Balti people

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The Balti are an ethnic group of Tibetan descent with some Dardic admixture located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and Ladakh, a region in Jammu & Kashmir, India; as well as scattered in Pakistan's major urban centres of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. The Balti language belongs to the Tibetan language family and is a sub-dialect of Ladakhi.Balti Grammar, by A. F. C. Read. London: The Royal Asiatic society, 1934. Balti, Ladakhi and Burig are mutually intelligible.


Tibetan Khampa and Dardic tribes came to Baltistan prior to civilisation, and these groups eventually settled down, creating the Balti people. It was believed that the Balti people came under the sphere of influence from the kingdom of Zhang Zhung. Most of the rich and affluent Balti people are of Arabic descent.

The modern world Balti people, however, are not all from Tibetan stock. With the passage of time, many other tribes namely, Shins, Yashkuns (Dardic people), Kashmiris (called Khache in local language), Arabs (mostly Sayeds), Persian (Sufis) and Turks (especially Uygurs from central Asia) made their enroads to Baltistan and gradually merged with the local population. After second or third generation they became Baltis. Today, in Skardu (land of Sakas), the capital of Baltistan region of Pakistan, the most hardened Baltis are outsiders namely Kashmiris or Dard tribes.

Baltistan came under the control of the Tibetan king Songtsen......
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