The cost of renaming Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Process of updating signboards and official records is slow due to low funding.

October 31, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The cost of updating infrastructure and official documents to reflect the new name of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is Rs8 billion, according to provincial government statistics.

Of this amount the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government will have to bear Rs5 billion while the federal government will have to pay Rs3 billion.

Driving through the province on the winding Indus Highway, stretching along the bank of river Indus, will reveal that the signboards still bear the province’s old name the North West Frontier Province, or NWFP. The billboards of various law-enforcing departments, educational institutions and private entities are also outdated.

Then there are some signboards that have both the old and new name of the province. The historic Rail-Road bridge of Khushal Garh, for instance, has boards on roadsides that bear both NWFP and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s name. Vehicles in the province, too, have their old number plates.

Government officials say that the paperwork needed to update the existing infrastructure to reflect the province’s new name had already been finished. “The provincial government has also asked other provinces and federal and provincial departments to update their records to the new name,” the official added.

Senator Zahid Khan, who is the general secretary of the ruling Awami National Party (ANP), said the process of updating the infrastructure to reflect the new name was slow because of financial constraints. The provincial government’s finances, he said, were already stretched thin due the war against terrorism and the recent floods.

The North West Frontier Province was created on November 9, 1901. Administrative affairs and geographical locations were given preference over ethnicities in demarcations.

After the creation of Pakistan, the majority Pakhtun population has been trying to get the province renamed but it was not until 2010 that the Pakistan Peoples Party government caved-in to ANP’s demand of a new name.

Several names, including Frontier, Pakhtunkhwa, Sarhad, Pakhtunistan and Afghania, were suggested for the province. The province finally got its new name through the 18th Amendment to the constitution. It was renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa a name that attracted much criticism both from Pakhtuns (who just wanted the name to be just Pakhtunkhwa) and the Hazarewals division, an ethnic minority in the Hazara division of the province.

While Pashtu is the dominant language, Hindko (spoken by Hazarewals) and Seraiki are other indigenous languages of the province.

Pashtu itself has three main dialects: the Eastern Pashtu that is spoken in the province; the Southern Pashtu, which is spoken in Balochistan; and the Central Pashtu spoken in Waziristan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2010.


Afzal Rahim | 10 years ago | Reply We would had been more glad had it been just Pakhtunkhwa. By adding Khyber to it neither could they satisfy Hazara nor could they satisfy Pakhtuns. This name sounds more like Gilgit Baltistan We were tired from the abbreviation of NWFP that now a Urdu Daily & TV Channel (close to Nawaz Sharif) has added more to it insult by calling it KP. Do we start calling Punjab PB & Sind SD
Alija | 10 years ago | Reply I am happy and 8 Billions is Peanuts we should spent 800 Billion ,as NWFP was Insult to Pashtuns as this was name given in contempt to Brave and victorious Pashtuns in First , Second and Third Afghan Wars who made Britsh Tremble in Shame . While the rest of Indians were thier Loyal Subjects . I think 8 Billion is not a big Deal as Nawaz shareef spent 20 Billion on Just Raiwand Raod and another 15 Bilion on Ring Road in Lahore to his house . These Projects are more waste on Money as they serve the Raiwand Palace of Nawaz Shareef and not common People . furthermore we should reduce one rank on Army that JCO ( Junior Commissioned Officers ) Sub -Major which will save Billions as this rank was only created in India to Prevent the Locals from sitting with Gora officers in Officer mess . no we dont have any Goras in Army Apart from Pashtuns , all the officers are kalas . Why are devoid of Common sense especially the Army which spends Billion just to keep a rank which is of no use in Pakistan while the Whole world does not have this stupid Rank . The Writer should not Insult the Pashtuns and I Protest this Article and its Bias towards us .
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