The independence of Pakistan in 1947 led to the divisions of the Punjab Province of British India into two new provinces. The largely Sikh and HinduEast Punjab became part of the new nation of India while the largely Muslim West Punjab became part of the new nation of Pakistan. The name of the province was shortened to Punjab 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 Province.
At independence there was a Muslim majority in West Punjab with significant minorities of Hindus and Sikhs. Nearly all of these minorities fled West Punjab for India, to be replaced by large numbers of Muslims leaving 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 MultanDera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur division and "North Lahnda" now known as Potwari spoken in Rawalpindi division and "Western Lahnda" now known as Hindko spoken in the regions bordering Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Today the term Western Punjab is used in Pakistan to describe the whole part of Pakistan's Punjab province except the Lahore/Central Region, while in India it is often used to refer to the entire Pakistani Punjab.