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West Punjab was a former province of Pakistanmarker which existed from 1947 to 1955. The province covered an area of 160,622 kmĀ², including much of the current Punjabmarker province and the Islamabad Capital Territorymarker, but excluding the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The capital was the city of Lahoremarker and the province was composed of four divisions (Lahoremarker, Sargodhamarker, Multanmarker and Rawalpindimarker). The province was bordered by the Indian states of Punjabmarker and Jammu and Kashmirmarker to the east, the princely state of Bahawalpur to the south, the provinces of Balochistanmarker and Sindhmarker to the southwest, the North-West Frontier Provincemarker to the northwest, and Azad Kashmirmarker to the northeast.


The independence of Pakistan in 1947 led to the divisions of the Punjab province into two new provinces. The largely Sikh and Hindu East Punjab became part of the new nation of Indiamarker while the largely Muslim West Punjab became part of the new nation of Pakistan. The name of the province was shortened to Punjabmarker in 1950. West Punjab was merged into the province of West Pakistan in 1955 under the One Unit policy announced by Prime Minister Chaudhry Mohammad Ali. When that province was dissolved, the area of the former province of West Punjab was combined with the former state of Bahawalpur to form a new Punjab Provincemarker.


At independence there was a Muslim majority in West Punjab with significant minorities of Hindus and Sikhs. Nearly all of these minorities left West Punjab for India, to be replaced by large numbers of Muslims fleeing in the opposite direction. The official language of West Punjab was Urdu but most of the population spoke Punjabi using the Shahmukhi script. The linguist George Abraham Grierson in his multivolume Linguistic Survey of India (1904-1928) considered the various dialects up to then called "Western Punjabi", spoken in North, West, and South of Lahore in what is now Pakistani Punjab, as constituting instead a distinct language from Punjabi. (The local dialect of Lahore is the Majhi dialect of Punjabi, which has long been the basis of standard literary Punjabi.) Grierson proposed to name this putative language "Lahnda", and he dubbed as "Southern Lahnda" the coherent dialect cluster now known as Saraiki spoken in Multanmarker Dera Ghazi Khanmarker and Bahawalpurmarker division and "North Lahnda" now known as Potwari spoken in Rawalpindimarker division and "Western Lahnda" now known as Hindko spoken in the regions bordering NWFPmarker..


The offices of Governor of West Punjab and Chief Minister of West Punjab lasted from August 15 1947, until 14th October 1955. The first Governor was Sir Francis Mudie with Iftikhar Hussain Khan as the first Chief Minister. Both offices were abolished in 1955, when the province of West Pakistan was created. The last Governor of West Punjab, Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani, became the first Governor of West Pakistan.

Tenure Governor of West Punjab
15 August 1947 - 2 August 1949 Sir Francis Mudie
2 August 1949 - 24 November 1951 Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar
24 November 1951 - 2 May 1953 Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar
2 May 1953 - 24 June 1954 Mian Aminuddin
26 September 1954 - 26 November 1954 Habib Ibrahim Rahmatullah
27 November 1954 - 14 October 1955 Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani
14 October 1955 Province of West Punjab dissolved

Tenure Chief Minister of West Punjab Political Party
15 August 1947 - 25 January 1949 Iftikhar Hussain Khan
25 January 1949 - 5 April 1952 Governor's Rule
5 April 1951 - 3 April 1953 Mian Mumtaz Daultana Pakistan Muslim League
3 April 1953 - 21 May 1955 Malik Firoz Khan Nun Pakistan Muslim League
21 May 1955 - 14 October 1955 Abdul Hamid Khan Dasti
14 October 1955 Province of West Punjab dissolved

Contemporary usage

Today the term West Punjab is used in Pakistan to describe the western part of Pakistan's Punjab province, while in India it is often used to refer to Pakistani Punjab.

See also


  1. The political divides within - Dawn
  2. Excavated Sites - Government of Punjab (India)

External links

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