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Marwat ( ) are Lodi Pashtuns primarily found in Lakki Marwatmarker District of North-West Frontier Provincemarker (NWFP) of Pakistan. They are also settled in other districts of the province such as Tank,Bannu andDera Ismail Khanmarker.

A typical Marwat with his child


Bibi Matto, daughter of Baitan and granddaughter of Qais Abdur Rashid had six sons. Amongst them, Ghilzai and Ibrahim Lodi became more famous. Their genealogical tree shows that Ibrahim Lodi had three sons,; each founding a sub tribe after his respective name. Among those sub tribes, the Lohani became more famous. Marwats are descendants of the Lohani sub tribe. They are subdivided into four clans (also known as Khels) known as Salars, Tappay, Mussa and Nuna. Some writers, including H. G. Raverty, reject this theory.

The Marwats form one of the four Great sub-tribes of the Lohani tribes and are also known as Speen Lohani (white Lohanis). However, it is evident that the Marwat and the rest of Baittan tribes are the combination of the three best ancestries of Asia.

Following interpretations have been made in this connection by Dr Chiragh Hussain in his book Dood-e-Chiragh:

  1. The predecessor or the ancestor of the Marwat was named as Marwat.
  2. There is a hill in Katwaz. Afghanistan, which is called Marwati. The Marwat tribe formerly inhabited there, and so they were named Marwat.
  3. The word Marwat is derived from Arabic word “Murrawat”, which means compassion, generosity and manliness. This really reflects and interprets the word Marwat on account of their moral values, habits, social contacts and hospitality even to day. In the past, the Aryan Chiefs took oath in the name of the Marwat tribe’s modesty, when they were sworn as leaders of their tribe’s.
  4. The modern Western historians are of the view that all these old names are of geographical importance. For instance, Bait is the center of river Dajla and Farrat, and Haroot and Maroot are the names of two tribes. They were famous in the past for their purity. In the ancient religious books they have been mentioned in literary and allegorical sense.

Exodus from Katawaz

The original homeland of the Marwat's was Katawaz, South of Ghaznimarker in Afghanistan. Now the Sulaiman Khel Tribe occupies this land. After leaving the Afganistan ,The marwats migrated to South Waziristan and settled in Wanna and Makeen.{Wanna Bibi is the name of a girl who was the daughter of Malik Nawaz khan marwat.Now this area occupies by Wazir tribe and Marwati mountain or marwati ghar in Mehsud area.After that, the Marwats migrated to Daman (present day Tank) and settled in this area. Under the stress of adverse circumstances some of them moved to other lands in the subcontinent.

Writers have expressed different views regarding the exodus of this tribe from Katawaz. One version goes as:

"A petty servant of the Sulaiman Khel tribe abducted a woman form the house of Azad Sultan Khel and sought asylum with the Marwat Tribe; who provided asylum to them under their convention (Nanawati). The Sulaiman Khel demanded extradition and handing over of the culprits, which the Marwat declined as they were bound by traditions to protect the honour and life of refugees under their protection.

"On refusal of several requests, the Sulaiman Khel were left with no other option but to attack the Marwats with full force. The Marwat were strong enough to withstand and repulse their initial attack. Then the Sulaiman Khel sought the help of other clans of the Ghilzai tribe, who answered the call positively. The combined force of the Ghilzai clans overpowered the Marwat tribe. To avoid the constant threat from the rival clans, the Marwats decided to migrate to some remote parts. Hence their subsequent migration to the Daman Area."

Permanent settlement in old days was difficult. The whole tribe traveled and settled at places where better grazing grounds were found. Furthermore, as “might is right” goes, tribes with less fighting strength had to leave the place for stronger invaders. The Marwat, being less in number, migrated to safer places; Hence their migration to the Tank area.

Dr. Syed Chiragh Hussain says

"The early history of the Marwat is cloudy due to non availability of proper record like other Pashtoon tribes. However, in 1451 AD when the Delhi Sultanate was captured by Lodhis, then the trace of the Marwat is to be found in his reign. Bahlol Lodhi's call for getting land (Jagirs) in Hindustan was warmly received here. Khawas Khan Marwat was one of the famous Generals in Sher Shah Suri’s reign. He had lost his life during the war of succession won by Salim Shah Suri.”

According to an account, the settlement period of the Marwat in the Daman area is probably during the reign of Lodhis. Sir Denzil Ibbetson disagrees. In his view the Marwat settled here in the reign of Moghul Emperor Akbar.

However, their stay in the Daman area was not long. They took new feuds on distribution of water with the Raees (Chief) of Tank, Shah Nawaz Khan Katti Khel. The Katti Khels were also their cousins. Marwats came around Tank and were in a position to drive the Katti Khels out of it. However, Shah Nawaz Khan sought help from the Gandapur and Mian Khel families and repulsed the Marwat attack. As a result, they were driven out of Daman and forced to migrate towards the Baeena Pass (Dara Pezumarker - the current site of Lucky Cement Factory).

Thus for one reason or the other they migrated to Daman and then Pezu via Gomal Pass. “Most of them ultimately settled in Tank with Niazis (also a branch of Lodhi group) who had been in the past driven in the same manner from their original lands”.

Arrival period

Mira Jan Sayal writes in his book "Da Pukhtano Qabilo Shajare" that, "The Marwat arrived in this area during the early years of the reign of the Mughal King Akbar (1556-1605). They took advantage of the internal dissension among the Niazis, expelled them from this area and settled on the right bank of river Gambilla. Mayar, a branch of Niazis, sought help from the Marwat against its fellow Niazis Clan, Sarhang. The Marwat attacked the Niazis under Malik Qatal Khan and other Maliks. In a severe battle near Tatti Michan Khel, the Niazis were completely defeated and pushed towards Esa Khel. Among them, only the Michan Khels were spared due to their neutrality and religious position."

With the conquest of such a vast area, the Marwats dropped the idea of taking back Tank form Shah Nawaz Katti Khel, who extended his hand for friendship. This was accepted for the sake of guarding that Frontier.

Occupation of Lakki Marwat

For some time the Marwats confined themselves to pastoral pursuits. When their number increased, groups of families went out of the close settlement and spread over the vast plain - each within rather undefined limits of the allotment of the section to which it belonged. Such groups in turn became centres from which further migration took place. Thus in course of time the whole plain became populated. A large proportion of the Marwat settled down as agriculturists. Each community cultivated and held its land according to the "Wesh Tenure".

During the Mughal period, the Marwats; being little interrupted by others and being strong and united enough to defy any encroachment by other neighbouring tribes, enjoyed the singular good fortune of being left to themselves, and this developed and worked out their ancient communal institutions.

Meanwhile, the Mughal Empire, which was already on decline received a deathblow as its province on the right bank of the Indus Rivermarker was conquered by Ahmed Shah Durrani in 1756. The whole territory of the Marwats came under the Kingdom of Afghanistan. It was ruled by the Durani King for more than 70 years; although practically they remained independent. In fact, this area was not regularly occupied because at that time, the Marwats lived a nomadic life. When attacked from any side they would simply migrate towards the hills with all their goods and cattle. During such visitations the material loss was not great, as those who led nomadic pastoral life retired with their flocks and herds into the hills, and those who tilled the soil either remained with the royal revenue collectors or fled to the hills. Thus beyond a partial destruction of his crops, no Marwat lost much as the stay of the Kabulmarker troops was never long and the burning of his house only gave him an extra trouble of procuring a few ox-loads of reeds from the marsh and twigs from the jungle and building a hut of them.

In the words of Ghulam Habib Afghani, for the Marwats, the capturing of such a vast area was greater than their needs and they did not feel sorry for Tank which they had lost earlier. This vastness of land was the reason why there was no internal conflict. But the Niazis and the Ghazni Khel Khattaks from the east, and Kati Khel, Sulaiman Khel Wazir and Mahsoods from the south repeatedly attacked the Marwats. But due to their unity, they succeeded every time to repulse these attacks. They opposed any type of intervention from any tribe till Edward took the whole area under his control for his political objectives.

The Marwats fought almost sixty battles against different tribes for safeguarding their frontiers. Sarfaraz Khan Khattak admits this fact in his book, “Tareekh-e-Khattak”.

Disunity and division

Gund bazi (tribal jealousy)

This unity could not remain for a long time. The Marwats were divided into two gawands (groups) known as Speen-Gund (the white group) and Tor-Gund (the black group). This division among the Marwats is known as Gund Bazi (internal rivalry). The Speen-Gund includes Mama Khel, Begu Khel, Maidad Khel etc, whereas the Tor Gund includes Isa Khel, Ghazni Khel, Adam Zai, Tatter Khel etc.

Initially all Maliks accepted the eldest man as the leader and considered his decision final and followed that. During the conflicts with Ghiljis, Wazirs, Dawars, Masoods, Niazis and Daulat Khels, decisions were taken by the headman and they were obeyed. However, in the wake of Gund Bazi the Marwat clans split into two groups. The leader of each Gund was supported by the allied Maliks. Basically the Gund Bazi started with a conflict between Begu Khels and Isak Khels. Maidad Khels joined the Begu Khel Gund and Ghazni Khel joined the Isak Khel Gund. Meena Khels held an important position due to their occupation of the Lakki City.

The Gund Bazi started when Salar Khan Maidad Khel; being proud of his Maliki (Chieftancy) tried to destabilize the Maliki of Sikandar Khan Azghar Khel with respect to Lakki City. Sikander Khan along with Sadar Khan Isak Khel attacked Salar Khan near village Dalo Khel (presently located on Tajazai-Lakki Highway). Salar Khan, his two brothers and five other men were killed. As a result of this Gul Rang Khan; son of Saleem Khan Miandad Khel became the Malik. He was bold, courageous and dashing and he fought several battles against the Khattaks.

Another Malik who was aspiring to share the Maliki with Gul Rang Khan was Gulan Khan of Tatter Khel. Gul Rang Khan had him killed on the plea that Gulan Khan showed cowardice during the Khattak campaign. When Almar Khan Isak Khel came to Sardar Samand Khan Begu Khel, he sided with Gulrang Khan. From that time, the Marwat tribe was divided into two groups.

“Any type of attack on one man was considered an attack on the whole Gund and it was responded to by the whole Gund. The whole Gund became a party to the happiness and sadness of a member of his own Gund”.

In the words of Ghulam Habib Afghani, other tribes took great advantage of this disunity because a lot of money and resources were spent on the procurement of weapons. Due to this Gund Bazi, Nawab Hafeez Ahmed Khan of Mankeramarker was invited in 1819 to capture this area and secure taxes. Later on, the Nawab abandoned this area in favour of the Sikhs in 1823.

The people

Majority of the Marwats reside in and around Lakki Marwatmarker, which had been a Tehsil of District Bannu for more than 132 years but became a district in early 1990s. A small proportion of other tribes also settled here. The main reason is that the area had remained economically un-developed through the ages and had a little attraction for new settlers.

The people of the Marwat tribe are strong, sturdy, and tall, of very sound physique and fair complexion (many are blond with either green or blue eyes). About the people of this area Sir Herbert says, “the Marwat descend from the pure and nice generation of the trans-Indus area, tall, stout, handsome, candid with rosy cheeks generally. These entire features are due to their pure and nice Afghan origin and probably this is the reason that they are very dignified and generous and meet the strangers with great courtesy, They are very generous towards their woman folk as compared to the other tribes of Pathans”.

Like other Pashtoons, Marwats are also divided into numerous Khels. The tribe is territorially divided into three great Tappas, viz, Dreplara, Musakhel-cum-Tappi, and Behram (subdivided into minor tappas Umar Khan Khel and Tatezai)

The two branches of Salar, i.e., Khado Khel and Achu Khel, along with Aba Shaheed Khel Sadat family, are known as dreplara. (Children of three parents). According to the distribution of land (Wesh System), Tappa Musa Khel and Noona Khel settled in the western part of Lakki Marwat. Behram in the middle and Dreplara in the eastern part.

Since most of the territory occupied by the Musa Khel (Kot Kashmirmarker, Gandi Khan Khel, Mama Khelmarker, Bayist Khel, Takhti Khelmarker, Bragi, Shatoora), Nona Khel (present day TuriKhel and Malayzee/Malayzai) (see: Mullazaimarker) and Thapai or Thapee is Pakhamarker (solid) area, they are called Pakha Marwat (Solid Marwat)Malayzee/MalayZai or Mullazaimarker are in Tank District jurisdiction. The area occupied by Dreplaree is sandy. Hence they are called Saga Marwat (Sandy Marwat).

Some important Khels are:

  1. Musa Khel, with sections Takhti Khel, Januzai and Pasanni
  2. Achu Khel, with sections Begu Khel, Isak Khel, and Ahmad Khel
  3. Khadu Khel, with sections Sikandar Khel, and Mammu Khel
  4. Nawab Khel, with Nar Muzzafar Khan
  5. Bahram Khel, with sections Umar Khan Khel and Totezai; the latter with sub-sections Tajazai, Dilkhozai, Ghazni Khel, and lastly Tappi.
  6. Mina Khel, who live in the heart of the city with a strong hold.

They speak softer Pashto which is very similar to the Pashto spoken in Qandaharmarker (Afghanistanmarker) and Quettamarker (Pakistan).

Notable Marwats

  • Khan Habibullah Khan was a Mina Khel by origin, who remained Justice of Peshawar High Court, first & second Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Pakistanmarker's Interior Minister and also remained Chief Minister of West Pakistan (One Unit) as well as Acting President of Pakistan.
  • Khan Sahib Faizullah Khan grandfather of Salim Saifullah khan,was the poineer in india Energy sector as well as the biggest indian muslim Contractor in British Raj.He got the first contract of BESC {Bannu Electric Supply Corporation }Chashma Right Bank,before partition.He has also remained the Member of Legislative assembly from 1935 to 1945.
  • Barrister Saifullah khan was the first MLA from Bannu District and also remained MNA as well as Senator.He was a renowned industrialist of the province.
  • Anwar Saifullah Khan is a Ghazni Khel by origin and a current Member of Provincial Assembly of North-West Frontier Provincemarker (NWFP). He is also a former Federal Minister as well as Senator.
  • Salim Saifullah Khan is a Ghazni Khel by origin and a current Senator. Salim is also a former Federal as well as Provincial Minister.Now-a-days, he has made his own league i-e Muslim League {Like Minded Group}.He is the current President of Muslim League Like-Minded Group.
  • Maulana Mufti Mahmud was Abdul Khel by origin and has remained Chief Minister of NWFP.
  • Humayun Saifullah Khan is a Ghazni Khel by origin and a current Member of National Assembly. He also remained a Provincial Minister as well as Nazim of District Lakki Marwatmarker.
  • Anwar Kamal Khan is a Mina Khel by origin and a former Member of Provincial Assembly as well as a former Provincial Minister and Senator.
  • Naseer Muhammad Khan is a Maidadkhel by origin and a former Member Provincial Assembly.
  • Irfanullah Khan Marwat is a former Provincial Minister in Sindmarker Province.
  • Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat is a former Federal Minister as well as member of National assembly in 1977.Mir Nawaz khan marwat is a wellknown Advocate of the Sindh High Court.
  • Muhammad Akram khan,brother of khan Habibullah khan was the provincial Revenue and Excise minister in the NWFP Cabinet.
  • Khan Niamatullah khan, brother of Barrister Saifullah khan was Senator {twice} and MPA in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto regime.
  • Mrs.Yasmin Zia Marwat is Mamma Khel by origin and a current member of provincial assembly.

Judicial officers
  • Shah Nawaz Khan was a Mina Khel by origin, who remained Chief Justice of NWFP and also remained a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistanmarker.
  • Sher Afzal Khan is a Begu Khel by origin and is a former Judical Officer of NWFP who worked both as Estate Officer and Director General of the National Housing Foundation, Government of Pakistan.

Civil services
  • Akhter Munir Khan, a retired Captain of the Pakistan Army, is a Mina Khel by origin, and is currently working as Additional Secretary to government of Pakistan.
  • Kalim Dil Khan is Nawab Khel by origin, and is a former Chairman of Pakistan Narcotics Control Board and a former member of Federal Public Services Commission (FPSC), Pakistan.
  • Salim Dil Khan (Late) is a Nawab Khel by origin, and was a senior judge of Peshawar High Court. He also remained as vice chancellor of Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khanmarker.
  • Dil Jan Khan is a Begu Khel by origin. He has formerly worked as Pakistan's youngest Inspector General of Police (IG), as a Federal Secertary, and as President of INCB at United Nations.
  • Abdul Majeed Khan Marwat is a Begu Khel by origin and is currently working as Additional Inspector General of Police in NWFP.
  • Abdul Ali khan is a Ghazni khel by origin and is a former (DG)Director General of Income Tax.
  • Khizer Hayat Khan, currently working as Joint Secretary, from Gawraka Shah Hussian, Ghazni khel.
  • Mr.Qudratullah marwat is working as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in Kohat Division.
  • Dr.Ishtiaq marwat is currently working as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in D.I kHAN.
  • Sardar khan was Miadad khel by origin, has remained Air Vice Marshal.He has won the following medals from Govt.of Pakistan for his outstanding performance in his service career.
1.Hilali Imtiaz {millitary} 2.Sitara-e-Imtiaz[millitary} 3.Sitara-e-Basalat 4.Tamgha-e-Imtiaz{millitary.He has remained the Vice chancellor of NWFP University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar as well as Vice Chancellor of Cecos Universiy Peshawar.
  • Javed marwat is currently working as DCO in Upper Dir .
  • Iqbal marwat is working as DPO now (SSP) in Bannu.

  • Zain-ul-Abiddin or Zulabi is a national transport tycoon.
  • Javed Saifullah Khan is a Ghazni Khel by origin and a national telecommunication tycoon.

  • Sherin Jan Khan is a Begu Khel by origin and a former Provincial Director of Education.
  • Dr. Fazlur Rahim Marwat is a current Professor at University of Peshawar.He is a current chairman of Peshawar Text Board as well as a wellknown Analyst.
  • Dr.Rafiq khan is a Ghazni khel by origin and remained the Principal of (KMC}Khyber Medical College Peshawar.

Arts and literature
  • Abdur Rahim Majzoob is from Nar Sahibdad (Sarai Naurang) and is commonly known as the Wordsworth of Pashto Language.
  • Ahmad Jan Ahmad is a Langer Khel by origin and has contributed a lot towards Pashto Poetry.
  • Khurshid Marwat, a Begu Khel, is the only Marwat who has a published collection of English Poetry. A graduate of Harvard Uuiversity, he was also the first Marwat to write a TV Play for Pakistan Television.
  • Afgar Bughari is a well known Pashto song writer and has been extensively sung by Khial Muhammad and Damsaz.
  • Rehmatullah Dard is a renowed pushto poet. He is famous for his romantic and modern poetry. His revolutionary poetry has earned him much fame in the circle of pushto poets. He has been principal of Government Degree College Lakki Marwat.


  1. 'Lakki Marwat History'
  2. 'Family Tree of Marwats'


  • Shah Sawar Marwat, "Da Marwato Tareekh", unpublished.
  • Fazl-ur-Rahim Marwat, (Introduction) Marwat Students Union, University of Peshawar
  • Daily: The Mashriq, Peshawar. 14 January 1993.
  • Dr Sher Zaman Taizi, Nara Zheba (The Virile Language), (Pabbi, Kamil Pukhto Adabi Jirgah Pabo Seema)
  • Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 1550 BC – 1957, (London, MacMilan, NY, 1958)
  • Tuffail Ahmad Khan, Bannu Tareekh Kay Ayeenay Main, (Tahi Kulachni Publishers, 1979)
  • Insaf, Weekly Magazine (Urdu), Peshawar. 11 July 1955
  • Ghulam Habib Afghani, Marwat and native Tribes, Vol II (unpublished)
  • Gul Ayub Saifi, Bannu Au Da Waziristan Tareekh, (Bannu, Nazir Medical Store, Lakki Gate. 1969)
  • Haim, Haim’s One-Volume Persian- English Dictionary. (Tehran, Farhang Moaser, 1983)
  • Dr Syed Chiragh Hussain, Dood-e-Chiragh. (DI Khan. Ishrat Art Press. 1980)
  • Parvez Ahmad Khan, The Bannu Valley, (Pakistan Study Centre, University of Peshawar, 1987)
  • Syed Bahadur Shah Zafar Kaka Khel, Pashtun Tareekh Kay Ayeenay Main (Translation from Pashto by Syed Anwarul Haq Jeelani). (Peshawar. University Book Agency. 1964)
  • The Marwats by Sher Muhammad Mohmand.
  • Sir Denzil Ibbetson, Lesser Known Tribes of NWFP; India and Pakistan, Vol 11. (Delhi Ammar Prakshan. 1992)
  • M.J. Siyal Mohmand, Da Pukhtano Da Qabilo Shajare. (Peshawar. University book Agency, 1986)
  • Govt of NWFP. Gazetteer of Bannu District (1883-84). (Lahore. Sang-e-Meel. 1989)

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