Pakol (Urdu:پاکول) is woolen and soft round-topped men’s hat, and found in any of a variety of earthy colors: brown, black, grey, ivory or dyed red using walnut. According to some historians and ethnographers, Pakol originated from Chitral. The woolen cap has been the staple headgear of the Chitrali people for centuries. The main source of production is Chitral in Pakistan which is also located at the center of its range. It is also worn in some regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, Dir in Pakistan, and also by Afghans such as Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Nuristani, as well as parts of northern India, such as Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir. according to this, Pakol is kind of related to Balti cap in terms of form and origin.
The pakol owes its global celebrity to the Tajik-majority members of the Jamiat-e Islami-ye Afghanistan, and in particular to the Shura-e Nezar group with its core Panjshiri mujahedin who, following their leader Ahmad Shah Massud, first adopted it as a standard item of their outfit.
Because of this, several authors, some even deeply acquainted with Afghanistan, have sometimes condoned definitions like “Tajik hat” or “Panjshiri hat”. it could be termed by the same right, “Eastern Pashtun hat” or “Pashai hat”, while labels like “Nuristani hat” or even better, “Chitrali hat”, would come closer to the historical truth. In any case, pakols are now using by countless tribes and ethnic groups such as Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Pamiri, Aimaq, and French, among the rest.
Looking at Hellenistic coins, statues, or frescoes found from Italy to India, hats similar to pakol were a relatively common sight on the heads of Macedonians. Pictures of the ancient headgear (also see our illustration for this dispatch) called kausia bear, in fact, a striking resemblance to the modern pakol, most likely rendering the pakol a legacy of that crazy ride to the East that Alexander the Great undertook out of ambition or boredom in the 4th century BC.
- Main Article: Afghanistan: the Land of a Thousand Hats