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Pashto Script

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Pashto language is spoken in Afghanistan and north western parts of modern Pakistan. It is written in Arabic script that is written from right to left, along with Arabic, Persian/Dari, Urdu, Balochi, Kurdish, Kashmiri, Lahnda, Sindhi, Uyghur, Berber languages, Moplah (Dialect of Malayalam), Malagasy and Sulu[1]. Like Arabic and Persian and unlike Urdu vowels are marked only sporadically only to indicate pronunciation, otherwise they are omitted.

Pashtuns living in Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan have many different dialacts but have a unified script. According to Professor Rajwali Shah Khattak; “A unified script was evolved in 1990 at the week-long Bara Gale seminar in which Afghan linguists had also participated. For written expression and media purposes, scholars recommend only this script of 43 letters”. [2]

Like languages written in Arabic script, Pashto also has additional sounds that are unique to the language and these are presented by a derived form to the already existing Arabic letters. It uses almost all the letters used in Arabic language and adds 15 more to it, 3 of which are shared with Farsi language, these are پ چ ژ.

The letters additional to Arabic ټ ښ ځ څ ڼ ګ ډ ړ ژ ږ ﺉ ې ۍ are derived from arabic letters but dots or ring (pandak) is added to the already existing Arabic letters. For example Pashto letter ښ (sẖeen or scheen) is derived from the Arabic letter س (seen) and one dot is place above and another below the skeleton of the letter س.

  • Retroflex consonants written with “pandak” (ring): ټ ڼ ډ ړ
  • Velar fricatives: gey ږ and sẖeen or scheen ښ
  • Dental affricates: dz ځ and ts څ

ګ which is equivalent to Persian گ is not a retroflex consonant but is written with pandak. It has been written in both forms in the past but in modern times ګ can be identified as the Pashto Gaf.


Pashto Alphabet

Pashto alphabet is the Pashto script codified for writing Pashto language. It has 44 letters shown in the following table. The order shown in this table is important. You'll find different sorting order or arrangement of these letters in different books but the following order is the one that has been used by Afghan Ministry of Communications for Afghan keyboard standards.

ش س ږ ژ ز ړ ر ذ ډ د خ ح څ چ ځ ج ث ټ ت پ ب ا
ۍ ې ي ی ه و ڼ ن م ل ګ ک ق ف غ ع ظ ط ض ص ښ

Pashto Letters & Unicode

The following table shows the complete list of Pashto letters in correct alphabetical order. The list also includes letters of Arabic and Farsi languages, so that correct sorting order of all the letters could be identified if a list or a document contains words of all three languages, which is common in Islamic books written in Pashto.

Letters that are marked red are part of the Pashto alifba or alphabet.

Alphabet Roman[3] Unicode Name [4] پښتو نوم


Pashto Name Unicode [6]
ā Arabic Letter Alef with Madda above الف مد alif mad U+0622
ā Arabic Letter Alef الف alif U+0627
ā Arabic Letter Alef with Hamza above U+0623
ā Arabic Letter Alef Wasla U+0671
ā Arabic Letter Alef with Hamza below U+0625
ā Arabic Letter Hamza همزه hamza U+0621
b Arabic Letter Beh ﺑﯥ beh U+0628
p Arabic Letter Peh پې peh U+067E
ت t Arabic Letter Teh تې tay U+062A
ټ Arabic Letter Teh with ring ټې ṯay U+067C
ث Arabic Letter Theh ثې s̄ay U+062B
ج j Arabic Letter Jeem جيم jeem U+062C
ځ dz Arabic Letter Hah with hamza above ځيم dzeem U+0681
چ ch Arabic Letter Tcheh چې chay U+0686
څ ts Arabic Letter Hah with three dots above څې tsay U+0685
ح Arabic Letter Hah حې hay U+062D
خ kh Arabic Letter Khah خې khay U+062E
د d Arabic Letter Dal دال dal U+062F
ډ Arabic Letter Dal with ring ډال ḏal U+0689
ذ z Arabic Letter Thal ذال zal U+0630
ر r Arabic Letter Reh رې ray U+0631
ړ Arabic Letter Reh with ring ړې ṟay U+0693
ز z Arabic Letter Zain زې zay U+0623
ژ zh Arabic Letter Jeh ژې zhay U+0698
ږ ẕẖ Arabic Letter Reh with dot below & dot above ږې gey/zhey U+0696
س s Arabic Letter Seen سين seen U+0633
ش sh Arabic Letter Sheen شين sheen U+0634
ښ sẖ Arabic Letter Seen with dot below & dot above ښين sẖeen/Scheen U+069A
ص ş Arabic Letter Sad صاد şaad U+0635
ض Arabic Letter Dad ضاد ẕaad U+0636
ط ţ Arabic Letter Tah طوی ţoy U+0637
ظ Arabic Letter Zah ظوی ẓoy U+0638
ع Arabic Letter Ain عين ‘in U+0639
غ gh Arabic Letter Ghain غين ghain U+063A
ف f Arabic Letter Feh فې fay U+0641
ق q Arabic Letter Qaf قاف qaf U+0642
ک k Arabic Letter Keheh کاف kaf U+06A9
ك k Arabic Letter Kaf کاف kaf U+0643
ګ g Arabic Letter Keheh with ring ګاف gaf U+06AB
گ g Arabic Letter Gaf ګاف gaf U+06AF
ل l Arabic Letter Lam لام lam U+0644
م m Arabic Letter Meem ميم meem U+0645
ن n Arabic Letter Noon نون noon U+0646
ڼ Arabic Letter Noon with ring نوڼ nooṉ U+06BC
و w Arabic Letter Wow واو wow U+0648
ه h Arabic Letter Heh هې hay U+0647
h Arabic Letter Teh Marbuta ګردې تې gardai tay U+0629
ی y Arabic Letter Farsi Yeh يې yay U+06CC
ي y Arabic Letter Yeh سخته يې sakhta yay U+064A
ې y Arabic Letter E پسته يې / اوږده يې pasta yay U+06D0
ۍ y Arabic Letter Yeh with tail ښځينه يې sẖadzina/schazina yay U+06CD
y Arabic Letter Yeh with hamza above فعليه يې / مصدر يې feliya/masdar yay U+0626

Pashto Numberals

Pashto uses a variant of Eastern Arabic numeral system. The difference between The Eastern Arabic numeral system or generally called Arabic numeral in Middle East and the Afghan or Pashto numeral is in the numbers 4, 5 & 6. The first table contains all the numbers from 0-9 (and 10) with their names in Pashto language and the second table is for the comparison of Arabic and Pashto numberals.

Western Arabic Pashto Pashto Name پښتو نوم
0 ۰ sifr صفر
1 ۱ yaw يو
2 ۲ dwa دوه
3 ۳ dre دری
4 ۴ tsalor څلور
5 ۵ pendze پنځه
6 ۶ shpag / shpazh شپږ
7 ۷ owe اووه
8 ۸ ateh اته
9 ۹ neh نه
10 ۱۰ las لس
Western Arabic 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Eastern Arabic ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ٤ ٥ ٦ ۷ ۸ ۹
Pashto ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ۴ ۵ ۶ ۷ ۸ ۹


  1. A Profile of Arabic Languages by Basis Technology
  2. Dawn News
  3. Pashto Romanization
  4. Unicode Arabic Chart
  5. Pashto Alifba by Said Marjan Zazai (Afghan Wiki)
  6. Unicode Arabic Chart