They are one of the prominent Syed clans of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, whose roots reach to Hazrat Ali bin Ismail bin Imame-Jafer Sadiq. Kakakhels are descendants of the Islamic Sufi (wali) Syed Kastir Gul (also known as Kaka Sahib) and Sheikh Rahamkar (a student of Sheikh Hazrat Akhun Adeen/Adyan Seljuki). The title of "Rahamkar" was given by Syed Abdul Wahab Akhun Panju Baba.
Syed-ul-Kastir was known as "Kaka Sahib" and his descendants are known as Kakakhels (sons of Kakasahib). The clan originated in the village Kakasaib in Nowshera district, Khayber Pukhtoonkhwa Province (formerly the North West Frontier Province), and then spread throughout Pakistan, especially in Chitral and Ghizer.
Poets of Pushtoons; Khushal Khan Khattak, Faqir Jameel Baig, Mirza Gul Sahib, Sheikh Babar Baba, Mian Gulu Baba, Ali Gul and Mali Gul, Nawab Saad Ullah Khan, Ghazi Khan and Hazrat Gee Baba of Attock were all devotees of Sheikh Rahamkar.
The word "Kaka" can be loosely translated as "uncle". However in Pukhtoon tradition "Kaka" can be referred to any elder since calling an elder by their name is considered offensive in Pakistan. "Khel" in Pukhto means "children" or "sons". Thus the world "Kakakhel" means "Children of the Uncle". Among other names, Kakasaib was known as "Kaka" by everyone in the village hence his descendants were called "Kakakhel".
History and origin
Kakahels were a little-known clan before the late 13th century, this was because the number of Kakakhels had not reached the numerical threshold to be recognized beyond their immediate borders. In the late 19th and 20th century, Kakakhels started gaining prominence as their numbers grew and also because they were one of the first people in Pakistan to acquire modern education. The education in addition to their righteous nature gave them a highly esteemed position in Pukhtoon society. They were often called upon by the waring tribes as moderators and arbitrator in order to settle long standing disputes and blood feuds.
Kakakhels were in the forefront in the fight against Sikhs. A number of them took arms and joined fellow Pukhtoons in order save their homeland from an invading army.
During the British Raj, Kakakhels made a number of contributions to society. They proved to be highly competent civil contractors, soldiers, diplomats and police officers.
Kakakhels played a major role in independence movements. A great many Islamic scholars with expert knowledge in Shariah were Kakakhels. Today there are many great Islamic Scholars among Kakakhels. In addition, there are a large number of Kakakhel engineers, doctors, agricultural-specialists, professors, advocates, barristers. Others in fields such as art, literature, and the military forces of Pakistan present their talents.
Kakakhels have served their mother language "Pashto". They were also interested in Persian language about 70–80 years before but they had more passion for Pashtoo. In every age there is a writer or poet in "Pashtoo" literature from Kakakhels. In the beginning of the 20th century all the writers of Kaka sahib formed a union called "Milliah Rehamkaria". This union donated a library, which contained about 4000 books, daily newspapers and weekly magazines. A pashtoo dictionary with 45,000 words and proverbs, their translations and summary was also compiled and published by a Kakakhel writer, "Syed Bahadur Shah Zafar Kakakhel". Many of the Pashtun in the khyber pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, such as the Mishwanis, Akhunkhels Mian, Kakakhels Mian and Akhunzadas are a Fatmi and Hussani Syeds tribes living predominantly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some of them are called Pashtun because of Pashto speaking. The word Pashtun people shall not be confused with Pathan tribes, Mashawanis are Fatmi and Akhunkhels Mian, Kakakhels Mian,are Hussani Syed. Mian (Plural Miangan) all the Miangan are respected for their pious origin, forefathers, but they are not descended from one progenitor. They have come from different origins, hence they are known with various names i.e. Syed, Akhunkhel,Kakakhel, Madakhel and Akhunzada etc. Among them Akhunkhels Miangan and kakakhels Miagan are very respected. most men in the family of Akhunkhel Miangan and Kakakhel Miangan ’put "Mian" before their name, and end in "Shah."
The largest concentration of Kakakhels is still in the birthplace of Kakaksaib, in the small village of Ziarat Kakasahib also nearby villages including Guldheri, Manahi in Nowshera District, Pakistan and many of Kakakhels live in Ghizer Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as Northern Areas Pakistan. The Kakakhel tribe is spread across Nowshera District due to their habit of migration. At one time the village Ziarat KaKa Sahib was a hard place to live, due to a lack of facilities and trade. There is now a significant population of Kakakhels in Abazai,Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Shabqadar, Sherpao, Nowshera, Akora Khattak, Charsada Districts, Shamozai, Swat, Kehnian (Village located in Mansehra District)and Sheikhabad (another village located in Mansehra District) migrated from ziarat kakasaib.
In the early 1900s Kakakhels reached as far as German East Africa (Tanzania) where Mian Ashraf-ud Din (Syed Abbas) established his businesses and family during the 20th Century on the African continent. Further, immigration to foreign countries such as the US, UK and Canada is also on the rise. There is also a significant figure of kakakhel in malakand agency.