History of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) sarhadī sūbha شمال مغربی سرحدی صوبہ) (other names include Sarhad, Afghania as well as Pakhtunkhwa and Pakhtunistan) is the smallest of the four provinces of Pakistan. The NWFP is home to the majority Pashtuns (locally referred to as Pakhtuns) as well as other smaller ethnic groups.
The province which was founded in 1901 borders Afghanistan to the northwest, the Northern Areas to the northeast, Azad Kashmir to the east, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the west and south, and Pakistani Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory to the southeast.
The principal language is Pashto (locally referred to as Pakhto) and the provincial capital is Peshawar (locally referred to as Pekhawar). The Pakistan Peoples Party, to accommodate a demand by the Awami National Party, proposed the province be changed to Pakhtunkhwa.
The origins of the Pashtuns are eastern Iranian. The Pashto language is classified under the Eastern Iranian sub-branch of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Thus, Pashtuns are classified as an Iranian people, possibly as partial descendants of the Bactrians and Scythians, an ancient Iranian group
Early precursors to the Pashtuns were Old Iranian tribes that spread throughout the eastern Iranian plateau.According to academic Yu. V. Gankovsky, the Pashtuns began as a "union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy." Gankovsky proposes Kushan-o-Ephthalite origin for Pashtuns. (ibid)
Pashtuns who speak a southern dialect of Pashto refer to themselves as Pashtuns, while those who speak a northern dialect as Pukhtuns. These Pashtuns compose the core of ethnic Pashtuns who are found in western Pakistan and southern-eastern Afghanistan. Like other Iranian peoples, many Pashtuns have mixed with various invaders, neighboring groups, and migrants. In terms of phenotype, Pashtuns are predominantly a Mediterranean people,so light hair, eye colors and pale skin are not uncommon, especially among remote mountain tribes.
Pashtuns also called Pathans (Urdu: پٹھان), ethnic Afghans, are an Eastern Iranian ethno-linguistic group with populations primarily in Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan provinces of western Pakistan. The Pashtuns are typically characterized by their usage of the Pashto language and practice of Pashtunwali, which is a traditional code of conduct and honor.
Pashtun society consists of many tribes and clans which were rarely politically united, until the rise of the Durrani Empire in 1747.Pashtuns played a vital role during the Great Game as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. For over 250 years, they reigned as the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. More recently, the Pashtuns gained worldwide attention after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and with the rise and fall of the Taliban, since they are the main ethnic contingent in the movement. Pashtuns are also an important community in Pakistan, where they are prominently represented in the military and are the second-largest ethnic group.
The Pashtuns are the world's largest (patriarchal) segmentary lineage ethnic group.The total population of the group is estimated to be around 42 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979. There are an estimated 60 major Pashtun tribes and more than 400 sub-clans.

Mardan (Urdu مردان) (The Land of Hospitality) is a city and headquarters of Mardan District in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It is located at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E with an altitude of 283 metres (931 feet) lying the south-west of the district.
It was part of the ancient Gandhara Civilisation and there are still remains of the Gandhara Civilization, scattered in different areas of Mardan. Most of its land is agricultural and it has one of the world's best irrigation systems, which was laid down by the British government during British Rule of the subcontinent (1857-1947). In May 2009 the city of Mardan, like elsewhere across the district, hosted thousands of refugees from Swat, Buner and Dir districts who were displaced by the fighting between government forces and the Taliban.


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