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Burki or Baraki or Ormur, also called Urmur, are an ethnic group found in the Logar Province of Afghanistan, in South Waziristan and in the Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Pakistani Punjab, the Burki as the Urmar are known as form a biradari or lineage group within the larger Punjabi Muslim ethnic community.[1]

Language and demographics

Ormuri[2] is the first language of the people in Kaniguram; today, all are bilingual in the local Pashto dialect of Wazirwola. Most also can also 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.


Captain Leech researched the Baraki Barak (Logar) dialect of the Ormuri language. He said in 1838 that

"The Barkis are included in the general term of Parsiwan, or Tajak; they are original inhabitants of Yemen whence they were brought by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni; they accompanied him in his invasion of India, and were pre-eminently instrumental in the abstraction of the gates of the temple of Somnath. There are two divisions of the tribe. The Barkis of Rajan in the province of Lohgad, who speak Persian, and the Barakis of Barak, a city near the former, who speak the language called Barki; at Kaniguram under Shah Malak who are independent. The Barakis of this place and of Barak alone speak the Baraki language.[3]

Henry Walter Bellew[4] writes 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 (2 November 971 - 30 April 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."[5]

George Grierson has given a detailed account of the language in the "Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal" 1918 , along with history of the tribe and the language. This work has been revised by including more information on the subject and published in his well-Known "Linguistic Survey of India Vol. X" in 1921. According to him:

"Ormuri is a West Iranian language, and its nearest relatives are the dialects of western Persia and Kurdish. Another interesting point is that Ormuri, although a West Iranian language, contains manifest evidence of contact with the Dardic languages whose present habitat is the hill country south of the Hindu Kush. At the present day these languages are being gradually superseded by Pashto, and are dying out in the face of their more powerful neighbour. Those of the Swat and Indus Kohistans are disappearing before our eyes. There is reason to believe that this has been going on for several centuries. In historic times they were once spoken as far south as the Tirah valley, where now the only language heard is Pashto, and the fact that Ormuri shows traces of them leads to the supposition that there were once speakers of a Dardic languages still further south in Waziristan and, perhaps, the Logar country before they were occupied by the Afghans."

Today the Burkis 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. Today, the Baraki/Urmar all go by the nomenclature of "Burki." The Burki today are all Sunni.

Notable personalities


Pir Roshan (literal translation: old man/saint/elder of light) (Bayazid Khan) 1525-1581 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)



  • Feroze Khan (field hockey) September 1904-April 2005 (Burki) (Danishmand)- 1928 Amsterdam Olympics Gold Medal - British India Hockey Team
  • Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Khan, cricketer, played for Cambridge Blue, (Baba Khel) (Majid Khan's Father) - British India (IND) Cricket Team (1930s)
  • Hamidullah Khan Burki(Baba Khel)Pakistan's Olympic Team 1948 Olympics (London)), Captain Pakistan Hockey Team, World Cup Joint Winners Barcelona, Spain (1950).[6]
  • Javed Burki (Baba Khel) - Pakistan Cricket Captain (1960s) Former Secretary Ministry of Water and Power & Commerce. Former CEO of Pakistan Automobile Corporation (PACO), son of General Wajid Ali Burki
  • Majid Khan - Played for Cambridge Blue and later Pakistan's Cricket Captain
  • Bazid Khan (Majid Khan's Son) Test Cricketer
  • Arshad Iqbal Burki - Current Internationally ranked Squash Player

Government service


  1. A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province / based on the census report of the Punjab, 1883, by the late Sir Denzil Ibbetson, and the census report for the Punjab, 1892, by Sir Edward Maclagan, and compiled by H.A. Rose
  2. Burki, Rozi,"Dying Languages; Special Focus on Ormuri"
  3. Captain Leech (1838), A Vocabulary of the Baraki language, The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,London, vol VII, Part-I, Jan to June, 1838, pp727-731
  4. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan
  5. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, pg 62, Bellew)
  6. http://www.phf.com.pk/captains_main.php


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