Med people: The Ethnic Community of Pakistan

The Med people are an ethnic community discovered in the coastal areas of Balochistan and Sindh province Pakistan, mainly in the regions of Makran and Las Bela, and the Makran region of Sistan and Baluchistan Province of Iran.

Background of Med People

There are different theories as to the origin of the Med community. In accordance with their own tribal traditions, the Med people originate from Gandava in the Kacchi region of Balochistan. It is likely that the Med are one of the earliest settlers of the Makran coast, and this is reinforced by the fact that the Med are mentioned in the chronicle of ancient Sindh province, the Chachnama, as one of the tribes that inhabited coastal Balochistan. The Med now speak Balochi, and consider themselves as Baloch. However, in both Makran and Las Bela, they are seen as distinct by both the Sindhi and Baloch. The Mohana tribe of Sindh and southern Punjab claim to be of Med origin.

Social agency

In Lasbela District they are found primarily in the cities of Miani and Ormara, and villages in between these towns, while in Makran they are found in the cities of Gwadar and Sonmiani, and the villages in between. The Med people are categorized into four clans, the Chilmarzai, who claim descent from Numrio tribe of Sindh, the Jalalzai and Gazbur, who claim Baloch ancestry and then finally the Olmari who claim Pashtun ancestry. This suggests that the Med community is of diverse origin, absorbing different groups which migrated to Makran. In recent time the Med have absorbed groups of African ancestry such as the Siddi. Meds are Muslims and like many other Makran communities, they are also divided along sectarian lines. Several Gwadar Med belong to the Zikri sect while the vast majority of Meds are Sunni Hanafis. Along coastal Balochistan, fishing is entirely in the hands of the Med, with an individual fishing boat owned by a particular lineages. The Med also form an important element within the Baloch population of Karachi city.

In Iran, the Med people settlements cling to the coastline of Makran region of the province of Sistan and Baluchestan. They are highly engaged in fishing, but some of their settlements on the banks of the various seasonal streams also engage in agriculture. The Med have vague traditions of having originated in Sindh province, but now considers themselves and looked by others as Baloch. Like other Iranian Baloch, the Med are Sunni, as distinct from the majority in Iran, who are Shia.

 

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