The Dilzak (Urdu : دلزاک) is a Pashtun tribe, primarily living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


The Dilzak originally dwelled in the Sulaiman Range near Eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan border regions. They were the first of the Pashtun tribes from the region to migrate north-eastwards. They descended to the valley of Peshawar through Khyber Pass during the time of Samanid Dynasty, between 750 and 850 CE.[1] The Dilzak expelled or subdued other tribes of the area such as Swati, Degan and Tirahi tribes. By the time of Mehmood Ghaznavi (around 1000 CE), the Dilzak had reached the Indus River (Then called Abaseen or Neelaab).[2] They participated in the campaigns of Mehmood Ghaznavi in large numbers under their leader Malik Yahya Khan.[3] In the 500 years that followed, they extended up to Hassan Abdal and towards the North up to Abbottabad. According to Aain-i-Akbari (written around 1590 CE), the Dilzak were the only Pashtun tribe that possessed lands in Hazara Qaarlugh at that time.[4]

Around 1520, another Pashtun tribe, the Yousafzai, was expelled from Kabul by Mirza Ulugh Beg (March 22, 1394 in Sultaniyeh (Persia) – October 27, 1449 (Samarkand)), a Timurid ruler and paternal uncle of the Mughal Emperor Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur.[5] The Yousafzai migrated to Peshawar valley where they sought and received help from the Dilzak.[6] Later, the relationships between the two tribes deteriorated and a long war ensued.[7] 20 years later, at the battle of Katlang, the Yousafzai, the Utmanzae (A cousin tribe of the Dilzak) and other tribes pushed the Dilzak east of the Indus River under the leadership of Malik Ahmed Khan.

Dispersal by the Mughals

The Mughal had varying relations with the Pashtuns. The Dilzak were on the eastern side of the Indus River and thus vulnerable to the Mughal army. Around 1607, while on his way to Kabul, Mughal Emperor Salim Nuruddin Jahangir (20 September 1569 – 8 November 1627) left his large army under the command of Zaffar Khan Koka son of Zain Khan Koka, and ordered him to wipe out the Dilzak and arrest the leaders of the Khattar tribe. Zaffar Khan Koka complied with the orders and deported 100,000 families of the Dilzak to Lahore for further dispersal throughout India. Few families of the Dilzak escaped this exodus.

Return under Shahjahan

Most of the Dilzaks returned during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1600), and settled in parts of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province and Punjab Province of Pakistan in their old lands. One of them, Saleh Khan, settled with his family in Sara-e-Saleh and Tir, both in Haripur District of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province in Pakistan.[8]


  1. "Taarikh-e-Hazara (History of Hazara)" (Urdu-1969) by Dr. Sher Bahadur Khan Panni Page 295-313
  2. "Taareekh-e-Hazara" (Urdu) by Dr. Sher Bahadur Khan Panni_first edition_1969 p 295-313,"Taareekh-e-Wadi-e-Chhachh and Aqwaam-e-Chhachh" (Urdu) by Manzoor Awan p 175-182, , “Da Pasto Qabeelo Shajre o Mene" (Pashto) by Muhammad Umar Rond Miakhel_2001 p 346-347
  3. "Taareekh-e-Pashtoon" by Sher Muhammad Khan translated by Saraj Ahmed Alvi (1979) Page 200
  4. Hazara Qaarlugh was a term used during the Mughal period for an administrative unit collocated with the modern Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Attock District and Hassan Abdal (Tehsil) of Punjab Province.
  5. "The Pathans" by Sir Olaf Caroe Page 153,173/174
  6. "Mukhtasur Taareekh-e-Pashtoon (Short History of Pashtoons) by Professor Hameedullah (2004) Page 49
  7. "Tawareekh-e-Hafiz Rahmat Khani" (Urdu) by Pir Moazzam Shah rearranged with notes by 'Roshan Khan', Published by Pashto Academy, Peshawar University (1976) Pages 83-570
  8. "Taareekh-e-Hazara" (Urdu) by Dr. Sher Bahadur Khan Panni First Edition (1969) Page 295-313
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