The Pakol Story

December 27, 2008


A Man wearing a Traditional Afghan Pakol.

A Man wearing a Traditional Afghan Pakol.

I bought Myself a Pakol today. For those of you not familiar with Pashto, its the Hat worn by the man in the picture. Its traditional for Pathan men from Afganistan and N.W.F.P to wear a Pakol. But it was given global fame by a man who was not a pathan. Ahmad shah Masoud a.k.a ” The Lion of panjsher”. He was an Afghan war lord of great power and ingenuity, who famously wore a Pakol at all times.

Coming back to the topic. My old Pakol had become a bit shabby from being kept at the bottom of my cupboard, so i decided to buy a new one. Pakols are readily available at any bazaar in peshawar. But I prefer a maker in the old city portion. Getting there is a real pain in the ass though, you have to walk through ditches ever filled with sewerage water, jump over street merchants, selling their wares from earth mats. Dodge around rikshaas and duck whenever you come face to face with openly hanging electric wires–catastrophes just waiting to happen!

But When finally you get to the “khan Azam Pakol and Lungi house” the hurdles along the way become just minor inconveniences (which is in fact exactly what they are! ) . The sons of Mr Khan Azam greet you like a king, They fuss over you, offer you qehwa, make a few jokes at the expanse of the rival hat maker across the street. After a good 10,15 minutes when u’ve consumed at least 2 cups of qehwa, do they come to the point.

First of all one of them complements the structure of your head, in my case it was ” wah wah janaab kia sardaron wala sar hai aapka, Bara aur gol!!!”   Which makes one feel like someone with Down syndrome. Then they take measurements of your head from various angles. After That they ask you to chose colour and fabric, I chose gray and synthetic wool ( As the thought of natural wool on my head was kinda nauseating to be honest! ). once thats done they roll out a Pakol made just for you! You place it on your head, pay them (an Arm and a Leg) and walk off in the glorious sun set…………

Something resembling my Pakol

Something resembling my Pakol


31 Responses to “The Pakol Story”

  1. Daanish said

    Nice post,I remember buying my first Pakol,an interesting fest !

  2. shine87 said

    oh yeah, buying your first Pakol is a memorable experiance. A transition from boyhood to manhood! 🙂

    Btw Welcome to the “Zambeel” Danish! 🙂

  3. siras said

    LOL@ wah wah janaab kia sardaron wala sar hai aapka, Bara aur gol!!!” 😆

    That was a fun post to read! 🙂

    Kept reminding me of The Kite Runner though cause that’s the only place I’ve heard of a pakol before 😛

  4. shine87 said

    😀 These things seem to happen to me a lot!

    Ahh the kite runner, I would re-read it today but according to insha jee ive been foolish enough to loan it to a friend, now i cant be more foolish and accept him to return it! 🙂

  5. Seher said

    Enetertaining POST!

  6. shine87 said

    Thx sehar, welcome to the “zambeel”! 🙂

  7. SAWJ said

    Man, I want a pakol now! 😀

  8. It is not only one shop attitude but is very common in our country now. If one goes to a motor mechanic for his car check up. He say emphetically, “Sir, I never met a man so wise like you before. You have brought your car to me just right in time otherwise.” And he stops. Then he can charge the car owner a hefty amount and he goes home happy thinking to himself to be very wise while he had been befooled.

    Coming to Pakol. This name was given to it by Afghanis. It’s original name is Gilgiti or balti topa. It used to be very popular and available every where but, perhaps due to war on terror, it is scarvely available. I have been buying every two to three year a new one donating my old one to some needy. Now my topa is over three year old and I am not getting one good quality in Islamabad.

    I write about ourselves in Urdu at

  9. Sorry. scarcely has got typed scarvely

  10. shine87 said

    @ SAWj

    Come to Peshawar mate, ill get you a discount at Khan Azam’s Place! 🙂

    Welcome to the “Zambeel”

    @ Iftikhar Ajmal

    You are quite right sir, and thanks for providing such valuable information about the back ground of the pakol. Welcome to my blog.

  11. lubna said

    Your Pakol sounds nice 🙂 saw one in Karachi’s Sunday bazaar…after reading your post, I’ll probably go and buy one…

  12. shine87 said


    Aha……………….So i shouldve seriously considered a career in sales than!!! 🙂 Btw welcome to the “Zambeel”.


    You are welcome! 🙂

  13. Ayesha said

    It’s mandatory for Pathan men to wear it. And it looks good! You forgot to mention Salman Ahmad. He too uses it (I think) 😛

  14. shine87 said

    Well I wont say mandatory as the elders usually preffer a Qulla lungi and of course who can forget Salman Ahmad in his stylish Pakol! Thx for reminding me of tht. And welcome to the “Zambel” 🙂

  15. You my dear are an incredibly talented writer. DO NOT STOP! A real Mohsin Hamid in the making!

    All the best,

  16. shine87 said

    Wow, Thank You. I do believe that you have been too lavish in your praise but still. My day has been made, So thank you 🙂

    Welcome to the Zambeel.

  17. siras said

    LOL! Maybe your friend will be foolish enough to return it! 😛

    Ah Salman Ahmed and his Pakol.. i sure was crazy about him at that time! 😀

  18. Prerna said

    I have seen Ahmed Shah Masoud’s cap, I didn’t know it was called a Pakol. The Pathans in Hindi films wear Pagris. Another misconception cleared, I thought only Indians likes Ahmed Shah Masoud.

  19. shine87 said

    @ Siras

    And you weren’t alone, There was a time when every Pakistani youth had a Junoon poster up in their room! 🙂


    Most of my countrymen do not share my liking of Masood 🙂

  20. Aadil said

    An interesting episode of yours buying a pakol. I do wear it once in a blue moon and it doesn’t look bad either. 🙂 Infact last winters I enjoyed it a lot wearing it with the longish hair to receive comments like ‘you are looking like an afghan’ or, ‘whats a pakistani taliban doing here?’ .. I didn’t of course enjoy the second comment courtesy my displeasure over pakistani talibans activities.

    Nice blog! 🙂

  21. shine87 said


    Haha nice to hear from you Aadil, Welcome to the Zambeel! 😀

  22. Personally I would put a lovely bench so all the squirrels could use it and maybe add a mini bar and a Jacuzzi at a later date just for the wildlife though!

  23. mariam said

    You can go to to buy your own pakol hat.

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