Provinces of Pakistan

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I now show the final 2017 census figures. The population for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan now come from reliable sources as well as those of the other provinces. Similarly, the 1998 census for each area comes from a reliable source. A constitutional amendment consolidated Federally Administered Tribal Area into Khyber-Pakhtunwa province. A reliable source shows both divisions and districts within both federally administered areas.

Under Population history, I replaced the 1972 census figures from source [5] with the corresponding figures from source [6]. The data from source [5] were rounded off to the nearest 1,000. Both sources exclude disputed areas: Jammu and Kashmir, which is still in dispute and is split into parts controlled by Pakistan and India; Baltistan and Gilgit, then called Northern Areas; and Junagadh and Manavadar, now part of India's Gujarat state.

Discussion is still (2012-11) going on over the formation of some new provinces. There are proposals to split South Punjab from Punjab, Karachi from Sindh, and Hazara from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. South Punjab might consist of one or two new provinces, and their names might be Seraiki (often spelled Saraiki), Bahawalpur, Multan, or some combination thereof. Another project would elevate Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to provincial status.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For Pakistan, this update recognizes the name changes for Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and assigns them new codes to correspond to those names.

Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" is dated 2010-08-20. It changes the name of North-West Frontier to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

In "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries", I didn't list a separate capital for Northern Areas. Several sources, including the December, 2001 National Geographic map of Afghanistan and Pakistan, state that the administrative center of Northern Areas is Gilgit.

Country overview: 

Short namePAKISTAN
ISO codePK
LanguageUrdu (ur), English (en)
Time zone+5


In 1900, the name Pakistan didn't exist. The land was part of India, which was a collection of British provinces under the direct sovereignty of the British crown, along with small states ruled by Indian princes under British hegemony. When India obtained its independence on 1947-08-15, the area hitherto known as India was divided into two countries along religious lines. Majority-Muslim areas were to go to Pakistan, majority-Hindu areas to India. As it worked out, Pakistan was created as two pieces on opposite sides of the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan became a Dominion of the British Commonwealth on 1947-08-14. Pakistan's eastern and western sections had conflicting interests. On 1971-03-26, East Pakistan declared its independence from Pakistan. A war ensued between India and Pakistan. On 1971-12-15, Pakistan accepted defeat, and East Pakistan became a separate country, now known as Bangladesh.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Pakistan
  2. Dutch: Pakistan, Islamitische Republiek Pakistan (formal)
  3. English: Islamic Republic of Pakistan (formal)
  4. Finnish: Pakistan
  5. French: Pakistan m
  6. German: Pakistan n
  7. Italian: Pakistan m
  8. Norwegian: Den islamske republikk Pakistan (formal) (Bokmål), Den islamske republikken Pakistan (formal) (Nynorsk), Pakistan
  9. Portuguese: Paquistão, República f Islâmica do Paquistão m (formal)
  10. Russian: Исламская Республика Пакистан (formal)
  11. Spanish: Pakistán, República f Islámica de Pakistán m (formal)
  12. Swedish: Pakistan
  13. Turkish: Pakistan İslam Cumhuriyeti (formal)
  14. Urdu: Islami Jamhuriya e Pakistan (formal)

Origin of name: 

Land of the spiritually pure: coined in 1933. It has been widely reported that the name was also chosen as an acronym for Punjab, Afghan (borderlands), Kashmir, Sind, and BaluchISTAN.

Primary subdivisions: 

Pakistan is divided into four provinces, two centrally administered areas, one territory, and one capital territory.

Azad KashmiraPK.JKJKPK064,045,3662,800,00011,6394,494Muzaffarabad
8 divisions213,222,916136,108,780880,254339,869
  • Typ: p = province, a = centrally administered area, c = capital territory.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4. (Codes PK06-PK08 were added as recently as 1991.)
  • Pop-2017: 2017-06-24 final census results. Figures for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are from
    sources [9] and [10] respectively.
  • Pop-1998: 1998-03-02 census. Figures for Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are estimates
    provided by Karem Abdalla.
  • Area: Totals include Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, which are disputed with India.
  • Note: As noted in the Change Notes, a constitutional amendment combined Federally Administered Tribal
    Areas into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province,.

Postal codes: 

Pakistan uses five-digit postal codes.

Further subdivisions:

See the Divisions of Pakistan page.

The four provinces and two centrally administered area are each subdivided into divisions. The capital is equivalent to a single division. The divisions (including the capital) are subdivided into districts. The districts are further subdivided into tahsils.

Territorial extent: 

The modern divisions are fairly close counterparts of the pre-independence divisions listed here.

  1. Azad Kashmir: part of Kashmir state
  2. Balochistan: Baluchistan province, Kalat, Kharan, Las Bela, and Mekran states
  3. Federally Administered Tribal Areas: Khyber, Kurram, Malakand, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan agencies
  4. Gilgit-Baltistan: Baltistan and Gilgit states
  5. Islamabad: part of Punjab province
  6. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: North-West Frontier province, Amb, Chitral, Dir, Nagir Phulra, and Swat states
  7. Punjab: part of Punjab province, Bahawalpur state
  8. Sindh: Sind province, Khairpur state

The UN LOCODE page  for Pakistan lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Azad Kashmir: Urdu azad: free
  2. Balochistan: Land of the Baluch people
  3. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: Adjacent to the Khyber Pass, and home to Pashtun people among others
  4. Punjab: Persian panj: five, ab: river (the area is drained by five tributaries of the Indus)
  5. Sindh: from Sanskrit sindhu: river, district of the lower Indus River

Change history: 

In 1900, India included over 500 native states (also called princely states); the British provinces of Assam, Bengal, Berar, Bihar, Burma, Central Provinces, Orissa, Punjab, and North Western Provinces and Oudh; and the presidencies of Bombay and Madras. The presidency of Bombay contained the provinces of Bombay, Sind, and Aden. Burma was divided into Lower Burma and Upper Burma. The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh contained Oudh province and North Western Provinces.

  1. 1901: North-West Frontier Area split from Punjab by taking parts of the districts of Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara, Kohat, and Peshawar.
  2. 1936-04-01: Status of Sind division of Bombay presidency changed to province.
  3. 1947-08-14: Pakistan created. It consisted of East Bengal province (formed from part of Bengal province and most of Sylhet district of Assam); West Punjab province (part of Punjab province); and the entire provinces of Beluchistan, North-West Frontier, and Sind. The capital was Karachi. The native states and agencies became effectively independent. They were allowed to decide whether to accede to (merge with) India or Pakistan.
  4. 1948-07-23: Federal Capital territory formed from Karachi and surrounding areas, totaling 2,103 sq. km.
  5. ~1948: Baluchistan States Union formed as a part of Pakistan from the native states of Kalat, Kharan, Las Bela, and Mekran.
  6. 1950: Native states of Amb and Nagir Phulra merged with North-West Frontier province. Name of West Punjab province changed to Punjab. At the time of the 1951 census, the divisions were as follows.
Division TypPopulationArea(km.²)
Bahawalpur s 1,823,125206,463
Punjab p18,828,015
Baluchistan Districts d 622,058347,064
Baluchistan States s 551,978
East Bengal p42,062,610141,157
Karachi f 1,126,4172,103
North West Frontier p 3,252,747101,680
North West Frontier Tribal Regionsr 2,647,158
Sind p 4,608,514146,197
Khairpur s 319,543
Total 75,842,165944,664
  • Typ: d = district, f = federal capital area,
    p = province, r = region, s = state.
  • Population: 1951-02-28 census (source [2]).
  • Area: Source [1].
  1. 1955-10-14: West Pakistan province of Pakistan formed by merging Bahawalpur state, Baluchistan province, Baluchistan States Union, Chitral state, Dir state, Hunza state, Karachi province, Khairpur state, North-West Frontier province, Punjab province, Sind province, Swat state; i.e., all of Pakistan west of India except the Federal Capital territory. Its capital was Lahore. Name of East Bengal province changed to East Pakistan.
  2. 1958-09-08: Gwadar annexed to West Pakistan (Baluchistan) from Oman.
  3. 1960-08-01: Capital of Pakistan moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi (provisional capital).
  4. 1961: Federal Capital territory merged with West Pakistan province.
  5. 1967: Capital of Pakistan moved from Rawalpindi to Islamabad.
  6. 1970-07-01: West Pakistan split into the provinces of Baluchistan, North-West Frontier, Punjab, and Sind, and the centrally administered area of Islamabad.
  7. 1971-12-15: Secession of East Pakistan recognized by West Pakistan.
  8. 1981: Status of Islamabad administered area changed to capital territory.
  9. ~1990: Spelling of Baluchistan changed to Balochistan; Sind changed to Sindh.
  10. 2009-08-29: Northern Areas (former ISO code NA) renamed Gilgit-Baltistan.
  11. 2010-04-19: North-West Frontier Province (former ISO code NW) renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkwa.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Azad Kashmir: Cachemira (Portuguese); Cachemire libre (French); Kaschmir (German)
  2. Balochistan: Baloutchistan, Béloutchistan (French); Baluchistan, Beluchistan (variant); Baluchistão (Portuguese); Belucistan (Italian); Belutschistan (German)
  3. Federally Administered Tribal Areas: Áreas tribais sob administração federal (Portuguese); F A T A (variant); Zones tribales sous administration fédérale (French)
  4. Islamabad: Federal Capital Territory, Federal Capital Territory Islamabad (variant); Territoire de la Capitale fédérale (French); Território da Capital Federal (Portuguese)
  5. Gilgit-Baltistan: Northern Areas (obsolete); Zones du Nord (French-obsolete)
  6. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: Fronteira Noroeste (Portuguese-obsolete); Frontière du Nord-Ouest (French-obsolete); Nordwestlich-Grenzprovinz (German-obsolete); North-West Frontier, N.W.F.P. (obsolete); Provincia Fronteriza del Noroeste (Spanish-obsolete); Sarhad (Urdu-informal-obsolete)
  7. Punjab: Panjab (German); Pendjab, Penjab (French)
  8. Sindh: Sind (French, German, obsolete)

Population history:

See India for earlier years.

Azad Kashmir   2,542,0003,710,000
Federally Administered Tribal Areas1,126,4171,847,0002,485,8672,198,5473,176,331
Islamabad 94,000235,749204,364805,235


  1. [1] Steinberg, S.H., ed. The Statesman's Year-Book 1959. Macmillan & Co., London, 1959.
  2. [2] Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  3. [3] Statistical Pocket Book of Pakistan 1991. Federal Bureau of Statistics, Karachi, 1991.
  4. [4] Dutt, Ashok K., and M. Margaret Geib. Fully Annotated Atlas of South Asia. Westview Press, Boulder and London, 1987.
  5. [5] Paxton, John, ed. The Statesman's Year-Book, 1979-80 edition. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1979.
  6. [6] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
  7. [7] 2017 Preliminary Census Results (retrieved 2017-10-21).
  8. [8] The Constitution (31st Amendment) Act on May 31, 2018(retrieved 2021-11-21). According to this Amendment, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were merged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province; the change became effective on Aug. 13, 2018, when the newly elected KPK Provincial Assembly had its first session.
  9. [9] "Census 2017: AJK population rises to over 4m," The Nation, 2017-08-27(retrieved 2021-11-21). The article attributed this datum not to the Pakistan national census but to AJK Census Commissioner Raja Tariq Mahmood. Azad Jammu and Kashmir conducted its own census in 2017.
  10. [10] GILGIT-BALTISTAN at a GLANCE 2020(retrieved 2021-11-26). Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Planning & Development Department Statistical & Research Cell (SRC).
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