Armenians in Pakistan

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Armenians in Pakistan
Regions with significant populations
Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore
Languages
Armenian and Urdu
Religion
Majority Christianity

The Armenians in Pakistan are ethnic Armenians living in the present country of Pakistan. Many Armenians migrated from the surrounding countries of Iran, Afghanistan and India. Armenians have settled various parts of South Asia and many migrated to Karachi during the economic boom in the early 20th century. Notable Armenian settlements in Pakistan can be found in the cities of Karachi, Lahore and in the capital Islamabad.

History[edit]

Armenian inscriptions from 1606 and 1618 have been found by archaeologists in 1901 in the Thal Chotiali, Loralai District, in Balochistan.[1] [2] There was an Armenian colony established there in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Georgia and Armenia had been conquered by Safavid emperors Tahmasp I and Abbas I in 1547, 1600, 1603 and 1618 and a large number of Armenians were transported into several parts of the Persian Empire, Ispahan, Afghanistan, Makran, etc. In 1908, a British officer wrote that

No Armenian colonies could be traced in the Kalat Agency. We should therefore have to assume that the reputed settlers of the seventeenth century, on their conversion to Islam, have become completely merged in the indigenous Brahui and Baloch tribes.[3]

There was a fairly large Armenian colony in Lahore as early as the 16th century, in the time of the Mughal Empire.[4] Armenians prospered there, and while most were general merchants, members of the community were also noted as owners of breweries. There was an church in Lahore "used by Armenian Christian traders" under the Mughal Emperor Akbar.[5]

In 1711, there was a Bishop of the Armenian Church in Lahore.[6] However, many Armenians, including twenty merchants with their families, fled from the city after a Mughul governor threatened them. The community of the 17th and 18th centuries was greatly reduced, but with the arrival of British India, an Armenian presence continued in this part of the South Asia until the early 20th century. In 1907, the remaining Armenians in Lahore were visited by Armenian Archbishop Sahak Ayvadian, a primate of the Indo-Iranian Diocese in Calcutta.[7]

The numbers of Armenians in Pakistan are much lower than they once were, but there is still an Armenian presence in Karachi. They have further been bolstered by newer Armenian refugees from neighboring Iran[8] and Afghanistan and exact figures are uncertain.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Percy Brown, Lahore Museum (Pakistan). A descriptive guide to the Department of archaeology & antiquities, 1908, p.25
  2. ^ Jean Philippe Vogel, “Armenian inscriptions in Baluchistan”, Archaeological Survey of India, 1904
  3. ^ Hughes R. Bullier, Baluchistan District Gazetter, Series Kharan Vol-VII, 1907
  4. ^ Jacob Seth Mesrovb, Armenians in India - From the Earliest Times to the Present, Calcutta, 1937, "Armenians at Lahore" p.201-206 (digitalized)
  5. ^ Theodore P. C. Gabriel, Christian Citizens in an Islamic State: The Pakistan Experience, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007, p.10 ISBN 9780754660361
  6. ^ Annie Basil, Armenian Settlements in India: from the earliest times to the present day, Calcutta, Armenian College, 1969, p.63, quoted in: Naira Mkrtchyan, “Indian Settlement in Armenia and Armenian Settlements in India and South Asia”, Indian Historical Review July 2005 32: 64-87, doi:10.1177/037698360503200204
  7. ^ Details about the Armenian community of Lahore on Chater Genealogy site
  8. ^ Christian Van Gorder, Christianity in Persia and the Status of Non-Muslims in Iran, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, p. 230 ISBN 9780739136096