North-West Frontier Province

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP; Pashto: شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت) was a province of British India and later of Pakistan. It was established in 1901 and known by this name until 2010. The area became Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 19 April 2010 when the Eighteenth Amendment was signed by President Asif Ali Zardari.

North-West Frontier Province
شمال لویدیځ سرحدي ولایت
Former province of British India & Pakistan

Location within Pakistan
70,709 km2 (27,301 sq mi)
9 November 1901
19 April 2010
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sikh Empire
British East India
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Today part ofKhyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
This article is part of the series
Former administrative units of Pakistan

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


After the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 18481849, the Sikh empire based in Lahore 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 beginning circa 1938.

Inside Pakistan

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.[1][2]

The NWFP 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. Mianwali and Attock were removed from it and 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.


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

TenureGovernors of the North-West Frontier Province [3]
14 August 1947 – 8 April 1948Sir George Cunningham
8 April 1948 – 16 July 1949Sir Ambrose Dundas Flux Dundas
16 July 1949 – 14 January 1950Sahibzada Mohammad Kursheed
14 January 1950 – 21 February 1950Mohammad Ibrahim Khan Jhagra (acting)
21 February 1950 – 23 November 1951Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar
24 November 1951 – 17 November 1954Khwaja Shahabuddin
17 November 1954 – 14 October 1955Qurban Ali Khan
14 October 1955North-West Frontier Province dissolved
TenureChief Ministers of the North-West Frontier Province [3]Political party
1 April 1937 – 7 September 1937Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum KhanNon-party government nominee
7 September 1937 – 10 November 1939Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (1st time)Indian National Congress
10 November 1939 – 25 May 1943Governor's rule
25 May 1943 – 16 March 1945Sardar Aurangzeb KhanMuslim League
16 March 1945 – 22 August 1947Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (2nd time)Indian National Congress
14 August 1947Independence of Pakistan
23 August 1947 – 23 April 1953Abdul Qayyum Khan KashmiriPakistan Muslim League
23 April 1953 – 18 July 1955Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
19 July 1955 – 14 October 1955Sardar Bahadur Khan


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.

See also


  1. The Dust of Empire: The Race For Mastery In The Asian Heartland – Karl E. Meyer – Google Boeken. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  2. "Was Jinnah democratic? — II". Daily Times. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  3. Ben Cahoon, "Pakistan Provinces". Retrieved 3 October 2007.

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