The term “Multani Afghan” or “Multani Pathan” specifically refers to those Pashtun clans who settled in Multan in 17th and 18th century. Otherwise, Pashtuns had settled in Multan much earlier.
When Kandahar was in the possession of Mughal emperor Shahjahan for the short period from 1638 to 1649, he had created a party of Afghans, mainly Abdalis, as his supporters. In 1649, Kandahar was recaptured by Safavid emperor Shah Abbas II, and these Afghan supporters of Shahjahan left their country and accompanied the Mughal Prince Aurangzeb, who had been deputed by his father to recover Kandahar. Aurangzeb, when ascended the throne at Delhi, settled these Abdalis at Multan. Later, many more of their tribe also joined them. They became known as Multani Afghans. One of these Abdalis was Jalal Khan Saddozai (maternal uncle of Zaman Khan, the father of Ahmad Shah Abdali), son of Aidal Khan, son of Zafran Khan, son of Malik Saddu. In 1738 the Viceroy of Lahore and Multan, appointed Nawab Zahid Khan Saddozai as nai’b Nazim of Multan. From this time the governorship of Multan remained with these Pashtuns until it was captured by Ranjit Singh.