Mando Khel tribe of Zhob

The word ‘Ghurghusht’ is a nickname of Ismail, son of Qais Abdul Rashid. The “Khulasat-ul-Ansab” narrates that Ismail from childhood was of a cheerful, frolicsome disposition and fond of play rather than work. When he became of age, his parents used to chide him, “Art thou ever going to do any work, or art thou going to spend all thy days in this “Ghurghusht”. These words, in the language of Afghans, mean leaping and jumping, playing about and roaming, as is the custom of childern, and the word ‘Ghurghusht’ clung to Ismail as an alias. [1]

Mando was the brother of Babaey and Danaey, sons of Ismail alias Ghurghusht. While the descendants of Danaey prospered and expanded, the descendants of the former two did not multiply and are relatively inconspicuous. The Babi tribe emigrated en-masse to Hind while the Mando Khels stayed in their ancient territory.

According to local tradition, they originally came from Nawar in Khurasan, and, in conjunction with the Musa Khel Pannis and Sanzar Khel Kakars defeated and turned the Mughals out of the country and occupied it.

The author of Hayat-i-Afghani (composed in 1867) gives following description of Mando Khel country;

“Mando Khel occupies Zhayub or Zhab, a valley which, staring from the Hindu-Bagh mountains, at first runs in a direction in the mainly easterly, but with a slight northern inclination , but near to Sarnagha, leaving the Gomal river to flow on to the east , diverges suddenly to the south. Probably its northern boundary is formed by the mountains that bound Sayuna-dagh on the south , and by the southern hills of the Gomal pass. Due east lie the mountains belonging to the Hasan Khel and Aba Khel (Shirani) , while the land lying between Zhayub, Bori, and the mountains of the Suleiman range belongs to Haripal and Babar, except the barren tract on the south-east corner , where Musa Khel and Isut pasture their flocks. Zhayub is the name given to a small stream that, with its muddy waters , enriches the land on either side the valley , and at no great distance from its source enters a fertile and pleasant plain where wheat, barley, rice and other grains are freely grown. On either bank of this stream, lie the Mandu Khel villages. The plain also furnishes excellent pasturage, and the black tents of Shepherds and herdsmen may be seen dotting the higher parts of the valley and the surrounding hills. The Mandu Khels are in manners and habits very much like the central Kakars, and are no less simple and inoffensive.” [2]

In 1901 census, Mando Khels numbered 4,280 : males 2,278 (including 1,130 adult males) and females 2,002. The Kariazai (267) are considered to be the sardar khel or the leading family.

Zhob Gazetter of 1907 has following description of Mando Khels ;

The Mando Khels occupy the country around Fort Sandeman, their principal villages being Apozai, Kam Gustoi, and Buranj.They are generally peaceful and inoffensive people and among their neighbors are known as the Manda Khel or backward tribe. Their chief occupation is agriculture , most of the Suliemanzai section (755) are flock-owners. The Mando Khels owed allegiance to Jogizai sardar but always had a headman of their own. The present headmen is Sher Khan. Akhtar Khan Suliemanzai and Jalat Khan Izatzai are also important maliks among the Mando Khels’ [3]

Khanan Khan Mandu Khel and his son and nephew, Akhtar Khan and Akram Khan (as well as Azmir Khan) were the Mandu Khel notable in the history of local politics and struggle against the British occupation. [4]

In 1888, Sir Robert Sandeman marched to Mina Bazar, after which, at the invitation of the chief of the Mando Khel, he visited Apozai, where the Mando Khel asked to be taken under British protection and offered to pay revenue. The offer of the people was accepted, a Political Agent was appointed, and a small garrison was placed at Fort Sandeman in 1889. [5]

Fort Sandeman , Zhob, c.1930


Location of Mando Khel tribe




1-Notes on Afghanistan and part of Balchistan, by H.G.raverty, p-521
2- Afghanistan and its inhabitants – Translated from Hayat-e-Afghani – by Muhammad Hayat Khan

3-  Zhob Gazetteer, 1907, p-77
4- History of the Pathans by Haroon Rashid, Vol-III, p-190
5- Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 24, p. 430


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