Page semi-protected

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
خیبر پښتونخوا
KP flag
KP logo
Nickname(s): Frontier, Frontier Province, Sarhad
Location of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within Pakistan
Location of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within Pakistan
Coordinates (Peshawar): 34°00′N 71°19′E / 34.00°N 71.32°E / 34.00; 71.32Coordinates: 34°00′N 71°19′E / 34.00°N 71.32°E / 34.00; 71.32
Country  Pakistan
Established 14 August 1947
re-established 1 July 1970
Capital Peshawar
Largest city Peshawar
 • Type Province
 • Body Provincial Assembly
 • Governor Mehtab Ahmad Khan PML(N)
 • Chief Minister Pervez Khattak (PTI)
 • Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan
 • Legislature Unicameral (124 seats)
 • High Court Peshawar High Court
 • Total 74,521 km2 (28,773 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 28,000,000 (estimate)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Area code(s) 9291
ISO 3166 code PK-KP
Assembly seats 124
Districts 26
Union Councils 986

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa abbreviated as KPK (Pashto: خیبر پښتونخوا[pəxtunˈxwɑ]; [ˈpəxˈtuːnxwaː]), formerly known as North-West Frontier Province abbreviated as NWFP, in Urdu Sarhad (means Frontier), is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the northwestern region of the country. Its provincial capital and largest city is Peshawar, followed by Mardan. It shares borders with the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the west; Gilgit–Baltistan to the northeast; Azad Kashmir, Islamabad and Punjab to the east and southeast. Balochistan lies to the southeast. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also shares an international border with the Afghanistan, connected through the Khyber Pass.

It is also the site of the ancient kingdom Gandhara, the ruins of its capital, Pushkalavati, (modern day Charsadda), and the most prominent center of learning in the Peshawar Valley, Takht-i-Bahi. It has been under the suzerainty of the Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Kushans, Shahis, Ghaznavids, Mughals, Sikhs, and British Empire throughout its long history. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the third largest province of Pakistan by the size of both population and economy though it is geographically small. It comprises 10.5% of Pakistan's economy, and is home to 11.9% of Pakistan's total population, with the majority of the province's inhabitants being Pashtuns, Hazarewal, Chitrali, and Kohistani.

Since the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a major theatre of militancy and terrorism which intensified when the Taliban began an unsuccessful attempt to seize the control of the province in 2004. With the launch of Zarb-e-Azb against the Taliban insurgency, the casualty and crime rates in the country as a whole dropped by 40.0% as compared to 2011–13, with even greater drops noted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,[1] despite the province being the site of a large massacre of schoolchildren by terrorists in December 2014.


Early history

The ancient Aryan Migration is believed to have taken place at approximately 2000 CE, when semi-nomadic peoples entered the Gangetic plains of India after having passed modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Khyber Pass.[2]

Standing Buddha, in the style of Gandhara.
Approximate boundaries of the Gandharan Empire, Alexander Army also passed through this area centered on the modern day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan

The Indo-Greek Gandharan civilization, which reached its zenith between the sixth and first centuries BCE, and which features prominently in the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharatha,[3] had one of its cores over the modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

At around 516 BCE., Darius Hystaspes sent Scylax, a Greek seaman from Karyanda, to explore the course of the Indus river. Darius Hystaspes subsequently subdued the races dwelling west of the Indus and north of Kabul. Gandhara was incorporated into the Persian Empire as one of its far easternmost satrapy system of government. The satrapy of Gandhara is recorded to have sent troops for Xerxes' invasion of Greece in 480 BCE.[citation needed]

In the spring of 327 BCE Alexander the Great crossed the Indian Caucasus (Hindu Kush) and advanced to Nicaea, where Omphis, king of Taxila and other chiefs joined him. Alexander then dispatched part of his force through the valley of the Kabul River, while he himself advanced into modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Bajaur and Swat regions with his troops.[3] Having defeated the Aspasians, from whom he took 40,000 prisoners and 230,000 oxen, Alexander crossed the Gouraios (Panjkora River) and entered into the territory of the Assakenoi - also in modern day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Alexander then made Embolima (thought to be the region of Amb in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) his base. The ancient region of Peukelaotis (modern Hashtnagar, 17 miles (27 km) north-west of Peshawar) submitted to the Greek invasion, leading to Nicanor[disambiguation needed], a Macedonian, being appointed satrap of the country west of the Indus, which includes the modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.[4]

After Alexander's death in 323 BCE Porus obtained possession of the region, but was murdered by Eudemus in 317 BCE. Eudemus then left the region, and with his departure Macedonian power collapsed. Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, then declared himself master of the province. His grandson, Ashoka, made Buddhism the dominant religion in ancient Gandhara.[4]

Relics of the Buddha from the ruins of the Kanishka stupa at Peshawar -now in Mandalay, Myanmar.

After Ashoka's death the Mauryan empire collapse, just as in the west the Seleucid power was rising. The Greek princes of neighboring Bactria (in modern Afghanistan) took advantage of the power vacuum to declare their independence. The Bactrian kingdoms were then attacked from the west by the Parthians and from the north (about 139 BCE) by the Sakas, a Central Asian tribe. Local Greek rulers still exercised a feeble and precarious power along the borderland, but the last vestige of Greek dominion was extinguished by the arrival of the Yueh-chi.[4]

The Yueh-Chi were a race of nomads that were themselves forced southwards out of Central Asia by the nomadic Xiongnu people. The Kushan clan of the Yuek Chi seized vast swathes of territory under the rule of Kujula Kadphises. His successors, Vima Takto and Vima Kadphises, conquered the north-western portion of the Indian subcontinent. Vima Kadphises was then succeeded by his son, the legendary king Kanishka, who himself was succeeded by Huvishka, and Vasudeva I.[4] Under the reign of Vasudeva, who abandoned Buddhism in favor of Hinduism, the dominions of the Kushan empire shrank to an area roughly approximating the boundaries of modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Common Era

Asia in 565 CE, showing the Shahi kingdoms, centered on modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

During the early 1st millennium CE, prior to Muslim conquests, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region was ruled by the Shahi dynasty. The early Shahi kings were Buddhist, like their Kushan predecessors prior to the reign of Vasudeva. The later Shahi kings of Kabul and Gandhara were Hindu, and had strong ties to ruling dynasties in neighboring regions of modern Kashmir and Punjab. The Hindu Shahis are believed to have been a ruling elite of a predominantly Buddhist, Hindu and Shamanistic population and were thus patrons of numerous faiths. Various artefacts and coins from their rule have been found that show evidence of their multicultural domain. By the time the Chinese monk Xuanzang visited the region early in the 7th century, the region was ruled by affiliates of the Shahi kings, but was no longer under direct rule of the Shahis, whose efforts were focused on regions to the east of modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Shahi suzerainty continued in the region until 870 CE when local noblemen began to carve out their own fiefdoms largely independent of Shahi control, but nominally subservient to the Shahi dynasty. The remnants of Shahi rule were wiped out by Mahmud of Ghazni after the defeat of Jayapala at the Battle of Peshawar on November 27, 1001.

Muslim Rule

When Ghazni arrived in the region, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Shamanism were the prominent religions. Local Pashtun and Dardic tribes converted to Islam, while retaining some local traditions (albeit altered by Islam) such as Pashtunwali or the Pashtun code of honor. Vestiges of shamanism are still to be found in the Chitral Valley, where the Kalash people still practice their pre-Islamic faith. Between 963 and 1187 CE, the area of modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became part of larger Islamic empires, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975-1187), headed by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, and the empire of Muhammad Shahabuddin Ghauri (reigned 1202–1206). The Ghaznavid domain included large swathes of modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. It was ruled from its capital at Lahore from 1151 to 1186.

Following the collapse of Ghaznavid rule, local Pashtuns of the Delhi Sultanate controlled the region. Several Turkic and Pashtun dynasties ruled from Delhi, having shifted their capital from Lahore to Delhi. Several Muslim dynasties ruled modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the Delhi Sultanate period: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).

Mughal suzerainty over the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region was partially established after Babar, the founder of the Mughal Empire, invaded the region in 1505 CE via the Khyber Pass. He was forced to retreat westwards to Kabul, but returned to defeat Ibrahim Lodi, the last Lodhi king, in 1525 CE The local Pashtun tribesmen quickly pledged loyalty to the Mughal Empire, and largely remained under nominal Mughal rule until the arrival of the Sikhs in the 19th century.

Under the reign of Babar's son, Humayun, direct Mughal rule was briefly challenged with the rise of the Pashtun king, Sher Shah Suri, who began construction of the famous Grand Trunk Road - which links Kabul, Afghanistan with Chittagong, Bangladesh over 2000 miles to the east. Later, local rulers once again pledged loyalty to the Mughal emperor. Mughal rule over the region was again interrupted by the invasion of Persia's Nadir Shah, who in 1739 sacked the Mughal capital at Delhi with the help of Pashtuns from the modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.[citation needed] The area fell subsequently under the rule of Afghans under the Durrani Empire. Muslim rule was interrupted by a brief invasion of the Hindu Marathas, who established a tenuous rule over the region from 1758 following the 1758 battle of Peshawar. Durrani rule was re-established eleven months later in 1759, and lasted until 1818 when the Sikhs invaded the region under the command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Sikh Rule

Sikhs continue to rule the region for several decades. Sikh rule came to an end after the British East India Company defeated the Sikhs during the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849.

British Raj

Main article: British Raj

British East India Company defeated the Sikhs during the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, and incorporated small parts of the region into the Province of Punjab. While Peshawar was the site of a small mutiny against British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, local Pashtun tribes throughout the region generally remained neutral and supportive of the British as they detested the Sikhs,[2] in contrast to the rest of British India which rose up in revolt against the British. However, British control of parts of the region was routinely challenged by Wazir tribesmen in Waziristan and other Pashtun tribes, who resisted any foreign occupation until the British granted Pakistan its independence. By the late 19th century, the official boundaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region still had not been defined as the region was still claimed by the Kingdom of Afghanistan. It was only in 1893 The British demarcated the boundary with Afghanistan under a treaty agreed to by the Afghan king, Abdur Rahman Khan, following the Second Anglo-Afghan War.[5] Several princely states within the boundaries of the region were allowed to maintain their autonomy under the terms of maintaining friendly ties with the British. As the British war effort during World War One demanded the reallocation of resources from British India to the European war fronts, some tribesmen from Afghanistan crossed the Durand Line in 1917 to attack British posts in an attempt to gain territory and weaken the legitimacy of the border. The validity of the Durand Line, however, was re-affirmed in 1919 by the Afghan government with the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi,[6] which ended the Third Anglo-Afghan War - a war in which Waziri tribesmen allied themselves with the forces of Afghanistan's King Amanullah in their resistance to British rule. The Wazirs and other tribes, taking advantage of instability on the frontier, continued to resist British occupation until 1920 - even after Afghanistan had signed a peace treaty with the British.

British campaigns to subdue tribesmen along the Durand Line, as well as three Anglo-Afghan wars, made travel between Afghanistan and the densely populated heartlands of Khyber Pakhtunkwa increasingly difficult. The two regions were largely isolated from one another from the start of the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878 until the start of World War Two in 1939 when conflict along the Afghan frontier largely dissipated. Concurrently, the British continued their large public works projects in the region, and extended the Great Indian Peninsula Railway into the region, which connected the modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region to the plains of India to the east. Other projects, such as the Attock Bridge, Islamia College University, Khyber Railway, and establishment of cantonments in Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, and Nowshera further cemented British rule in the region. In 1901, the British carved out the northwest portions of Punjab to create the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), which was renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2010.

Disassociation from Afghanistan, and increased connectivity to Punjab and the Gangetic Plains beyond Punjab, had a profound effect on Pashtun tribes living on the British side of the Durand Line. With few exception of the tribesmen living close to the border with Afghanistan, the vast majority of Pashtuns under British held areas increasingly viewed themselves as Indians, and found it easier to travel to Lahore and Delhi than to Kabul or Kandahar. Large numbers of Pashtuns also enlisted in the British Indian Army, and were stationed throughout British held territories in India and educated in the British Indian system, both of which helped to further re-orient the local population eastwards towards the heartlands of India. The in migration of Hindu and Sikh traders to the NWFP from India also strengthened cultural re-orientation towards British India. This dramatic shift in self-identification is epitomized the Khudai Khidmatgar movement of the popular Pashtun nationalist Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who non-violently campaigned for the independence of a united India, and not for joining Afghanistan.[2] Further, no prominent leaders amongst the Pashtuns campaigned for unification with Afghanistan during the period preceding independence.

The NWFP was granted limited home-rule by the British in 1937. Beginning in 1940, support for the Pakistan Movement, which sought the establishment of an Indian Muslim homeland, increased in the NWFP. Immediately prior to Pakistani independence from Britain in 1947,the British held a referendum in the NWFP to allow voters to choose between joining Pakistan or India. The referendum was held on 2 July 1947 while polling began on 6 July 1947 and the referendum results were made public on 20 July 1947. According to the official results, there were 572,798 registered voters out of which 289,244 (99.02%) votes were cast in favor of Pakistan while only 2874 (0.98%) were cast in favor of India. According to an estimate total turnout for referendum was only 15% less as compared to that of 1946 elections.[7][8] Although large number of Khudai Khidmatgar supporters boycotted the referendum, and intimidation against Hindu and Sikh voters by supporters of the Pakistan Movement was also reported.[9] Abdul Ghaffar Khan pledged allegiance to the new state of Pakistan in 1947, and thereafter abandoned his goal of a United India, in favor of supporting increased autonomy for the NWFP under Pakistani rule.[2] He was subsequently arrested several times for his opposition to strong centralized rule.[10]

As the region came under British control, as had been agreed to by the Afghan government following the British victory over Afghanistan in the Second Anglo-Afghan War and after the treaty ending Third Anglo-Afghan War, no option was available to cede the territory to the rule of the Afghan king even though Afghanistan continued to claim the entire region as it was part of the Durrani Empire prior the conquest of the region by the Sikhs in 1818. By 1947 Pashtun nationalists were advocateing for a united India, and no prominent voices advocated for a union with Afghanistan. Also in line with similar votes held throughout the British controlled territories in India, no option was accommodated for independence.[11][12] However, all the princely states within the boundaries of the NWFP were allowed to maintain certain autonomy, but in 1970s most of the princely states were merged completely into Pakistan.

After Pakistani Independence

Main article: Pakistan Movement
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Afghanistan was the sole member of the United Nations to vote against Pakistan’s accession to the UN because of Kabul’s claim to the Pashtun territories on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line.[13] Afghanistan's Loya Jirga of 1949 declared the Durand Line invalid, which led to border tensions with Pakistan, and decades of mistrust between the two states. Afghan governments have also periodically refused to recognize Pakistan's inheritance of British treaties regarding the region.[14] During the 1950s, Afghanistan supported the secessionist Pushtunistan Movement, although it failed to gain substantial support amongst the population of the North-West Frontier Province.

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–1989), the NWFP served as a major supply base for the Afghan Mujahideen who fought the Soviet Union during the 1980s. As a result of the Soviet invasion, over five million Afghan refugees poured into Pakistan, mostly choosing to reside in the NWFP (as of 2007, nearly 3 million remained). The province remained heavily influenced by events in Afghanistan thereafter. The 1989-1992 Civil war in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Soviet forces led to the rise of the Afghan Taliban, which had emerged in the border region between Afghanistan, Balochistan, and FATA as a formidable political force.

In 2010 the province was renamed "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa." Protests arose among the local Hindkowan, Chitrali, Kohistani and Kalash populations over the name change, as they began to demand their own provinces. Seven people were killed and 100 injured in protests on 11 April 2011.[15] The Awami National Party sought[when?] to rename the province "Pakhtunkhwa", which translates to "Land of Pashtuns" in the Pashto language. The name change was largely opposed by non-Pashtuns, and by political parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-N, who draw much of their support from non-Pashtun regions of the province, and by the Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition.

War and militancy

See also: Zarb-e-Azb

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been a site of militancy and terrorism that started after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and intensified when the Pakistani Taliban began an attempt to seize power in Pakistan starting in 2004. Armed conflict began in 2004, when tensions, rooted in the Pakistan Army's search for al-Qaeda fighters in Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan area (in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), escalated into armed resistance.[16] Fighting is ongoing between the Pakistani Army and armed militant groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jundallah, Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), al-Qaeda, and elements of organized crime[17][18][19] have led to the deaths of over 50,000 Pakistanis since the country joined the U.S-led War on Terror,[20] with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa being the site of most of the conflict.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is also the main theater for Pakistan's Zarb-e-Azb operation – a broad military campaign against militants located in the province, and neighboring F.A.T.A. By 2014, casualty rates in the country as a whole dropped by 40% as compared to 2011–2013, with even greater drops noted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,[21] despite the province being the site of a large massacre of schoolchildren by terrorists in December 2014.


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sits primarily on the Iranian plateau and comprises the junction where the slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains on the Eurasian plate give way to the Indus-watered hills approaching South Asia. This situation has led to seismic activity in the past.[22] The famous Khyber Pass links the province to Afghanistan, while the Kohalla Bridge in Circle Bakote Abbottabad is a major crossing point over the Jhelum River in the east.

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 scanty rainfall.[23]

The major rivers that criss-cross the province are the Kabul, Swat, Chitral, Kunar, Siran, Panjkora, Bara, Kurram, Dor, Haroo, Gomal and Zhob.

Its snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys of unusual beauty have enormous potential for tourism.[24]


The climate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa varies immensely for a region of its size, encompassing 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 South Asia while in the mountains to the north the weather is mild in the summer and intensely cold in the winter. The air is generally very dry; consequently, the daily and annual range of temperature is quite large.[25]

Rainfall also varies widely. Although large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are typically dry, the province also contains the wettest parts of Pakistan in its eastern fringe specially in moonsoon season from mid june to mid september.

Chitral District

Chitral District lies completely sheltered from the monsoon that controls the weather in eastern Pakistan, owing to its relatively westerly location and the shielding effect of the Nanga Parbat massif. In many ways Chitral District has more in common regarding climate with Central Asia than South Asia.[26] The winters are generally cold even in the valleys, and heavy snow during the winter blocks passes and isolates the region. In the valleys, however, summers can be hotter than on the windward side of the mountains due to lower cloud cover: Chitral can reach 40 °C (104 °F) frequently during this period.[27] However, the humidity is extremely low during these hot spells and, as a result the summer climate is less torrid than in the rest of the Indian subcontinent.

Most precipitation falls as thunderstorms or snow during winter and spring, so that the climate at the lowest elevations is classed as Mediterranean (Csa), continental Mediterranean (Dsa) or semi-arid (BSk). Summers are extremely dry in the north of Chitral district and receive only a little rain in the south around Drosh.

At elevations above 5,000 metres (16,400 ft), as much as a third of the snow which feeds the large Karakoram and Hindukush glaciers comes from the monsoon since these elevations are too high to be shielded from its moisture.[26]

Central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: World Climate Data[28]

On the southern flanks of Nanga Parbat and in Upper and Lower Dir Districts, rainfall is much heavier than further north because moist winds from the Arabian Sea are able to penetrate the region. When they collide with the mountain slopes, winter depressions provide heavy precipitation. The monsoon, although short, is generally powerful. As a result, the southern slopes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the wettest part of Pakistan. Annual rainfall ranges from around 500 millimetres (20 in) in the most sheltered areas to as much as 1,750 millimetres (69 in) in parts of Abbottabad and Mansehra Districts.

This region’s climate is classed at lower elevations as humid subtropical (Cfa in the west; Cwa in the east); whilst at higher elevations with a southerly aspect it becomes classed as humid continental (Dfb). However, accurate data for altitudes above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) are practically nonexistent here, in Chitral, or in the south of the province.

Dera Ismail Khan
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: World Climate Data[29]

The seasonality of rainfall in central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shows very marked gradients from east to west. At Dir, March remains the wettest month due to frequent frontal cloud-bands, whereas in Hazara more than half the rainfall comes from the monsoon.[30] This creates a unique situation characterized by a bimodal rainfall regime, which extends into the southern part of the province described below.[30]

Since cold air from the Siberian High loses its chilling capacity upon crossing the vast Karakoram and Himalaya ranges, winters in central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are somewhat milder than in Chitral. Snow remains very frequent at high altitudes but rarely lasts long on the ground in the major towns and agricultural valleys. Outside of winter, temperatures in central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not so hot as in Chitral. Significantly higher humidity when the monsoon is active means that heat discomfort can be greater. However, even during the most humid periods the high altitudes typically allow for some relief from the heat overnight.

Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

As one moves further away from the foothills of the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, the climate changes from the humid subtropical climate of the foothills to the typically arid climate of Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab. As in central Pakhtunkhwa, the seasonality of precipitation shows a very sharp gradient from west to east, but the whole region very rarely receives significant monsoon rainfall. Even at high elevations annual rainfall is less than 400 millimetres (16 in) and in some places as little as 200 millimetres (8 in).

Temperatures in southern Pakhtunkhwa are extremely hot: Dera Ismail Khan in the southernmost district of the province is known as one of the hottest places in the world with temperatures known to have reached 50 °C (122 °F). In the cooler months, nights can be cold and frosts remain frequent; snow is very rare, and daytime temperatures remain comfortably warm with abundant sunshine.

National parks

Name Photo Location Date established Area (Hec) Key wildlife
Ayubia National Park Mukeshpuri Abbottabad District 1984 3,122 Koklass pheasant, kalij pheasant, chukar partridge, yellow-throated marten, common leopard, rhesus macaque, flying squirrel.
Chitral Gol National Park Chitral District 1984 7,750 Markhor, urial, snow leopard, wolf, Himalayan snowcock, chukar partridge, greenwood pigeon
Broghil Valley National Park Karambar Lake Chitral District 2010 134,744 Ibex, blue sheep, snow leopard, brown bear, Tibetan wolf, golden marmot, snow cock, chukar partridge
Sheikh Buddin National Park Dera Ismail Khan District 1999 15,540 Black partridge, grey partridge, chukar partridge, rock dove, pied bush chat, red-vented bulbul, fox, hare, jackal, jungle cat, porcupine, wild boar, wolf
Saiful Muluk National Park Saif ul Maluk Lake Mansehra District 2003 12,026 Asian black bear, marten, ram chakor, snow partridge, Himalayan monal
Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park Dudiptsar Lake Mansehra District 2003 75,058 Common leopard, Asian black bear, ibex, marten, Himalayan monal, koklass pheasant, ram chakor


Historical populations
Census Population Urban

1951 4,556,545 11.07%
1961 5,730,991 13.23%
1972 8,388,551 14.25%
1981 11,061,328 15.05%
1998 17,743,645 16.87%

The province has an estimated population of about 21 million. The largest ethnic group is the Pashtun, who historically have been living in the areas for centuries.[31] Around 1.5 million Afghan refugees also remain in the province,[32] the majority of whom are Pashtuns followed by Tajiks, Hazaras, and other smaller groups. Despite having lived in the province for over two decades, they are registered as citizens of Afghanistan.[33]

According to the 1998 census, the population of the province was approximately 17 million,[34] 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%.

In most rural areas of the centre and south, Pashtun tribes can be found including the Gigyani (Their main land is Shabqadar Doaaba), Yusufzai, Bangash, Bhittani, Daavi, Khattak, Qazi khail also known as Qaziye Babar, Gandapur, Gharghasht, Marwat, Afridi, Shinwari, Orakzai, Mahsud, Mohmand, Wazir and Bannuchi as well as other tribes of Hazara division•, Swati, Kakar, Tareen, Jadoon, Tanoli, Gujar, Maliar, and Mashwani.

There are non-Pashtun tribes including Arain Maliar, Jat, Mughal, Turks, Karlal, Rajpoot, Dhund Abbasi, Syed, Awan, Kashmiri, Qureshi and Sarrara. The mountainous extreme north includes the Chitral and Kohistan districts that are home to diverse Dardic ethnic groups such as the Khowar, Kohistani, Shina, Torwali, Kalasha and Kalami.

However in the southernmost district such as Dera Ismail Khan live some of the Baloch tribe: Kori, Buzdar, Kanera, Leghari, Rind and some other sub tribes of Lashari tribe. These Baloch tribes speak Saraiki as their first language. In this southern district, most of its population speaks Saraiki.


  • Urdu, the lingua franca being the national language is also spoken and understood.
  • Pakhto, is the major language, spoken and understood mainly in the central districts.
  • Hindko, (a Punjabi dialect) is in Majority in Hazara Division and also in the central old city areas of Nowshera, Kohat and Peshawar cities.[35]
  • Saraiki (a Punjabi dialect) is in majority in the southern Districts of DI Khan and Tank
  • Khowar, by people in the north specially in majority in district Chitral
  • Standard Punjabi, minority living in the major cities and all cantonment areas.
  • Kohistani, majority in Kohistan district and north half of Swat district.
  • Gojri minority in the northern hilly areas of the province.
  • Dari/Hazaragi/Farsi/Tajik, varieties of Persian by Afghan refugees

Only Urdu and English are found as written languages in the city. English, the official language of Pakistan, is mainly used for official and literary purposes.


Most of the inhabitants of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa profess Islam, with a Sunni majority and significant minorities of Shias and Ismailis, .[36][37] Many of the Kalasha of Southern Chitral still retain their ancient Animist/Shamanist religion.

There are very small communities of Hindus,Ahmadis and Sikhs.[38][39]

Government and politics

District map of Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Legislative Branch

The Provincial Assembly unicameral legislature that consists of a 124-member of assembly which they are served for five years.

Historically, the province perceived to be a stronghold of the ANP– a left-wing and pro-nationalist party.[40][41] The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also enjoyed a considerable vote bank in the province due to its socialist agenda.[40] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was thought to be another left-wing spectrum of the country after Sindh.[41]

However in 2002, the religious conservatism began to rise with the religious alliance, the MMA, forming the government which had an anti-American agenda during the election campaign in 2002.[40] Public disapproval of ANP's leftist program integrated in civil administration and popular opposition against religious program promoted by the MMA swiftly shifted the province's leniency towards the right-wing spectrum led by the PTI in 2012.[40]

With PTI forming the government in 2013, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa serves as a stronghold of the rightist PTI and is perceived as right-wing spectrum of the country.[42] In non-Pashtun areas, such as Attock, Abbottabad, and Hazara District, the PML(N), the centre-right party, enjoys considerable public support over economical and public policy issues and has a substantial vote bank.[42]

Executive Branch

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa executive branch] consists of the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa appointed by President of Pakistan (subject to Prime Minister advice), Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elected by Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Cabinet of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa appointed by Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (subject to Chief Minister advice).

Judicial Branch
Main article: Peshawar High Court

The High Court and lower courts, judges are appointed by Chief Justice of Pakistan with Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.

Administraive divisions

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa consists of twenty-six districts, comprising twenty-one Settled Area Districts and five Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) Districts. The administration of the PATA districts is vested in the President of Pakistan and the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by Articles 246 and 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan.[43]

The twenty-six districts are:[44]

Major cities

Peshawar is the capital and largest city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The city is the most populous and comprises more than one-eighth of the province's population.


Pakhtunkhwa's dominance: forestry

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the third largest provincial economy in Pakistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's share of Pakistan's GDP has historically comprised 10.5%, although the province accounts for 11.9% of Pakistan's total population. The part of the economy that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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%.[45] Currently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accounts for 10% of Pakistan's GDP,[46] 20% of Pakistan's mining output[47] and, since 1972, it has seen its economy grow in size by 3.6 times.[48]

After suffering for decades due to the fallout of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, today they are again being targeted for a different situation of terrorism.[citation needed]

Agriculture remains important and the main cash crops include wheat, maize, tobacco (in Swabi), rice, sugar beets, as well as 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.

Workshops throughout the province support the manufacture of small arms and weapons. The province accounts for at least 78% of the marble production in Pakistan.[49]

Social issues

The Awami National Party sought to rename the province "Pakhtunkhwa", which translates to "Land of Pakhtuns" in the Pashto language.[50] This was opposed by some of the non-Pashtuns, and especially by parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). The PML-N derives its support in the province from primarily non-Pashtun Hazara regions.

In 2010 the announcement that the province would have a new name led to a wave of protests in the Hazara region.[51] On 15 April 2010 Pakistan's senate officially named the province "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" with 80 senators in favor and 12 opposed.[52] The MMA, who until the elections of 2008 had a majority in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, had proposed "Afghania" as a compromise name.[53]

After the 2008 general election, the Awami National Party formed a coalition provincial government with the Pakistan Peoples Party.[54] The Awami National Party has its strongholds in the Pashtun areas of Pakistan, particularly in the Peshawar valley, while Karachi in Sindh has one of the largest Pashtun populations in the world — around 7 million by some estimates.[55] In the 2008 election the ANP won two Sindh assembly seats in Karachi. The Awami National Party has been instrumental in fighting the Taliban. In the 2013 general election Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf won a majority in the provincial assembly and has now formed their government in coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.[56]

Folk music and culture

Provincial symbols of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (unofficial)
Provincial animal Kabul markhor Capra falconeri hepteneri.jpg
Provincial bird White-crested kalij pheasant Kalij-pheasant Hawaii.jpg
Provincial tree Jujube ZiziphusJujubaVarSpinosa.jpg
Provincial flower Calotropis procera Calotropis procera flowers.jpg

Hindko and Pashto folk music are popular in Pakhtunkhwa and has a rich tradition going back hundreds of years. The main instruments are the rubab, mangey and harmonium. 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. The same form of band music is played in the neighbouring Northern Areas.[57]


Abbottabad is the only city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with higher literacy rate in province and also in Pakistan.The trend towards higher education is rapidly increasing in the province and the Pakhtunkhwa is home to Pakistan's foremost engineering university (Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology), which is 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 issues facing the population.

Year Literacy rate
1972 15.5%
1981 16.7%
1998 35.41%
2012 60.9%


This is a chart of the education market of Pakhtunkhwa estimated by the government in 1998. Also see[60]

Qualification Urban Rural Total Enrolment ratio (%)
2,994,084 14,749,561 17,743,645
Below Primary 413,782 3,252,278 3,666,060 100.00
Primary 741,035 4,646,111 5,387,146 79.33
Middle 613,188 2,911,563 3,524,751 48.97
Matriculation 647,919 2,573,798 3,221,717 29.11
Intermediate 272,761 728,628 1,001,389 10.95
BA, BSc... degrees 20,359 42,773 63,132 5.31
MA, MSc... degrees 18,237 35,989 53,226 4.95
Diploma, Certificate... 82,037 165,195 247,232 1.92
Other qualifications 19,766 75,226 94,992 0.53

Major educational establishments

Math Department Peshawar University


Cricket is the main sport played in Pakhtunkhwa. It has created world-class sportsmen like Shahid Afridi, Younus Khan and Umar Gul. Besides producing cricket players, Pakhtunkhwa has the honour of being the birthplace of many world-class squash players, including greats like Hashim Khan, Qamar Zaman, Jehangir Khan and Jan Sher Khan.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "A Small Measure of Progress". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "KPK Historical Overview". Humshehri. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Imperial Gazetteer2 of India, Volume 19, page 148 -- Imperial Gazetteer of India -- Digital South Asia Library". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Imperial Gazetteer2 of India, Volume 19, page 149 -- Imperial Gazetteer of India -- Digital South Asia Library". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Country Profile: Afghanistan" (PDF). Library of Congress Country Studies. August 2008. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ Robson, Crisis on the Frontier pp. 136–7
  7. ^
  8. ^ Jeffrey J. Roberts. The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 108–109. ISBN 9780275978785. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  9. ^ The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland, Karl E. Meyer. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  10. ^ Abdul Ghaffar Khan(1958) Pashtun Aw Yoo Unit. Peshawar.
  11. ^ Harrison, Selig S. "Pakistan: The State of the Union" (PDF). Center for International Policy. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Singh, Vipul (2008). The Pearson Indian History Manual for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination. Pearson. p. 65. 
  13. ^ "PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN RELATIONS IN THE POST-9/11 ERA, October 2006, Frédéric Grare" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Anti-Pakhtunkhwa protest claims 7 lives in Abbottabad". The Statesmen. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "[Pakistan Primer Pt. 1] The Rise of the Pakistani Taliban," Global Bearings, 27 October 2011.
  17. ^ Varun Vira and Anthony Cordesman "Pakistan: Violence versus Stability: A Net Assessment." Center for Strategic and International Studies, 25 July 2011.
  18. ^ "The War in Pakistan". The Washington Post. 25 January 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2008. 
  19. ^ Zaffar Abbas. "Pakistan's undeclared war". Retrieved 19 October 2008. 
  20. ^ Shaun Waterman (27 March 2013). "Heavy price: Pakistan says war on terror has cost nearly 50,000 lives there since 9/11". The Washington Times, 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "A Small Measure of Progress". 
  22. ^ "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (province, Pakistan) :: Geography – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  23. ^ "It’s wintertime in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa | Newspaper". Dawn.Com. 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  24. ^ "Cold weather in upper areas & dry weather observed in almost all parts of the country | PaperPK News about Pakistan". 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  25. ^ "North-West Frontier Province – Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 19, p. 147". Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  26. ^ a b Mock, John and O'Neil, Kimberley; Trekking in the Karakoram and Hindukush; p. 15 ISBN 0-86442-360-8
  27. ^ Mock and O'Neil; Trekking in the Karakoram and Hindukush; pp. 18–19
  28. ^ "World Climate Data: Dir, Pakistan". Weatherbase. 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "World Climate Data: Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan". Weatherbase. 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  30. ^ a b See Wernsted, Frederick L.; World Climatic Data; published 1972 by Climatic Data Press; 522 pp. 31 cm.
  31. ^ People and culture – Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[dead link]
  32. ^ "Pakistani TV delves into lives of Afghan refugees". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  33. ^ "UNHCR country operations profile – Pakistan". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  34. ^ "District wise area and population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa". 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Wajihaalikhan1 (2011-02-15). "Pushto Muzakarah with Khiyal Jaan – پشتو مذاكرہ Islam Ahmadiyya". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  37. ^ "Jihad of Holy Prophet (Pushto) Discussion about Jihad پشتو مذاكرہ ۔ جہاد". YouTube. 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  38. ^ "Pakistan Valmiki Sabha". Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  39. ^ "Sikh refugees demand Indian citizenship". Oneindia News. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  40. ^ a b c d Sheikh, Yasir (5 November 2012). "Areas of political influence in Pakistan: right-wing vs left-wing". Karachi, Sindh: Rug Pandits, Yasir. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  41. ^ a b Sheikh, Yasir (9 February 2013). "Political spectrum of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – Part I: ANP, PPP & MMA". Islamabad: Rug Pandits, Yasir Sheikh. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  42. ^ a b Sheikh, Yasir. "Rightwing Tsunami: PTI’s rise in Pakistani politics". rugpundits, Yasir. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  43. ^ "The Constitution". Government of Pakistan. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  44. ^ Bureau Report. "KP govt creates new Kohistan district". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  45. ^ "Provincial Accounts of Pakistan: Methodology and Estimates 1973–2000" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-25. [dead link]
  46. ^ Roman, David (2009-05-15). "Pakistan's Taliban Fight Threatens Key Economic Zone -". Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  47. ^ "Pakistan May Need Extra Bailouts as War Hits Economy (Update2)". 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  48. ^ "Pakistan Balochistan Economic Report From Periphery to Core" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  49. ^ "World Bank Pakistan Growth and Export Competitiveness" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  50. ^ "NWFP to KPK". 
  51. ^ "Protest in Hazara continues over renaming of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa". Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  52. ^ "NWFP officially renamed as Pakhtun HAZARA". 15 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  53. ^ "MMA govt proposes new name for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then NWFP)". Dawn. [dead link]
  54. ^ Abbas, Hassan. "Peace in FATA: ANP Can Be Counted On." Statesman (Pakistan) (2007 Feb 4).
  55. ^ PBS Frontline: Pakistan: Karachi's Invisible Enemy City potent refuge for Taliban fighters. July 17, 2009.
  56. ^ "Pakistan's 'Gandhi' party takes on Taliban, Al Qaeda". 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  57. ^ South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent. (Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 5). Routledge; Har/Com edition (November 1999). ISBN 978-0-8240-4946-1
  58. ^ "Pakistan: where and who are the world's illiterates?; Background paper for the Education for all global monitoring report 2006: literacy for life; 2005" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  59. ^
  60. ^ "Population Census Organization, Government of Pakistan". Retrieved 2010-05-25. [dead link]
  61. ^ "City University". City University. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  62. ^
  63. ^ "First Online Portal for people of Hazara and Overseas Pakistanis - Hazara.Com.Pk". Hazara.Com.Pk. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  64. ^ "KCD Peshawar". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  65. ^ "Khushal Khan Khattak University Karak". Retrieved 22 April 2015.