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Kho people

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Kho people (Chitralis)
Pakistan ethnic map.svg
Ethnic groups in Pakistan (dark-green area is Khowar)
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Afghanistan 147,00
 Pakistan 4,21,031 as of 2011[1][2]
Urdu, and Pashto can be understood as second languages
Islam (Sunni and Ismaili)
Kalash religion (minority)
Related ethnic groups
Other Dardic peoples

The Kho people (Khowar: کھو), also known as Chitralis (چترالي), are the Dardic ethnic group of the people of Northern Pakistan with few members residing in Afghanistan.[3] They speak the Khowar language, one of the Dardic languages, also known as Chitrali.


The Kho culture is one that pays heavy emphasis on poetry, song and dance. Kho people also have a great respect of law and order. This in contrast to the generally lawless traditions of almost all of the neighbouring regions. Much of this can be attributed to Chitral being a stable kingdom for most of its history,[4] where the rule of law and the will of the ruler came before tribal concepts such as revenge and isolationism.

Because of Chitral's location at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia the Kho people display a wide variety of cultures, largely depending upon their ancestral ethnic group and family history.

Languages and dialects

According to the linguist Rehmat Aziz Chitrali[citation needed], the founder of Khowar Academy, there are seven dialects of Khowar language which are spoken in Pakistan:

  • Khowar
  • Kohwari
  • Kashkari
  • Arniya
  • Savi
  • Balkhi
  • Takhari

Urdu and Pashto are also used as second languages.

Folk music

The Kho music and musical instruments are very famous in the region. Folk singers and reed instrument players have a special respect in the Kho society and are a must in their festivities. Mainly used instruments are SurnaiShehnai, Sitar, and reed instruments. The Kho sitar is a popular musical instrument in Chitral It is made out of mulberry wood with five steel strings arranged in three courses, the outer ones have double strings, tuned in unison, while the inner course is single. here are few most popular music tone of the area.

  • Shishtoo-war (Sauz) is popular folk music played with shehnai on happy occasions, mostly at marriages etc.
  • Shab-daraaz (Dani) is a sad tone based on heartbroken love poems.
  • Ghalhwar is a combination of Dani and Sauz. This is a mixture of fast and classical music played at the starting of a polo match.


In Pakistan, the Khowar people majority found in Khyber pakhtunkhwa region which includes, Malakand Division, Chitral District, Dir, Swat and Peshawar District. This people are also found in Gilgit Baltistan.


In Afghanistan, Kho people are found in Afghanistan's Northern region, majority in Badakhshan, Kunduz, Balkh, and Takhar.

See also


External links