IS IT “PAKHTUNKHWA” OR GABRISTAN?
The American author James W. Spain, who was the US Consul General in Peshawar in 1952 -- writes in his famous book "The Pathan Borderland" about the place called "Ghabaristan" (Gabristan) located south of Tank District, and inhabited by people known as Gabrs. He mentions these as being separate from another tribe also called Gabr, towards the north in Kurram. Evidently these Gabrs now use the Pathan names of the surrounding tribes to describe themselves (such as Bhittani and Turi, etc.) because we no longer hear of that name in relation to them. Kurram was a known seat of the Shalmanis, while the Bhittanis are associated in legend with the Tajik origins of the Bettani- Ghalji tribes.
Further south, Waziristan also has several Dehqan tribes -- in addition to the Burki (Urmar) ethnicity, which retains its own Iranian language and memories of a Zoroastrian past.
There are also two mountain peaks by the name of "Preghal" or "Koh-e-Gabr" -- one on the Tank-Waziristan border, and the other far north in Malakand, which was the seat of Swati power.
With regard to the name of "Shalman" the Yusufzai historian Roshan Khan quotes Al-Beruni's "Kitabul Hind" (p. 207-8) as saying that in Beruni's time, AD 1000, the mountains now known as the Sulaiman Range were actually called "Koh-e-Shaleman" or "Shamilan" (also P. 100, Tawareekh-e-Hafiz Rehmat Khani).
GAR-SAMIL KARLANI PASHTUN TRIBAL CATEGORISATION
Below I present more evidence to reinforce the contentions expressed above.
The first slide pictured here is from P. 61 of Sir Olaf Caroe’s all time classic work, “The Pathans”. It gives further indications of the presence of Zoroastrianism among some of the original Pakhtun or “Paktuan” Sakified Dardic tribes of the otherwise Buddhist majority Gandhara region and its surroundings — tribes later to be known as the Karlani Pashtun tribal confederacy. Besides this inexplicable “Gar-Samil” Karlani tribal categorisation, there exists in this area a separate tiny Iranian ethnicity called Burki (Ormuri) which is now “attached” to the Karlani tribal tree, yet still has its own separate Iranian language and identity, and Zoroastrian traditions.These suggest it had a now forgotten dominant social role in times long past and forgotten (Slide 2).
Caroe himself was a very artful and foxy colonial official and geostrategist — who has written a scholarly masterpiece that is still unrivalled, but otherwise his primary mission was to consolidate a fake history for the elite Pathan stooge classes that the British had tried to forge for consolidating their empire — and later its successor state Pakistan, in this region. However, even while doing this, he has presented the facts clothed in riddles…which can only be unravelled by perceptive and knowing minds. This he has evidently done so that his work would not be regarded as erroneous later on, and in this he succeeded. Slide 1 is also a particular example of that.