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Title: Die Pashto-Sprecher des Karakorum : Zur Migrationsgeschichte einer ethno-linguistischen Minderheit
Author(s): Weinreich, MatthiasLook up in the Integrated Authority File of the German National Library
Issue Date: 2001
Extent: Online-Ressource (26 Seiten, 3,1 MB)
Type: Article
Language: German
Publisher: [Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt], [Halle, Saale]
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:3:5-1981185920-946105
Abstract: The article is based on field research carried out by the author during the years 1993 - 1995 in the Northern Areas of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Northern Areas, which consist of the Districts Gilgit, Ghizar, Diamer, Skardu and Ganche are a highmountain region situated on the crossroad between Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan. They are home to many different ethnic groups, speaking a variety of languages. Some of these groups, like the Burushaski-speakers, the Domaaki-speakers and the Balti-speakers are unique to the area and not to be met with in other places. Others, like the Wakhi-speakers, the Khowar-speakers and the Uighur-speakers came to the Karakoram mountains during the last 200 - 300 years from the surrounding regions. Among those recent migrants there are also a considerable number of Pashto-speakers, whose traditional homeland is situated to the south-west of the Karakoram, on both sides of the Pakistani-Afghan border. The systematic presence of Pashto-speakers in the Karakoram dates back to the second half of the 19th century, when today's Northern Areas still were a conglomerate of independently ruled principalities. At that time Pashto-speakers were mostly arriving as seasonal traders and religious preachers. Although there is some information on the possibility of early Pashtun settlers in today's Diamer district, the presence of Pashto-speakers was mostly of temporary character, limited only to the warm season. After the region came under Kashmiri and British colonial rule (1892 - 1947), the presence of Pashto-Speakers was rapidly increasing. A Kashmiri land revenue assessment report from 1917 mentions 52 households of Pashtuns in today's Gilgit and Ghizar District. Many Pashto-speakers came as traders, shopkeepers and craftsmen, mostly cobblers and barbers. Others arrived as refuge-seekers, trying to avoid criminal prosecution at home. Their presence concentrated mostly in the larger settlements Gilgit town and Gupis (Ghizar District). Unlike the Pashto-speakers at the pre-colonial time, the new arrivals were not only turning up in larger numbers, but were also showing a strong interest in settling in the area. Some descendants of these early settlers are still to be found in the Districts of Ghizar, Gilgit and Diamer. As a result of the subcontinent's partition today's Northern Areas became a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. During the following decades the region developed strong economic ties with the rest of the country. This was facilitated through the construction of several new roads, the most important of which is the Karakoram Highway (KKH). This truckable, all-year-open road is connecting the Northern Areas not only to the Pakistani lowland but also to the Peoples Republic of China. The opening of the KKH in 1978 triggered an economic boom in the area, which is lasting until now. Not surprisingly Pashto-speakers became one of the most prominent participators of these new developments. Pashto-speaking entrepreneurs are now to be found all over the Northern Areas. As shopkeepers and craftsmen they occupy whole Bazaar sections in urban centres like Gilgit, Chilas (Diamer) and Skardu. They are also noticeably represented among other job categories, such as smugglers, builders, private contractors, money lenders and daily workers. Until the late 70s many new arrivals were still settling in the area, establishing permanent households in Gilgit, Taus (Ghizar District), Skardu and other places. But since the KKH substantially reduced travel time between the Pashtun homeland and the Northern Areas, most of the migrants now prefer only a temporary presence, leaving their families in their place of origin and visiting them from time to time. According to a survey conducted by the author in 1993-95 there were all in all 319 households of Pashto-speakers to be found in the Northern Areas. 110 of these households where permanently established and 209 were only of temporary character. If the strong economic development of the region is to continue, more and more Pashto-Speakers are expected to arrive in search of growing market opportunities, contributing to the on-going social and cultural changes in the urban centres of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
Open Access: Open access publication
License: In CopyrightIn Copyright
Journal Title: Iran and the Caucasus
Publisher: Brill
Publisher Place: Leiden
Appears in Collections:Zweitveröffentlichungen

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