK if you love Pashtuns so much then then let migrate to your country.

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  • Khurram Awan
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:58PM

    @IHA: Culture is a part of ethnic identity in Punjab. The definition of Punjabi is not associated with any race or any ethnic background. You dont have to belong from some race or origin to be a Punjabi. Migration is a constant phenomenon and Integration of Migrants and assimilation into local culture and making up of a homogeneous identity and ethnicity is a continuous phenomena as well.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:12PM

    @Kohestani: Dilip Kumar’s real name is Yousaf Khan and he was born in Peshawar, by the way he visited Peshawar several years ago to see his birth place. I think you are right in saying that just the name does not signify being a Pukhtun. I am a Yousafzai from Mardan and will consider my self a proud Pukhtun till I die.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:45PM

    @Gujesh:
    Very true, amazing if it may sound, one day my uncle in Mardan picked up this group picture of students from Edwards college Peshawar and pointed out one of the student, he was Prithviraj Kapoor Khandan, a very handsome man, the father of Raj Kapoor and his siblings. Yes, they were born in Peshawar and will be considered Pukhtuns, at least Prithviraj who spoke fluent Pushto and lived like the rest of Pukhtuns did. By the way Dilip Kumar( Yousaf Khan) was also born in Peshawar. I am from Mardan and I have seen Hindus and Sikhs who are living in K-P presently were born and raised there are Pukhtuns. Religion has nothing to do for being a Pukhtun. Thank you for bring this up.

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  • Pankaj
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:01PM

    @PAKhtoons:
    You missed the greatest and father of all the khans: “Changez Khan”. And He was a Buddhist.

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  • Pankaj
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:12PM

    @Sadiq Noyan:
    It was not stolen. “Khan” title was so frightening for the muslim masses of the region due to heroic actions of great Changez Khan and his ancestors that it was easier for a Khan to claim a leadership role in the society. Later, it was adopted as surname to signify ancestral right of leadership position in muslim society.

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  • abdul waheed
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:03AM

    @PAKhtoons:
    I have a lot of respect for the pukhtuns biggest reason for that is they liberated my homeland which is azad kashmir thanks to the tribesman from tribal area but in your list you have listed dr qadeer khan as far as i am aware he not pathan any 1 with a khan surname does not qualify them to be a pathan

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  • Grace
    Nov 12, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @Fareed: People like to repeat the tired story that Afghans alone kicked out the Soviets. In fact, Pakistanis, Arabs and others flocked to Afghanistan to liberate the land while a good number of the Afghans- not just Afghan Persian speakers and Hazaras were busy sneaking into Western countries to cry for asylum. The injured and disabled Punjabi men who are veterens of the Afghan Jihad to oust the Soviets live in villages throughout Pakistan. It is a travesty to ignore the sacrifices made by these men. Without them, the Soviets would have suceeded but rather than thank these men, Afghans have proved thankless.

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  • sami kakar
    Nov 14, 2013 - 5:56PM

    Let me educate few of my friends here. Agreed that word KHAN does not necessarily relate to Pashtuns. But saying that we must focus on what the article is trying to invite us for. Allow me shed some light on what Pashtun historical roots say technically speaking. Pashtun is a race mainly inhabiting in Pakistan,Afghanistan, and India. There is a fair fragment of this group as immigrants to UK,USA,Europe,and East Asia. The ancient name used by/for Pashtuns was Afghan. Sometimes people get mistaken when a Pakistani Pashtun calls himself an Afghan. It is because of that historical connection. The word Afghan was exclusively used for Pashtuns. However,after the advent of modern nation-state term Afghanistan became country for many other ethnic groups and obviously with regard to modern norms all non-Pashtuns are also called Afghans presently. But a Tajik,Uzbek,or Persian citizen of Afghanistan will basically be Tajik,uzbek,and Persian but not an Afghan historically. Dr.Qadeer Khan was from Bhopal(India) and is a Pashtun. His forfathers came to India as Pashtun invading/royal army soldiers. With time they forgot speaking Pashtu but genetically they are still Pasthuns and will always be. General.Ayub Khan spoke Hindku but belonged to a very large tribe of Pashtun i;e, Tareen. Niazi is yet another major tribe of Pashtuns that makes Imran Khan very much Pashtun. Now just like my fellow Punjabis here showing their pride on Sikh King Ranjeet Singh, Pashtuns do have the right to be proud of their very original history.
    P.S. The article has exposed stereotyped mentality against Pashtuns even in the succeeding comments.Thank you all

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