Harifal Tribe
Formation Hasankhail.Naqibkhail.Ibrahimkhail
Type Pashtun Tribe
Official language
Affiliations Sherani

The Harifal (Urdu حریفال حریف ال) is a Pashtun tribe inhabiting the Sherani District, Balochistan province, Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, surrounding districts (Arghandab of Kandahar, Mezana and Sharisafa of Zabul, Qarabagh and Shelgar of Ghazni, Chack and Narkh of Maidan Wardak, Poli Alam of Logar, Poli Kumri and Nahrin of Baghlan, Aybak and Sancharak district of Sariful) of Afghanistan.[1] The tribe mostly populates the western slopes of Shinghar, a mountain in the Suleiman Range, though a considerable number resides in Zhob District (Harifal Abad) and there is also a scattered population in Duki subdivision of Loralai District, Sanjavi subdivision of Ziarat District, a few families in Quetta, and Zarkanai Daraban of Dera Ismail Khan district. The word Harifal is also transliterated as Airf Aal, Haripal, and Hurreepaul.

The two union councils of Sherani district, Shinghar Harifal south with 23 villages (13,883 people) and Shinghar Harifal north with 31 villages (12,228 people), are altogether occupied by the Harifal tribe. The main bulk of the tribe lives in the clusters of villages in the central block of Mt. Shinghar. The Harifal tribe is a relatively small and tractable one. In earlier times it was scarcely known to the historians in its own right.

The total voters[2] of the Harifal tribe is numbered at 8,728, and gender-wise breakup is as follow: male: 4,797 and female: 3,931.

There is an ancestral link between the Harifal and the Shirani tribe, but the Harifal is still considered separate.


The term Harifal has undergone etymological change. As it is pronounced in the manner favoured by Pathan/Afghan, just as French words borrowed whole, are pronounced and used in an English way. Harifal, in Pashto, is the corrupted form of Arif Aal, meaning progeny of Arif, the founder of the tribe. The actual name of this eponymous ancestor was "Arif-Ullah". The word Harifal has undergone etymological change over time, and so it has been variously transliterated as Arif Aal, Haripal, and Harifal. These words are all homophones but heterographs, and Harifal is the most correct one.


Under Arif's leadership, the Shiranis sent a portion of their tribe to occupy Bargha. Arif later married a Shirani women (according to tradition, his second wife and the mother of the Ibrahikhail sub-tribe), and thus became the eponymous ancestor of the Harifal tribe.

This account is corroborated by Olaf Caroe, who wrote that "the genealogies frequently supply actual confirmation of observable differences today."[3]

An account of the warlike nature of the Harifal and Sherani tribes is given by the Scottish historian Mountstuart Elphinstone in his book An account of the kingdom of Caubul, and its dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India: comprising a view of the Afghaun nation, and a history of the Dooraunee monarch, "The Sheeraunees [Sheranis] are at war with all the tribes that pass through their country in their annual migrations. They may, indeed, be said to be at war with all the world, since they plunder every traveller that comes within their reach; and besides, make incursions into parts of Damaun, with the inhabitants of which they have no quarrel. While I was in their neighbourhood, they stopped the body of a Dooraunee of rank, which was going through their country to be buried at Candahar, and detained it till a ransom had been paid for it."[4]

However, due to the influence of legendary accounts of Arif's peaceful nature, the Harifal restrained their warlike nature and became relatively docile. The Harifal are more quiet and industrious, and their habits are decidedly averse from the system of rapine and violence pursued by other tribes. In personal bravery and endurance of privation and hardship, they are esteemed superior to other inhabitants around. In manner they are mild, inoffensive and tenacious in respectability.

Historical records

Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779–1859) says "The tribes of Hurreepaul (sic) and Kuppeep resemble the Sheeraunees, of which tribe they are branches; and their residence is in the hills and valleys at the western base of Tukhti Solimaun. To the north of the Hurreepaul is the country near the junction of the Gomul and Zhobe, sometimes pastured on by wandering Cankers. North of it is Wauneh, a low plain situated on the hills that slope down to the valley of the Gomul."[5]

According to Baluchistan Through the Ages, "The Haripals claim a Saiad descent, and allege that their progenitor, Harif, was a Saiad from Pishin, who migrated to the Shirani country, married a Shirani woman, and was affiliated with the Shiranis".[6]

Herbert Benjamin Edwardes says "It is by the Zirkunnee Pass that caravans go to Kandahar. About five or six miles to the south of the Zirkunnee Pass, is the Pass of Drabund, the mouth of which is about eight miles from Drabund itself. Not very far from midway between the town and the Pass of Drabund, but rather nearer to the latter, are ruins of the former fort of Akhoond Gool Hubeeb. This Akhoond, I was informed, belonged to a tribe called Hurrial, connected with the Sheraunees; the same probably as that of 'Hurreepaul,' mentioned by Mr. Elphinstone as a branch of the Sheraunees, residing 'in the hills and valleys at the western base of Tukht-e-Sulaiman'."[7]

Qazi Abdul Haleem Asar Afghani (1910-1987), a well known Pashto writer (District Mardan, Tehsil Takht Bhai) holds that "Harifal is a minor tribe living in and around Daraban amongst Sheranis. In the twelfth generation of this tribe was a renowned saint by the name of Sheikh Ahmed Zinda-pir.

The pedigree chart of this saint runs like this: Sheikh Ahmed zinda-pir s/o Sheikh Ali Shabaz s/o Sheikh Muli Qatal s/o Sheikh Suleiman Dana s/o Sheikh Ahmed Jawan-mard s/o Sheikh Musa s/o Sheikh Mehmood s/o Ibrahim s/o Malik yar s/o Jaffery s/o Harifal s/o Sarwani. The author on page #419 clarifies that the actual name of Harifal was "Arif-Ullah".

Sheikh Ahmed Zinda-pir had five sons; eldest among them was Sadar-ud-din, who later became famous by the name of Sheikh Sadar-ud-din Sadar Jahan; an erudite and noted Sufi saint. He migrated to India to spread the word of Islam. In India he reached "Malir Kotla and settled there. Sheikh later married daughter of Sultan Behlul Lodhi. This gave much impetus to his reputation. Stories of Hazrat Shaikh's erudition and piety spread far and wide and gradually Malerkotla became the seat of Sufism in India."[8]

Shaikh Sadar Ud-din also known as Haidar Shaikh was born at Daraban, the winter dwellings of the Harifal tribe, in 1437. In 1449, he reached Multan and became the disciple of Baha-ud-din Zakariya. When his master was sure that his disciple was well versed in spirituality, he asked him to go out and help humanity. The Sheikh chose a raised mound near the old village of Maler to build his hut, and there he used to spend his time in prayer.

One distinguished member of this family was Zulfiqar Ali Khan who, although not a nawab, was an extremely interesting figure in the literary history of the riyasat. A close friend of allama Muhammad Iqbal, he was the author of the first biography of the famous poet, titled A Voice from the East.[9]

Stanley Reed (28 January 1872 – 17 January 1969) was a British Conservative Party politician and an important figure in the media of India in the early 20th century. He claims;[10] that Maler kotla's ruling family, though famed as Pathan, is actually Sayyid in its origin, for its ancestral progenitor was Sayyid Husain who migrated from Ghaur during the reign of caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (646–705 the 5th Umayyad Caliph) and settled in the region neighboring `Kooh-e-Sulaiman.[11]

According to recent DNA testing by a member of this family, they belong to Haplogroup J2 of Arab origin. This research corroborates the views of Qazi Abdul Haleem Asar.

The a fore mentioned opinions of learned authors deserve due consideration, and are not wholly devoid of force and reasons, considering the persistent belief of the people of tribe that they are descended from the line of Prophet.


The Harifal tribe lives in the Sulaiman Mountains subsidiary Shinghar (Latitude: 31° 45' 26" N Longitude: 69° 48' 57" E). The Sulaiman Mountains and Shinghar are separated by the valley of Lahar. The main peak of Shinghar is 9,273 feet above sea level. Shinghar extends from Kurchpina in the north to Sulyazai valley in the south; it is about 50 km east of Zhob and is to the west of the Takht-e-Sulaiman. The Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation has reported finding significant coal deposits near Shinghar. Average elevation of Harifal country is 2,043 meters from sea level.

Harifal territory is situated 209 kilometers north (355°) of the approximate center of Pakistan and 372 kilometers south west (238°) of the capital, Islamabad. The location is sparsely populated, with 21 people per square kilometer.[12]

The predominant form of vegetation in the area is the olive tree. Ephedra is an other plant abundantly found in Harifal country. Known locally as "oman," the plant was once purchased in large quantities by Quetta Marker Company.

There is also a dense forest of edible pine (Pinus gerardiana) (In Urdu چلغوزا پائن) which clothes the high mountains of Harifal country, growing at an elevation from 1800 meters to 3350 meters.

The nearby village of Ghwanza contains a shrine of the Sufi saint Hazrat Babakr Nika Harifal, which is frequently visited by pilgrims.

Weather and climate

Harifal territory is in a very strong (vii) earthquake zone, with occurrences of earthquakes at 6-7 on the Richter magnitude scale. There is a medium occurrence of periods with extreme drought, but the flooding risk is low.

Harifal has an arid (0.05 - 0.2 p/pet) climate. Land area is not cultivated; most of the natural vegetation is still intact. The landscape is mostly covered with closed to open grassland. The climate is classified as a subtropical steppe (low-latitude dry), with a subtropical thorn wood land biozone(intervals of geological strata).

Weather varies according to the locality, and the heat or the cold is felt in different spots in the same latitude with very different degrees of intensity, according to the configuration of the country. Winter is tolerably mild; on the plain the snow melts as it falls, and does not lie long even on the summits of the mountains. In general the temperature is moderate. September is on average the month with most sunshine. Rainfall and other precipitation have no distinct peak month.


As any other tribe, the Harifal too, after going through the long evolutionary process; the overgrown bulk was divided into clans, the clans into sections and sections into subsections.

According to the 1901 census, the population of Harifal was 1,593, with the following divisions of sub-tribes: Ibrahikhail (180), Hamakzai (sic)(5), Hasankhail (706), Naqibkhail (630), and Umerzai (3).

The Statistical Analysis of the Tribes of Baluchistan 1911 gives the following figures with detail break up of the clan, section and sub-section.
Harifal total 2507, with male population as 1311 and female population as 1196. Further break up is as follow.[13]

Brahimkhail. Total 209, 114 male and 95 female.

Daryakhanzai. Total 31, 17 male and 14 female.

Khudizai. Total 18, 09 male and 09 female.

Lalazai. Total 11, 06 male and 05 female.

Unspecified. Total 02 male.

Hasankhail. Total 945. 485 male and 460 female.

Daozai. Total 05. 03 male and 02 female.

Durzai. Total 71. 37 male and 34 female.

Hasanzai. Total 64. 37 male and 27 female.

Hudezai. Total 55, 26 male and 29 female.

Kamalzai, Total 46. 25 male 21 female.

Malezai. Total 259. 133 male and 126 female.

Marozai. Total 48. 30 male and 18 female.

Mangalzai. Total 61. 25 male and 36 female.

Saraband. Total 222. 106 male and 116 female.

Umerzai. Total 70, 44 male and 26 female.

unspecified. Total 52, 26 male and 26 female.

Malezai Total 43, 13 male and 30 female.

Nakibkhel Total 1184, 624 male and 560 female.

Babatzai. Total 435 , 229 male and 206 female.

Batozai. Total 224, 115 male and 109 female.

Darykhanzai. Total 342, 180 male and 162 female.

Khidarzai. Total 56, 33 male and 23 female.

Lalakzai, Total 122, 64 male and 58 female.

Manezai. Total 04, 02 male and 02 female.

unspecified. Total 01 male.

Nikakahol (Barakhanzai), Total 20, 10 male and 10 female.

Umarzai (Landawar) Total 43, 26 male and 17 female.

Watozai (Jalal Kahol) Total 16, 08 male and 08 female.

unspecified. Total 16, 14 male and 02 female.

According to the 1998 census its population is 36,111. An estimated 5.64% of the children below 5 years old are underweight, with a mortality of 66 per 1,000 births.


The following is a list of important local villages.

Kazha Malizai: Located in north Shinghar Harifal Union Council, population 1371.[14] Its Latitude is 31.5614 decimal degrees and Longitude is 69.6975 decimal degrees.

There are three intermittent streams in vicinity of this village called Band Algad at 0.5 km distance, Tawa Khwazha at 01 km distance and third one called Pasta Khwara runs at a distance of 01 km. Kazhha Malezai is populated by Malezai sub section of Harifal tribe. During summer season they migrate to upper highland area called Psha; where they own some plateaux, which could be best site for future Sanatorium.

Pastuke Zhara, is a populated place located at 01 km. Other populated places fall within a radius of 02 km include Landai Kaza, Killi Kuch, Mulla Nika Killi, Pahlan, and Pusta. Villages within a three km radius of Kazha Malaizai include Bargha Sherani, Sebai Lundai Killi, Sharan Algad, and Srawate.

Tarai Malizai: Located in north Shinghar Harifal Union Council. This village is also populated by the Malizai sub-tribe of the Hasankhail Harifal. Topographical feature of various streams, mountains and populated areas falling in radius ranging from 0.5 km to 04 km is as follow. Narkhaizai Shela, an intermittent stream (3 km) Tora khwara, and Tangai Shela run at a distance of 03 km. Pungai Oba mountain and Satuna mountain are situated at a distance of 01 km and Pastuke mountain located at 04 km from Tarai Malaizai. While nearby populated villages are; Adam khan village falls at half km, Hurramzai village falls at 02 km, Dray-khanzai and Dwa-manda villages are at 02 km distance, Lalakzai is situated at 03 km, while Ibrahimkhail and Babakrzai are two other villages fall at a distance of four km each.

Qumai: Again populated by Malizai. There are three important mountains; Pare Ghar-2 km, Tatai mountain -4 km and Tabela ghar -4 km. Important streams are Lakarai-4 km and Sarwakai khwara -05 km. Villages in vicinity of Qumai at a distance of three km are Mangalzai,& Dwa Manda, while Khadarzai, Lalukzai, Paivaba, and a ridge, Shache Kili are all situated at a distance of four km. Similarly Harif Nika Ziarat, Shna punga, and a water spring known as Salaizai cheena come within the radius of five kilometer.

Ibrahimkhail: (population: 1859) Ibrahimkhail is the centre of Harifal country and is located in north shinghar Harifal Union Council. Important streams are; Tawa khawaza, at half kilometer, Algad Band, Pasta khwara 05 km, Zhara, is a ridge falls at 03 km. And important mountains are Pastuke Zhaira at 0.5 km. Satuna situated at a distance of 03 km. While villages here falling nearby are Kazha Malaizai-01 km, Baargha sherani-02 km, Babakerzai-02 km, Landai Kazha-02 km, Kach Mulla Nika03km, Pahlan Pasta-03 km. A populated ridge known as Dwa Manda killi falls at 03 km from Ibrahimkhail.

Ragha Sir Nikan: Located in south Shinghar Harifal Union Council. Geographically important structures like intermittent stream that come in its vicinity at a distance of 01 km is Aghbargai shella, similarly Nurkhaizai falls at03km, whileTarai Manda & Chachobai are two other intermittent streams run at a distance of 5 km. There is one noteworthy Pass known as Mazhbai Maghzai situated at a distance of03km. Its latitude is 30.4417 decimal degrees and longitude is 69.6942 decimal degrees. A spring called Samazi Cheena runs at 05 km, Ghare Ghar is a ridge situated in the suburb of the village at a distance of 03 km.

Draykhanzai: (population: 1195). This is located in Shinghar Harifal south Union Council. There are six important intermittent streams; Nurkhaizai falls at 01 km, Aghbargai Shella & Trai Manda at 02 km, Tora khwara, Nurkhaizai khwara, and Tangai run at 04 km from the village. Important mountains are , Pungai Oba at 01 km, Tatai 03 km , Shinghar ridge at 03 km. Populated villages in the outskirt are Lalakzai at 02 km, Adamkhan village 02 km, Malaizai killi 02 km, Hurrumzai at 02 km, Nikkan at 03 km, and Marsainzai falls at a distance of 04 km.

Babakarzai: There are four intermittent streams in the vicinity of this village. These are Algad Band and Tawa khwaza both at 02 km, Pasta khwara at 03 km, and Tarai Manda runs at a distance of 04 km from the village. There are two important mountains namely Stuna at 03 km, and Pustuke Zhara at 02 km. One noteworthy ridge is Paiwabba which stands at a distance of 03 km, from the Babakarzai village.

Bhaizhie: Shinghar is located west of it at a distance of one and half km,in the east is Lakar wam & Zharay,in north falls Bund Narai&luck shinkai.While in south is Algadad & Surwakai at a distance of 02 km. Dwalgad & Khray sir come at a distance of 04 km.

Kunjak harifal abad serbanzai logar Afghanistan located south of logar province and other village is shadikhok.


  1. Abdul Raziq Kakar (20 December 2009). "Assessing the potential of the indigenous livestock breeds of Baluchistan" (PDF). Drynet. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  3. p 04
  4. An account of the kingdom of Caubul, and its dependencies in Persia, Tartary ... - Mountstuart Elphinstone - Google Books (page 383)
  5. "This site is under construction". Desistore.com. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  6. Baluchistan through the ages P68. vol ii.
  7. A year on the Punjab frontier, by Herbert Benjamin Edwardes in 1848-49 (Volume 1 ) page 551-2
  8. Roohani Rabita au Roohani Taroon by Qazi Abdul Haleem Asar p 415
  9. "The Tribune - Windows - Main Feature". Tribuneindia.com. 2001-04-21. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  10. The British India founded
  11. My State, Malerkotla
  12. The Travel World Atlas: Haripal, Balochistān, Pakistan (tribal area) - Detailed Information, Weather, Photos, Videos, Animals, Nature, Wildlife, Maps, Hazards - 6310842
  13. Statistical Analysis of The Tribes of Baluchistan 1911, By Denys Bray,cs. page 96. Published by Calcutta Superintendent Government Printing. India 1915.
  14. PA Zhob election schedule. p 27,28.
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