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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

Urdu Version

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, until recently known as North-West Frontier Province, is divided into the Settled Areas and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas.

Last Updated: 27 Jan. 2014


Kpk province map
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Pakistan map

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) is located in the north-west of Pakistan. Its total area is 74,521 square km. It is bounded by Gilgit-Baltistan on the northeast, Azad Kashmir on the east, and Punjab on the southeast. A narrow strip of land belonging to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) borders it to the south and directly below that is Balochistan. KPK and Balochistan do not share a border. FATA lies to its west and Afghanistan to its northwest. The total population of KPK in 1998 was 17.7 million. According to the 2011 Census Bureau of Pakistan house listing operation, the population of KPK was estimated to be more than 26.8 million.

Current day KPK and FATA were once one unit under the appellation of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) created in 1901 by the British. After it became a part of Pakistan, it was divided into two units: NWFP (present-day settled areas) and Tribal Areas (present-day FATA and PATA). Present day boundaries were formed in 1970. The Tribal Areas were divided into three parts: Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Provincially administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of NWFP, and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of Balochistan. The PATA area of NWFP became a part of the earlier NWFP territory, and in 2010 this entire area was officially renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amidst much controversy. The name Khyber is taken from the famous Khyber Pass located on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, while Pakhtunkhwa means the land of Pakhtuns or Pathans. The Hindko-speaking Hazara community was opposed to this name.

A variety of languages are spoken in KPK. The main languages spoken include Pushto, Gujari, and Hindko. Other languages spoken include Bateri, Chilisso, Dameli, Dari, Kalami, Kalasha, Kalkoti, Khowar, Kohistani, Palula, Torwali, Ushojo, and Wakhi.

Administrative setup

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is divided into two major administrative units: Settled Areas, and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). Settled Areas comprise of 6 Administrative Divisions: Hazara, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, and Dear Ismail Khan. PATA contains 1 Administrative Division of Malakand. Though FATA is not included in KPK’s territory, it is administered by the governor of KPK as an agent to the President of Pakistan, under the supervision of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions.

Province map kpk
KPK, PATA, FATA district map

KPK province has 7 divisions as follows:

Malakand Divisions has 7 districts: Chitral, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Buner, Swat, Shangla, and Malakand

Hazara Division has 6 districts: Kohistan, Mansehra, Battagram, Abbotabad, Haripur, and Tor Ghar.

Mardan Division has 2 districts: Mardan and Swabi

Peshawar Division has 3 districts: Charsadda, Peshawar, and Nowshera

Kohat Division has 3 districts: Kohat, Hangu, and Karak

Bannu Division has 2 districts: Bannu and Lakki Marwat

Dera Ismail Khan Division has 2 districts: Dera Ismail Khan and Tank

Major cities

Major cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa include Peshawar, Chitral, Abbotabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Charsadda, Hangu, Manshera, Tank, Mardan, Kohat, Swabi, and Swat.

Find out more

Books & Articles

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1 Dec. 2010.


Ethnologue: Pakistan


Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: About Khyber Pakhtunkhwa