Tajiks in Pakistan
Total population
c. 947,000 (2023)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups

Tajiks in Pakistan are residents of Pakistan who are of Tajik ancestry. The Tajiks are a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to Central Asia, living primarily in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

There are also Afghan Tajiks refugees in Pakistan. According to the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions in 2005, at least 7.3% of all Afghans living in Pakistan or roughly 221,000 individuals were categorised as ethnic Tajiks.[2][3] There are also expatriates from Tajikistan.[4]


Extent of the Samanid dynasty (819–999), regarded as the "first Tajik state."[5]

During the ninth and tenth centuries, the western portions of Pakistan were part of the Samanid Empire, which was an Iranian dynasty of Tajik roots.[5] It is also referred to as the "first Tajik state".[5] The Ghurid dynasty was another presumably Tajik dynasty that controlled parts of Pakistan in the early 13th century.[6][7]

Pakistan and Tajikistan are now separated by a narrow strip of Afghan territory known as the Wakhan Corridor.[8]


The Gojal, Ishkoman and Yasin valleys of northern Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region, as well as Chitral district, are home to a significant native population of Pamiri Tajiks, known as the Wakhis.[9][10][11][12] They speak the Wakhi language, which is a distantly related dialect to Persian.[12] The Wakhi Tajik Cultural Association represents and promotes Wakhi culture in Pakistan.[13][14]

In addition, there were 221,725 Afghan Tajiks living in Pakistan in 2005, according to a census by the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions.[2][3][15] They were amongst the massive influx of Afghan immigrants to Pakistan following the Soviet–Afghan War outbreak in 1979, while others arrived during the Afghan civil wars starting in 1992 and 1996 to escape the Taliban regime, or more recently, the post-2001 war in Afghanistan.[16][2] Tajiks comprised 7.3% of the Afghan population in Pakistan, making them the second largest ethnicity after Pashtuns who formed 81.5% of immigrants.[2] The census showed that they were divided into 42,480 families. In terms of sex ratio, 112,819 individuals (50.9%) were male and 108,906 (49.1%) were female.[2]

Obtaining updated figures remains elusive as many Tajiks returned to Afghanistan or migrated abroad in the past several years,[17][16] while some end up overstaying their visas or don't have valid documentation of their stay and travel when probed by law enforcement agencies.[18][19][20]

In Balochistan, around 43,000 Afghan nationals living in the province as of 2005 were identified as Tajiks.[21] Tajiks in Quetta worked mainly in clerical jobs and as teachers. They were wealthier in socioeconomic status compared to their Afghan counterparts of other ethnicities.[21]

A small number of Tajiks also live in the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan region,[22] and in Karachi in Sindh,[23] where their population was up to 20,000 in 2004.[17] Assimilating into Karachi's social and economic city life tends to be more challenging for Tajiks and other smaller communities than it is for Afghan Pashtuns, who are comparatively well-integrated.[23]

During the 1990s, as a result of the Tajikistani Civil War, between 700 and 1,200 Tajikistanis arrived in Pakistan, mainly as students, the children of Tajikistani refugees in Afghanistan. In 2002, around 300 requested to return home and were repatriated back to Tajikistan with the help of the IOM, UNHCR and the two countries' authorities.[4] As of 2009, there were around 140 Tajikistani students pursuing education at Pakistani universities.[24]


Tajikistan has an embassy in Islamabad,[25] and honorary consulates in Karachi,[26] Lahore and Peshawar.[27] Airlines such as Tajik Air and Somon Air have expressed commercial interest in, and previously operated, flights linking Dushanbe to Pakistan in order to facilitate the movement of tourists and businesspeople between both countries.[28][29][27][30] National festivities such as the Afghan Independence Day and Tajik Independence Day are observed by the Tajik diaspora.[31]


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Joshua Project, Tajik in Pakistan". www.joshuaproject.net. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Census of Afghans in Pakistan 2005" (PDF). UNHCR. 2005. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Afghan Refugees: Current Status and Future Prospects" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2019. The census found 3,049,268 Afghans living in Pakistan, 42% of them in camps and 58% in urban areas. Over 81% of the Afghans were Pashtuns, with much smaller percentages of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups (see Figure 1).
  4. ^ a b United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2002-10-01). "Long-time Tajik refugees return home from Pakistan". UNHCR. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  5. ^ a b c Lena Jonson (25 August 2006). Tajikistan in the New Central Asia: Geopolitics, Great Power Rivalry and Radical Islam. I.B.Tauris. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-84511-293-6. For more than 100 years the Samanids ruled most of Central Asia and parts of present-day Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India. The Samanid Empire is regarded as the first Tajik state...
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, (LINK): ". . . The Ghurids came from the Šansabānī family...The chiefs of Ḡūr only achieve firm historical mention in the early 5th/11th century with the Ghaznavid raids into their land, when Ḡūr was still a pagan enclave. Nor do we know anything about the ethnic stock of the Ḡūrīs in general and the Šansabānīs in particular; we can only assume that they were eastern Iranian Tajiks..."
  7. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, Online Edition, 2006:"... The Shansabānīs were, like the rest of the Ghūrīs, of eastern Iranian Tājik stock ..."
  8. ^ Yasmeen Niaz Mohiuddin (2007). Pakistan: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-85109-801-9. The Chitral and Kalash valleys of the Hindu Kush Mountains are located north of the Swat Valley in the Chitral district of the North-West Frontier Province and are bordered by Afghanistan on the north, south, and west. The Wakhan Corridor separates Chitral from Tajikistan.
  9. ^ James B. Minahan (10 February 2014). Ethnic Groups of North, East, and Central Asia: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 215–. ISBN 978-1-61069-018-8.
  10. ^ William Frawley (May 2003). International Encyclopedia of Linguistics: 4-Volume Set. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-19-513977-8.
  11. ^ Felmy, Sabine (1996). The voice of the nightingale: a personal account of the Wakhi culture in Hunza. Karachi: Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-19-577599-6.
  12. ^ a b Sehar, Daniyah (21 October 2012). "Walking with the Wakhi". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  13. ^ Hermann Kreutzmann (28 September 2006). Karakoram in Transition: Culture, Development and Ecology in the Hunza Valley. OUP Pakistan. ISBN 978-0-19-547210-3.
  14. ^ Gernot Windfuhr (13 May 2013). The Iranian Languages. Routledge. pp. 826–. ISBN 978-1-135-79703-4.
  15. ^ Wee, Rolando Y. (25 April 2017). "The Tajik People". World Atlas. Retrieved 14 May 2019. Tajik diaspora occurs in Afghanistan (9,450,000), Tajikistan (6,787,000), Uzbekistan (1,420,000), Pakistan (220,000), China (34,000), Russia (201,000), United States (52,000), Kyrgyzstan (47,500), Canada (15,870), and Ukraine (4,255).
  16. ^ a b Redden, Jack (28 October 2002). "Feature: Karachi exodus leaves rest of Afghan refugees pondering future". UNHCR. Retrieved 14 May 2019. I do want to go back, but God knows when," said Mohammed Islam, a Tajik from the northern Afghan province of Baghlan who left his country 20 years ago. "If the government helps us with housing or setting up a business, I will go.
  17. ^ a b Laurent Gayer (2014). Karachi: Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City. Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-19-935444-3. Most of these Afghan refugees were of Pashtun stock but Karachi also became home to smaller contingents of Uzbeks (30,000 to 40,000 according to some estimates) and Hazaras and Tajiks (20,000 each).
  18. ^ "Scores of Uzbeks, Tajiks held in Karachi forces operation". Geo News. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Some 61 Afghans, Tajiks held across Karachi". Dawn. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Afghans, Tajiks held at Sindh, Punjab border". Dawn. 17 October 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Afghans in Quetta: Settlements, Livelihoods, Support Networks and Cross-Border Linkages". Collective for Social Science Research. January 2006. pp. 2, 5, 6, 7. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  22. ^ Tan, Vivian (24 May 2002). "UNHCR, Pakistan address complaints from harassed Afghan refugees". UNHCR. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  23. ^ a b Marcello Balbo (2005). International Migrants and the City: Bangkok, Berlin, Dakar, Karachi, Johannesburg, Naples, São Paulo, Tijuana, Vancouver, Vladivostok. UN-HABITAT. pp. 157, 178. ISBN 978-92-1-131747-3. Afghan migration into Karachi also features other groups, including Persian-speaking communities such as Tajiks... Migrants from Afghanistan are relatively underprivileged, and among Afghans some (such as the Tajiks) are clearly more insecure and vulnerable than others.
  24. ^ "Pakistan Study Centre in Tajikistan". Embassy of Pakistan in Tajikistan. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2019. Around 142 Tajik students are studying at the universities of Pakistan in 2009...
  25. ^ "Home page". Embassy of Tajikistan to Pakistan. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  26. ^ Hasanova, Mavjouda (11 March 2011). "Tajik leader inaugurates Tajik Consulate General in Karachi". Asia Plus. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Tajikistan comes to the party!". Pakistan Today. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  28. ^ "How Somon Air is reaching new peaks". Routes Online. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019. In Uzbekistan, there are 15 million Tajik people split between [the cities of] Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. Those are clear destinations that we are looking at and have negotiated rights for. We've got Afghanistan, which has more than ten million Tajiks… There's Pakistan as well – Islamabad or Karachi...
  29. ^ Korenyako, Artyom (25 April 2016). "Somon Air to launch services to Afghanistan, Pakistan". Rusavia Insider. Retrieved 14 May 2019. Bandishoyev says that both Tajik tourists and businesspeople are interested in the establishment of an air route to Lahore.
  30. ^ "Tajikistan willing to resume direct flights to Pakistan". Pakistan Today. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Diplomatic Enclave: National Day of Tajikistan celebrated". The News. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  32. ^ "KARACHI: Abdus Sattar Afghani passes away". Dawn. 5 November 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2020. Coming from an ethnic Persian-speaking Tajik tribe, the Afghan family had left its ancestral town of Jalalabad some 150 years ago and settled partly in Bombay (now Mumbai) and partly in a tiny coastal town of Karachi.