Baluchistan is a vast territory to the south of the country that
extends into Pakistan and joins Iran to the west. The Baluchis are
largely nomadic or semi-nomadic people with a distinct culture,
language and traditions of their own. Like most other ethnic groups
in Afghanistan, the Baluchis are divided into numerous tribes and
The typical Baluchi women’s outfit is comprised of a long-sleeved
dress called a “pashk”. This is worn with a pair of
loose trousers called “shalwars” that are gathered and
tied at the waist. To cover the head, a chadar is worn.
The pashk can be made from various fabrics depending on the occasion
for which it will be worn. For more elaborate ceremonies and feasts
such weddings, the women use fine silk cloth to make their outfits.
Silk thread and silver or gold covered thread is used in the embroidery.
However, for daily wear the preferred cloth is cotton, the embroidery
is less complex and lower quality thread is used.
For most part though, the Baluchi women use complex and ornate
geometric patterns in their embroidery. There are four areas on
the pashk with the heaviest embroidery: the front bodice of the
pashk, the sleeve cuffs, and a narrow rectangular strip, which runs
down the skirt front. This densely stitched embroidery is called
“Pakka” which means solid. The embroidery is either
done directly on the fabric or on a separate piece of heavier cloth
that is then sewn onto the garment. This way the embroidery can
be removed and reused once the outfit ages.