Khan was born in Lahore on 5 October 1952. Some reports suggest he was born on 25 November 1952. It was reported that 25 November was wrongly mentioned by Pakistan Cricket Board officials on his passport. He is the only son of Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, and his wife Shaukat Khanum, and has four sisters. Long settled in Mianwali in northwestern Punjab, his paternal family are of Pashtun ethnicity and belong to the Niazi tribe, and one of his ancestors, Haibat Khan Niazi, in the 16th century, "was one of Sher Shah Suri's leading generals, as well as being the governor of Punjab. " Khan's mother hailed from the Pashtun tribe of Burki, which had produced several successful cricketers in Pakistan's history, including his cousins Javed Burki and Majid Khan. Maternally, Khan is also a descendant of the Sufi warrior-poet and inventor of the Pashto alphabet, Pir Roshan, who hailed from his maternal family's ancestral Kaniguram town located in South Waziristan in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan.  His maternal family was based in Basti Danishmanda, Jalandhar, India for about 600 years.