Tribes and Language

         Murree is inhabited by a number of different tribes. Despite their varied origins they have been living in the area in peace and in known history there is no evidence of any tribal warfare between them. All tribes are proud of themselves but still respect each other. The tribes inhabiting the area include Abbasi (Dhund), Satti, Kethwal, Danials, Kianis. Apart from them there is large population of Gujjars, Awans, Syeds, Kashmiris as well as some artisan classes.

Dhund (Abbasi)

Dhunds are the largest and most prominent tribe of Murree. They claim to be descendents of Abbass, one of the uncles of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Historically besides Murree, tribal abode of Dhund Abbasis include parts present day Islamabad Capital Territory, Tehsil Kahuta and Kotli Sattian of Rawalpindi, District Abbottabad, Haripur and Mansehra of NWFP and Deerkot tehsil in the Bagh district of Azad Kashmir.
Besides there is a large population of Dhund tribe in Kahuta tehsil, who are known as Jasgam. According to Gazetteer Rawalpindi 1893-4 they had thirteen villages in tehsil Kahuta to at the time.
        According Census of India 1881 total population of Dhund Abbasis, excluding Jasgams, in Rawalpindi and Hazara districts was 32690 of which 18268 lived in Rawalpindi and 14412 in Hazara. Furthermore Abbasis' constitute overwhelming majority the population of Deerkot tehsil in Bagh district of Azad Kashmir.

        Current data is not available but the total population of Dhunds (Abbasi's) in Murree and surrounding areas of Rawalpindi, Islamabad, NWFP and Azad Kashmir would be around 500,000.

         There is little known about the origin of the tribe. It is believed that their first abode in the area was Chamankot, near Deerkot in Azad Kashmir from where they spread to different adjacent areas. It is however not known when the tribe arrived in the area. It is however in the folklore stories that one of the predecessors of the tribe and very reverend saint Dada (grandfather as he is affectionately called in the area) Malik Sooraj Khan of Potha Sharif was a contemporary of Hazrat Bari Imam, another great saint whose mausoleum is in present day Islamabad. Bari Imam lived in the times of Mughal emperor Jahangir (1606-). This means that the Abbasis were present in considerable numbers at that time. However, it is still not clear for how long had they been living in the area before Mughal period and in what was their number.


          Kethwal is the oldest tribes of Murree. They are of Rajput origin. Folklore has it that once they occupied the whole of Murree. Once a women of the tribe names Abh, eloped with a man across the river Jehlum. nearly all the able bodied men of the tribe went in her pursuit. They came to a frozen lake which they mistook as hard ground and settled down on it for night and lit fire. This melted the ice and they all engulfed. In the meantime the Dhunds cam down on their undefended homestead and destroyed what remained of the tribe. Following proverb describes the situation:
Abh loro
Sabbh Choro
go in search of abh and give up all

          According to census of India 1881 total population of Kethwals at that time was 1834. They had occupied five villages in Murree. One of village Charhaan occupies a very large proportion. 

          The New Murree (Patriata) is being constructed in mostly Kethwal inhabited areas.


          Till the separation of Kotli Sattian Tehsil from Murree Satti tribe was second largest in Murree. The historical abode of Satti tribe has been along the Jehlum River between Murree and Kahuta subdivisions. Gazetteer of Rawalpindi 1893 says that they had seventeen villages in Murree and thirteen in Kahuta at the time. in total their population at the time was 9444. In mid 1990s, most of the Satti inhabited areas of Murree and Kahuta Tehsils were merged to form Kotli Sattian Tehsil. Still there are some Satti populated areas in Murree as well as Kahuta Tehsils.


          Danial is another important tribe of the area. The Census of India 1881 showed their population at 8327 in Rawalpindi district. At the time they had 12 villages in Tehsil Murree and 13 in the Rawalpindi District. The Danial inhabited villages of Rawalpindi were merged in Islamabad at the time of establishment of the Federal Capital Territory. Most of villages falling in Murree Tehsil have been included in the Kotli Sattian Tehsil.


          With slight variations a dialect of Punjabi /Potohari is spoken in all the hilly areas of Rawalpindi district including Murree, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian . It variations are also spoken by majority of people in Azad Kashmir as well as Hazara region of NWFP.