You call it ajrak. We call it the Benazir shawl in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Abid Riaz
1 min readJul 23, 2020

You may call it Ajrak but where I grew in district Karak of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan, the shawls are called Benaziray Parrki [بې نظیرې پړکي] i.e. the shawls of Benazir [Bhutto], former prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated in 2007 in Rawalpindi. The phrase is more often used by women than men. The shawls were once so popular that they made it into folk songs like

د بې نظیرې مې راوړه یو چادر ده

[da Benaziray may rawarra yo chadar da]

وا وړې لیلو زېړ مازدیګر ده

[Wa warray lailo zayrr mazdigar da]

“I have brought you a Benazir shawl. My little sweetheart, it’s a dusky late-afternoon”.

I searched for this song online but could not find it. It’s probably not there. Even if it is, it’s likely lying somewhere unlabelled as is the case with a lot of Pashto songs. The song being a local wedding song, and at least two decades old too, it’s likely not even online. I would have to search for it in cassette tapes. Oh well, I might come across it someday as I search for folk songs with people who still own stocks of cassette tapes. If I find it, I would like to see if I can transcribe, translate, and put it up on Youtube maybe.

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Abid Riaz

English language copywriter and editor. Contact me here or send a message to abedreyaz@gmail.com.