Pray for Kohistan

Pray for the people of Kohistan, Pakistan

Kohistan means “Land of Mountains” and is an area in Northern Pakistan along the Indus River and its side valleys. About 600,000 Kohistanis are living there, divided into different tribal groups. They became Muslim in the 17th century and incorporated into Pakistan in 1976. The Indus River divides their two major language groups, Shina and Indus-Kohistani, which are both poorly researched.

In most cases of dispute or crime, the village elders act as judges. People accused of a crime can flee into towers of refuge until a judgement is delivered or an agreement is reached. But blood vengeance is still widely practiced and has caused many Kohistanis to leave their homeland, as does unemployment. There are only a few Kohistani believers.

High elevation and scattered communities make reaching Kohistanis with the Gospel a difficult, but worthy, task. | photo courtesy Wikimedia

I’m on my way to visit a family in the upper village. It’s a long path uphill and, with one of our children on my back, the other at my hand, I’m quite exhausted when I arrive there. My friend interrupts her laundry to open the heavy gate and offers me a place on the bed in the middle of the courtyard. Her older kids are in the Islamic school. The younger ones are playing with marbles and our kids join them. The family is poor, but my friend prepares tea and gets some milk from their lone goat for me as a guest, drinking her own tea without milk.

Prayer Ideas:

  • Improvements and access to health care and more qualified health workers are needed in this remote area.
  • As Kohistani disciples of Jesus grow and spread their faith, forgiveness and restoration can overcome vengeance and separation.
  • Language research is necessary for Bible translation into the Kohistani languages and this area has one of the lowest literacy rates in Pakistan. Pray for believers to take this challenge on.

One comment

  1. Interesting how closely their system resembles the ancient Israelite ‘cities of refuge’. But these people do not know the High Priest whose death has freed them.

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