Awan (Punjabi and Urdu: اعوان) is a tribe living predominantly in the northern, central, and western parts of Pakistani Punjab, with significant numbers also present in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir, and to a lesser extent in Sindh and Balochistan.
Jamal J. Elias notes that the Awans believe themselves to be of Arab origin, descended from Ali ibn Abu Talib and that the claim of Arab descent gives them "high status in the Indian Muslim environment".
Christophe Jaffrelot says:
The Awan deserve close attention, because of their historical importance and, above all, because they settled in the west, right up to the edge of Baluchi and Pashtun territory. Legend has it that their origins go back to Imam Ali and his second wife, Hanafiya. Historians describe them as valiant warriors and farmers who imposed their supremacy on the Janjua in part of the Salt Range and established large colonies all along the Indus to Sind, and a densely populated center not far from Lahore.
People of the Awan community have a strong presence in the Pakistani Army and a notable martial tradition. They were listed as an "agricultural tribe" by the British Raj in 1925, a term that was then synonymous with classification as a "martial race".
This [Awan] tribe is perhaps the most heavily recruited tribe in the [Pakistan] Army.
... Sultan Bahu (d. 1691) whose real name was Sultan Muhammad. Born into an Awan Family in Shorkot (District Jhang), ...