North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) (Urdu: śhumāl maġribī sarhadī sūbha )
(other informal names include Sarhad, Frontier
Afghania, Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtunistan and Pakhtunistan) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan.
NWFP the majority of the population are Pashtuns
, locally referred to as Pakhtuns
and other smaller ethnic groups.
province which was founded on April 26, 1902 at Shahi Bagh Garden Function in Peshawar at the
instigation of Lord Curzon, the first
Chief Executive of the province. NWFP was formed from
the areas annexed from Emirate of Afghanistan who termed it a temporary measure, after the
Durand Line Agreement was made
on 12 November 1893 at Parachinar. It is now separated and is part of the
Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (FATA) as a result of a Royal Commission set up by
the Afghan Emirate and the British East India
borders Afghanistan to the northwest, the Gilgit-Baltistan to the northeast, Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the east, FATA to the west and south, and
Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory to the southeast.
The principal language is Pashto
(locally referred to as Pakhto
) and the provincial capital
is Peshawar (locally referred to as Pekhawar
Government of Pakistan led by the Pakistan Peoples Party
and Awami National Party
, to accommodate a
demand by the Awami National
, proposed the province’s name be changed to Pakhtunkhwa
The NWFP is largely located along the peripheral junction between
the South Asia
and the Eurasian plate
, and this has led to seismic
activity in the past (see Kashmir Quake
). Area wise, it is equal
to the size of New
Pass links the province to Afghanistan, while the
Bridge in Circle
Bakote is a major crossing point over the Jhelum River in the east.
province has an area of 28,773 mi² or
(74,521 km²) and its districts
include Hazara Division, home to the
town of Havelian, the western starting point of the Karakoram
The NWFP is divided into three administrative regions areas:
Settled Areas of NWFP, the Tribal Areas of PATA, and the Tribal
Areas of Frontier Regions
are five Frontier Regions in NWFP.
province's main districts are Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Bannu, Abbottabad and Mansehra. Peshawar and Mardan are the main
The region varies in topography from dry rocky areas in the south
to forests and green plains in the north. The climate can be
extreme with intensely hot summers to freezing cold winters.
Despite these extremes in weather, agriculture remains important
and viable in the area.
terrain of Swat, Kalam, Upper Dir, Naran and Kaghan is renowned
for its beauty and attracts a great many tourists from neighbouring
regions and from around the world. Swat-Kalam is also
termed 'a piece of Switzerland' as there are many landscape similarities between
it and the mountainous terrain of Switzerland.
According to the 1998 census, the population of NWFP was
approximately 17 million, of whom 52% are males and 48% are
females. The density of population is 187 per km² and the
intercensal change of population is of about 30%. Geographically the
province could be divided into two zones: the northern one
extending from the ranges of the Hindu Kush to the borders of Peshawar basin, and the southern
one extending from Peshawar to the Derajat basin.
The northern zone is cold and snowy in winters with heavy rainfall
and pleasant summers with the exception of Peshawar basin, which is
hot in summer and cold in winter. It has moderate rainfall. The
southern zone is arid with hot summers and relatively cold winters
and scantly rainfall.
Its climate varies from very cold (Chitral in the north) to very
hot in places like D.I. Khan. The major rivers that criss-cross the
province are Kabul River, Swat River, Chitral River, Panjgora
River, Bara River, Karam River, Gomal River and Zob River.
Its snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys of unusual beauty have
enormous potential for tourism .
Flora and fauna
of NWFP varies immensely for a
region of its size, most of the many climate types found in
Pakistan. The province stretching southwards from the
Baroghil Pass in the Hindu Kush covers almost six degrees of latitude, it is mainly
a mountainous region.
Dera Ismail Khan is one of the hottest
places in the South Asia while in the mountains to the north the
weather is temperate in the summer and intensely cold in the
winter. The air generally very dry and consequently the daily and
annual range of temperature range is quite large.
north, comprising Chitral District, has a typically continental steppe climate, with
average annual precipitation ranging from
100 mm (4 inches) per year in the far north to
585 mm (23 inches) in Drosh in the south.
this precipitation from frontal cloudbands during the winter and
in the spring. Of
Chitral's average 420 mm (16.5 inches) of rainfall per
year, 350 mm (13.8 inches) falls from December to
At high elevations in the Hindukush, snowfall
can be much heavier than this and consequently large glaciers
are a prominent feature of the landscape.
cuts off even Chitral town from the outside world for most of the
Temperatures in the valleys vary from 40 °C (105 °F)
in July to as low as -10 °C (15 °F) in January. In the previous few
years flooding has created problems in Mastuj tehsil
Dir, Swat and Hazara
south, in the districts of Dir, Swat and Hazara, the climate becomes more typical of
the South Asia, although a considerable proportion of the annual
precipitation still comes from frontal cloudbands during the winter
The combination of a short but powerful (owing to orography) summer
monsoon with frequent winter cloudbands gives a bimodal rainfall
regime in central parts of NWFP. Dir and Hazara districts are some
of the wettest places in Pakistan: annual rainfall at Dir averages
1475 mm (58 inches), of which 400 mm
(15.75 inches) falls during the summer monsoon from July to
September and twice that amount during the winter rainy season from
December to April.
Abbottabad further east, the annual rainfall averages about
1195 mm (47 inches), but as much as 635 mm
(25 inches) falls during the south-west monsoon.
Swat, rather more sheltered, the annual rainfall averages around
840 mm (33 inches), with about 430 mm
(17 inches) expected between June and September. A similar climate to
that of Dir, though drier, prevails in a small area around Parachinar in the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas.
In all areas October and November are the driest months with
rainfalls generally under 30 mm (1.2 inches) per month
except in the most exposed areas.
Temperatures in this region are somewhat
warmer than in Chitral, and even at in Abbottabad the heat and humidity
can be oppressive during the monsoon season.
In winter, most
of Swat receives significant snowfall, but in Hazara temperatures
usually are around 5 °C (41 °F).
This region, south of the Himalaya/Hindukush foothills, has the
typically hot and dry climate of much of Pakistan. Temperatures in
summer are quite oppressively hot, and in the south around Mardan
temperatures of 45 °C (113 °F) are not un common, whilst in
Peshawar 40 °C (104 °F) is par for the course in summer.
In winter, however, this region is both warmer and generally drier
than the rest of NWFP, with temperatures being around 17 °C (62 °F)
in Peshawar and over 20 °C (68 °F) in the extreme south of the
province. Nights, however, can still be quite cold during the
Southern NWFP experiences little (and very erratic) monsoonal rain,
with Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan both averaging around 115&
nbsp;mm (4.5 inches) of rain in July and August and almost
nothing in June or September. Moreover, in many years no summer
rain of significance occurs.
In winter, rainfall usually peaks in March but Peshawar averages
less than 250 mm (10 inches) between December and May and
Dera Ismail Khan less than 115 mm (4.5 inches).
certain mountain slopes such as around Kohat, winter
rainfall may predominate, though this is
The province has an estimated population of roughly 21 million that
does not include the almost 1.5 million Afghan refugees
and their descendants in the
province. The largest ethnic group are the Pashtuns
who form about two-thirds of the
is the most pervasive
language while Hindko
is the second most
commonly spoken indigenous language. Pashto is predominant in
western and southern NWFP and is the main language in most cities
and towns including Peshawar.
Hindkowans are most common in eastern NWFP, the
Hazara Division, and especially in
the cities of Abbottabad, Mansehra, and Haripur.
Saraiki and Balochi-speakers live in the southeast of
the province mainly in Dera Ismail Khan District.
Bilingualism and trilingualism is common
with Pashto and Urdu being the primary other languages
In most rural areas of the centre and south various Pashtun tribes
can be found including the Yusufzai
as well as numerous other
Further north, the prominent Pashtun tribes are, Swati
are various non-Pashtun tribes including Awan
, Gujjar. The Awan are believed to be of
Arabic origin and are recognisably different from the rest of
Pashtun and non-Pushtun majority.
mountainous extreme north includes Chitral District which is home to diverse Dardic ethnic groups such as the
Kalasha and Kalami.
In addition, Afghan refugees
although predominantly Pashtun (including the Ghilzai
include hundreds of thousands of Persian
as well as other smaller groups found
throughout the province.
Nearly all of the inhabitants of the NWFP are Muslim
with a Sunni
significant minority of Shias
. Many of the Kalasha
of Southern Chitral still retain
their ancient Animist
Since ancient times the region numerous groups have invaded the
NWFP including the Persians
, and the British
Between 2000 and 1500 BC, the Aryans split off into an Iranian branch
, represented by the
who came to dominate most of the
region, an Indo-Aryan
represented by the Hindkowans
populated much of the region before the time of the Pashtuns
and various Dardic
peoples who came to populate much of
the north. Earlier pre-Aryan inhabitants include the Burusho
of Peshawar was home to the Kingdom of Gandhara from around the 6th century BC and later
ancient Peshawar became a capital of the Kushan Empire.
The region was visited
by such notable historical figures as Darius
, Alexander the Great
Hiuen Tsang, Fa Hien, Marco Polo
others.According to the Mahabharatha
(an Indian epic dating to 3000 BC), the Gandhara kingdom had its
capital at today's Kandahar in Afghanistan. The place of Shakuni ;
Maternal Uncle of Kauravas and their mother Gandhari's Land.
Following the Mauryan
conquest of the
became a major faith, at
least in urban centres, as attested by recent archaeological and
hermeneutic evidence. Kanishka
, a prominent
ruler was one of the prominent
Rural areas retained numerous Shamanistic
faiths as evident with the Kalash
and other groups. The roots of Pashtunwali
or the traditional code of honour
followed by the Pashtuns is also believed to have Pre-Islamic
Persian invasions left small pockets of Zoroastrians
and, later, a ruling Hindu
elite established itself briefly during the
The Shahi era
During the early 1st millennium
prior to the rise of Islam
NWFP was ruled by the Shahi kings. The early Shahis were Afghan
Buddhist rulers and reigned over the
area until 870 CE when they were overthrown and then later
Chinese monk Xuanzang visited the region
early in the 7th century CE, the Kabul valley region was still
ruled by affiliates of the Shahi kings, who is identified as the
Shahi Khingal, and whose name has been found in an inscription
found in Gardez.
While the early Shahis were Irano-Afghan
and Hindus Kabulistani
in origin, the later Shahi kings of
Kabul and Gandhara may have had links to some ruling families in
neighbouring Kashmir and the Punjab. The Hindu Shahis are believed
to have been a ruling elite of a predominantly Buddhist, Zoroastrian
and shamanistic population and were
thus patrons of numerous faiths, and various artefacts and coins
from their rule have been found that display their multicultural
The last Shahi rulers were eventually wiped out by tribes led by
Mahmud of Ghazni
who arrived from
Afghanistan early in the 11th century.
Arrival of Islam
remained prominent in the region until
conquered the area before the 2nd
millennium CE. Over the centuries local Pashtun and Dardic tribes
converted to Islam, while retaining some local traditions (albeit
altered by Islam) such as Pashtunwali
the Pashtun code of honour.
During 963–1187 AD, NWFP became part of larger Islamic empires
including the Ghaznavid Empire
headed by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni
and the empire of Muhammad of Ghor
Included Afghanistan extending up to Punjab and India Subcontinent
and with its capital at Lahore.
Later it was controlled by the Afghan Pashtun Muslims of the
. The "Delhi
Sultanate" refers to the many Muslim
that ruled the India
from 1206 to
dynasties ruled from Delhi Capital
instead of Lahore : the Mamluk
(1206-90), the Khilji
(1290-1320), the Tughlaq
(1320-1413), the Sayyid
(1414-51), and the Lodhi
In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate was absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire
and the Ilkhanate
Empire of the Mongols
, coming from Great Genghis Khan
and his grandsons like Babur
Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists,
architects, teachers, theologians and sufis
flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the region and Islam
flourished because of these Northern Afghan and Central Asian
Mughal Afghan Sikh and British maintain nominal control
The area formed part of the Durrani
founded by Ahmad Shah
in 1747. Ahmed Shah Durrani was born in Multan which was at
that time part of Afghanistan. The empire included Bahwalpur, Kashmir, Gilgit, Hazara with its main city Haripur. Under tAhmed Shah Durrani and later his son
Timur Shah, who ruled from Lahore and
Multan, but later shifted it back to Kandahar.
was an important borderland that was often contested by the
Mughals and Safavids
During the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb
, the NWFP required formidable military
forces to control and the emergence of Pashtun
nationalism, who opposed Mughals who had
conquered most of North India. A leading force in inspiring Pashtun
miltancy was the local warrier poet Khushal Khan Khattak
who united some of
the tribes against the various empires around the region.
As the Mughal
had lost control by
1757, the NWFP came under the control of the Amir of Afghanistan
Ahmed Shah Abdali
The Sikh Empire
, 1801-1849, under
ruled parts of the NWFP
province until the British took over during the Anglo Sikh war of
1849. However total control was never established.
The British Raj and birth of NWFP from annexed Afghanistan
areas after the Durand Line Agreement
The British, who had captured most of rest of the Indian subcontinent
problems, faced a number of difficulties here. The first war with
resulted in a
devastating defeat, with just one Dr. William Brydon
coming back alive (out of a
total of 14,800-21,000 people). This happened during the First Anglo-Afghan War
of 1849 and
later the Second Anglo-Afghan
of 1876. The Third
of 1919, was also a continuation of the fight
for Reclaiming Areas of NWFP and claiming independence from British
occupation efforts which the Afghans
or the Pashtuns resisted
with greatest zeal and effort to remain as independent
Unable to enforce their rule in the region, the British changed
their tactics and played a game of divide and rule
. The use of religion and
installing puppet Pashtun rulers and dividing the Pashtuns through
artificially created regions and ruling indirectly to reduce the
chance of confrontation between Pashtuns and the British.
the smallest size province Pushtoons were divided into Provincially Administered
Tribal Areas (PATA), Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Frontier
Regions (FR) and Settled Areas of NWFP and Baluchistan.
NWFP was restricted to five
Occasional Pashtun resistance and attacks
did take place on British in NWFP, including the Siege of
Malakand and Swat, both
well documented by Winston
Churchill who was a war correspondent at the time.
of conflicts known as the Anglo-Afghan
Wars during the imperialist Great
Game, wars between the British and Russian governments, led to the eventual dismemberment of
Afghanistan into NWFP, Baluchistan and Khurasan.
and rule policy and the annexation of NWFP and Baluchistan region
led to the demarcation of the Durand Line and administration as
part of British South Asia.
The Durand line is a poorly marked border between Afghanistan and
Pakistan. After fighting in two wars against Afghans, the British
succeeded in 1893 in imposing the Durand line, dividing Afghanistan
from the NWFP, Baluchistan, FR regions, FATA which were
incorporated into what was then British
. It was agreed upon by representatives of both
The international boundary line separating two countries was named
after Sir Mortimer Durand
secretary of the British colonial government, who in 1893 had
negotiated with Abdur Rahman Khan
of Afghanistan, on the frontier
between modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan.
annexed from Afghanistan were the FATA, NWFP and Balochistan
provinces of Pakistan, the successor state of British India and the
successor Iranian state of Khorasan.
In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand was sent to Kabul by the government of
British India for the purpose of settling an exchange of territory
required by the demarcation of the boundary between northeastern
Afghanistan, Iran and the Russian possessions.
The Amir showed ability in diplomatic argument, his tenacity where
his own views or claims were in debate, with a sure underlying
insight into the real situation. The territorial exchanges were
amicably agreed upon; the relations between the British Indian and
Afghan governments, as previously arranged, were confirmed; and an
understanding was reached upon the important and difficult subject
of the border line of Afghanistan on the east, towards India.
British side the camp was attended by Sir Mortimer Durand and
Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum the,
for the Khyber
Afghanistan was represented by Sahibzada Abdul Latif
and the Governor
Sardar Shireendil Khan
representing the King Amir Abdur Rahman Khan.
While the Afghan side greatly resented the border and viewed it as
a temporary development, the British viewed it as being a permanent
settlement. The NWFP Province was formed on November 9, 1901, as a
province, the Chief Commissioner was the chief executive of the
He ran the administration with the help of his principal advisers
and Civil servants
better known as
judicial and Revenue Commissioners.
formal inauguration of the province took place five and half months
later, at Shahi Bagh on April 26, 1902, on the occasion of the
historical Darbar in the Shahi Bagh (Kings Garden) in the capital town of
It was held by Lord Curzon
the Governor of the NWFP. The province then was comprised of only
five districts after dividing Annexed areas from Afghanistan into
FATA, Frontier Regions and the NWFP and Southern Punjab
districts were Peshawar
District, Hazara District,
District, Bannu District and the Dera Ismail
The first Chief
Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province
was Harold Deane
. He was known as a strong
administrator and he was succeeded by Ross-Keppel
, in 1908, whose contribution
as a political officer was widely known amongst the tribal/frontier
The NWFP was raised to a full-fledged governor-ruled province in
1931 in accordance with the demand by the Round Table Conference
in 1931. It was agreed upon in the conference that the NWFP would
be raised to a governor-ruled province with its own Legislative Council
. Sir Ralph Griffith
the first Governor in 1932 (having succeeded Stuart Pearks
as Chief Commissioner in
Therefore, on January 25, 1932, the Viceroy
inaugurated the first NWFP
Legislative Council. The first provincial elections were held in
1937 and the independent candidate and noted British loyal civil
servant Sahibzada Abdul
was elected as the province's first Chief Minister
During the early 20th century the so-called Red Shirts led by
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
agitated through Non-violence for the rights of Pakhtun
independence, the NWFP voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in 1947.
Afghanistan's loya jirga
declared the Durand Line invalid, which led to border tensions with
During the 1950s, Afghanistan supported a secessionist movement
called that failed to gain substantial support amongst the tribes
of the NWFP known as the Pashtunistan
President Ayub Khan eliminated Pakistan's
provinces, President Yahya Khan, in 1969,
abolished this "one unit" scheme and added Amb, Swat, Dir, Chitral and Kohistan to the new NWFP as PATA.
The Pashtunistan issue kept Pakistan and Afghanistan at odds for
decades until the Soviet
Invasion of Afghanistan
in 1979. Following the invasion over
five million Afghan refugees poured into Pakistan, most residing in
the NWFP (as of 2007 nearly 3 million remain).
Afghan jihad and war with Russia
the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the NWFP, the PATA and FATA
served as a major base for supplying the Mujahideen who fought the Soviet during the
The NWFP remained heavily influenced by events in Afghanistan and
the civil war led to the rise of the Taliban
, which had emerged in the border region
between Afghanistan, Baluchistan, PATA and FATA as a formidable
political force that nearly took-over all of Afghanistan. Following
the terrorist attacks of September
, the FATA and bordering NWFP became a frontline region
again as part of the global War on
District map of NWFP and Federally
Administered Tribal Areas.
Assembly of the North-West Frontier Province
is unicameral and
consists of 124 seats of which 2% are reserved for non-Muslims and
17% for women only.
There are 24 districts in NWFP, which are divided into 18 Settled
Area Districts and 6 PATA Districts. The Provincial Administered
Districts are partially controlled by the central government in
Islamabad through President of Pakistan and Governor of NWFP.
The Provincial Assembly of NWFP does not have full authority to
implement and make laws for PATA, without consent of the President
of Pakistan, through Article 247 and 246 of 1973 Constitution which
governs Tribal Areas of PATA and FATA:
NWFP's Dominance- Forestry
NWFP's share of Pakistan's GDP has historically been between 10.5%
to 12.1%. The part of the economy that NWFP dominates is forestry,
where its share has historically ranged from a low of 34.9% to a
high of 81%, giving an average of 61.56%. Currently, NWFP accounts
for 10% of Pakistan's GDP and 20% of Pakistan’s mining
After suffering for decades due to the fallout of the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan, today they are again are being targeted
for totally a different situation of terrorism.
Agriculture remains important and the main cash crops include
wheat, maize, rice, sugar beets, as well as various fruits are
grown in the province.
Some manufacturing and high tech investments in Peshawar has helped
improve job prospects for many locals, while trade in the province
involves nearly every product. The bazaars in the province are
renowned throughout Pakistan. Unemployment has been reduced due to
establishment of industrial zones.
Numerous workshops throughout the province support the manufacture
of small arms and weapons of various types. The province accounts
for at least 78% of the marble
The NWFP continues to have an image problem. Even within Pakistan
it is regarded as a "radical state" due to the rise of Islamist
parties to power in the province and purported support for the
remnants of the Taliban
who are believed by
some to be hiding in the province.
The plagues of sectarianism, terrorism and insurrection have not
been a problem in the North-West Frontier and the local economy has
met with significant gains in spite of hosting millions of Afghan refugees
, many of who have been
integrated into the local society.
The Awami National Party sought to rename the province Pakhtunkhwa
, which translates to "Land of
Pakhtuns" in the Pashto language
This has been opposed by some of the non-Pashtuns, and especially
from Parties Like Pakistan
(PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
PML-N derives its support in the province from primarily
The MMA, who until the elections of 2008, had a majority in the
NWFP government, proposed Afghania
as a compromise name.
been suggested that the religious parties' power-bases in Punjab, are a central reason for opposing an
ethnically-based alternative name for NWFP.
After the 2008 general
, the Awami National
(ANP) formed a coalition provincial government with the
Pakistan Peoples Party
is supporting the PPP government in the centre and other
strongholds of ANP are in the Pashtun areas of Pakistan,
particularly in the Peshawar valley of the NWFP, while Karachi hosts one of the largest Pashtun populations in the
world with 3.5 million Pastuns live in Karachi.
In the 2008
election, the ANP won two Sindh assembly seats in
The ANP has been instrumental in fighting the Taliban
who are by-products of religious parties
Pashto folk music is popular in NWFP and has a rich tradition going
back hundreds of years. The main instruments are the Rubab, mangey
Khowar folk music is popular in Chitral and northern Swat. The
tunes of Khowar music are very different from those of Pashto and
the main instrument is the Chitrali Sitar.
A form of band music composed of clarinets (surnai) and drums is
popular in Chitral. It is played at polo matches and dances.
form of band music is also played in the neighbouring Northern
The trend towards higher education is rapidly increasing in the
province and the NWFP is home to Pakistan's foremost engineering
university (Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute), which is located in Topi,
a town in Swabi district. The University of Peshawar
is also a
notable institution of higher learning. The Frontier Post
is perhaps the province's
best-known newspaper and addresses many of the various issues
facing the local population.
This is a chart of the education market of North-West Frontier
by the government in 1998. Also see
|BA, BSc… degrees
|MA, MSc… degrees
Major universities and colleges
Front view of the Islamia College,