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Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

Peshawar Definition

Capital of North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan.Peshawar is the capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative centre (and the central business hub) for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.Peshawar is situated in a large valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, between the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley.Peshawar has recently evolved into a very big city with a broad range of ethnic diversity. In the last three decades, there has been a significant increase in urban population, in part due to internal migration of people in search of better employment opportunities, education, and services, in part because of the afflux of Afghan refugees and other people displaced by military operations and civil unrest in neighboring regions.Peshawar is considered a most strategic city for the United States-led military occupation of Afghanistan, because many supplies for NATO and US troops are sent via Peshawar as it is located 200 kilometers from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Peshawar is a major commercial hub.The city gave its name to the Peshawari naan bread, one of the diverse types of naan common in the curry restaurants of Britain.The history of Peshawar, a region of modern-day Pakistan, covers thousands of years. The region was dominated by various tribal groups of Indo-Iranian origin and a variety of other groups, possibly of Elamo-Dravidian origin, maybe prior to migration of Arian tribes and their settlement. The region had links to the Harappan civilization of the Indus river valley and to ancient Afghanistan (before it was called Afghanistan or even Ariana), especially the Kabul valley. The border known as the Durand Line was fixed by the British in 1893 and divided ethnic Pakhtun territories into two parts. As a result, many Pakhtuns have agitated for a re-unification of Afghanistan or Pakhtunistan. The resulting "Pakhtunistan" issue has often adversely impacted relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the issue has largely become dormant since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the arrival and settlement of nearly 4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Ancient historyIt has been argued that an ancient city named Pushkalwati, founded by Bharata's son Pushkal, from the Indian epic Ramayana, and may have existed in this general area during early Indo-Iranian times before their migration past the Indus into South Asia. The city that would become Peshawar, called Purushapura, was actually founded by the Kushans, a Central Asian tribe of Tocharian origin, over 2,000 years ago. Prior to this period the region was affiliated with Gandhara and was annexed first by the Persian Achaemenid Empire and then the Hellenic empire of Macedonian Alexander. The city passed into the rule of Alexander's successor, Seleucus I Nicator who ceded it to Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire. Buddhism was introduced into the region at this time and claimed the majority of Peshawar's inhabitants before the coming of Islam.The area that Peshawar occupies was then seized by the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides I (c. 170 - c. 159 BCE), and was con (Wikipedia) - Peshawar This article is about the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. For other uses, see Peshawar (disambiguation). Peshawar Pashto: پېښور‎ Country Province District Union Councils Government  • Nazim (Empress) Area  • Total Elevation Population (2010)  • Total Time zone Area code(s)
City District
Clockwise from top left: Peshawar at night, M1 Motorway, Nishtar Hall, and Islamia College University.
PeshawarLocation within Pakistan
Coordinates: 34°01′N 71°35′E / 34.017°N 71.583°E / 34.017; 71.583Coordinates: 34°01′N 71°35′E / 34.017°N 71.583°E / 34.017; 71.583
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Peshawar District
Asya Abbas (ANP)
1,257 km2 (485 sq mi)
359 m (1,178 ft)
3.5 Million

Peshawar (Pashto: پېښور‎ Pex̌awar"  pronunciation (help·info)), the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), and the administrative centre and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated in a large valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, close to the Pak-Afghan border. Known as "City on the Frontier", Peshawar''s strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant and lively cities in the greater region. Peshawar is irrigated by various canals of the Kabul River Kunhar River and by its right tributary, the Bara River.

Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan''s most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities. In the last three decades, there has been a significant increase in urban population, in part due to internal migration of people in search of better employment opportunities, education, and services, and in part because of the influx of Afghans and other people displaced by military operations and civil unrest in neighboring regions. Peshawar is the major educational, political and business center of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one of the most developed cities of the region. Peshawar owns some of the top most institutions of Medicine and Education in Pakistan.

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Ancient Peshawar
    • 1.2 Gandharan Peshawar
    • 1.3 Muslim invasions
    • 1.4 Pashtun, Mughal and Maratha rule
    • 1.5 Sikh conquest
    • 1.6 Peshawar under the British Raj
    • 1.7 Modern Peshawar
  • 2 Geography
    • 2.1 Climate
  • 3 Demographics
    • 3.1 Race and Ethnicity
    • 3.2 Religion
  • 4 Economy
  • 5 Culture
  • 6 Languages
  • 7 Education
  • 8 Landmarks
  • 9 Shopping Markets
  • 10 Health
  • 11 Media
  • 12 Transportation
  • 13 Sport
    • 13.1 Notable Sportspeople
  • 14 Neighbourhoods
  • 15 Notable people
  • 16 In popular culture
  • 17 Gallery
  • 18 Sister cities
  • 19 See also
  • 20 References
  • 21 Further reading
  • 22 External links

History Ancient Peshawar Main article: History of Peshawar See also: Timeline of Peshawar history

Being among the most ancient cities of the region between Central, South and West Asia, Peshawar has for centuries been a centre of trade between Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. As an ancient centre of learning, the 2nd century BC. Bakhshali Manuscript used in the Bakhshali approximation was found nearby.

Vedic mythology refers to an ancient settlement called Pushkalavati in the area, after Pushkal, the son of King Bharata in the epic Ramayana; but this settlement''s existence remains speculative and unverifiable. In recorded history, the earliest major city established in the general area of Peshawar was called Purushapura (Sanskrit for City of Men), from which the current name "Peshawar" is likely derived; the city was invaded and made capital of the Kushans, a Central Asian tribe of Tocharian origin, during their brief rule in the 2nd century AD.

The area that Peshawar occupies was then seized by the Greco-Bactrian king, Eucratides (170 – 159 BC), and was controlled by a series of Greco-Bactrian, and later, Indo-Greek kings, who ruled an empire that geographically spanned from the area of present-day Pakistan to North India. According to the historian, Tertius Chandler, Peshawar consisted of a population of 120,000 in the year 100 AD, making it the seventh most populous city in the world at the time. Later, the city was ruled by several Parthian and Indo-Parthian kings, another group of Iranian peoples germane to the region, the most famous of whom, Gondophares (Gandapur in Pashto), ruled the city and its environs, starting in circa 46 AD; the period of rule by Gondophares was briefly followed by two or three of his descendants, before they were displaced by the first of the "Great Kushans", Kujula Kadphises, around the middle of the 1st century AD.

Gandharan Peshawar

The Kushan king, Kanishka, who ruled from at least 127 AD, moved the capital from Pushkalavati (now called Charsadda, in the Peshawar valley), to Purushapura (Peshawar) in the 2nd century AD, Buddhist missionaries arrived at Zoroastrian, Hindu and animist Peshawar, seeking counsel with the Zoroastrian Kushan rulers. Their teachings were embraced by the Zoroastrian Kushans, who converted to Buddhism, assigning the religion with an official status in the city. Following this move by the Kushans, Peshawar became a great centre of Buddhist learning; although, the majority of the population, particularly in rural areas, continued to embrace Zoroastrianism, animism.

However, Kanishka, who became an ardent follower of Buddhism, built what may have been the tallest building in the world at the time — a giant stupa, to house the Buddhist relics, that was located just outside the Ganj Gate of the old city of Peshawar. The Kanishka stupa was said to be an imposing structure, as one travelled down from the mountains of Afghanistan onto the Gandharan plains. The earliest account of the famous building was documented by Faxian, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, who was also a monk, who visited the structure in 400 AD and described it as being over 40 chang in height (approximately 120 metres (390 ft)) and adorned "with all precious substances". Faxian continued: "Of all the stûpas and temples seen by the travellers, none can compare with this for beauty of form and strength." The stupa was eventually destroyed by lightning, but was repaired several times; it was still in existence at the time of Xuanzang''s visit in 634 AD. A jewelled casket containing relics of the Buddha, and an inscription identifying Kanishka as the donor, existed at the ruined base of this giant stupa — the casket was excavated, by a team supervised by Dr D.B. Spooner in 1909, from a chamber under the very centre of the stupa''s base.

Muslim invasions

The Pashtuns began a conversion to Islam, following the early annexation by the Arab Empire from Khurasan (in what is today Afghanistan and northeastern Iran). In 1001, the Turkic ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire, Mahmud of Ghazni, further expanded from Afghanistan into the Indian sub-continent.

Sebuktagin death occurred in 997 AD and he was succeeded as governor of Khorasan by his son, Mahmud; Mahmud subsequently ceased dependence upon the Samani princes and assumed the title of Sultan in 999 AD.

During the early reign of this celebrated invader, major battles again occurred on the plains of Peshawar, the first of which was fought on the maira, between Nowshera and the Indus, in the year 1001 AD. Mahmud was opposed by the Hindu Shahi King Jayapala in the Battle of Peshawar (1001); it was a constantly endeavour of King Jayapala to recover the country that had been wrested from him by Sebuktagin. The King was aided by some Pathans (also known as Pashtuns, or Afghans), whose allegiance to the Muslim governor of Peshawar did not continue in the long-term.

The Jayapala-initiated battle occurred during the month of November and the king, himself, was taken prisoner — upon his release, Jayapala resigned the crown to his son, Anandpal. On this occasion, Mahmud punished the Pathans, who had sided with the enemy, and, as they had converted entirely to Islam, the Pathans remained loyal to their new allegiance.

Pashtun, Mughal and Maratha rule

The Afghan (Pashtun) emperor, Sher Shah Suri, turned Peshawar''s renaissance into a boom when he ran his Delhi-to-Kabul Shahi Road through the Khyber Pass and Peshawar in the 16th century; Peshawar was later incorporated into the larger Mughal domains by the mid of 16th century. The founder of the Mughul dynasty that would conquer South Asia, Babur, who hailed from the area that is currently Uzbekistan, arrived in Peshawar and founded a city called Bagram, where he rebuilt a fort in 1530 AD. His grandson, Akbar, formally named the city Peshawa, meaning "The Place at the Frontier" in Persian, and expanded the bazaars and fortifications. The 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, with many settling in the Peshawar region. Thus, the Mughals turned Peshawar into a "City of Flowers", by planting trees and laying out gardens similar to those found to the west of Iran.

Khushal Khan Khattak, the Pashtun/Afghan warrior poet, was born near Peshawar, and his life was intimately tied to the city. As an advocate for Afghan independence, he was an implacable foe of the Mughal rulers, especially Aurangzeb. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under Persian control by the 18th century, during the reign of Nadir Shah.

In 1747, following a loya jirga, Peshawar would join the Afghan Durrani Empire of Ahmad Shah Durrani. In 1776, Ahmad Shah''s son, Timur Shah Durrani, chose Peshawar as his winter capital and the Bala Hissar Fort in Peshawar was used as the residence of Afghan kings. Pashtuns from Peshawar participated in the incursions of South Asia during the Durrani Empire. Peshawar remained the winter capital until the Sikhs rose to power in the early nineteenth century.

Peshawar was briefly captured by the Maratha Empire of India, which conquered the city in the Battle of Peshawar on 8 May 1758. A large force of Durrani Afghans then re-conquered Peshawar in 1759.

Sikh conquest

In 1812, Peshawar was controlled by Afghanistan, but was contested by the Sikh Empire of Punjab. The arrival of a party led by British explorer and former agent of the East India Company, William Moorcroft was seen as an advantage, both in dealings with Kabul and for protection against the Sikhs of Lahore. Moorcroft was even offered the governorship of Peshawar and was invited to offer the area''s allegiance to the East India Company, which he declined. Moorcroft continued to Kabul in the company of Peshawari forces and thence to the Hindu Kush. In 1818, Peshawar was captured by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and paid a nominal tribute until it was finally annexed in 1834 by the Sikh Empire, after which the city fell into steep decline. Many of Peshawar''s famous Mughal gardens were destroyed by the Sikhs at this time. The Italian administrator acting on behalf of the Sikhs, Paolo Avitabile, ruled Peshawar under a reign of fear – his time in Peshawar is known as a time of "gallows and gibbets." The city''s famous Mahabat Khan, built in 1630 in the Jeweler''s Bazaar, was badly damaged and desecrated by the Sikh conquerors.

Sikhism was established in the region with the construction of Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh and Gurdwara Bhai Beeba Singh, by Hari Singh Nalwa. While the city''s Sikh population drastically declined after the partition of India, Peshawar''s Sikh community has re-established itself, bolstered by Sikh refugees from Afghanistan and by approximately 4,000 refugees from the Tribal Areas; in 2008, the largest Sikh population in Pakistan was located in Peshawar. Sikhs in Peshawar self-identify as Pashtuns and speak Hindko as their mother tongue.

An 1835 attempt to re-occupy the city, by Dost Mohammad Khan, failed when his army declined to engage in combat with the Dal Khalsa. Khan''s son, Mohammad Akbar Khan, almost succeeded in gaining control of the city in the Battle of Jamrud of 1837, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Peshawar remained under the Sikh Maharajahs, until they were vanquished by the British East India Company following the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1849.

Peshawar under the British Raj

Following the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, Peshawar was incorporated into British India. During the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the 4,000 members of the native garrison were disarmed without bloodshed; the absence of brutality meant that Peshawar was not affected by the widespread devastation that was experienced throughout the rest of British India and local chieftains sided with the British after the incident. The mountainous areas outside of the city were mapped out in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand, foreign secretary of the British Indian government, who collaboratively demarcated the boundary of British-controlled areas with the Afghan ruler at the time, Abdur Rahman Khan.

The British laid out the vast Peshawar Cantonment to the west of the city in 1868, and made the city its frontier headquarters. Additionally, several projects were initiated in Peshawar, including linkage of the city by railway to the rest of British India and renovation of the Mohabbat Khan mosque that had been desecrated by the Sikhs. The British also constructed Cunningham clock tower, in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and, in 1906, constructed Victoria Hall (now home of the Peshawar Museum) in memory of Queen Victoria. The British greatly contributed to the establishment of Western-style education in Peshawar with the establishment of Edwardes College and Islamia College in 1901 and 1913, respectively—these were established in addition to numerous other schools, many of which are run by the Anglican Church.

Peshawar Museum

Peshawar emerged as a centre for both Hindko and Pashtun intellectuals. Hindko speakers, also referred to as Khaarian ("city dwellers" in Pashto), were responsible for the dominant culture for most of the time that Peshawar was under British rule.

Peshawar was the scene of a non-violent resistance movement that was led by Ghaffar Khan, a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi. In April 1930, Khan led a large group of locals, in a peaceful protest in Qissa Khawani Bazaar, against discriminatory laws that had been enacted by the British rulers — up to 400 people were killed when British forces opened fire on the demonstrators.

Modern PeshawarBoard Bazaar PeshawarOld Peshawar

In 1947, Peshawar became part of the newly created Pakistan after politicians from the Frontier approved the merger. While a large majority of people approved of this action, a small minority, including Abdul Ghaffar Khan, believed that South Asians could form a confederation; however, the call for a united India was deeply unpopular with the local people and almost everyone rejected the idea by Ghaffar Khan and they clearly expressed that they did not identify as Indians. A small and very negligible minority believed that the province should have been absorbed into Afghanistan — a position that later evolved into a call for the creation of Pashtunistan, an independent state separate from both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In an attempt to take advantage of Pakistan''s post-independence instability, Afghanistan crafted a two-fold strategy to destabilise the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Firstly, it strongly aligned itself with Pakistan''s rival, India, and also the USSR, which later invaded Afghanistan. Secondly, it politically and financially back secessionist leaders in the NWFP in the 1960s. Afghanistan''s policies placed a severe strain upon Pakistani–Afghan relations in the 1960s, up until the 1970s, when the movement largely subsided as the population came to thoroughly identify with Pakistan; although, resentment against the Punjabi elite continued to develop. Pashtun assimilation into the Pakistani state followed years of rising Pashtun influence in Pakistani politics and the nation''s bureaucracy, culminating in Ayub Khan, a Pashtun, being placed as the presidential leader of Pakistan. The largest nationalist part of the time, the Awami National Party (ANP), launched a secessionist agenda and openly embraced the Pakistani state, leaving only the small and relatively insignificant Pakhtunkhwa Millat Party to champion the cause of independence in relation to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite the weaknesses of the early secessionist movement, this period in history continues to negatively influence Pakistani-Afghan relations in the 21st century, in addition to the province''s politics.. Today Pushtuns in Peshawar are proud Pakistanis and defenders of Pakistan.

Until the mid-1950s, Peshawar was enclosed within a city wall and sixteen gates. Of the old city gates, the most famous was the "Kabuli Gate", and in January 2012, an announcement was made by Siraj Ahmed Khan, the Peshawar District Coordination Officer at the time: “In due course of time, all the gates around the old city will be restored.” — Imran Rasheed, an author who has written extensively on the history of Peshawar has explained:

Old Peshawar was divided into three separate walled communities, Gunj, Dhaki Nalbandi and Sard Chah quarters. Under the Sikhs, the Italian mercenary governor of Peshawar, General Paolo Avitabile, popularly known as Abu Tabela, demolished the walls around these quarters and built a single wall around the old city.

Peshawar''s size or capacity has not grown in direct proportion to the city''s population and pollution and overcrowding have negatively impacted upon the city in modern times. In addition to the increase in population, the high number of Afghan transportation vehicles that pass through the city have contributed to the degradation of the city''s air quality:

Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, smoke, dust, hydrocarbons and tetraethyl lead are the main components of vehicular emissions poured into the urban air. Fuel adulteration and use of ill-maintained vehicles enhances emissions from motor vehicle exhaust. A large amount of suspended dust is generated due to vehicles driving on unpaved road shoulders, poorly maintained and overcrowded roads. In Peshawar, being a boarder city of Afghanistan, the large influx of Afghan transporters has greatly increased the problem of air pollution.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Peshawar served as a political centre for the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence-trained mujahideen groups based in the camps of Afghan refugees, such as at the refugee camp of Jalozai. Soviet agents often infiltrated these organisations and violence often erupted on Peshawar''s streets, as it was the scene of a proxy conflict between Soviet agents and US-backed insurgents.

There was a total of approximately 100,000 Afghan refugees registered in Peshawar during the 1988 election, when Benazir Bhutto was running for Prime Minister of Pakistan; although, in addition to this estimate, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees were in the city illegally. Many of the ethnic Pashtun Afghans assimilated into Peshawar with relative ease and many still remain in Pakistan illegally.

As of 2012, Peshawar continues to link Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Peshawar has emerged as an important regional city of Pakistan and the city remains a focal point for Pashtun cultureand the Gandhara Art. Like the surrounding region, Peshawar was at the crossroads of the struggle between the extremist Taliban and moderates, liberals and Pashtun nationalists. As a demonstration of their determination to destroy Pashtun icons, the Taliban bombed the shrine of the Pashtun poet, Rahman Baba, in 2009.


Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass and is mainly situated on the Iranian plateau, along with the rest of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The Valley of Peshawar is covered with consolidated deposits of silt, sands and gravel from recent geological periods. The flood plains/zones are the areas between the Kabul River and Budni Nala. The meandering flood plain extends from Warsak in the northwest towards the southeast in the upper northern half of the district; the Kabul River enters the district in the northwest. Upon the Kabul River''s entrance into the Peshawar Plain, the waterway is divided into several — the two main channels are the Adizai River Eastward, which flows along the boundary with the Charsadda District, and the Shah Alam, branching from the right bank of the Naguman River and merging with the Naguman River further in the east. In general, the sub-soil strata is composed of gravels, boulders, and sands overlain by silts and clays.

Climate Main article: Climate of Peshawar

Peshawar features a semi-arid climate, with very hot summers and relatively cold winters. Winter in Peshawar starts in November and ends in late-March which sometimes extends till Mid of April, while summer months are fom Mid of May to Mid of September. The mean maximum summer temperature surpasses 40 °C (104 °F) during the hottest month, and the mean minimum temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). The mean minimum temperature during winter is 2 °C (36 °F), while the maximum is 15.35 °C (59.63 °F).

Peshawar is not a monsoon region, unlike other parts of Pakistan; however, rainfall occurs in both winter and summer. Due to western disturbances, the winter rainfall shows a higher record between the months of February and April. The highest amount of winter rainfall, measuring 236 millimetres (9.3 in), was recorded in February 2007, while the highest summer rainfall of 402 millimetres (15.8 in) was recorded in July 2010; during this month, a record-breaking rainfall level of 274 millimetres (10.8 in) fell within a 24-hour period on 29 July 2010 — the previous record was 187 millimetres (7.4 in) of rain, recorded in April 2009. The average winter rainfall levels are higher than that of summer. Based on a 30-year record, the average annual precipitation level was recorded as 400 millimetres (16 in) and the highest annual rainfall level of 904.5 millimetres (35.61 in) was recorded in 2003. Wind speeds vary during the year, from 5 knots (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h) in December to 24 knots (28 mph; 44 km/h) in June. The relative humidity varies from 46% in June to 76% in August. The highest temperature of 50 °C (122 °F) was recorded on 18 June 1995, while the lowest −3.9 °C (25.0 °F) occurred on 7 January 1970.

Climate data for Peshawar (1961–1990) Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) Average high °C (°F) Daily mean °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Record low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches) Mean monthly sunshine hours
26.5 (79.7) 30.0 (86) 36.0 (96.8) 41.0 (105.8) 47.2 (117) 48.0 (118.4) 46.1 (115) 46.0 (114.8) 42.0 (107.6) 38.3 (100.9) 35.0 (95) 29.0 (84.2) 48 (118.4)
18.3 (64.9) 19.5 (67.1) 23.7 (74.7) 30.0 (86) 35.9 (96.6) 40.4 (104.7) 37.7 (99.9) 35.7 (96.3) 35.0 (95) 31.2 (88.2) 25.6 (78.1) 20.1 (68.2) 29.4 (84.9)
11.2 (52.2) 12.9 (55.2) 17.4 (63.3) 23.2 (73.8) 28.6 (83.5) 33.1 (91.6) 32.2 (90) 30.7 (87.3) 28.9 (84) 23.7 (74.7) 17.6 (63.7) 12.5 (54.5) 22.7 (72.9)
4.0 (39.2) 6.3 (43.3) 11.2 (52.2) 16.4 (61.5) 21.3 (70.3) 25.7 (78.3) 26.6 (79.9) 25.7 (78.3) 22.7 (72.9) 16.1 (61) 9.6 (49.3) 4.9 (40.8) 15.9 (60.6)
−3.9 (25) −1.0 (30.2) 2.8 (37) 6.7 (44.1) 13.3 (55.9) 17.0 (62.6) 18.3 (64.9) 20.0 (68) 13.3 (55.9) 9.4 (48.9) 2.0 (35.6) −1.3 (29.7) −3.9 (25)
26.0 (1.024) 42.7 (1.681) 78.4 (3.087) 48.9 (1.925) 27.0 (1.063) 7.7 (0.303) 42.3 (1.665) 67.7 (2.665) 17.9 (0.705) 9.7 (0.382) 12.3 (0.484) 23.3 (0.917) 403.9 (15.901)
195.5 189.5 194.5 231.3 297.1 299.5 273.8 263.2 257.3 266.1 234.8 184.4 2,887
Source: NOAA (1961-1990)


Peshawar is a rapidly growing city, with a population of 2,982,816 in 1998. The current population growth rate is 3.29% per year, a rate that is higher than the average of many other Pakistani cities.

  • Urban Population: 51.32% (1,536,000 persons)
  • Rural Population: 48.68% (1,600,000 persons)
  • Male/Female ratio: 1.1:1
  • Average annual growth rate 3.56%
Race and Ethnicity

In 2002, based on the growth rate of 3.56%, the city''s population doubled in 20 years, from 1.1 million in 1981 to 2.942 million in 2002. Peshawar District covers a large area that extends over 50 kilometres (31 mi), from north to south, and over 30 kilometres (19 mi), from east to west. The city is situated at an altitude of 359 metres (1,178 ft) above sea level. The Peshawar Valley is nearly circular, extending from the Indus to the Khyber Hills, and is bound on the north and northeast by hills, which separate it from the Swat Valley. In the Northwest are the rugged mountains of Khyber and to the South is the continuation of spur which branches off from Safed Koh (the famous white mountain on the Afghan border) and runs to the Indus. The lower portion of this branch separates the district of Peshawar and Kohat. Lakka Mountain with elevation of 6,600 feet in Khyber Agency is almost 25 Kilometers from the city center and 15 Kilometers from Hayatabad

ReligionSunehri Mosque

Over 99% of Peshawar''s population is Muslim, mostly Sunnis, with Twelver Shias the significant minority group. Despite the mainly Islamic nature of modern Peshawar, the city was previously home to a diverse range of communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Zoroastrians and members of the Bahá''í Faith. A significant number of Sikhs, in addition to smaller communities of Hindus and Christians, continue to exist in Peshawar.

This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (October 2014)
CultureNishtar Hall

Peshawar is the cultural centre of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; its culture has evolved over the years and has been principally influenced by Ghandhara culture, Pakhtun culture and Hindko culture. The province in which Peshawar is located has a population that is predominantly Pakhtun. However, Peshawar itself, up until the 1980s, consisted of a predominantly Hindko-speaking population — Hindko-speaking people are ancient inhabitants of the land. Both the Pakhtun and Hindko cultures share commonalities, with the geographical origins of each forming the basis for distinction — the Hindko-speaking people are mostly urbanites, whereas the majority of Pakhtuns came from rural backgrounds, and differences can therefore be found in customs such as marriage ceremonies and style of living.

With the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan, Peshawar became home for many Afghan musicians and artists. The city has also become the centre for Pashto music and cinema, as well as Dari music for the Tajiks, and a thriving Persian language book-publishing sector is now established in Peshawar; Islamic Shia literature is the primary output of the Peshawar publishing industry and it is located in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar.\

Sethi Mohallah

Following the election of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Islamic coalition in 2002, restrictions on public musical performances was introduced, as well as a ban prohibiting the playing of recorded music on public transport; however, a thriving underground scene has developed in Peshawar. In 2008, the secular political party, the Awami National Party (ANP), swept elections and won power from the Islamic coalition. Since the ANP assumed power in Peshawar, a greater focus has shifted towards the areas of culture and the arts, but the party has been hindered by a well-established conservatism among the population and the Taliban militancy. In June 2012, a Pashto singer, Ghazala Javed, and her father were killed in the city, with the subsequent investigation revealing that the pair were murdered. Javed''s career was very successful and her death occurred close to three years after the death of another promising Pashto musical artist, Aiyman Udas, who was also murdered in a fringe area of the city. Such incidents have been associated with Peshawar''s conservative culture and the influence of the Taliban, the latter being the reason for Javed''s relocation to Peshawar, as the Taliban had strengthened its presence in the Peshawar Valley in 2007.

Historically, the old city of Peshawar was a heavily guarded citadel that consisted of high walls. In the 21st century, only remnants of the walls remain, but the houses and havelis continue to structures of significance. Most of the houses are constructed of unbaked bricks, with the incorporation of wooden structures for protection against earthquakes, with many composed of wooden doors and latticed wooden balconies. Numerous examples of the city''s old architecture can still be seen in areas such as Sethi Mohallah. In the old city, located in inner-Peshawar, many historic monuments and bazaars exist in the 21st century, including the Mohabbat Khan Mosque, Kotla Mohsin Khan, Chowk Yadgar and the Qissa Khawani Bazaar. Due to the damage caused by rapid growth and development, the old walled city has been identified as an area that urgently requires restoration and protection. Author, Dr Raj Wali Shah Khattak, a former director of the Pushto Academy and a senior academic at the University of Peshawar, has written in his book, An Intangible Heritage: The Walled City of Peshawar:

To protect the inheritance of the walled city of Peshawar, the establishment of a heritage centre should be a priority. The centre should have audio and visual documentation equipment so that every aspect of culture and life, be it folklore, music, types of instruments, stories, etc., can be recorded. Moreover, visual documentation of customs and traditions should include marriage functions, clothing, lifestyle, manners and habits. Research into the oral nature of life in the bazars and streets, both during the day and at night, should be carried out to preserve this historical record. Fairs, festivals and traditions, both secular and religious, should be included in this record.

The walled city was surrounded by several main gates that served as the main entry points into the city — in January 2012, an announcement was made that the government plans to address the damage that has left the gates largely non-existent over time, with all of the gates targeted for restoration. The numerous gates include: Lahori Gate, Sarasia Gate, Ganj Gate, Sirki Gate, Sard Chah Gate and Kohati Gate. Former gates that were demolished were Kabuli Gate, Berikian Gate, Bajori Gate, Yakatut Gate, Dabgari Gate, Kachahri Gate and Hasht Nagri Gate.

LanguagesLanguages of Kyber Pakhtunkha.jpg

Most of the city''s residents speak one or more of the following languages:

  • Urdu, the national language and lingua franca
  • Hindko, a Punjabi dialect spoken by the majority of the city''s population until the 1980s
  • Pakhto, the most widely spoken due to the influx of Pakhtuns from rural backgrounds after 1980s and Afghanistan
  • Standard Punjabi, mainly concentrated in the city centre and cantonment areas
  • Saraiki, a Punjabi dialect spoken by people from DI Khan and Tank
  • Khowar, by people from Chitral
  • Kohistani, by people from North Malakand and Hazara Divisions
  • Dari/Hazaragi/Farsi/Tajik, varieties of Persian by Afghan refugees

Other languages include Gojri, Kashmiri, Shina, Romani, Burushaski, Wakhi, Balti, Balochi, Brahui, Sindhi and English (official and used in tourism).

Only Urdu and English are found as written languages in the city, with Pashto and Persian to a much smaller extent.

EducationIslamia College Peshawar Admin BlockIslamia College PeshawarMain articles: List of educational institutions in Peshawar and List of universities in Peshawar

Numerous educational institutes — schools, colleges and universities — are located in Peshawar. The University of Peshawar (UOP) was established in October 1950 by the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. Edwardes College, founded in 1900 by Herbert Edwardes, is the oldest college in the province.

The following is a list of some of the public and private universities in Peshawar:

  • University of Peshawar
  • Islamia College University
  • Khyber Medical University
  • University of Peshawar
  • NWFP University of Engineering and Technology
  • Agricultural University (Peshawar)
  • National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Peshawar Campus (NU-FAST)
  • IMSciences (Institute of Management Sciences)
  • Gandhara University
  • Iqra National University, Peshawar (Formerly Peshawar Campus of Iqra University Karachi)
  • AIMS University of Emerging Sciences
  • Qurtuba University (Qurtuba University of Science & Information Technology)
  • Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology
  • CECOS University of IT and Emerging Sciences
  • Preston University
  • City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar
  • Frontier Women University
  • Abasyn University (Abasyn University, Peshawar)
LandmarksClock Tower of Peshawar city known as "Ghanta Ghar" (Clock Home) in UrduFlower work inside Mohabbat Khan MosquePeshawar is known for its dry fruits. This is one of the vendors in Namak MandiFruit vendors selling local melons

Peshawar is a host city for many bazaars that sell various goods and souvenirs for travellers. The main bazaars are the historic Qissa Khawani Bazaar, the Copper market, Chowk Yadgar and Andarsheher Bazaar. Due to the city''s access to the Khyber Pass, the Khyber Train Safari starts from Peshawar.

The following is a list of other significant landmarks in the city that still exist in the 21st century:

  • General
    • Governor''s House
    • Karkhano Market
    • Peshawar Garrison Club
    • Kotla Mohsin Khan – the residence of Mazullah Khan, 17th-century Pashtu poet
    • Durrani Graveyard
    • Kochi Bazaar
    • Qissa Khwani Bazaar
    • Michni Check Post – last Pakistani border post before the Afghani border
    • Kapoor Haveli Residence of Prithviraj Kapoor – famous Bollywood actor
  • Forts
    • Bala Hisar Fort
  • Colonial monuments
    • Bara Bridge – built by Mughal rulers in 1629
    • Chowk Yadgar (formerly the "Hastings Memorial")
    • Cunningham clock tower – built in 1900 and called "Ghanta Ghar"
    • Victoria Memorial Hall – built in 1907 and has been transformed into the Peshawar Museum
    • Edwardes Mission School, Peshawar City – the residence of Yar Mohammad Khan, the last Durrani Governor of Peshawar
  • Buddhist
    • Gorkhatri – an ancient site of Buddha''s alms or begging bowl, and the headquarters of Syed Ahmad Shaheed, Governor Avitabile
    • Pashto Academy – the site of an ancient Buddhist university
    • Shahji ki Dheri – the site of King Kanishka''s famous Buddhist stupa. It was once the tallest stupa in India and served as the model for pagodas in China and Japan. The site is now a slum located outside the Gunj Gate of the old Walled City called Akhunabad. The stupa was described by Chinese pilgrims in the 7th century as the tallest stupa in all India with a height of 591–689 feet.
  • Hindu
    • Panch Tirath – an ancient Hindu site with 5 sacred ponds, that has been converted into a park (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
    • Gor Khatri - sacred site for yogis Guru Gorkhnath temple
    • Aasamai temple near Lady Reading Hospital (LRH)
  • Sikh
    • Sikh Gurudwara at Jogan Shah
  • Mausoleums
    • Tomb of Sanan Bin Salma known as Asuhab Baba, A companion (Sahabi) of Muhammad, near Warsak Road Peshawar
    • Tomb of Syed Talib Mohayyudin Chishti Almaroof Chishti Baba G Lajpal (died 1928) – the shrine is situated in the Hazar Khwani graveyard
    • Tomb of Sheikh Imamuddin (died 1650) – located at Palosi Piran
    • Tomp of Syed Abdul Wahab Akhun Panju Baba Akbarpura
    • Tomb of Rahman Baba (died 1706)
    • Tomb of Akhund Darweza (died 1638)
    • Tomb of Sheikh Sultan Baba
    • Mausoleum of Nawab Sayed Khan – located inside Mission Hospital Peshawar
    • Ziarat of Syed Shah Qabool Auliya
    • Ziarat of Syed Hassan Badshah
    • Ziarat of Agha Mir Jani
    • Burj-e-Roshnai
  • Parks
    • Army Stadium – composed of an amusement park for children and families, restaurants, banks, play pens and a shopping arcade
    • Bagh-e-Naraan – situated in Hayatabad
    • Cunningham Park/Jinnah Park – situated opposite the Historic Bala Hisar Fort
    • Wazir Bagh – laid in 1802, by Fatteh Khan, Prime Minister of Shah Mahmud Khan
    • Ali Mardan Khan Gardens (also known as Khalid bin Waleed Park) – formerly named "Company Bagh"
    • Shahi Bagh – a small portion constitutes the site of Arbab Niaz Stadium
    • Garrison Park – located on Shami Road and under the control of the army
    • Tatara Park – located in Hayatabad and designed for children and families
    • PAFWA Park - Located on Mall Road and under Cantt control
  • Mosques
    • Mohabbat Khan Mosque
    • Speen Jumat
    • Ganj Ali Khan Mosque
    • Qasim Ali Khan Mosque
    • Sonehri Masjid
    • Zarghooni Mosque
    • Bilal Masjid, Shami Road
    • Masjid Umer Farooq, Dora Road
    • Darvesh Masjid, Arbab Road Saddar
  • Museums
    • Peshawar Museum (Victoria Memorial Hall)
    • Agha Khan Museum, Peshawar University
    • Gorkhatri Museum
Shopping Markets

A high number of shopping markets and plazas have been opened in Peshawar. Some of the main shopping markets are listed below:

  • Peshawar Saddar – the main shopping centre of Peshawar
  • Qissa Khawani Bazaar – historical bazaar of Peshawar
  • Karkhano Market - Industrial market of Peshawar
  • Deans Trader Center - Big shopping Mall of Peshawar
  • University Road, Peshawar

Numerous public and private hospitals operate in Peshawar. Some of the notable hospitals are listed below:

  • Lady Reading Hospital
  • Khyber Teaching Hospital
  • Hayatabad Medical Complex
  • Rehman Medical Complex
  • North-West General Hospital
  • Sifwat Ghayour Childeren Hospital
  • Molvi Gee Hospital
Media Main article: Peshawar Press ClubPeshawar Press Club located on Sadar Road Peshawar.

The media of Peshawar serve a large population in area.

TransportationPeshawar International AirportPeshawar Mass Transit Logo.png

The main transport infrastructure in Peshawar consists of the Peshawar International Airport (served by all Pakistani airlines and several major foreign airlines), the Peshawar Railway Station (operated by Pakistan Railways), and links to several highways, including the Grand Trunk Road and the Karakoram Highway. The city''s infrastructure enables road, rail and air connections to all Pakistani cities, as well as neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and the People''s Republic of China. Within the city, coaches, buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are utilised for travel purposes.


Arbab Niaz Stadium is the test cricket ground of Peshawar. Other stadiums are Army Stadium, Peshawar Club Ground and Qayyum Stadium. Cricket is the most popular sport in Peshawar and the city is home to the Faysal Bank T20 Cup team, the Peshawar Panthers. Hockey and squash are also popular in Peshawar.

Notable Sportspeople
  • Jahangir Khan (Squash)
  • Jansher Khan (Squash)
  • Mohibullah Khan (Squash)
  • Farhan Mehboob (Squash)
  • Aamir Atlas Khan (Squash)
  • Hashim Khan (Squash)
  • Roshan Khan (Squash)
  • Umar Gul (Cricket)
  • Arshad Khan (Cricket)
  • Yasir Hameed (Cricket)
  • Kabir Khan (cricket)
  • Musaddiq Hussain (Hockey)
  • Ghari qamar din
  • Hashtnagri
  • Swati Gate
  • Chamkani
  • Badaber
  • Hayatabad
  • Gulbhar
  • Pahari Pura
  • Sethi Town (Haji Camp)
  • Momin Town (Dalazak Road)
  • Latifabad
  • Budhni
  • Wadpaga
  • Temberpura
  • Nishterabad
  • Sikander Town
  • University Town
  • Danish Abad
  • Regi Lalma Model town
  • Tahkal
  • Abdara, Peshawar
  • Faqeerabad, Peshawar
  • Karimpura, Peshawar
  • Garhikhana, Peshawar
  • Gulberg, Peshawar
  • Nothia, Peshawar
  • Bhana Mari, Peshawar
  • Kohati Gate
  • Circular Gate, Peshawar
  • Dabgari Gate
  • Mulazai
  • Palosi & Lakarai
  • Yakatut, Peshawar
  • Charkhana Road Gul Abad No.2,Nouthia Jadeed
  • Speenawaray
Notable people Main article: List of people from Peshawar In popular culture

The Book The Peshawar Lancers is set in Peshawar. The 2012 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has a level that is set in Peshawar in the year 2025.

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Sister cities
  • Ürümqi, China
  • Makassar, Indonesia
  • Sana''a, Yemen (since 24 August 2011)

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