THE KINGDOM OF SWAT AND THE LOST TAJIKS OF NORTH PAKISTAN
It is known to very few, that five hundred years ago, before the arrival of the Mughals, the demographics of the northern regions comprising Pakistan were much different. There existed a substantial and well established Tajik (Persian) farming population here from ancient times in the lush valleys of Peshawar and Swat (the Gandhara region). These areas formed part of a kingdom, ruled since Ghori times by a family of Muslim Tajiks known as Gibaris (also Swati and Jehangiri) who were converts from Zoroastrianism. They were the sultans of the Kingdom of Swat or “Pakhli Sarkar” as it was known – which later became a dependency of the Sultanate of Kashmir. Kashmir in turn was a “provincial sultanate” of the renowned Delhi Sultanate. The displacement from Kabul of the Yusufzai Pashtuns by the Timurids resulted in their migration to the Swat Kingdom, and both this and the subsequent Timurid (Mughal) conquests of India brought about the fall of both the Delhi and Swat Sultanates. Although the Delhi Sultanate is world famous, that of Swat is shrouded in mystery. It is the objective of this paper to apprise the reader of that history, as well as explain why it has been obscured.
Arif Hasan Akhundzada