Peshawar is located at the north-west end of Pakistan, about 160 km west from Islamabad, and is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Peshawar has a geo-strategically important location and an enriched history. This city has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations. It had been once the center of Gandhara civilization and has subsequently been ruled by Persians, Greeks, Buddhists, Kushans,
Afghans, Mughals, Sikhs and the British, up to the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Under the latest revision of Pakistan's administrative structure, promulgated in 2001, Peshawar was given the status of a city district. Earlier its administrative status was divisional headquarter.
Despite the fact that Peshawar holds key to the gateway of subcontinent, the etymology of the name of Peshawar is obscure as different names were used at times. In old Pushto literature, the name of Peshawar is mentioned as Bagram by famous Pushtun poets: Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak, kazim Khan Shieda and Ali Khan Baba. The history of Peshawar can be traced back to the Persian rulers, the Alchaemenians and Sassanians. In the Alchaemenian text, it indicates a region on the North West frontier of India. From the west, Peshawar was the first to meet on the way to India and hence, the name is derived from the Persian “Pesh Awardan” (the one that comes first). This region remained under the Persian control until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 326-7 B.C.1 Later on, the region was ruled by Chandra Gupta Maurya, who defeated the Greeks. One of the famous Mauryan kings, Asoka, left rock edits in Shahbaz Garhi town of district Mardan. The Mughal emperor Babar came to Peshawar in 1530 A.D. He used the name as “Parashawar”. He also used the name Baghram for Peshawar. His grandson Akbar formally gave the name Peshawar to this city that means ‘The Place of the Frontier2. In 1818, Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of Punjab, conquered Peshawar. The British succeeded the Sikhs and occupied Peshawar in 1849, but as much as Sikh rule had been hated, its British replacement aroused little enthusiasm. More or less continuous warfare between the British and the Pashtuns necessitated a huge British garrison on the west side of the city. The British ruled the region from 1849 to 1947, when it became part of the new nation of Pakistan. Now it is the provincial capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.