Palay Shah Khosti (Palay Khan)

Palay Shah

Palay Shah, popular as Palay Khan, fought against British and Zhob Militia in 1930s. The story of Palay Shah is shrouded in legends and is not documented well. His exploits against British are preserved in local folk poetry known as ‘Kakarai ghara’ (کاکړۍ غاړه). He and his men are said to have taken refuge in Afghanistan and from there they used to attack British in Zhob. He is also said to have participated in the ghaza of Faqir of Ipi in Waziristan against British.

Unlike the movie, the real Palay Shah was not hanged by the British. According to his family, he ultimately negotiated a deal with the British government in circa 1946 and was awarded few acres of lands in Sanjawi (his family possess those documents). Moreover, the movie refers to him as a Mando-Khel but he was a Khosti Syed. Only two and half years after the settlement with the British government, he died of natural causes in 1949 at Bori Hospital.

Khosti Syeds of Zhob

In 1901 census conducted by the British government, the Khosti Syeds numbered 820. According to Zhob Gazetteer (1907) shares the following information about them:

“The Khostis claim to be the descendants of Saiad Tahir and are said to have emigrated from Khost in Afghanistan. Of the total of 820, 772 are in the Fort Sandeman tahsil and 48 in Kila Saifullah tahsil. They are divided into four sections: the Umarzai, Marufzai, Mirani, and Sohbat Khel, the first three are in the villages of Marufzai, Lahrani, and Umarzai between Lakaband and Babar, and the last named section are settled close to Aghbargi Manda in the Kila Saifullah tahsil. Their leading men are malik Kondal and Sheikh Raza Gul. They intermarry with the Kakar tribes among whom they live and adopt their customs. “

Palay Shah
Poster of “Palay Khan” a Bollywood movie (1986) loosely based on a Pashtun freedom fighter Syed Palay Shah Khosti from Zhob.
Real photo of Palay Shah
Real photo of Palay Shah, taken soon after his settlement with the British government.
Palay Shah
A scene from ‘Palay Shah’ drama series, produced by Quetta centre of PTV in 1990. Actor Jamal Shah (playing the role of Palay Shah) and Hayatullah Khan Durrani (playing the role of Palay Shah’s brother) talking to Rafiq Kambwao.
Palay Shah
Palay’s brother Katey Khan, portrayed by Hayatullah Khan Durrani


1- Palay Khan (Youtube video)
2- Interview of a grandson of Palay Shah (Youtube video)
3- Zhob Gazetteer (1907), p-

Categories Blog Tags

Leave a comment