The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is largely located on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian land plate, while peripheral eastern regions are located near the Indian subcontinent and this has led to seismic activity in the past. Geographically the province could be divided into two zones: the northern one extending from the ranges of the Hindu Kush to the borders of Peshawar basin; and the southern one extending from Peshawar to the Derajat basin. The region varies in topography from dry rocky areas in the south to forests and green plains in the north. The climate can be extreme with intensely hot summers to freezing cold winters. Despite these extremes in weather, agriculture remains important and viable in the area. The hilly terrain of Swat, Kalam,Upper Dir, Naran and Kaghan is renowned for its beauty
Throughout the ages, Pukhtun tribes, the Afridi, the Bangash, the Durrani, the Khattak, the Mahsud, the Orakzai, the Toori, the Wazir and the Yusufzai, have left their indelible imprints on the pages of history. Other tribes are the Marwat, Mohmand, Gandapur, Swati, Tareen, Tanoli, Jadoon and Mashwani. Apart from the Pathan tribes, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is home to diverse ethnic groups and languages. In the northern highlands such languages as Khowar, Hindko, Kohistani, Shina, Torwali, Kashmiri, Kalasha and Kaghani are spoken. The influx of Afghan refugees has brought Ghilzai and Durrani tribes and hundreds and thousands of Farsi speaking Tajiks and Hazaras who have settled here. Nearly all the inhabitants of the Province are Muslim with a Sunni majority, a minority of Shias and Ismailis and a sprinkling of Animists or Shamanists.
Today Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, spread over 74,521 sq km, has a population of over 22 million. It comprises of two major administrative parts. One part, composed of settled areas, consists of the districts of Abbottabad, Bannu, Battagram, Charsadda, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu, Haripur, Kohistan, Kohat, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Mansehra, Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi, Peshawar and Tank. The second known as PATA (Provincially Administered Tribal Areas) consists of Malakand Agency and the districts of Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Chitral, Swat, Buner, Shangla, and the pocket of Kala Dhaka / “Black Mountains”, Kohistan (previously part of Swat State). The capital and largest city of the province is Peshawar and other main cities include Nowshera, Mardan, Mansehra, Charsadda, Mangora, Abbottabad, Kohat, Bannu, Karak, DI Khan.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the third largest provincial economy in Pakistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s share of Pakistan’s GDP has historically comprised 10.5%, although the province accounts for 11.9% of Pakistan’s total population. The part of the economy that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa dominates is forestry, where its share has historically ranged from a low of 34.9% to a high of 81%, giving an average of 61.56% Currently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accounts for 10% of Pakistan’s GDP, 20% of Pakistan’s mining output and, since 1972, it has seen its economy grow in size by 3.6 times. Agriculture remains important and the main cash crops include wheat, maize, tobacco (in Swabi), rice, sugar beets, as well as fruits are grown in the province.
DISTRICT WISE AREA, POPULATION, DENSITY AND GROWTH RATE OF Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1981 & 1998 CENSUSES