Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Former administrative units of Pakistan

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Capital  Karachi Islamabad
Disestablished  1975
Established  14 August 1947
Former administrative units of Pakistan
Area  947,940 km (366,002 sq mi)

The former administrative units of Pakistan are states, provinces and territories which mainly existed between 1947 and 1975 when the current provinces and territories were established. The former units have no administrative function today but some remain as historical and cultural legacies. In some cases, the current provinces and territories correspond to the former units – for example the province of Punjab includes almost all the territory of the former province of West Punjab.



At the time of independence in August 1947, Pakistan included the following provinces:

  • East Bengal
  • West Punjab
  • Sindh
  • North-West Frontier Province
  • Baluchistan (Chief Commissioner's Province)
  • Federal capital territory

  • Karachi
  • Princely states

    Between August 1947 and March 1948, the rulers of the following princely states (which had existed alongside but outside British India) acceded their states to Pakistan, giving up control of their external affairs, while all retaining internal self-government, at least to begin with. This was lost by stages, until by 1974 all of the states had been fully integrated into Pakistan.

  • Bahawalpur
  • Khairpur
  • Kalat
  • Las Bela
  • Kharan
  • Makran
  • Phulra
  • Amb
  • Swat
  • Dir
  • Chitral
  • Hunza
  • Nagar
  • The origins of most of the former administrative units lay in the set-up inherited from British India. From 1947 to 1971 newly independent Pakistan comprised two "wings" – 1600 kilometres apart and separated by India. The eastern wing comprised the single province of East Pakistan, which included the Sylhet District from the former Indian province of Assam. The politically dominant western wing united three Governor's provinces (North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), West Punjab and Sind), one Chief Commissioner's Province (Baluchistan), several princely states and parts of Kashmir. In 1948, the area around Karachi was separated from Sind province to form the Federal Capital Territory. In 1950 the North-West Frontier Province was expanded to include the small states of Amb and Phulra and the name of West Punjab province was changed to Punjab. The Baluchistan States Union was formed in 1952 by the four princely states of southwest Pakistan. Thus, between 1947 and 1955, Pakistan comprised five provinces and one territory:

    The western wing included thirteen princely states, one union of states and parts of Kashmir:

  • Baluchistan States Union (combining Kalat, Kharan, Las Bela and Makran – using flag of Kalat)
  • Gilgit Agency (part of Kashmir)
  • One-Unit system

    Simmering tensions between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan led to the One Unit policy announced by Prime Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali (in office 1955–1956). The states and provinces of the western wing merged in 1955 to become divisions of the new province of West Pakistan with the provincial capital at Lahore. At the same time, East Bengal became the new province of East Pakistan with the provincial capital at Dhaka. West Pakistan annexed the former Omani enclave of Gwadar (on the Balochistan coast) in 1958 as part of Kalat division. In 1960 the federal government moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi (the provisional capital pending the completion of Islamabad), whilst the federal legislature moved to Dhaka. The Federal Capital Territory was merged with West Pakistan in 1961 to form the new division of Karachi. In 1963 the Trans-Karakoram Tract was transferred by treaty from Gilgit Agency to China under the proviso that the settlement was subject to the final solution of the Kashmir dispute. Thus from 1955 to 1970, Pakistan comprised two provinces:

  • East Pakistan
  • West Pakistan
  • New provinces

    The One Unit policy was regarded as a rational administrative reform to reduce expenditure and eliminate provincial prejudices. However the military coup of 1958 signalled troubled times for the two-province system as the office of Chief Minister of West Pakistan was abolished by President Ayub Khan to be replaced by Governor's rule. Eventually, in 1970, the province of West Pakistan was dissolved by President Yahya Khan and four new provinces were created along with some changes in Pakistani Kashmir. These provinces combined most of the former provinces and states as follows:

    Changes after 1970

    The province of East Pakistan became independent in December 1971 as the new country of Bangladesh. The states of Hunza and Nagar were abolished and their territories merged into the Northern Areas in 1974. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas were formed from parts of the North West Frontier Province districts of Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan in 1975.

    The status of the Islamabad area was changed to a capital territory in 1981. The names of two provinces were slightly modified in 1990 – Baluchistan became Balochistan and Sind became Sindh. In 2009, the Northern Areas changed its name to Gilgit–Baltistan. In 2010, the North West Frontier Province changed its name to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


    Former administrative units of Pakistan Wikipedia

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