Living on the Margins: A Socio-historical Profile of the Nomads in Pakistan


  • Anwar Shaheen


The nomadic population of today’s Pakistan is scattered in the sandy deserts, barren plateaus, the pastures of Northern Areas, as well the cities and villages all over the country. A sizable number of nomads are engaged in seasonal migration, pastoralism and peripatetic movements across the boundaries. This article describes the socio-economic characteristics of the nomads and also tries to construct a linkage between their present and past in order to enquire into the evolution of lifestyle and culture of Pakistani nomads. Anthropological and philological aspects of nomadic life are discussed to highlight the nomads’ distinct characteristics. Since Pakistan is facing another phase of climate change, ecological determinism has also been discussed with respect to its impact on general population as well as the nomads.