Drawing primarily on oral sources from the author’s own research carried out between 1993 and 1997, this book outlines the settlement history of Pashto speakers in Pakistan’s Northern Areas over the last 150 years, concentrating on the decades following the opening of the Karakorum Highway in 1978. Besides this, it looks at how the migrants’ language situation had developed by the mid 1990s. It investigates how Pashto speakers communicated with each other and with members of their respective Shina-, Khowar-, Balti- and Burushaski-speaking host communities, focussing in particular on cross-dialectal communication and language shift. The book also aims to define how the trends related to Pashtun migration to the Northern Areas in the mid 1990s could develop in the near future.
Interwoven with this analysis are childhood memories and life stories re-counted by the Pashto speakers interviewed by the author. All interviewees were ordinary people leading ordinary lives – traders, cobblers, tea boys, farmers and porters. Their stories provide a voice to the Pashto speaking migrants themselves and give the reader a fascinating insight into their lives.