Most Common Pakistani Surnames

When it comes to Pakistani surnames, there are no official statistics that can establish their popularity ranking. One reason being that surnames in Pakistan differ based on ethnicity and caste.

Regardless of this, there are many Pakistani surnames commonly heard in pop culture, academics, business, politics, science, and sports. All have fascinating connections to both people, geography, and history.

Here’s the lowdown on the 10 most common Pakistani surnames.

1. Butt

Butt, also known as Bhat or Bhatt, means “scholar” in Sanskrit. It is common among the Kashmiri and Punjabi communities of Pakistan.

Many Bhats who converted to Islam changed their surname to Butt. Many living in the Punjab province migrated from Jammu and Kashmir in the late 19th century because of famine and oppression.

Although Butts kept their surnames after converting to Islam, they now fall under the Sheikh caste.

2. Khan

Khan is one of the most popular Pakistani surnames used by the Pashtun, Punjabi Pathan, Sindhi Pathan, and Muhjair Pathan communities. The surname is frequently found in Central Asia and South Asia.

The Khan surname originated from the nomadic tribes of the Eurasian Steppe. Pashtuns bearing the surname migrated to other regions of the country such as Punjab and Sindh, where they integrated with the local communities. They maintain their ancestral identity by retaining their surname, wherever they settle.

3. Chaudhry

Chaudhry, also spelled Chowdhury or Chaudhary, is common among Punjabi and other South Asian communities. It means “holder of four” in ancient Sanskrit.

Chaudhry is a title used by community heads and landlords and denotes status. In British India, feudal lords known as zamindars adopted the surname as a title.

4. Siddiqui

Siddiqui means “truthful” in Arabic and is a popular surname used by the Punjabi Sheikh and Muhajir Sheikh communities of Pakistan. It is also popular in the Indian subcontinent.

These communities belonged to the Hindu Brahmin Kshatriya caste of Kayastha. They then converted to Islam during the medieval era.

5. Jutt

Jutt, also known as Jatt or Jaat, is a pastoral community in the lower Indus Valley. Although they are native to the Punjab province, they are found in Sindh, Azad Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

Jutts form the largest socially distinctive group in Punjab and Sindh. They have excelled in the freedom struggle, leadership, science, politics, entertainment, sports, and much more.

6. Rajput

Rajput is a well-known Pakistani surname that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It means “son of the king” in ancient Sanskrit and is often associated with warriors and honor.

Rajputs were originally Punjabi Hindus, some of whom converted to Islam over time.

7. Gujjar

Gujjar, or Gurjar, is an ethnic pastoral community of Pakistan and other neighboring countries in South Asia. It is a very common Pakistani surname.

Gujjars speak Gujri or Gurjari. These tribes are native to the hilly regions of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Hazara, Malakand, and Peshawar.

8. Baloch

Baloch is a common surname adopted by the tribal communities of Balochistan, a Pakistani province.

Balochi tribes who are uncertain of their lineage adopt this surname. They are a semi-nomadic tribe who migrate seasonally and cultivate land.

9. Awan

Awan means “helper” in Arabic and is a tribe primarily found in the Pakistani provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir.

The Awan tribe believes themselves to be the descendants of the fourth Islamic caliph. They are landowners who live on and cultivate their land.

10. Durrani

Durrani is a common Pashtun surname in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The surname means “pearl of pearls” in Persian.

The Pashtun tribe came to existence during the Afghan Empire, which is also referred to as the Durrani Empire. They were pastoralists and traders in the past.

What’s in a Name?

The beauty of the Pakistani surname is in how connected it can be to history and geography. In these ten names are significant moments in the history of Pakistan. It seems that on their own, they tell epic stories of how those who bear the names came to be.

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