North-West Frontier Province

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North-West Frontier Province
  • شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت
  • صوبہ سرحد
Former province of British India & Pakistan
Flag of NWFP
Coat of arms of NWFP
Coat of arms
Location within Pakistan
• 1901
100,142[1][2] km2 (38,665 sq mi)
• 1901
• Established
9 November 1901
19 April 2010
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sikh Empire
British East India
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Today part ofKhyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP; Pashto: شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت‎, Urdu: صوبہ سرحد‎) was a province of British India and later of Pakistan. It was established on 9 November 1901 and known by this name until 2010, when it was redesignated as the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 19 April 2010 following the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan by erstwhile President Asif Ali Zardari.

The province covered an area of 70,709 km2 (27,301 sq mi), including much of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province but excluding the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the former princely states of Amb, Chitral, Dir, Phulra and Swat. Its capital was the city of Peshawar, and the province was composed of six divisions (Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara, Kohat, Mardan, and Peshawar Division; Malakand was later added as the seventh division). 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. The Kingdom of Afghanistan lay to the northwest, with the Federally Administered Tribal Areas forming a buffer zone between the two.


The northwestern frontier areas were annexed to India by the British after the Second Sikh War (1848–49). The territories thenceforth formed a part of Punjab until the province, then known as North-West Frontier Province, was created in 1901.[3] This region along with the 'Frontier Tribal Areas' acted as a 'buffer' zone with Afghanistan.

Inside Pakistan[edit]

Before the Partition of India, the 1947 North-West Frontier Province referendum was held in July 1947 to decide the future of NWFP, in which the people of the province decided in favor of joining Pakistan. However, the then Chief Minister Dr Khan Sahib, along with his brother Bacha Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars, boycotted the referendum, citing that it did not have the options of the NWFP becoming independent or joining Afghanistan.[4][5]

As a separate province, the NWFP 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. 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.


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 [6]
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 [6] Political party
1 April 1937 – 7 September 1937 Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan Non-party government nominee
7 September 1937 – 10 November 1939 Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (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 Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (2nd time) Indian National Congress
14 August 1947 Independence of Pakistan
23 August 1947 – 23 April 1953 Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri Pakistan Muslim League
23 April 1953 – 18 July 1955 Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
19 July 1955 – 14 October 1955 Sardar Bahadur Khan


At independence, there was a clear Muslim Pashtun majority in the 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Area with Native States in 1901. Province area excluding Native States was 34 169 km2 (13 193 sq mi).
  2. ^ The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1908, p. 46.
  3. ^ "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa | province, Pakistan". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  4. ^ Meyer, Karl E. (5 August 2008). The Dust of Empire: The Race For Mastery In The Asian Heartland – Karl E. Meyer – Google Boeken. ISBN 9780786724819. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Was Jinnah democratic? — II". Daily Times. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b Ben Cahoon, "Pakistan Provinces". Retrieved 3 October 2007.


  • The Imperial Gazetteer of India (26 vol, 1908–31), a highly detailed description of all of India in 1901. online edition

External links[edit]