The Marwat (Pashto: مروت) is a Pashtun tribe, a branch of the Lohani[1] tribe and belong to Lodi section of the Mati Afghans, located primarily in Lakki Marwat District, parts of Dera Ismail Khan District, some villages of Tank district and in the Katawaz area of Afghanistan. The Marwats are also known as Spin Lohani (White faction of Lohanis), and their most closely related kin are other Lohani tribes like Miya Khel, Daulat Khel and Tatur. In the Afghan dynasty of Hind (1451-1526), Lohanis were the most powerful among the Lodi Afghans and were in possession of one quarter of jagirs in India. The Marwats were named for their ancestor Marwat Khan Lodi.[2]


See also Bannu

Marwats, as well as other branches of Lohanis, lived in Katawaz (located in the Paktika province) as well as Wana valley of South Waziristan. They had a long-standing dispute with Sulaiman Khels and other Ghilzais, who had already forced other Lodi tribes to migrate en masse to India. In one of the decisive battles, in the mid-15th century, Lohanis were thoroughly defeated by the Ghilzais, and had to leave Katawaz to the latter. Lohanis and their Dotani cousins had to be content with just Wana valley and surroundings.

The Marwat and other Lohanis expanded from Waziristan further east, occupying large tracts of present-day Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, by defeating Prangi, Suri and Sarwani tribes. Marwats stayed in Waziristan while Daulat Khels and Taturs migrated to newly conquered Daman. The headman of Kati Khel (branch of Daulat Khel), then the chief of all Lohanis, agreed to give shares in the income from the lands of Daman to Marwats and Miya Khels. In the late 16th century, or in the beginning of the 17th century, Wazirs issued from their homeland Birmal and encroached upon the territories of Marwats in the nowadays South Waziristan (present day abodes of Ahmadzai Wazirs). Wazirs, with the aid of Mehsuds, defeated Marwats and Dotanis, the former were expelled while the latter was allowed to retain some lands in Wana. When the Marwats arrived in Daman to take possession of their lands, the Daulat Khel Lohanis opposed that. In the subsequent battle, the Daulat Khels were defeated by Marwats, and were expelled from Daman. The Daulat Khels sought the help of Gandapurs, Babars and Bhittanis, and this alliance was able to defeat the Marwats.[3][4]

The defeated Marwats stayed in Dara Pezu and surroundings for some time, until they got the invitation from a section of Niazis, who were settled in present-day Lakki Marwat, to assist them in defeating the rival clan. Marwats turned against the Niazis. The Niazi clan first defeated the Marwat clan against whom they were hired and slaughtered them in great numbers. After the friendship with their brothers Marwats, Niazis fled towards Mianwali. Some where between 1601 and 1607, Marwats had taken possession of all the 'Tal' tract.[3]

Marwats were nominally part of Mughal empire. After decline of Mughals, the area came under Durranis. Ahmad Shah Abdali didn't enforce taxes on Marwats but put the condition of providing contingents of Marwat warriors for his military campaigns. In the most important military campaign of Abdali, 120 Marwat horsemen accompanied him under their chief Begu Khan to India. Ahmad Shah's successor, Timur Shah Durrani, enforced Tax on Marwats.[4]

After the battle of Panipat, Marwats split into two factions, White and Black and fought each other for next 60 years. Taking advantage of their internal rift, Wazirs conquered some area from Marwats in the sandy tracts of the present day Bannu district. In 1819, Nawab of Mankera interested in the civil war of Marwats on the invitation of one party and later occupied the area for themselves. The weakened Marwats were unable to resist the occupation and thus Marwats lost the independence. Soon after, Sikhs conquered Lakki Marwat and built a fort on the bank of river Gambila near Present day Lakki city. In 1847 Marwats rose in rebellion against the Sikhs but it was successfully suppressed by the latter.[5] In Anglo-Sikh Wars, Marwats provided great deal of help to British against the Sikhs. The relationship of Marwats and British remained friendly for the most part, though some of Marwats joined faqir of ipi's movement.[3]


  • Mama Khel
  • Bahram ( Tatterkhel, Ghaznikhel, Umer Khan Khel and Totazai)
  • Sikander Khel
  • Achukhel (Begukhel, Isak Khel, Ahmad Khel, Nawar Khel etc.)
  • Mamakhel
  • Aba Khel
  • Landiwah (Shah Jehan khel, Zaitoon khel, Barat khel, Shabak khel, hasan khail, dawo khel, madad khel, Zafar khel)

Notable Marwats

  • Khawas Khan Marwat, was a famous general of Sher Shah Suri.
  • Irfanullah Khan Marwat, a politician based in Karachi. Member of the Sind Assembly and former Minister for transport, health, home, education and mines & mineral development.
  • Khan Habibullah Khan was a justice of West Pakistan High Court, first Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, and briefly as acting President of Pakistan[6]
  • Anwar Kamal Khan, former senator, Provincial Senior Minister and a former member of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[7]
  • Anwar Saifullah Khan, a former DMG officer, Deputy Commissionar and Commissionar, currently a member of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and three times a federal minister.[8]
  • Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a former federal minister
  • Salim Saifullah Khan, currently a senator, and formerly a federal and provincial minister of KPK[8]
  • Shah Nawaz Khan, a former Chief Justice of the Khyber Pakhtunhawa Province and a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, former Governor NWFP[6]
  • Dil Jan Khan, a former Inspector General of Police and Secretary to the government of Pakistan. He also remained President International Narcotics Control Board at the United Nations.[9]


  1. "War Ballads of West Pakistan". The Pakistan Review. Ferozsons. 19: 10–11. 1971. ISSN 0031-0077.
  2. Mohmand, Sher Muhammad, The Marwats. p. 50-53
  3. 1 2 3 "The Marwats" by Sher Muhammad Mohmand
  4. 1 2 Bannu Gazetterr
  5. Marwat uprising against the Sikh
  6. 1 2 Walsh, Declan (2010). "Arithmetic on the Frontier". In John Freeman. Granta 112: Pakistan. Granta Books. ISBN 9781905881536.
  7. "Honour among them". The Economist. 19 December 2006. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  8. 1 2 Candidate extends support from retrieved 10 June 2013
  9. Tribe Elders to Decide on Candidate from retrieved 10 June 2013

Further reading

  • Sher Zaman Taizi, Nara Zheba (The Virile Language), (Nowshera: Kamil Pukhto Adabi Jirgah).
  • Olaf Caroe, The Pathans : 550 B.C. – A.D. 1957, (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1958). OCLC 32721857.
  • Parvez Ahmad Khan, "The Bannu Valley (A Perspective)", Pakistan, vol. 15 & 16. (Pakistan Study Centre, University of Peshawar, 1987)
  • Sher Mohammad Khan Mohmand, The Marwats, (Peshawar, 1999) OCLC 62341253
  • Haroon Rashid, History of the Pathans (Vol. III). (Islamabad, 2002) OCLC 52853206
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