Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Peshawar

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Introduction/Geographical Details, Peshawar District

Located in the Peshawar Valley, near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, Peshawar is situated mainly on the Iranian plateau as is the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Peshawar is a frontier city of South Central Asia, and was historically part of the Silk Road trade route. The Federal Region Peshawar or FR Peshawar which was part of Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) is now part of Peshawar district. The newly formed district is located between 33° 16Ꞌ and 34° 32Ꞌ north latitudes, and 71° 22Ꞌ and 71° 52Ꞌ east longitudes. The district is bounded on the north by Charsadda district, on the east by Nowshera district, on the south by Kohat district, and on the west by Mohmand and Khyber districts.

Peshawar District at a Glance

Name of District Peshawar City District
District Headquarters Peshawar City
Population[1] 4,333,770 persons
Area[2] 1,518 km2
Population Density[3] 2854.9 persons/ km2
Growth Rate[4] 4.0 %
Male Population[5] 51.6%
Female Population[6] 48.4%
Urban Population[7] 46.1%
Administrative Units 4 Towns:

1.    Peshawar Town I

2.    Peshawar Town II

3.    Peshawar Town III

4.    Peshawar Town IV

5.    Local Area Peshawar (Ex FR Peshawar)

Important Cities/ Urban Areas Old City, Momin town, Adezai, Landi Yardajo, Hayatabad, Nishtarabad, Sikandar town, Tahkal, Gulbahar, Faqirabad, Karimpura, Yaka Toot, Landi Arbab, and Peshawar Cantonment
Literacy Rate[8] 61%
Male Literacy Rate[9] 78%
Female Literacy Rate[10] 42%
Major Economic Activity[11] Community, Social & Personal Services 41.7%
Construction 16.1%
Agriculture with its allied Livestock Breeding & Fishing 15.8%
Wholesale, Retail and Restaurant/Hotels 8.1%
Others 18.1%
Main Crops Rice, wheat, maize, sugarcane, rapeseed & mustard, barley, tobacco, groundnut, and chickpeas
Major Fruits Citrus, bananas, guavas, apricots, peach, pears, plums, strawberries, watermelon, musk melon, persimmon, loquat, mulberry, ber, dates, coconut, gooseberry, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts
Major Vegetables Chilies, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, colocassia (arvi), turnip, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, radish, okra, and cucumber
Forest (Area)[12] 22,275 HA[13]
Black Topped Roads[14] 546.9 km
Shingle Roads[15] 45.5 km
Electricity Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) looks after distribution and transmission of electricity in the district. Total number of grid stations is not available
Telephone Exchanges[16] 31 telephone exchanges, with 91,517 connections
Industrial Zones[17] 2 Industrial Estates: 1 major estate at Hayatabad, and one Small Industries Estate. There are 6 Industrial Estates Training Centers in Peshawar.

There are a total of 547 registered industrial units out of which 475 are working

Major Industry[18] Marble & Chips 52 Units
Pharmacy 41 Units
Engineering 39 Units
Arms & Ammunition 22 Units
Flour Mills 42 Units
Printing Press 29 Units
Furniture 26 Units
Plastic & Rubber 28 Units
Household Size[19] 8.6 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water[20] 47.6%
Houses with Electricity[21] 95%

Table ‎1.1 Peshawar District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census including population of now Ex. FR Peshawar.

[2] 1998 Census; added area of Ex FR Peshawar

[3] 2017 Census (this density has been calculated after adjusting for population and area of Ex FR Peshawar)

[4] 2017 Census; only Peshawar district

[5] 2017 Census ; only Peshawar district

[6] 2017 Census; only Peshawar district

[7] 2017 Census; only Peshawar district

[8] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); Latest available

[9] PSLM

[10] PSLM

[11] 1998 Census, 2017 Census data has not been released yet.

[12] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Development Statistics 2018-19

[13] Land utilization Statistics report 542 HA under Forests.

[14] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[15] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[16] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[17] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[18] KP Development Statistics 2018-19; for a detailed listing, please refer to section on Industry (Economic Activity)

[19] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet

[20] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet

[21] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been released yet

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHeritage Sites/ Tourist Attractions

Brief History of Peshawar District

Peshawar is the capital of KP; it is a frontier town, located near the Khyber Pass, and is the gateway to the subcontinent and Central Asia. Historically, this region has been known to be inhabited since antiquity. This fact was confirmed by the ongoing excavation at Gor Khatri which is the deepest and widest excavation site in the world.[1]

The historic Old City of Peshawar was once a heavily guarded citadel with high walls. Today, not much remains of the walls, but the houses and havelis (mansions) retain an essence of this heritage. Most of the houses are made of unbaked bricks with wooden structures for protection against earthquakes. Many of them have beautifully carved wooden doors and latticed wooden balconies. Areas such as Sethi Mohallah still contain many fine examples of the old architecture of Peshawar. There are many historic monuments and bazaars in the Old City, including the Mahabat Khan Mosque, Kotla Mohsin Khan, Chowk Yadgar, and the Qissa Khwani Bazaar.

The Peshawar Valley first appears in history as having formed a part of the Gandhara kingdom. This kingdom lasted from the early 1st millennium BC to the 11th century AD. It attained its height from the 1st century AD to the 5th century AD under the Kushan Kings. The Peshawar Valley was the heart of the Gandhara Kingdom, and was ruled from capitals at Kapisai (Bagram, Afghanistan), Pushkalavati (now: Charsadda), Taxila (Punjab), Purusapura[2] (now: Peshawar) and, in its final days, from Udabhandapura (Kund) on River Indus.

There are no authentic records of the original settlers of Peshawar, but it is conjectured that they were Indian in origin and belonged to the Yadu tribes who were either expelled from, or voluntarily migrated from, Gujrat in about 1100 BC, and who were identified[3] afterwards as living near Kandahar and on the hill country around Kabul. Some authorities assert that the Gaduns (which could be a derivative of Yaduns), who live in the hills to the northeast of Swabi and in the Hazara district, are the descendants of this tribe. They are known to have been a bold and independent ruling tribe of the area; they were successful in repulsing the advance of the Persian armies in the 6th century BC. The Persians returned in the 5th century BC with greater force, however, and all the areas east of the Indus ceded to them, but the hill tribes remained mostly independent, and opposed both the Rajput armies and the Greek army.[4] The area remained part of the Persian (Achaemenid Empire) founded by Cyrus the Great from 550-330 BC, but only nominally. Later, it became part of the Hellenic Empire of Alexander the Great.

The armies of Alexander reached the Indus in two parts by separate routes—one route was direct, through the Khyber Pass and Peshawar, and the other, which was commanded by Alexander himself, was through Kunar, Bajaur, Swat and Buner (326 BC). This first Greek invasion left little impact on Peshawar, but 20 years after the death of Alexander, the Peshawar Valley came under the sway of Chandragupta Maurya (321-297 BC). Maurya’s grandson, Asoka, succeeded to the throne in 263 BC and made Buddhism the state religion. Some of the rock edicts[5] of Ashoka at Mansehra and Shahbaz Garhi give the names of his contemporaries; on other rock edicts, tenderness for all living things (as detailed in the tenets of Buddhism) is expressed.

After the end of the Mauryan Empire in 187 BC, the Peshawar Valley was annexed by the Greco-Bactrian Kings (170 BC-159 BC), and then the Indo-Parthians[6] ruled the valley from 12 BC to 130 AD. The kingdom was then seized by the Kushans, who ruled the area from 30 AD to 230 AD. The Scythians or Sakas ruled the area till 400 AD and were overthrown by the White Huns who ruled from 460 AD to the 7th century AD. Fa Hian, a Chinese traveller, visited Peshawar Valley in the 5th century AD, and 2 centuries later, another Chinese traveller, Hiuen-Tsang visited Peshawar Valley. Both found Buddhism to be the main religion, and it is known that Buddhism prevailed in the country around Peshawar for around 9 centuries.[7] Hiuen-Tsang also writes about the “Great Stupa” of Kaniska and a site in his memoirs, which Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani identifies with the place where the famous tower of the Buddha bowl once stood.

Before the end of the 7th century AD, Afghans or Pathans appeared in the valley. Farishta,[8] a famous historian, records a campaign during which the Pathans succeeded in wresting a part of the plain country near Indus from the rulers of Lahore in the Punjab. In the 10th century, Peshawar came under foreign rule for the first time when Sebuktigin[9] defeated Jaipal, the Hindu ruler of Lahore. Sebuktigin was succeeded by his son Mahmud of Ghazni, who made Peshawar the rallying point for his raids into India in the first quarter of the 11th century. From this time onwards, for more than a century, Peshawar remained a province of Ghazni under Mahmud’s successors. In the 15th century, the Ghorids overthrew the Ghaznavids; later, various Pathan rulers ruled the area until 1505, when Babar (the first Mughal Emperor) invaded Peshawar through the Khyber Pass. From Peshawar, he took Kohat and Bannu, before returning to Kabul.

Before Tamerlane’s invasion (1336-1405), the Dilazaks, in alliance with the Shilmanis under rulers of Swat, were the main settlers of the areas now belonging to Peshawar district. Around the close of the 15th century, a great multitude of Afghan immigrants arrived in the region, having been expelled from Kabul. The migrants entered Peshawar Valley as three main clans: Yousafzais (also spelled Yusufzai), Gigianis, and the Muhammadzais. After obtaining permission from the Dilazaks, they settled in the region. The Dilazaks, in turn, paid tribute to the governors appointed from Ghazni.

In 1519 AD, with the help of Babar, the Dilazaks founded a city called Bagram, where Babar built a fort. After his death, this fort was destroyed by the Yousafzais and the Dilazaks.

Babur’s 5th and final march into the subcontinent began in 1525, and a year later, he defeated the last Lodhi king (who ruled India from Delhi) after the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. He then declared himself the new Emperor of Delhi. Babar managed to unite many of the tribes in KP, including the Yousafzais, under his banner, and led them to many regions in India. He paved the way for Mughal rule over this area which lasted till the 18th century, with the exception of the brief reign of Sher Shah Suri. During his short rule, Sher Shah Suri built the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), a still extant, 2,500 km long road, which connects Central Bangladesh, and India (mainly: Kolkata, Bardhaman, Durgapur, Asansol, Dhanband, Aurangabad, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Delhi, Karnal, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Amritsar) to Pakistan. In Pakistan, this road is commonly known as GT Road, and connects Lahore to Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Attock, Nowshera, and Peshawar. When Humayun (Babar’s son) retook Delhi and established Mughal rule again, the Peshawar Valley was ruled by the hill tribes of Khalil, Mohmand, Daudzai, and Dilazak. While the fort at Bagram was rebuilt by Humayun (the second Moghul Emperor), the Pathan tribes ruled the valley independently. Akbar the Great (the next Mughal Emperor, Humayun’s son) also left these tribes unmolested, setting up out-posts in the plain areas and keeping partial control over the tribesmen.

Akbar (1556-1605) formally named the city Peshawar, meaning “the place at the Frontier.” During the reign of Akbar, Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and Sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the Islamic Sultanate in South Asia, and many settled in the Peshawar region. Peshawar continued under the rule of Mughal Emperors Akbar, Jehangir, and Shahjahan, but under the rule of Aurangzeb (1618-1707) a national insurrection was successful in freeing the Afghan tribes from the Mughal Dynasty.

In 1738 the district fell into the hands of Nadir Shah Durrani, and Peshawar was often the seat of the Durrani Court. On the death of Timur Shah Durrani (second ruler of the Durrani Empire) in 1793, Peshawar shared the general disorganization of the Afghan Kingdom; the Sikhs advanced into the valley in 1818, and conquered the entire Peshawar Valley. In 1823 Azeem Khan Barakzai, the governor of Kashmir under the Durranis, made a final attempt to turn the tide of Sikh victories, and marched upon Peshawar from Kabul; he was, however, defeated by Ranjit Singh. The Sikhs did not take possession of the land, but asked for a tribute instead. In 1834 Peshawar was ultimately taken over by Ranjit Singh, who appointed the Italian General Avitabile as governor, and established Sikh rule in the region.

In 1849, after the Second Anglo-Sikh War, the British annexed the valley. During the War of Independence in 1857 (which began on 10 May), the armies stationed in Peshawar were disarmed in late-May, and the Peshawar district was made a part of Punjab province. The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) was constituted in 1901, and Peshawar became the seat of the new province.

The mountainous areas outside the city were mapped out in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand, the Foreign Secretary of the British Indian Government. He demarcated the boundary of Indian Territories in NWFP with the Afghan ruler at the time, Abdur Rahman Khan. It is known as the Durand Line;[10] initially dividing the British-held Indian territories from Afghanistan, this border now divides Pakistani territories from those of Afghanistan. The Kabul Government has argued that the pact expired when British colonialists left the region, though claims to the region have not been a part of official Afghan policy. Since Independence, many skirmishes have taken place between the Pakistan and Afghan armies. There were border clashes between 1949 and 1950, one of which lasted for 6 days before Pakistan prevailed. The One Unit Policy[11] of Pakistan escalated these tensions, and in 1960 a major skirmish with tanks and the air force took place at the border. Pakistan prevailed, but diplomatic ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan were severed. In 1979 the Russian invasion of Afghanistan brought a halt to these disputes.

In 1947, Peshawar became a part of the newly independent state of Pakistan. While a large majority of people approved of this action, some were proponents of the unity of India, such as Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was a Pashtun social reformer, commonly referred to as Bacha Khan.

Until the mid-1950s, Peshawar was enclosed within a city wall with 16 gates. Of the Old City gates, the most famous was the Kabuli Gate, but only its name remains now. Peshawar has not grown as much in size or capacity, but the population has. As a result, it has become a polluted and overcrowded city.

During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, Peshawar housed Afghan refugees at the Jalozai Refugee Camp. Peshawar managed to assimilate many of the ethnic Pashtun Afghans with relative ease and many of them still remain in Pakistan. Peshawar continues to be a city that links Pakistan with Afghanistan as well as Central Asia, and has emerged as an important regional city in Pakistan. It remains a focal point for Pashtun culture.

Federal Region Peshawar (the tribal region adjoining Peshawar) of former Federally Administered Tribal Authority (FATA) was merged into Peshawar District in 2018 under the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Figure ‎1.3 Gor Khatri Excavations, Peshawar.

Figure ‎1.4 Edwarde’s Gate, Peshawar, c1870

Figure ‎1.5 Walled Peshawar City Map, c1900

[1] USAID Programs in Peshawar Fact Sheet, 2010

[2] Peshawar was known in Sanskrit as Puruṣapura, literally meaning “city of men” (Purusa means man and pura means city).

[3] Peshawar District Gazetteer 1897-98 p.44

[4] Extracted from Punjab District Gazetteers Peshawar District, 1897-98

[5] Asoka’s Rock Edicts are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Asoka as well as boulders and cave walls made by the Emperor Asoka of the Mauryan Empire during his reign (269 BC to 232 BC). These inscriptions proclaim Asoka’s adherence to the Buddhist philosophy which, in Hinduism, is called dharma or Law (Peshawar District Gazetteer 1897-98). Written in the Kharoshti language, the rock edicts represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia.

[6] The Indo-Parthians were a group of ancient kings from Central Asia that ruled parts of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India, during, or slightly before, the 1st century AD.

[7] 1961 District Census Report Peshawar, Government of Pakistan.

[8] Farishta (1560-1620) was a Persian historian and author of Tarikh-i-Farishta and other history books

[9] Sebuktigin was the founder of the Ghaznavid Dynasty

[10] The following details have been summarized from: The Durand Line: History and Problems of the Afghan-Pakistan Border by Bijan Omrani, 2009 (online)

[11] In 1954-55 the Government of Pakistan merged the four provinces of the west part of Pakistan into one province and named it West Pakistan as was the case with East Pakistan

Governmental Structure; Peshawar District

At the Federal level, Peshawar district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 5
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 14 (plus 5 seats reserved for    women)

Under the Local Government Act, City District Peshawar has 1 City District Council which is composed of 4 towns, each having a Town/ Tehsil Municipal Administration and headed by its own Town Nazim and Naib Nazim. The Town Municipal Administration consists of Neighbourhood Councils and Village Councils. Peshawar City District has 130 Neighbourhood Councils and 227 Village Councils. Each Neighbourhood Council and Village Council consists of 5 to 10 elected members (depending upon population), 2 women members, 1 peasant or worker, 1 youth member, and 1 non-Muslim.

Administrative Divisions; Peshawar district

Peshawar district is a city district with a total area of 1,518 km2 (1998 Census; i/n area of Ex. FR Peshawar) and is divided into 04 towns as follows:

Peshawar Town I 25 Union Councils
Peshawar Town II 25 Union Councils
Peshawar Town III 21 Union Councils
Peshawar Town IV 21 Union Councils
Tribal Area Peshawar 11 Village Councils

Table ‎1.2 Peshawar Administrative Units

Historic/Heritage Sites/Picnic Areas; Peshawar district

The following heritage sites[1] are protected under the Government of Pakistan Laws:

  • Mirchi-ki-Dheri, Head Bust, Chak Razar, Peshawar: Stupa from the Gandhara era
  • Gor Khatri, Peshawar: The Gor Khatri is a large Mughal caravan serai.[2] The caravan serai was built on a spot that has been considered a holy place for nearly 2,000 years by the populace. In the 2nd century AD, it was a Buddhist temple, and later, it became a Hindu shrine. Farzand Ali Durrani initiated the first vertical excavations at Gor Khatri in 1992-93, but his excavation work could not be completed due to lack of funds. However, he confirmed that the city foundations dated back to at least the 3rd century BC. The second round of excavations continued until 2007 in the northeastern side of Gor Khatri, which helped date Peshawar’s age more precisely. These excavations added another 2 centuries to Peshawar’s original date of origins, officially making it the oldest living city in South Asia
  • Bala Hisar Mound, Charsadda, Peshawar: The Bala Hisar Fort also stands on the Bala Hisar Mound. This fort is believed to be the historic royal residence of the Gandharan prince, and is thought to have also been used by the Durrani Kings. This fort was completely destroyed by the Sikhs; the British later rebuilt the outer walls of the fort
  • Tomb built by Shah Qutb during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Dilzak, Peshawar
  • Sheikhan Dheri, Head Bust, Chak Razar, Peshawar: Stupa from the Gandhara era
  • Rattappan Mound, 3 km from Jalbi Village, Peshawar
  • Ghaz Dheri, Razzar, Peshawar: Stupa from the Gandhara era
  • Hamza Garhi Mounds, Hamza Garhi, Peshawar: Stupa from Gandhara era
  • Dharam Sal-ki-Dheri, Mera Prang, Peshawar: Stupa from Gandhara era
  • Kaniza-ki-Dheri, Charsadda, Peshawar: Stupa from the Gandhara era
  • Tomb and mosque of Sheikh Imam-ud Din, Pilosi Piran, Peshawar
  • Gateway of Kotla Mohsin Khan, Kotla Moshin Khan, Peshawar
  • Sethi House Complex, Mohallah Setian, Peshawar
  • Shah-ji-ki Dheri or Kanishka Stupa; Peshawar district: A stupa from the Gandhara era, at which excavations have uncovered a roughly constructed relic-chamber, in a corner of which stood a small cylindrical vessel which has been called the Kanishka casket, made of a copper alloy. On the lid of this vessel are tiny figures of a seated Buddha flanked by two Bodhisattvas. In relief around the upper part of the cylinder is a frieze of flying geese, and below it is the main frieze with a figure of King Kanishka standing in front of an undulating garland supported by erotes and framing demi-figures of votaries.  On the lid and sides is a punctured inscription in Kharoshthi script, which mentions the name of Kanishka twice and concludes with the name of the master-mason: “the servant Agisala”

The Old City of Peshawar was a walled city with 16 gates, but now, due to urbanization and increase in population, the city has expanded, and its wall has been pulled down due to which the gates no longer exist. The 16 gates were called Hashtnagri, Lahori, Ganj, Yakka Thoot, Kohati, Sirki, Sard Chah, Beriskian, Ramdas, Dabgari, Bajouri, Kabuli, Asamai, Kachehri, Reti, and Rampura gates.

Following are some of the tourist attractions of the city district:

  • Qissa Khwani Bazaar  Peshawar district: Literally, the market of story tellers, this is one of the oldest shopping areas of the district, with two monuments erected in memory of martyrs who died fighting against the oppression of the British
  • Sphola stupa Peshawar district: Of the 2nd to 5th centuries, the stupa stands on the right side of the road above the railway tracks at the village of Zarai, 25 km from Jamrud. The stupa has a high hemispherical dome resting on a three-tiered square base. Beautiful Gandharan sculptures were found at the stupa when the site was excavated during the early part of the 20th century, some of which are now displayed in the Peshawar Museum
  • Chowk Yaadgar Peshawar district: This hosts the clock tower and a “meena bazaar”[3]
  • Bala Hisar Fort Peshawar district
  • Jamrud Fort Peshawar district: This fort is made of rough stonework and faced with mud plaster. It was built by the Sikhs in 1823 on the site of an older fort
  • Mahabat Khan’s Mosque Peshawar district: This is a 17th century mosque. It is a beautifully proportioned mosque; a narrow gateway between jewellery shops leads onto its large courtyard. Built in the 1670s, the Mughal mosque is orthodox in design, with an ablution pond in the middle of the open courtyard
  • Shah-ji-ki Dheri Peshawar district: Two large mounds have been identified as the Kanishka Stupa and a Monastery. This monument was owned by the Syeds and hence its name (Syeds are commonly referred to with the title Shahji)
  • Peshawar Museum Peshawar district: This museum has one of the best collections of Gandhara Art in Pakistan. Sculptures illustrating the life of Buddha are laid out in chronological order, with one of the fasting Buddha
  • Army Stadium Peshawar district: This is a Children’s Amusement Park
  • Bagh-e-Naran: The largest park of Peshawar
  • Cunningham/ Jinnah Park, opposite Bala Hisar Fort Peshawar district
  • Wazir Khan Park: This park was built by Fateh Khan in 1802 Peshawar district
  • Ali Mardan Khan Gardens: Formerly Company Bagh, it is now called Khalid Bin Walid Park, or Ali Mardan Khan Gardens Peshawar district
  • Shahi Bagh: This park is now part of the Arbab Niaz Stadium Peshawar district
  • Garrison Park Peshawar district
  • Tatara Park in Hayatabad Peshawar district
  • Khyber Steam Safari Peshawar district: The Khyber Railway from Peshawar to Landi Kotal is, for rail enthusiasts, a three-star attraction. It has 34 tunnels, which add up to a total of 5 km of darkness, as there are no lights on the train or in the tunnels. It crosses 92 bridges and culverts

Figure ‎1.8 Bala Hisar Fort

Figure ‎1.9 Kanishka Relics from Shah-Ji-Ki Dheri, Peshawar

Figure ‎1.10 Panoramic view of Courtyard of a House in Sethi Muhallah, Peshawar

Figure ‎1.11 A Hindu Temple in Peshawar

Figure ‎1.12 Mahabat Khan Mosque, Interior

Figure ‎1.13 Chowk Yaadgar

Figure ‎1.14 Results of the ongoing Excavations at Gor Khatri

Figure ‎1.15 Entryway to Gor Khatri, Caravan Serai

Figure ‎1.16 Peshawar Museum

[1] Guidelines for Critical and Sensitive Areas Pakistan 1997

[2] Resting place for caravans

[3] Women-only shopping area

Topography of Peshawar district

Peshawar district is situated in what is called Peshawar Valley, a large, nearly circular, valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, close to the Pak-Afghan border. The district is bounded on the east by River Indus, which separates it from Punjab (Attock district) and Hazara. The city is located in the generally level base of the valley, known as the Gandhara Plains.

The Peshawar Valley is encircled by mountains[1] on three sides: on its north are Mohmand,[2] Utman Khel and other hills; on the south are the Khattak and Afridi Hills; and on the west are the Khyber Mountains.[3]

The district is situated at an average height of 358 m (1,173 ft) above mean sea level. The entire district slopes in a north–east and north–west[4] direction. There is a small hilly area in the southeast, which is a part of the main Khattak Range. The highest point is at Tarakai, with a height of about 700 m (1998 District Profile Peshawar by Go Pakistan).

The whole area of former FR Peshawar (now Tribal Areas Peshawar) is hilly and slopes in the northeast and northwest directions. Average height of the area is over 1,000 m above sea level. The highest peak is the Ghaibana Sar, which is 1,565 m above sea level.

The valleys include Janakor, Mandai, and Sama Badabera which are the main agricultural areas also.

The names of some of the main Mountain peaks[5] which surround Peshawar district are as follows:

Ranges Name of Peak Height


Ranges Name of Peak Height


North-East Range Mahaban 2,277 Western Range Tartarra 2,003
Sarpatal 2,277 Saparai 2,003
Ali Sher 2,277 Chapri Sir 2,003
Sinawar 2,277 Mullaghar 2,134
Sari Sir 1,405
North Range Illam Ghar 2,800
Mora 2,049 South Range Jelala Sir 1,558
Cherat 2,049 Cherat 1,279
Shahkot 2,049 Bahadur Khan 1,199
Malakand 2,049 Chujat Sir 1,039
Hazarnao 2,049 Torn Sir 1,436
Khanora 2,049

Table ‎1.3 Peshawar Mountains and Heights

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes; Peshawar district

River Kabul enters the district at Warsak, where a dam has been constructed. The river then flows in a southeastern direction in the upper northern half of the district. Below the dam, it is diverted into several canals and divides into 3 main distributary channels which irrigate the Peshawar, Charsadda, and Nowshera districts, before joining the River Indus at Kund. The 3 branches of the Kabul River, from south to north, are Shah Alam, Naguman, and Adezai. The Adezai River flows along the boundary with Charsadda district. Another channel branching from the right bank of the Naguman River is the Shah Alam, which flows parallel to it and again merges with Naguman River further in the east. The Bara River enters the district south of Jamrud Fort and flows in the southeastern direction in the district into Nowshera district, where it joins the River Kabul (1998 District Profile Peshawar by GoPakistan).

The flood plain zone of the district lies between River Kabul and Budni Nullah. Budni Nullah is a tributary of River Kabul flowing from the hills into River Kabul.

A large number of small intermittent streams generate in the mountains and join River Kabul; some of these are Pahari Khwar, Zindai Khwar, and Sur Kamar Khwar.

Some of the hill torrents of former FR Peshawar (now tribal areas Peshawar) include Janakor Khwar, Gar Algad, Musadara Khwar, and Namalkas.

The Warsak Dam Reservoir is the only fresh water lake of the district. There are some intermittent ponds/ dhands in the district, some of which are Medanak Dhand, Shahi Dhand, and Bere Talao.

Forests of Peshawar district

Peshawar is mostly an urban district, and hence forest deficient. The forest types found in the district are Sub-Tropical Dry Forests; the dominant tree species are phulai (Acacia modesta), kau (Olea cuspidata), and hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa).

The following table shows the forest statistics in the District as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Forest Area 55,043 A Resumed Land – A
Reserved Forests – A Communal Forests – A
Protected Forests – A Guzara Forests – A
Unclassed Forests[6] – A Private Plantations 53,027 A
Section 38 Forests – A Miscellaneous 1,964 A
Linear Plantation 1,669 km

Table ‎1.4 Peshawar Forests

Soils of Peshawar district

The district is mostly a fertile plain. The central part of the district consists of fine alluvial deposits. The cultivated tracts consist of a rich, light and porous soil, composed of an even mixture of clay and sand which is good for cultivation of wheat, sugarcane, and tobacco.

The Peshawar Valley is covered with consolidated deposits of silt, sands, and gravel of recent geological times. The flood plains/ zones are the areas between Kabul River and Budni Nullah. The meander flood plain extends from Warsak, which is in the district’s northwest, and then towards the southeast in the upper northern half of the district.

Seismic Activity/Seismicity; Peshawar district

The whole District (including FR Peshawar) belongs to Zone 2B of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan,[7] which means minor to moderate damage due to earthquakes.

Climate; Peshawar district

Peshawar district features a semi-arid climate with very hot summers and cold winters. Winter in Peshawar starts in November and ends in March. Summer months are May to September. June is the hottest month with mean maximum and minimum temperatures being 40 °C and 26 °C respectively. January is the coldest month, with mean maximum and minimum temperatures at 18 °C and 4 °C respectively.

Rain is received both in winter and summer. The winter rainfall is due to western disturbances, and shows a high record during the months of February, March, and April. The highest winter rainfall has been recorded in the month of March, while the highest summer rainfall has been during August. The winter rainfall is higher than the summer rains. Based on a 30-year record, the average 30-year annual precipitation has been recorded as 400 mm (16 inches).

[1] Extracted from Imperial Gazetteer of India, v.20, p. 111

[2] All hills named in this paragraph have been named after the tribes that inhabit them.

[3] Khyber Mountains are a range of arid, broken hills through which the Khyber Pass runs. The hills form the last spurs of the Spin Ghar/Sufaid Koh Range.

[4] 1998 FR Peshawr Profile by GoPakistan.

[5] Names and heights of the Mountain Peaks have been taken from Gazetteer of Peshawar District, 1897-98

[6] Owned by Government

[7] Please see chapter on Pakistan

Population of Peshawar District

The following table shows the population of Peshawar district as per the 2017 Census:

District Area


Population Male % Female % Urban % Growth Rate %
Peshawar District 1,518 4,333,770 51.6 48.4 46.1 3.99
Peshawar Tehsil[1] 1,257 4,269,079
Ex FR Peshawar 261 64,691

Table ‎1.5 Peshawar Population Statistics

Religions; Peshawar district[2]

Muslims 98.6%
Christians 0.9%
Hindus 0.1%
Ahmadis 0.4%
Scheduled Castes Negligible %
Others 0.1%

Table ‎1.6 Peshawar Religions

Languages; Peshawar district[3]

Urdu 2.8%
Punjabi 2.6%
Sindhi Negligible %
Pushto 85.6%
Balochi Negligible %
Seraiki 0.2%
Others 8.8%

Table ‎1.7 Peshawar Languages

Other languages include Hindko (a dialect of Punjabi language), Khowar (mostly spoken by Chitralis), Kohistani (spoken by people from Northern Swat and Kohistan), and Dari, Hazaragi, Farsi, and Tajik, which are all varieties of Persian spoken by Afghan refugees.

[1] Data for the population of the four towns of the district is not available as these were created after the 1998 Census was completed.

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been released yet.

[3] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been released yet.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity; Peshawar District

Peshawar district is a comparatively developed area of KP. It has a large industrial base, with 475 registered and operational industrial units. The major industrial occupations of the district are:

  • Community, Social & Personal Services (41.7%)
  • Construction (16.1%)
  • Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding & Fishing (15.8%)
  • Wholesale, Retail & Restaurant/ Hotels (8.1%)
  • Others (18.1%).

Land Use; Peshawar district

The following table shows the major land use statistics of Peshawar district (KP Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Area 125,700 HA Reported Area 152,761 HA
Cultivated Area 84,086 HA Uncultivated Area 68,675HA
Net Sown Area 77,689 HA Current Fallow 6,397 HA
Culturable Waste 22,902 HA Forest Area 542 HA

Table ‎1.8 Peshawar Land Use Statistics

Irrigation Network; Peshawar district

Generally, the area belongs to the Northern Irrigated Plains Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan and agriculture depends upon irrigation through canals. The main sources of irrigation are the River Kabul Canal System and Bara River Canal System. High Level Canals—the Left and Right Bank Canals—have been drawn from River Kabul above Warsak Dam. The Right Bank Canal bifurcates into Gravity Canal and Lift Canal.

The Bara River Canal off-takes from the Bara River Barrage on the confluence of Bara River and Mastura River in Khyber Agency of FATA; this canal also provides water for irrigation purposes.

The following table shows the area and modes of irrigation[1] in Peshawar district:

Total Irrigated Area 78,127 HA Government Canals 28,933 HA
Private Canals 41,122 HA Wells 160 HA
Tube Wells 5,289 HA Lift Pumps 259 HA
Tanks – HA Others 2,373 HA

Table ‎1.12 Peshawar Irrigation Statistics

[1] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

Agriculture; Peshawar district

The district belongs to the Northern Irrigated Plains Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. The main crops of the district include rice, wheat, maize, sugarcane, rapeseed & mustard, barley, tobacco, groundnut, and chickpeas.

The fruit orchards consist of citrus, bananas, guavas, apricots, peach, pears, plums, strawberries, watermelon, musk melon, persimmon, loquat, mulberry, ber, dates, coconut, gooseberry, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts.

The main vegetable produce of the district includes chilies, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, colocassia (arvi), turnip, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, radish, okra, and cucumber.

Livestock Breeding; Peshawar district

The following table shows the livestock population in Peshawar district as per Livestock Census 2006 (KP Development Statistics 2018-19; added Livestock of Ex FR Peshawar):

Cattle 245,953 Heads Buffalos 143,826 Heads Sheep 91,681 Heads
Goats 381,110 Heads Camels 1,100 Heads Horses 6,284 Heads
Asses 37,359 Heads Mules 473 Heads

Table ‎1.9 Peshawar Livestock Statistics

Hashtnagri and balkhi sheep are the native breeds of livestock in the district.

Poultry Farms; Peshawar district

According to Table 17 (Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock), there are 131 poultry farms in the district.

Fishing; Peshawar district

Fishing is an important economic activity in the district; it is carried out in the different rivers and streams as well as the lakes formed by dams. This fish is a major economic commodity in the district.

Bee Keeping/Api Culture; Peshawar district

There are a number of honeybee keepers in Tarnab (Peshawar) which is emerging as the core honey market of the KP province. The main products of this market are both honeycombs and liquid honey. These products are used locally, and nationally, and also exported to other parts of the world.

Minerals and Mining; Peshawar district

The minerals that are being mined on a commercial basis in the district include chromite, coal, dolomite, fireclay, Fuller’s earth, limestone, marble, shell clay, slate stone, and soap stone.

Potential for oil and gas deposits is being explored in the district.

Industry and Manufacturing; Peshawar district

There are 2 Industrial Estates in Peshawar. One is a major estate at Hayatabad, and the other is a Small Industries estate. There are 4 Training Centers as well: Automotive Training Center, Readymade Garments Center, Carpet Training Center, and Arts & Crafts Training Center. In all, there are a total of 654 registered industrial units, out of which 475 are operational. The following table shows the type of industry and its number according to KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Industry Number of Units Industry Number of Units
Adhesive Tape 03 Aluminum 07
Arms & Ammunition 22 Beverages 07
Carpets 14 Cement Based 08
Ceramics 02 Chemical 15
Cosmetics 01 Cotton 02
Daal Processing 02 Electrical Goods 06
Engineering 39 Fiberglass 02
Flour Mills 42 Formica 01
Furniture 26 Garments 02
Glass 01 Industrial Gases 02
Cold Storage 06 Ice Factories 17
Leather 06 Matches 13
Marble & Chips 52 Meat Processing 01
Metal Work 07 Packages 16
Paints 02 Spice Grinding 01
Paper & Board 04 PET Lube 01
Pharmacy 41 Plastic & Rubber 28
Biscuits & Sweets 21 Polyester Acrylic 01
Preservation of Fruit 04 Printing Press 29
Soap & Detergent 05 Sugar 01
Vegetable Ghee/Oil 03 Wood Working 11
Woolen 02 Total 475

Table ‎1.10 Peshawar Industries

Handicrafts; Peshawar district

The handicrafts of the district include work by goldsmiths and silversmiths, traditional hand-knotted and machine-made carpets (one of the big exports of Pakistan today), pottery, and clothing (hand-woven textiles and embroidery on clothing), as well as artwork in wood, brass or semi-precious stones, and arms and ammunition. Peshawari Chappal (sandals) are famous, and in demand, all over Pakistan.

Figure ‎1.6 Peshawari Chappal (sandals)

Figure ‎1.7 A Traditional Necklace, Peshawar

Economic Infrastructure; Peshawar District

The main National Highway, the N 5, enters the district at Tarnab Bridge and leaves at Bab-e-Khyber in Khyber Agency. Most of the major roads of the city are linked to this highway. The Peshawar‒Islamabad Motorway M 1 also passes through the district.

Road Statistics; Peshawar district

KP Development Statistics 2018-19 lists the road statistics of the district as follows:

High Type 546.9 km
Low Type 45.5 km
Total 592.4 km

Table ‎1.11 Peshawar Road Statistics

Important roads of Peshawar district include:

  • National Highway N 5
  • Peshawar‒Islamabad Motorway M 1
  • National Highway N 55 also passes through the district
  • Peshawar Ring Road
  • Warsak Dam Road
  • Charsadda Road

Rail and Airways; Peshawar district

The district is located on the main Karachi‒Peshawar Railway Line, and thus, there are a number of railway stations. The major stations are the Peshawar Cantonment Railway Station, Medanak Railway Station, Chingai Railway Station, Zintara Railway Station, Katakushta Railway Station, and Shagai Railway Station.

The Peshawar International Airport, also called the Bacha Khan International Airport is the main airport in the province. In addition, there is a Military Airbase operated by Pakistan Air Force.

Figure ‎1.17 Bacha Khan International Airport

Figure ‎1.18 Peshawar Cantonment Railway Station

Radio and Television; Peshawar district

Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) has both FM Radio and AM stations in the district. There are 5 privately-owned radio stations, out of which, one is an AM radio station.

Privately-owned TV channels include AVT Khyber TV, and Khyber News. All the other channels can be viewed through cable.

Telecommunications; Peshawar district

According to KP Development Statistics 2018-19, there are 31 telephone exchanges with 91,517 connections in Peshawar district. Cellular phone services with considerable coverage are also available.

Post Offices/ Courier Services; Peshawar district

There are 166 post offices in the district, with 1 head office, 64 sub-post offices and 101 branch post offices[1] in the district. All the courier services operating in Pakistan provide their services in the district.

Banking/ Financial Institutions; Peshawar district

There are a total of 314 bank branches[2] operating in the district. According to the List of Reporting Bank Branches 2019, by State Bank of Pakistan, the following banks are all operating in the district:

  • Albaraka Bank Ltd.
  • Alfalah Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Al Habib Ltd.
  • Allied Bank Ltd.
  • Askari Bank Ltd.
  • Bank of Punjab Ltd.
  • Bank Islami Pakistan Ltd.
  • Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Ltd.
  • Faisal Bank Ltd.
  • First Women Bank Ltd.
  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd.
  • IDBP (Industrial Development Bank Pakistan) Ltd.
  • Khyber Bank Ltd.
  • Meezan Bank Ltd.
  • Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.
  • National Bank of Pakistan Ltd.
  • National Investment Bank Ltd.
  • SME Bank Ltd.
  • Soneri Bank Ltd.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Ltd.
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank

In all there are 229 branches of various conventional banks and 85 branches of different Islamic banks in the District.

Electricity and Gas; Peshawar district

Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) looks after electricity distribution and transmission to all the districts of KP. PESCO networks own and maintain KP’s electricity distribution system via 132, 66, and 33 KV sub-transmission lines and sub-stations, as well as 11 KV and 440 V low-tension lines with distribution transformers that deliver electricity to domestic and commercial users. Natural gas is available in the district as well.

Educational Institutions; Peshawar district

The following table shows the number of Government educational institutions in the district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 662/519 Middle Schools 87/84
High Schools 88/67 Higher Secondary Schools 31/18
Mosque Schools 13 Degree Colleges 09/11
Polytechnic Institutes 03 Commerce Colleges/ Institutes 04
Vocational Centers 05 Private Primary Schools[3] 250
Private Schools (Middle To Higher Secondary) 588 Medical Colleges/ Universities[4] 10
Engineering Schools 09 Universities[5] 16
Cadet Colleges 01 At Warsak Law Schools 11
Homeopathic Colleges 04

Table ‎1.13 Peshawar Educational Institutes

Healthcare Facilities; Peshawar district

The following table shows the number of health care institutions in Peshawar district as per KP Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Hospitals 21/5,253 Dispensaries (Govt.) 58/13
Rural Health Centers 04/62 Basic Health Units 54/-
Mother Child Health Centers 04/- Sub-Health Centers -/-
TB Clinics 05/52 Leprosy Center 01/-
Private Hospitals 30/728 Private Medical Practitioners 815

Table ‎1.14 Peshawar Health Institutes

Policing; Peshawar district

The District Police Officer (DPO) Peshawar is in charge of policing Peshawar district. The DPO reports to the Deputy Inspector General Police (DIG) who, in turn, reports to the District Co-ordination Officer (DCO). In Peshawar district, there are 31 police stations.[6]

[1] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[2] KP Development Statistics 2018-19

[3] The KP Development Statistics 2018-19 contains data for 2009-19

[4]  in Public Sector and 06 in Private Sector

[5] 07 in Public Sector and 09 Private Sector

[6] Table no 19.7 (a) Number of Police Stations by Division/District by Federal Statistics Bureau.

Environment and Biodiversity; Peshawar District

Peshawar’s environment has suffered tremendously due to an ever increasing population, unplanned growth, and a poor regulatory framework. The influx of Afghan refugees also has had an impact. Air and noise pollution is a significant issue in several parts of the city, and the water quality, once considered to be exceptionally good, is also deteriorating rapidly. The air pollution is mostly due to vehicular emissions, dust particles, and a large number of small scale brick kilns and stone crushers.

Flora and Fauna; Peshawar district

Flora; Peshawar district

The district abounds in trees due to its fertile soil. The most common are mulberry (Morus alba), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo), willow or bisee (Salix sp), farash or khaggal (Tamarisk aphylla), ber (Zizyphus nummularia), guava (grewia), long leaved pine (Pinus longifolia), larch (Larix sp.), deodar (Cedrus deodara), horse chestnut (Castanea indica), mountain ash (Fraxinus sp.), date plum (Diospyros sp.), barberry (Berberis sp.), and common fig (Ficus sp.). Shrubs of the district include benth (Acacia jacquemontii), aak (Calotropis procera), red poppy (Papaveraceae), put khunda (Achyranthus aspera L.), camel thorn (Alhagi sparsifolia shap.), paighambri gul, and drab grass.

In addition, several varieties of roses, gul-e-dawoodi (marigold), champa (frangipini, both white and yellow), nargis (pheasant’s eye), and kashmala (a flower) are some of the seasonal flowers of the district.

Fauna; Peshawar district

Since the district is urban, wildlife is extinct in the city. The KP Government has set up an aviary for the protection (rearing) of birds like see-see and chakor partridges. The aviary houses more than 20 species of pheasants and other birds.

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Wildlife; Peshawar District

The only wildlife protected area in Peshawar district is the Peshawar Aviary. Kheshki Reservoir is a wetland listed in the Ramsar List, and is an internationally important wetland; Peshawar district