North-West Frontier Province (1901–2010)

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North-West Frontier Province
شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت
Province of Pakistan
Sikh Empire flag.jpg
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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa flag.png
Flag of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.svg Flag
Location of NWFP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.svg
Location of NWFP
Location of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within Pakistan
  Established9 November 1901
   Renamed to Khyber Pakthunkhwa 19 April 2010
  190170,709 km2(27,301 sq mi)
Density 431.7 /km2  (1,118 /sq mi)
Today part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
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Former administrative units of Pakistan

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP; Pashto : شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت) was a province of British India and later of Pakistan. It was established in 1901 and known by this name until 2010. The area became Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 19 April 2010 when the Eighteenth Amendment was signed by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as North-West Frontier Province, is one of the four administrative provinces of Pakistan, located in the northwestern region of the country along the international border with Afghanistan.

The Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on April 8, 2010, removing the power of the President of Pakistan to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic, and renaming North-West Frontier Province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The package was intended to counter the sweeping powers amassed by the Presidency under former Presidents General Pervez Musharraf and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and to ease political instability in Pakistan. The bill reversed many infringements on the Constitution of Pakistan over several decades by its military rulers. The amendment bill was passed by the Senate of Pakistan on April 15, 2010 and it became an act of parliament when President Asif Ali Zardari put his signature on the bill on April 19, 2010. It was the first time in Pakistan's history that a president relinquished a significant part of his powers willingly and transferred them to parliament and the office of the prime minister Pakistan.


The province covered an area of 70,709 km², including much of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but excluding the princely states of Amb, Chitral, Dir, Phulra and Swat. The capital was the city of Peshawar, and the province was composed of three divisions (Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Malakand). Until 1947, the province was bordered by five princely states to the north, the minor states of the Gilgit Agency to the northeast, the province of West Punjab to the east and the province of Balochistan to the south. Afghanistan lay to the northwest, with the tribal agencies forming a buffer zone.

Princely state Type of vassal state in British India

A princely state, also called native state, feudatory state or Indian state, was a vassal state under a local or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the British Raj. Though the history of the princely states of the subcontinent dates from at least the classical period of Indian history, the predominant usage of the term princely state specifically refers to a semi-sovereign principality on the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by a local ruler, subject to a form of indirect rule on some matters. In actual fact, the imprecise doctrine of paramountcy allowed the government of British India to interfere in the internal affairs of princely states individually or collectively and issue edicts that applied to all of India when it deemed it necessary.

Amb (princely state) princely state of the former British Indian Empire

Amb also known as Fuedal Tanawal was a princely state of the former British Indian Empire ruled over by chiefs of the Tanoli tribe from Pashtun Ghilji descent.. Following Pakistani independence in 1947, and for some months afterwards,The nawabs of Amb remained unaligned. However, at the end of December 1947 he acceded to Pakistan, while retaining internal self-government. Amb continued as a Princely state of Pakistan until 1969, when it was incorporated into the North West Frontier Province.

Chitral (princely state)

Chitral was a princely state in alliance with British India until 1947, then a princely state of Pakistan until 1969. The area of the state now forms the Chitral District of the Malakand Division, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.


In 1749, the Mughal Empire was foced to cede the present day Pakistan, including the North-West Frontier Province, to the Afghan Durrani Empire. [1] Around the 1820s, when Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire based in Lahore, taking advantage of the internal chaos of the Afghan ruling family, annexed the region to his empire.

Durrani Empire Afghan rule from Mashad in Iran to Delhi in India

The Durrani Empire, also called the Sadozai Kingdom, and Afghan Empire, was founded and built by Ahmad Shah Durrani. At its maximum extent, the empire ruled over what are now the modern-day countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, as well as some parts of northeastern Iran, eastern Turkmenistan, and northwestern India including the Kashmir region.

Ranjit Singh founder of Sikh Empire (early 19th century)

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the leader of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the "Maharaja of Punjab" at age 21. His empire grew in the Punjab region under his leadership through 1839.

Sikh Empire Defunct empire in the Indian subcontinent

The Sikh Empire was a major power originating in the Indian subcontinent, formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established a secular empire based in the Punjab. The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls. At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. Religiously diverse, with an estimated population of 3.5 million in 1831, it was the last major region of the Indian subcontinent to be annexed by the British.

Later on, after the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 18481849, when the Punjab came under the control of British East India Company, this region along with the 'Frontier Tribal Areas' acted as a 'buffer' zone with Afghanistan. The Province was formally created in 1901 by the British administration, out of the North-Westerly areas of the originally Pashtun lands which were merged with old Punjab, initially under a Chief Commissioner, and then a full-fledged Governor beginning circa 1938.

Second Anglo-Sikh War conflict

The Second Anglo-Sikh War was a military conflict between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company that took place in 1848 and 1849. It resulted in the fall of the Sikh Empire, and the annexation of the Punjab and what subsequently became the North-West Frontier Province, by the East India Company.

Pashtunistan Region

Pashtūnistān is the geographic historical region inhabited by the indigenous Pashtun people of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, wherein Pashtun culture, language, and national identity have been based. Alternative names historically used for the region include "Pashtūnkhwā" (پښتونخوا), "Rōh" (روه) [citation needed] and "Afghānistān" (افغانستان), since at least the 3rd century CE onward. Pashtunistan borders Punjab to the east, Persian and Turkic-speaking regions to the west and north, Kashmir to the northeast, and Balochistan to the south.

Before the Partition of India, the 1947 North-West Frontier Province referendum was held in July 1947 to decide the future of NWFP, in which the people of the province decided in favor of joining Pakistan. However, the then Chief Minister Dr Khan Sahib, along with his brother Bacha Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars, boycotted the referendum, citing that it did not have the options of the NWFP becoming independent or joining Afghanistan. [2] [3] The NWFP province lasted until 1955 when it was merged into the new province of West Pakistan, under the One Unit policy announced by Prime Minister Chaudhry Mohammad Ali. Mianwali and Attock were removed from it and merged with Punjab. It was recreated after the dissolution of the One Unit system and lasted under its old nomenclature until April 2010, when it was renamed as the 'Khyber Pakhtunkhwa' province.

Partition of India partition of British India into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947

The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 which accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India and Dominion of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and the Punjab, based on district-wise Hindu or Muslim majorities. It also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury, between the two new dominions. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, or Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.

The North-West Frontier Province referendum was held in July 1947 to decide whether the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of British India would join the new country of India or Pakistan upon the Partition of India. The polling began on 6 July and the results were made public on 20 July. According to the official results, out of the 572,798 registered voters in the NWFP, 50.99% took part in the referendum. 289,244 (99.02%) votes were cast in favor of Pakistan and 2,874 (0.98%) in favor of India, although the turnout was low.

Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan Figure of the Indian Independence Movement and Pakistani politician

Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan, popularly known as Dr. Khan Sahib, was a pioneer in the Indian Independence Movement and a Pakistani politician. He was the elder brother of the Pashtun independence activist Bacha Khan.


At independence there was a clear Muslim Pashtun majority in then North-West Frontier Province, although there were some small minorities of Hindus and Sikhs. The languages of the North-West Frontier Province included Pashto, Hindko, Kohistani and others, although most of the population spoke Pashto. Prior to the arrival of the British, the official language , for governmental uses and such, was Persian.

An official language, also called state language, is a language given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a country's official language refers to the language used in government. The term "official language" does not typically refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government, as "the means of expression of a people cannot be changed by any law".


The offices of Governor and Chief Minister of the North-West Frontier Province lasted until 14 October 1955.

TenureGovernors of the North-West Frontier Province [4]
14 August 1947 – 8 April 1948 Sir George Cunningham
8 April 1948 – 16 July 1949 Sir Ambrose Dundas Flux Dundas
16 July 1949 – 14 January 1950 Sahibzada Mohammad Kursheed
14 January 1950 – 21 February 1950 Mohammad Ibrahim Khan Jhagra (acting)
21 February 1950 – 23 November 1951 Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar
24 November 1951 – 17 November 1954 Khwaja Shahabuddin
17 November 1954 – 14 October 1955Qurban Ali Khan
14 October 1955North-West Frontier Province dissolved
TenureChief Ministers of the North-West Frontier Province [4] Political party
1 April 1937 – 7 September 1937Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan Non-party government nominee
7 September 1937 – 10 November 1939 Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (1st time) Indian National Congress
10 November 1939 – 25 May 1943Governor's rule
25 May 1943 – 16 March 1945Sardar Aurangzeb Khan Muslim League
16 March 1945 – 22 August 1947 Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (2nd time)Indian National Congress
14 August 1947Independence of Pakistan
23 August 1947 – 23 April 1953 Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri Pakistan Muslim League
23 April 1953 – 18 July 1955 Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
19 July 1955 – 14 October 1955 Sardar Bahadur Khan

See also

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  1. Meredith L. Runion The History of Afghanistan pp 69 Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 ISBN   0313337985
  2. The Dust of Empire: The Race For Mastery In The Asian Heartland – Karl E. Meyer – Google Boeken. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  3. "Was Jinnah democratic? — II". Daily Times. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  4. 1 2 Ben Cahoon, "Pakistan Provinces" . Retrieved 3 October 2007.