|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Afghanistan • Pakistan • Turkey|
|Pashto • Hindko • Punjabi • Urdu|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Pashtuns • Lodhi • Marwat • Afghan|
Etymology and origins
Niazi (Pashto: نیازی) is a major Pashtun tribe, a branch of the Povindah Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The word Niazi is derived from Niazai, like the other forms of Pashtun tribes, such as Yusafzai and Orakzai. In the Pashtun tribal hierarchy Niazi is one of the most respected tribe.
The history of the Pashtuns is ancient, and much of it has yet to be fully researched. From the 2nd millennium BC to the present, Pashtun regions have seen invasions and migrations including Aryan tribes (Iranian peoples, Indo-Aryans), Medes, Persians, Mauryas, Scythians, Hephthalites, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. There are many conflicting theories about the origins of the Pashtun people, some modern and others archaic, both among historians and the Pashtuns themselves. Some anthropologists lend credence to the theory of Pashtun descent from Israelites, however, most modern authorities have found this oral tradition to be inconsistent. Ghilzais are reputed to be descended from the Mongolic people, as well as the numerous other invaders from Central Asia and the Middle East who have entered Afghanistan over the centuries. Their name being another form of Khitali the Turkish word for 'swords man' who early settled, perhaps as mercenaries rather than as a corporate tribe, in the Siah-band range of the Ghor mountains. They first rose into notice in the time of Mahmud of Ghazni when they accompanied in his invasions of India. The Niazi (Pashto: نیازی ), also written as Niayazi, Niazovi is a famous Pashtun tribe of Lodhi descent. The family head of Niazi tribe was known as Ibrahim. Legends has it that the tribe derives from a descendent of [Qais Abdur Rashid Khan ] (the legendary patriarch of all Pashtuns).
Theory of Niazi descent from Israelites
The Niazi and other Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been alleged to be the descendants of the lost Jewish tribes. However, DNA and other research towards validating such claims has been inconclusive.
- See also Bannu
The Niazis originally lived in the Salghar area of modern day Afghanistan. The Niazis migrated eastwards, and settled in Tank. For several generations, they lived there as traders and carriers along with their cousins, the Marwats, whom they had allied with. In the later 15th century, the Niazis expanded northwards towards the present-day Lakki Marwat, and settled on the banks of the Kurram and Gambila rivers south of Bannu Eventually, the Niazis migrated across the Kurram river towards Isakhel and Kamar Mushani, and then settled in Mianwali District. after expelling the Awans they found there, and reducing the miscellaneous Jat inhabitants to quasi-serfdom.
Niazis were incredibly dominant in the northern parts of the country even before the Emperor Akbar presented it in jagir to two of their local chiefs. During the civil commotions of Jahangir's reign, the Niazis drove away the Ghakars across the Salt Range, and though in the following reign the latter recovered their position, still their hold on the country was unstable, and came to an end about the middle of the 18th century. The remains of Muazam Nagar, their local capital, were visible on the left high bank of the Indus about six miles south of new Mianwali until 1857 AD, when the site was eroded by the river. The Niazis thus established themselves in Essa Khel about 500 years ago, but their Sarang branch did not finally obtain their possessions in Mianwali until nearly 150 years later. The acquisition of their cis-Indus possessions was necessarily gradual, the country having a settled though weak government, and being inhabited by Awans and Jats.
Isa Khan Niazi (Pashto: عیسی خان نيازي) was a Pashtun noble in the court of Sher Shah Suri and his son Islam Shah Suri, of the Sur dynasty, who fought the Mughal Empire. Isa Khan Niazi was a prominent member among the Ruling family. Being in the same tribal unit of nobels like Ibrahim Lodhi, Sher Shah Suri .Similarly Haibat Khan Niazi was The Governor of The Punjab Province during Suri's Reign.The large part these families was attached with Delhi Derbar.
However, a large number of the Niazi tribe still lives in parts of Afghanistan, mainly in Qalaye Niazi, Gardez, Logar and Paktia province. A considerable number have also settled in Karachi and other major Pakistani cities such as Multan, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta.
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The Niazis in Pakistan mainly live in Mianwali (Mianwali although included in Punjab lies at the confluence of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab), Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Chakwal District, Swabi, Mardan, Bajaur Agency, Peshawar, Hangu, Quetta, Tank, Pishin, Loralai, Khanewal, Faisalabad, Kohat and Bhakkar. Across the Durand Line, a large number of the Niazis still lives in parts of Afghanistan, mainly in Qalaye Niazi, Khost, Laghman, Kandahar, Ghazni, Gardez, Logar and Paktia provinces. A considerable number have also settled in Karachi and other major Pakistani cities such as Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.
Many Niazis are also found in the United Kingdom where some descendants live.
The Niazis living in Afghanistan speak Pashto, as do those inhabiting the districts of Hangu, Kohat, Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Bajaur Agency, Lakki Marwat and Bannu. However, most of the Niazis of Mianwali have adopted Saraiki, while in other parts of Punjab, most Niazis have adopted Hindko and although most of them still speak Pashto.
Some Niazis are the Pathans of Punjab (Punjabi/Saraiki: پنجابی پٹھان; Pashto: د پنجاب پښتانه; also called Punjabi Pathans or Saraiki Pathans depending upon region of Punjab) are originally Pashtun people (Pathans) who have settled in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. These Pashtun communities are scattered throughout the Punjab and have over time assimilated into the Punjabi identity, both culturally and linguistically. On the other hand, those who settled in the southern parts of Punjab have gradually assimilated into Saraiki culture.
These non-frontier Pathans are usually known by the town or locality in which they are settled, e.g., Kasuri Pathans or Multani Pathans. They should not be confused with the Hindkowan people, mostly comprising several Indo-Aryan groups from the same region who are a distinct yet closely related group to the Pathans, albeit there are some Hindko-language speaking clans who also have ethnic Pathan roots.
Niazi was originally a given name among Muslim people.
- Niyazi (1912–1984), Azerbaijani musical conductor and composer
- Niazi Demi, Albanian politician
- Njazi Kuqi, Finnish footballer
- Niyazi Manyera, Turkish Cypriot politician
- Niyazi Öktem, Turkish academic
- Niyazi Sayın, Turkish musician
- Haibat Khan Niazi, senior commander of Sher Shah Suri
- Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Popular folk singer
- Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, Pakistani Army Lt Gen
- Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi, Pakistani politician
- Hakim Hakimzade Niyazi (1889–1929), Uzbek poet and playwright
- Imran Khan Niazi Shermankhel, Pakistani cricketer and politician
- Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Niazi, Punukhel, Pakistani Cricketer
- Isa Khan Niazi, Afghan noble
- Maulana Kausar Niazi, former minister,MNA
- Sher Afgan Niazi, Famous Politician MNA during Benazir and Musharaf's Era
- Mehmet Niyazi (1878–1931), Romanian and Crimean Tatar poet and activist
- Encyclopaedia Asiatica, Comprising Indian Subcontinent, Eastern and Southern Asia: H. Jangtang By Edward Balfour Published by Cosmo Publications, 1976 Item notes: v. 4 Original from the University of Michigan Page 188
- The races of Afghanistan being a brief account of the principal nations inhabiting that country By Henry Walter Bellew Published by Asian Educational Services, 2004 Page 103 ISBN 81-206-1789-4, ISBN 978-81-206-1789-6
- Amir Mizroch (9 January 2010). "Are Taliban descendants of Israelites?". The Jerusalem Post.
- Sachin Parashar (11 January 2010). "Lucknow Pathans have Jewish roots?". Times of India.
- Rory McCarthy (17 January 2010). "Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel". The Observer.
- Excerpts from Gazetteer of the Bannu District, 1887. Khyber.ORG. History and Settlement of Bannu: The Niazis.
- Punjabi Musalmans by J M Wikely
- Punjabi Musalmans by J. M Wikely
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