West Punjab

This article is about a former province of Pakistan. For the modern province, see Punjab, Pakistan. For other uses, see Punjab (disambiguation).
West Punjab
Former Province of Pakistan

15 August 1947–14 October 1955

West Punjab - Province of Pakistan
Capital Lahore
  Established 15 August 1947
  Disestablished 14 October 1955
Area 205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi)
Government of Punjab
This article is part of the series
Former administrative units of Pakistan

West Punjab was a province of Pakistan from 1947 to 1955. The province covered an area of 205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi), including much of the current Punjab province and the Islamabad Capital Territory, but excluding the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The capital was the city of Lahore and the province was composed of four divisions (Lahore, Sargodha, Multan and Rawalpindi). The province was bordered by the Indian states of East Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir to the east, the princely state of Bahawalpur to the south, the provinces of Balochistan and Sind to the southwest, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the northwest, and Azad Kashmir to the northeast.


The Independence of Pakistan in 1947 led to the division of the Punjab Province of British India into two new provinces. The largely Sikh and Hindu East Punjab became part of the new nation of India while the largely Muslim West Punjab became part of the new nation of the Dominion of Pakistan. The name of the province was shortened to Punjab in 1950. West Punjab was merged into the province of West Pakistan in 1955 under the One Unit policy announced by Prime Minister Chaudhary Mohammad Ali. When that province was dissolved, the area of the former province of West Punjab was combined with the former state of Bahawalpur to form a new Punjab Province.


At Independence there was a Muslim majority in West Punjab with significant Hindu and Sikh minority. Nearly all of these minorities left West Punjab for India, to be replaced by large numbers of Muslims fleeing from the opposite direction. The official language of West Punjab was Urdu but most of the population spoke Punjabi using the Shahmukhi script. The linguist George Abraham Grierson in his multi volume Linguistic Survey of India (1904–1928) considered the various dialects up to then called "Western Punjabi", spoken in North, West, and South of Lahore in what is now Pakistani Punjab, as constituting instead a distinct language from Punjabi. (The local dialect of Lahore is the Majhi dialect of Punjabi, which has long been the basis of standard literary Punjabi.) Grierson proposed to name this putative language "Lahnda", and he dubbed as "Southern Lahnda" the coherent dialect cluster now known as Saraiki spoken in Multan Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur division and "North Lahnda" now known as Potwari spoken in Rawalpindi division and "Western Lahnda" now known as Hindko spoken in the regions bordering Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.


The offices of Governor of West Punjab and Chief Minister of West Punjab lasted from 15 August 1947, until 14 October 1955. The first Governor was Sir Francis Mudie with Iftikhar Hussain Khan as the first Chief Minister. Both offices were abolished in 1955, when the province of West Pakistan was created. The last Governor of West Punjab, Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani, became the first Governor of West Pakistan.

TenureGovernor of West Punjab[1]
15 August 1947 – 2 August 1949Sir Francis Mudie
2 August 1949 – 24 November 1951Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar
24 November 1951 – 2 May 1953Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar
2 May 1953 – 24 June 1954Mian Aminuddin
26 September 1954 – 26 November 1954Habib Ibrahim Rahmatullah
27 November 1954 – 14 October 1955Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani
14 October 1955Province of West Punjab dissolved
TenureChief Minister of West Punjab[1]Political Party
15 August 1947 – 25 January 1949Iftikhar Hussain Khan
25 January 1949 – 5 April 1952Governor's Rule
5 April 1952 – 3 April 1953Mian Mumtaz DaultanaPakistan Muslim League
3 April 1953 – 21 May 1955Malik Firoz Khan NunPakistan Muslim League
21 May 1955 – 14 October 1955Abdul Hamid Khan Dasti
14 October 1955Province of West Punjab dissolved

Contemporary usage

Today the term Western Punjab is used in Pakistan to describe the whole part of Pakistan's Punjab province except the Lahore/Central Region,[2] while in India it is often used to refer to the entire Pakistani Punjab.[3]

See also


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Coordinates: 31°00′N 72°00′E / 31.000°N 72.000°E / 31.000; 72.000

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