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The Burki (historically also known as Barak, Baraki, Birki (of Baburnama), Barki, Braakee or Urmar) are a Pushtun tribe of South Waziristan, Pakistan, whose "homeland" is Kaniguram. The first Pushtun warrior/intellectual Pir Roshan, whose given name was Bayazid Khan, was a Baraki/Urmur/Burki who is popularly known by his admirers as Pir Roshan (the enlightened one) and as Pir Tarik (the one of darkness) by those who hated his enlightened ideas as a threat to both the din and to the establishment. In the 16th century he wrote the first book in the language of the Pashtuns. He was fluent in Ormuri (his mother tongue), Pushtu, Arabic and Persian.

Contents

Language and demographics

Ormuri is the first language of the people in Kaniguram; today, all are bilingual in the local Pashto dialect of Wazirwola. Most also can converse in Urdu and some in English. Burki are still found in Baraki Barak in Logar and outside Ghazni Afghanistan, however Pashto and Dari has replaced Ormuri language there. Baraki Barak, and especially Logar, were scenes of genocide and murder during the Russian/Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989).

History

Bayazid Khan (pir of kaniguram)—popularly known as Pir Roshan—became known for his thinking with its strong Sufi influences, radical for the times and unusual for the region. He must be turning in his grave today with the influx of the Arabs and their extremist interpretations, not to mention their view of Sufis and those who follow their teachings (i.e. most Pashtuns) as being "mushrik" (Arabic for "deviants" and therefore eligible for the Takfiri process of excommunication).

As to claims by some Burkis of an "Ansari" connection, refer to "An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan" by Henry Walter Bellew (1891). Bayazid's people—currently referred to as "Burki" but who until the early twentieth century were known as Barak or Baraki—were found in large numbers during the Greek period in their present environs (p. 62). On page 8 of this seminal work, Bellew refers to the Baraki's origins as "mysterious" but not of Arab/Ansari descent. On page 62, he writes of the Baraki: "After the time of the Greek dominion, the Baraki increased greatly in numbers and influence, and acquired extensive possessions towards the Hindu Kush in the north and the Suleman range in the south, and eastward as far as the Indus. During the reign of Mahmud Ghaznavi (November 2, 971 - April 30, 1030), the Baraki were an important tribe, and largely aided the Sultan in his military expeditions. The reputation then acquired as soldiers they still retain, and the Afghan monarchs always entertain a bodyguard composed exclusively of Baraki. . . . In Afghanistan though their true origin is not suspected, the Baraki are a distinct people. The Baraki pretend descent from the Arab invaders, but this is a conceit of their conversion to Islam. They are a fine, tall and active people, with fairer complexions than the generality of Afghans, and are held in consideration as a respectable people. They have no place in the Afghan genealogies by that name, being generally reckoned along with the Tajik population. Yet it is not altogether improbable that the present ruling tribe (Barakzai) of the Durrani/Abdali in Afghanistan is originally derived from the Baraki." (An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, pg 62, Bellew).

Montstuart Elphinstone incorrectly describes the "Baraki" as a class of "Taujiks" in his seminal work "An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul," based on his travels in the early nineteenth century. The scholarly tendency of the day was to label anyone who spoke "Urmar" as Taujik, despite the fact that the Baraki also spoke Pashto and one of their kin, Bayazid Khan, wrote the first book in Pashto. Taujiks then and now do not speak/learn Pashto or practice "Pashtunwali" as they—the Barak/Urmar (anglicized to "Burki")—do. Furthermore, the Baraki/Urmar could not / did not speak Farsi (or Dari), the languages of the Taujik and Farsiwan, except a few who were members of the Amir's court. The Baraki/Burki's "homeland" of Kaniguram in the heart of the Pushtun core (i.e. where the Mahsud and Waziri tribes "do Pukhtunkhwa") only confirms their lineage. It is important to note that Elphinstone in his "travels" West to the land of the Afghauns and towards Caubul (Kabul) never made it past Peshawar and is unlikely to have come across any Baraki/Barak.

Elphinstone in his "account" on page 315 writes: "The next class of Taujiks are the Burrukees who inhabit Logur and part of Boot Khauk. . . . they differ from the other Taujiks in as much as they form a tribe under chiefs of their own, and have a high reputation as soldiers. They have separate lands and castles of their own and furnish a good many troops to the government, closely resemble the Afghauns in their manners and are more respected than any other Taujiks . . . their lands were once extensive; but their origin is uncertain; they pretend to be sprung from the Arabs, but others say they are descended from the Kurds or Coords."

They speak Ormuri, but are also bilingual in the Waziri dialect of Pashto. Burki are still found in Baraki Barak in Logar and outside Ghazni Afghanistan. During the Russian/Soviet occupation, Baraki Barak and Logar were scenes of genocide and murder. Today, the Baraki/Urmar all go by the nomenclature of "Burki." The Burki today are all Sunni (Hanafi fiqh) Muslims. As to their origins, family narrative on this varies, but a consistent theme is that they were originally from Kurdish territory in what is now North Western Iran, North Eastern Iraq and South Eastern Turkey, possibly near Lake Urmia (Orumiyeh).

Settlement in Kaniguram

The Burki primarily inhabit Kaniguram, the most populous settlement in South Waziristan, at around 6700 feet above sea level. This has been their tribe's focal point for over 800 years. Kaniguram has historically been off limits to outsiders except for the Burki and, more recently, the Mahsuds. Common store fronts signs are "Burki knives" or "Burki pharmacy" and are indicative of their dominant position in Kaniguram despite being significantly outnumbered by Mahsuds. Relations between the Burki/Urmar and the Mahsud are as complex as they are intimate: they are generally on good terms except for occasional skirmishes/war between the two from time to time. Despite being an enclave within what has become Mahsud territory, the Urmar/Baraki/Burki have stubbornly retained their mother tongue/identity/traditions in Kaniguram. Kaniguram's layout is distinctive from other hamlets/settlements in the FATA in that the homes are adjacent or interconnected. Land in and around Kaniguram is exclusively in Burki, and to a lesser degree, Mahsud, ownership or control.

The Burki are known in the FATA as being hot tempered, yet intelligent and as being excellent negotiators/peace makers by other Pashtun tribes in the FATA. Pir Roshan, a Burki/Urmar fought a major insurgency against the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the early 16th century. They are considered as the armory of the Mahsuds due to their small arms cottage industry which, however, does not rival Darra Adam Khel's. Kaniguram's daggers once rivaled those of Damascus.

Kaniguram is accessible from the north via the Razmak road and south from Wana on a narrow metalled road that is one of the few roads in South Waziristan. Access from this main "road" is limited to a suspension foot bridge across a wide ravine that separates Kaniguram from the main road and is easy to guard as behind it are mountains (Preghal and Jullundur) which limit access from the north. This foot bridge has, more often than not, been unusable due to sabotage, damage etc. The people of this settlement often have to climb down the steep ravine from the road during harsh winter months and then climb back up to the Kaniguram side. They have been appealing to both the GONWFP's FATA-DC to fund a permanent structure linking this road to Kaniguram for decades to no avail. The elders have appealed in the past via the extended tribal members—the Punjabi branch—for provision of electricity including approaching Gen Zahid Ali Akbar Khan (a Punjabi born Burki), when he was the head of WAPDA and was close to the late dictator General/President Zia-ul-Haq, but their requests fell on deaf ears. Their perceptions of their extended Burki kin provide a valuable insight into their views on those who—fail to provide support—have the arrogance to call their Burki brethren of Kaniguram "the hillbillies." Yet, the Burki of Kaniguram have tenaciously held onto their core (traditions/language) and to the Pukhtunkhwa values of nang (honor), melmastia (hospitality) and badal (revenge). Bayazid Khan (Pir Roshan) would be proud of them for this.

Many of Kaniguram's Burki spend winters in second homes in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, where some work at the airport, or as traders. They are very involved in Pakistan's trucking and construction industries based primarily out of Karachi and are enterprising businessmen and traders. The Burki Group of Companies (Mr.Jahanzeb Khan Burki chairman www.burkigroup.com)and SK BURKI Bros are such companies.

Pictures of Kaniguram

youtube.com/watch?v=BJNB2SHpOok&feature=related

youtube.com/watch?v=ro-vwVOhb9g&feature=related

The Burki Diaspora

The Burki also live in other parts of Pakistan and there are pockets in Logar and Ghazni provinces of Afghanistan. Some "khels" of the Burki settled in Jullundar, Punjab during the 17th and 18th centuries and some were famous horse breeders who traded Afghan horses down in the South Asian plains and returned home with vital goods. Those who settled in the Punjab did so in "bastis," essentially two or three close hamlets—like Basti Baba Khel, Basti Sheikh Darwish which were protected like fortresses with high walls and gun turrets within which tribal members exclusively resided. They purchased, and were also gifted by the Royal Court for martial services rendered, large tracts of lands outside of their hamlets which they farmed as they became sedentary. In 1947, the bastis were abandoned and the Burki's migrated en masse to Pakistan, some to their native region of Kuniguram with the majority, however, settling in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Like neighboring tribes in the FATA, the Baraki/Urmar/Burki continued to adhere to the belief that cohesion of the tribe required that marriage should be within the tribe only. Thus the Burki diaspora (in Punjab and elsewhere) also maintained ties to Kaniguram until 1947. Although many of the Burki of Punjab adopted Punjabi much to the disappointment of their Kanigruam brethren, some continued to speak Pushto at home (but not Urmari).

Today, the Burki are also found in the West, and are well educated and involved in professional fields like medicine, science and economics. Shahid Javed Burki—a Rhodes Scholar—was a vice president at the World Bank and a former Finance Minister of Pakistan.

Service in the Military, Political and Sports Fields

Since the foundation of Pakistan in 1947, many members of the Burki quam have played a public role in country's civilian, military and sports arenas. Sandhurst trained General Wajid Ali Khan Burki (1900-1988) who was President Ayub Khan's right hand man in the late 1950s. His eldest son Jamshed Burki—a career civil servant—was a very popular, and well respected, Political Agent in the Khyber Agency and also was a NWFP Home Secretary in the GONWFP's Home and Tribal Affairs Dept. General Burki's sister-in-law, Shaukat Khanum (Burki), was the mother of Imran Khan, the current founder/leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) political party.

Many Burki have served, and serve, in Pakistan's military at senior, even flag, levels. The Burki are known in the sports world (cricket, field hockey, wrestling, squash and swimming). Arshad Iqbal Burki is a top three ranked Squash player in Pakistan. The cricketer Imran Khan and his Burki cousins (sons of his mother's sisters) Majid Khan and Javed Burki spent their careers playing cricket at Oxford and professionally representing Pakistan at international cricket events. Hamidullah Khan Burki (1920-2003) was a Field Hockey player on Pakistan's first Hockey team at the 1948 Olympics at London. In 1950, he captained Pakistan's hockey team when it won Pakistan its first Gold Medal (in any sport) at the World Cup in Barcelona.He was also a former naval officer (1941-1946) in the British Royal Indian Navy and commanded a flotilla of landing craft in the Arakan Campaign in Burma with the 14th Army (Chindits) under General Slim.

Social characteristics of the Burki/Baraki

The Burki are known in the FATA as being hot tempered, yet intelligent and as being excellent negotiators/peace makers by other Pashtun tribes in the FATA.

Unlike the other tribes of South Waziristan, the Burki have traditionally placed a high premium on learning/education/knowledge. The Burki have the highest literacy rates in the FATA. Pir Roshan, born Bayazid Khan (1525-1581 or 1585), the first warrior/insurgent/intellectual to unite various Pushtun quams to rebel against the tyranny of Emperor Akbar, wrote the first book in Pashto in the 16th century. Girls of the tribe are encouraged to obtain an education when available and marriage was generally at a later age than was the norm amongst other tribes. Unlike the other tribes, the Baraki/Burki have never embraced the tradition of selling their daughters in marriage to other Pashtun tribes. Marriage generally for the Burki of both Kaniguram and elsewhere was only within the tribe. Marriage was generally between cousins, often first cousins. When the Baraki/Burki dispersed from Kaniguram, they continued to seek brides from the tribe and, until fairly recently, marrying a non-Burki was not an option. Marriage with another Pushtun was acceptable but not encouraged. This was related to inheritance and keeping the blood line pure.

In terms of music and dance, the Attan is performed by the Burkis as in many of the different Pashtun tribes. Some styles of Attan portray themes of war while others portray celebration, especially for events such as marriage, engagements, family gatherings and also as a prelude to the arrival of spring.

 [youtube.com/watch?v=tXBQHr_m_kA&feature=related]
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Famous personalities

Religion:

Pir Roshan (literal translation: old man/saint of light) (Bayazid Khan) 1525-1585 Pushtun Warrior/Intellectual, founder Roshaniyya (Enlightenment) movement. Inaccurately referred to Bayazid ANSARI as well as founder of the Afghan illuminati Descendants comprise the "Baba Khel" branch of the Burki Qaum (tribe)


Military:

General Wajid Ali Khan Burki MBE 1900-1988 (Baba Khel) - Former Minister of Health, Gov of Pakistan. Knighted (Order of the British Empire) 15th November, 1945 by King George VI for Service during WWII.

Brigadier Faiz-ul-Karim Khan Burki (Kaniguram) Frontier Force

Brigadier Umar Farooq Burki (Baba Khel)

General Faruq Ahmad Khan (Burki) (Baba Khel) - Chairman Prime Minister's Inspection Committee and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

General Masud Burki (Baba Khel) - Former CEO Saindak Metals Limited (SML)- Copper-Gold Project

General Bilal Umer (Burki) - (Shaheed, GHQ Attack 2009) son of Colonel Umer (Baba Khel), Maternal Uncle of Rohail Hyatt

General Muhammad Amin Khan Burki (Baba Khel)

General Farhat Ali Burki (Baba Khel)

General Attaur Rehman (Burki) (Baba Khel)

General Abdur Rauf Burki (Baba Khel) - chief organizer of the All Burki Qaumi Movement (ABQM)

General Zahid Ali Akbar Khan (Burki) (Baba Khel) - Former Minister of Water & Power (WAPDA)

General Khwaja Mohammad Azhar Khan (Burki) (Baba Khel) - Former Governor General of the frontier (NWFP) & Chairman Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan

Sports:

Feroze Khan (field hockey) Sept 1904-April 2005 (Burki) (Baba Khel)- 1928 Amsterdam Olympics Gold Medal - British India Hockey Team

Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Khan (Baba Khel) (Majid Khan's Father) - British India (IND) Cricket Team (1930s)

Hamidullah Khan Burki 1920-2003 - (Baba Khel) 1948 London Olympics, Pakistan Hockey Captain(1950)

Javed Burki (Baba Khel) - Pakistan Cricket Captain (1960s)

Imran Khan Niazi (mother a Burki- Baba Khel) - Cricketer, Pakistan Cricket Captain (1992)

Majid Khan - Pakistan Cricket Captain

Bazid Khan (Majid Khan's Son) Test Cricketer

Arshad Iqbal Burki - Current Internationally ranked Squash Player


Government Service:

Shahid Javed Burki (Baba Khel) - VP World Bank and Former Finance Minister

Jamshed Burki (Baba Khel) - Interior Secretary - Gov of Pakistan

Jahanzeb Burki (Baba Khel)- Former Inspector General Police

Raza Khan (Burki) (Baba Khel) - Former Inspector General Police and Head of ZA Bhuttos Security detail.

Mohammad Khan (Baba Khel) - Minister of Education - Emirate of Afghanistan from 1919 to 1929

Muhammad Qarib Khan Burki - Kaniguram Malik

Rozi Khan Burki (Kaniguram)- Senior Customs Officer and well known linguist (Ormuri)

Nawabzada Jahanzeb Jogezai (mother a Burki) - Inspector General Police and Head of President Leghari's Security detail.

Medicine:

Dr. Nausherwan K. Burki (son General Wajid Burki) founder Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre

Situation in South Waziristan Agency Today

The influx of foreigners (Arabs, Uzbeks etc) into South Waziristan over the last two decades, but especially post 9/11, has eroded the cohesion and influence of the Tribal Maliks/Structure to include the Burki. A calculated strategy of these "jihadi" intruders who have been relatively successful in causing dissension and internal conflict within all the tribes and sub-tribes of SWA to include the Burki. In an area historically rife with conspiracies, many of the locals in SWA suspect that foreign intelligence agencies are funding these groups with the aim of destabilizing their region. An unsurprising outlook in a locale that is inhabited by xenophobic tribes who resent foreign intrusion regardless of their religious affiliation (i.e. to include fellow Muslims) in the best of times. Recent update see: "Foreign militants on the run in South Waziristan; 9 militants killed Two soldiers killed in operation." in Pakistan Tribune/ 11/02/2009[1]

References



The Burki (historically also known as Barak,Baraki, Birki (of Baburnama), Barki, or Urmar) are a Pushtun tribe of South Waziristan, Pakistan, whose "homeland" is Kaniguram. The first Pushtun warrior/intellectual Bayazid Khan (the wrote the first book in the language of the Pashtuns in the 16th century)was a Baraki/Urmar/Burki.

Bayazid Khan (Barak/Urmar/Burki) --popularly known as Pir Roshan—became known for his thinking with its strong Sufi influences, radical for the times and unusual for the region. He must be turning in his grave today with the influx of the Arabs and their extremist interpretations, not to mention their view of Sufis and those who follow their teachings (i.e.most Pashtuns) as being "mushrik" (Arabic for "deviants" and therefore eligible for the Takfiri process of excommunication). As to claims by some Burkis of an "Ansari" connection, refer to "An Enquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan" by Henry Walter Bellew (1891). Bayazid's people—currently referred to as "Burki"-- who until the early twentieth century were known as Barak or Baraki were found in large numbers during the Greek period in their present environs (p.62). On page 8, Bellew in this seminal work refers to the Baraki's origins as "mysterious" but not of Arab/Ansari descent. This continued tendency to depict Bayazid Khan—one of the greatest historical figures of the region as an ARAB or a TURK is just another insult to the NANG (honor) of the Pushtuns as a group. Another attempt at Arab manipulation and attempts to dominate the so-called "umma."

To depict Pir Roshan (the enlightened Pir who espoused views that were radical for both the Muslim world and the region) as an Arab is just reflective of a continued effort at destroying the mores and culture of the Pashtuns and their Pushtunwali (tribal code that predates, and has historically taken precedence over Arab derivative "Muslim" strictures) way of life, through Deobandi inspired proxies whose tactics Bayazid would despise as those of "dishonorable men."

Montstuart Elphinstone incorrectly describes the "Baraki" as a class of "Taujiks" in his seminal work "An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul," based on his travels in the early nineteenth century. The scholarly tendency of the day was to label anyone who spoke "Urmar," as Taujik despite the fact that the Baraki also spoke Pashto and one of their kin, Bayazid Khan wrote the first book in Pashto. Taujiks then and now do not speak/learn Pashto or practice "Pashtunwali" as they—the Barak/Urmar (anglicized to "Burki")-- do. Furthermore, the Baraki/Urmar could not/did not speak farsi (nor Dari) the languages of the Taujik and Farsiwan except a few who were members of the Amir's court. The Baraki/Burki's "homeland" of Kaniguram in the heart of the Pushtun core (i.e. where the Mahsud and Waziri tribes "do Pukhtunkhwa") only confirms their lineage. It is important to note that Elphinstone in his "travels" West to the land of the Afghauns and towards Caubul (Kabul) never made it past Peshawar and is unlikely to have come across any Baraki/Barak.

They speak Ormuri, but are also bilingual in the Waziri dialect of Pashto. Burki are still found in Baraki Barak in Logar and outside Ghazni Afghanistan. During the Russian/Soviet occupation, Baraki Barak and Logar were scenes of genocide and murder. Today, the Baraki/Urmar are all go by the nomenclature of "Burki." The Burki today are all Sunni (Hanafi fiqh) Muslims.

Contents

Settlement in Kaniguram

The Burki primarily inhabit Kaniguram, the most populous settlement in South Waziristan, at around 6700 feet above sea level. This has been their tribe's focal point for over 800 years. Kaniguram has historically been off limits to outsiders except for the Burki and, more recently, the Mahsuds. Common store fronts signs are "Burki knives" or "Burki pharmacy" and are indicative of their dominant position in Kaniguram despite being significantly outnumbered by Mahsuds. Relations between the Burki/Urmar and the Mahsud are as complex as they are intimate: they are generally on good terms except for occasional skirmishes/war between the two from time to time. Despite being an enclave within what has become Mahsud territory, the Urmar/Baraki/Burki have stubbornly retained their mother tongue/identity/traditions in Kaniguram. Kaniguram's layout is distinctive from other hamlets/settlements in the FATA in that the homes are adjacent or interconnected. Land in and around Kaniguram is exclusively in Burki, and to a lesser degree, Mahsud, ownership or control.

The Burki are known in the FATA as being hot tempered, yet intelligent and as being excellent negotiators/peace makers by other Pashtun tribes in the FATA. Pir Roshan, a Burki/Urmar fought a major insurgency against the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the early 16th century. They are considered as the armory of the Mahsuds due to their small arms cottage industry which, however, does not rival Darra Adam Khel's. Kaniguram's daggers once rivaled those of Damascus.

Kaniguram is accessible from the north via the Razmak road and south from Wana on a narrow metalled road that is one of the few roads in South Waziristan. Access from this main "road" is limited to a suspension foot bridge across a wide ravine that separates Kaniguram from the main road and is easy to guard as behind it are mountains (Preghal and Jullundur) which limit access from the north.This foot bridge has, more often than not, been unusable due to sabotage, damage etc. The people of this settlement often have to climb down the steep ravine from the road during harsh winter months and then climb back up to the Kaniguram side. They have been appealing to both the GONWFP's FATA-DC to fund a permanent structure linking this road to Kaniguram for decades to no avail. The elders have appealed in the past via the extended tribal members—the Punjabi branch—for provision of electricity including approaching Gen Zahid Ali Akbar Khan (a Punjabi born Burki), when he was the head of WAPDA under the dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq but their requests fell on deaf ears. Their perceptions of their extended Burki kin provide a valuable insight into their views on those who—fail to provide support—have the arrogance to call their Burki brethren of Kaniguram "the hillbillies." Yet, the Burki of Kaniguram have tenaciously held onto their core (traditions/language) and to the Pukhtunkwa values of honor, melmastia (hospitality) and badal (revenge). Bayazid Khan (Pir Roshan) would be proud of them for this.

Many of Kaniguram's Burki spend winters in second homes in Dera Ismail Khan, where some work at the airport, or as traders. They are very involved in Pakistan's trucking and construction industries based primarily out of Karachi and are enterprising businessmen and traders. Burki Group of Companies (formerly S.K. Burki and bros) is one such company.

The Burki Diaspora

The Burki also live in other parts of Pakistan and there are pockets in Logar and Ghazni provinces of Afghanistan. Some "khels" of the Burki settled in Jullundar, Punjab during the 17th and 18th centuries and some were famous horse breeders who traded Afghan horses down in the South Asian plains and returned home with vital goods. Those who settled in the Punjab did so in "bastis," essentially two or three close hamlets—like Basti Baba Khel, Basti Sheikh Darwish which were protected like fortresses with high walls and gun turrets within which tribal members exclusively resided. They purchased, and were also gifted by the Royal Court for martial services rendered, large tracts of lands outside of their hamlets which they farmed as they became sedentary. In 1947, the bastis were abandoned and the Burki's migrated en masse to Pakistan, some to their native region of Kuniguram with the majority however, settling in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Like neighboring tribes in the FATA, the Baraki/Urmar/Burki continued to adhere to the belief that cohesion of the tribe required that marriage should be within the tribe only. Thus the Burki diaspora (in Punjab and elsewhere) also maintained ties to Kaniguram until 1947. Although most of the Burki of Punjab adopted Punjabi much to the disappointment of their Kanigruam brethren, many of them continued to speak Pushto at home (but not Urmari).

Today, the Burki are also found in the West, and are well educated and involved in professional fields like medicine, science and economics. Shahid Javed Burki—a Rhodes Scholar—was a vice president at the World Bank and a former Finance Miniser of Pakistan.

Service in the Military, Political and Sports Fields

Since the foundation of Pakistan in 1947, many members of the Burki quam have played a public role in country's civilian, military and sports arenas. Sandhurst trained General Wajid Ali Khan Burki (1900-1988) was General/President Ayub Khan's right hand man in the late 1950s. His eldest son Jamshed Burki—a career civil servant—was a very popular, and well respected, Political Agent in the FATA to include South Waziristan. General Burki's sister-in-law, Shaukat Khanum (Burki), was the mother of Imran Khan, the current founder/leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) political party.

Many Burki have served, and serve, in Pakistan's military at senior, even flag, levels. The Burki are known in the sports world (cricket, field hockey, wrestling, squash and swimming). Arshad Iqbal Burki is a top three ranked Squash player in Pakistan. The cricketer Imran Khan and his Burki cousins (sons of his mother's sisters) Majid Khan and Javed Burki spent their careers playing cricket at Oxford and professionally representing Pakistan at international cricket events. Hamidullah Khan Burki (1920-2003)was a Field Hockey player on Pakistan's first Hockey team at the 1948 Olympics at London. In 1950, he captained Pakistan's hockey team when it won Pakistan its first Gold Medal (in any sport) at the World Cup in Barcelona. He was also a former naval officer in the British Royal Indian Navy and commanded a flotilla in the Arakan Campaign (1944) in Burma with the 14th Army under General Slim.

Social characteristics of the Burki

Unlike the other tribes of South Waziristan, the Burki have traditionally placed a high premium on learning/education/knowledge. Pushtuns first warrior/insurgent/intellectual Bayazid Khan (1525-1585), who was also known as Pir Roshan (the enlightened one) wrote the first book in Pashto in the 16th century. Girls are encouraged to obtain an education when available and marriage was generally at a later age than was the norm amongst other tribes.

Marriage generally for the Burki of both Kaniguram and elsewhere was between cousins, often first cousins. When Burki people moved away from Kaniguram, they continued to seek brides from the tribe and, until fairly recently, marrying a non-Burki was not an option. Marriage with another Pushtun was acceptable but not encouraged. This was related to inheritance and keeping the blood line pure.

They are not of Arab descent notwithstanding a concerted effort to rewrite their (and Pushtuns) lineage in the Twenty First Century as part of an "Wahhabization" effort underway in that region (dating back to the early 1980s)that has penetrated, and influenced, the Burki, as it has the Mahsud and Wazir to varying degrees.

Situation in South Waziristan Agency Today

The influx of foreigners (Arabs, Uzbeks etc) into South Waziristan over th elast two decades, but especially post 9/11, has eroded the cohesion and influence of the Tribal Maliks/Structure to include the Burki. A calculated strategy of these Wahhabist/Salafist indoctrinated intruders who have been relatively successful in causing dissension and internal conflict within all the tribes and sub-tribes of SWA to include the Burki. In an area historically rife with conspiracies, many of the locals in SWA suspect that foreign intelligence agencies are funding these groups with the aim of destabilizing their region. An unsurprising outlook in a locale that is inhabited by xenophobic tribes who resent foreign intrusion regardless of their religious affiliation (i.e. to include fellow Muslims).

See also

References








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