North-West Frontier Province (1901–55)

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For other uses, see North West Frontier.
North West Frontier
Subdivision of Pakistan
9 November 1901–14 October 1955

Flag of North West Frontier


Location of North West Frontier
Map of Pakistan with North West Frontier highlighted
Capital Peshawar
 •  Established 9 November 1901
 •  Disestablished 14 October 1955
Area 70,709 km2 (27,301 sq mi)
Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Coat of arms of Pakistan
This article is part of the series
Former administrative units of Pakistan

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) was a former province created by the British in their controlled territories in Indian Subcontinent then called British India. It was established in 1901 and dissolved in 1955, after eight years as part of the independent state of Pakistan. The area became Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 1955.

The province covered an area of 70,709 km², including much of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (also called KP) province but excluding the former 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.


Most of the territory of this province was originally a part of the Durrani Empire from the 18th century to around the 1820s, when the Sikh ruler or Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the former mayor of the Punjabi city of Lahore, taking advantage of the internal chaos of the Afghan ruling family, declared independence and annexed it to his own empire based out of the Punjab. Later on, after the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1848–49, 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 from circa 1938 onwards. Referendum was held to decide the future of NWFP state after, it was made part of Pakistan. After Indian independence in 1947 the country was divided into two, the NWFP after a boycott of the vote by Bacha Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars became part of the new nation of Pakistan. The 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 and Mianwali and Attock were from it were 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.


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.


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

Tenure Governors of the North-West Frontier Province [1]
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 1955 Qurban Ali Khan
14 October 1955 North-West Frontier Province dissolved
Tenure Chief Ministers of the North-West Frontier Province [1] Political Party
1 April 1937 – 7 September 1937 Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan Non-Party Government Nominee
7 September 1937 – 10 November 1939 Dr. Khan Sahib (1st time) Indian National Congress
10 November 1939 – 25 May 1943 Governor's rule
25 May 1943 – 16 March 1945 Sardar Aurangzeb Khan Muslim League
16 March 1945 – 22 August 1947 Dr. Khan Sahib (2nd time) Indian National Congress
14 August 1947 Independence of Pakistan
23 August 1947 – 23 April 1953 Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan Pakistan Muslim League
23 April 1953 – 18 July 1955 Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
19 July 1955 – 14 October 1955 Sardar Bahadur Khan
14 October 1955 North-West Frontier Province dissolved

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ben Cahoon, "Pakistan Provinces". Retrieved 2007-10-03. 

External links[edit]