Till 1901, the NWFP was a division of the Punjab, consisting of Peshawar, Hazara
and Kohat. It was incharge of a separate superintendent and commissioner with his
head-quarter at Peshawar. On its separation from the parent province in 1901, the
records related to it were transferred to the custody of its newly constituted Government.
In 1938, the records of the Civil Secretariat NWFP were weeded and not less then
1200 bundles of original manuscripts and printed records, folded and docketed in
most cases, were set apart for destruction. But due to timely intercession of the
Director of Archives to the Government of India, they would have been lost for good.
Packed up in gunny bags, they were transported in 1940, without any list, to the
Imperial Record Department, New Delhi, where a few of them were examined and found
to contain invaluable information about the history of the province during the past
fifty years. In the words of the Director of Archives, the Imperial Record Department
has recently acquired a huge mass of miscellaneous record of great historical value
which was lying with the government of the NWFP. Realizing the importance of these
records as raw materials of history, the provincial representative of the Indian
Historical Records Commission (IHRC) put up a proposal for the early establishment
of a Central Record Office at Peshawar. The purpose was the concentration and preservation
of official records and the encouragement and advancement of historical research
in the NWFP. Supported by the IHRC, the principals and professors of local colleges
and the director of public instruction, NWFP, this proposal was accepted by the
provincial government, but was not implemented due to war (Jalali, 1984, p. 115).
It was in July 1947 that the Directorate of Archives NWFP Peshawar was established
on the advice of IHRC in 1946 when they invited the attention of the Government
of India to transfer back the records relating to the Government of NWFP, which
was laying at the IRO, New Delhi. These files were brought by Prof. S. M. Jafar,
who was the first Director of Archives, NWFP. He established this office only with
a skeleton staff of one Director and one clerk but was not disappointed. From the
very first day, it started collecting the material, which was lying through out
the province on the advice of the PHRAC (Ali, 1993, p. 49).
The full name of the organization is the Directorate of Archives and Libraries NWFP
Peshawar. The NWFP Government was the first Government of Pakistan which responded
to the call of the commission and established a regional committee for the survey
of historical records in NWFP and the adjacent tribal areas in 1948. The committee
besides the Director of Archives comprises of three eminent professors of the university
and two professors from government colleges. The government periodically undertook
the survey of entire province, located the material of historical importance and
tried whatever possible to get it donated or acquire through purchases (Jalali,
1984, p. 115).