West Pakistan

Western Wing of Pakistan between 1947–1970

The province of West Pakistan was created on 14 October 1955 by the merger of the provinces, states and tribal areas of the western wing. The province was composed of twelve divisions and the provincial capital was established at Lahore. The province of East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan with the provincial capital at Dacca. The federal government moved in 1959 from Karachi to Rawalpindi (provisional capital until Islamabad was finished), whilst the federal legislature moved to DACCA.

West Pakistan
مغربى پاکستان
পশ্চিম পাকিস্তান

CapitalKarachi (1955–1965)

Lahore (1965)

Islamabad (1965–1970)
 • TypeProvincial Government
Chief Ministers 
• 1955–1957
Abdul Jabbar Khan
• 1957–1958
Abdur Rashid Khan
• 1958
Muzaffar Ali Qizilbash
• 1955–1957
Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani
• 1957–1970
Akhter Husain
LegislatureLegislative Assembly
High Court
Historical eraCold War
14 October 1955
1 July 1970
Preceded by
Succeeded by
West Punjab
Sind Province
North-West Frontier Province
Baluchistan Province
Bahawalpur State
Khairpur State
Kalat State
Las Bela State
Kharan State
Makran State
Gwadar (Omani Territory)
Federal Capital Territory
Amb State
Swat State
Dir State
Chitral State
Islamabad Capital Territory
North-West Frontier Province
Today part ofPakistan

West Pakistan formed a block whose people seemed homogeneous (similar to each other). However, the new region included people of different ethnicities and languages. The "One Unit Policy" was regarded as a rational administrative reform which would reduce spending and eliminate provincial prejudices. However with the military coup of 1958, trouble loomed for the province when the office of Chief Minister was abolished and the President took over executive powers for West Pakistan. The province of West Pakistan was dissolved in July 1970 by President Yahya Khan.

General elections held in December 1970 saw the Awami League under Mujibur Rahman win an overall majority of seats in parliament (all but two of the 162 seats allocated to East Pakistan). The Awami League advocated greater autonomy (or self-rule) for East Pakistan, but the military government did not permit Mujibur Rahman to form a government.

Stamp showing both the East and west divisions of Pakistan Before the secession of Bangladesh. On March 25th 1971, West Pakistan began a civil war to subdue the democratic victory of East Pakistanis. This began the war between the Pakistani military and the Mukhti Bahini. The resulting refugee crisis led to the intervention by India, eventually leading to the surrender of the Pakistani Army. East Pakistan suffered a genocide of its Bengali population. East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. The term West Pakistan became redundant.



  1. Story of Pakistan (June 2003). "West Pakistan Established as One Unit [1955]". Story of Pakistan (Note: One Unit continued until General Yahya Khan dissolved it on July 1, 1970). Story of Pakistan, West Pakistan. Retrieved 27 February 2012.