Former administrative units of Pakistan

Former administrative units of Pakistan
Subdivision of Pakistan
14 August 1947–1975


Map of Pakistan with Former administrative units of Pakistan highlighted
Capital Karachi
  Established 14 August 1947
  Disestablished 1975
Area 947,940 km2 (366,002 sq mi)
Government of Pakistan
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Former administrative units of Pakistan

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 independence


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

Federal capital territory

After independence

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.

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:

Federal Capital


East Bengal



West Punjab

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









Las Bela




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:

The new provinces of 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:

New ProvinceConstituent former administrative units
Baluchistan Province
  • Baluchistan Chief Commissioners Province
  • Baluchistan States Union
  • Enclave of Gwadar
North-West Frontier Province
  • Former North-West Frontier Province
  • States of Amb, Chitral, Dir and Swat
Punjab Province
  • Former West Punjab Province
  • State of Bahawalpur
Sindh Province
  • Former Sind Province
  • State of Khairpur
  • Former Federal Capital Territory
Centrally Administered Area
  • 906 km² of former West Punjab Province
Northern Areas
  • Gilgit Agency

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.

See also


    External links

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