This article is about the city of Islamabad. For other uses, see Islamabad (disambiguation).
Clockwise from left: Pakistan Monument, Blue Area is the commercial centre of the city, National Assembly of Pakistan, Faisal Mosque, Margalla Hills National Park
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Islamabad (Earth)Show map of Earth
|Coordinates: 33°43′N73°04′E / 33.717°N 73.067°E / 33.717; 73.067Coordinates: 33°43′N73°04′E / 33.717°N 73.067°E / 33.717; 73.067|
|Territory||Islamabad Capital Territory|
|• Type||Parliamentary democratic republic|
|• Governing body||Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation and Capital Development Authority (CDA)|
|• Chief Commissioner||Zulfiqar Haider|
|• Chairman CDA||Usman Bajwa|
|• Deputy Commissioner||Capt(r) Mushtaq Ahmed|
|• Mayor||Sheikh Ansar Aziz Political party PML-N|
|• Capital city||906.5 km2 (350.0 sq mi)|
|• Land||897.7 km2 (346.6 sq mi)|
|• Water||8.8 km2 (3.4 sq mi) 0.97%|
|• Urban||220.15 km2 (85.00 sq mi)|
|• Rural||466.20 km2 (180.00 sq mi)|
|• Parks||220.15 km2 (85.00 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||620 m (2,000 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||490 m (1,610 ft)|
|Population (2017 Census)|
|• Capital city||2,006,572|
|• Density||2,089/km2 (5,410/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||4,609/km2 (11,940/sq mi)|
|• Metro||4 million|
|Demonym(s)||Islamabadi or Islamabadis.|
|Time zone||PKT/YEKT (UTC+5)|
|HDI Category||Very High|
|Notable sports teams||Islamabad United, Islamabad Jinns|
Islamabad (; Urdu: اسلام آباد, Islāmābād, Urdu pronunciation: [ɪsˌlɑːmɑːˈbɑːd̪]) is the capital city of Pakistan located within the federal Islamabad Capital Territory. With a population of 2.01 million, it is the 9th largest city of Pakistan, while the larger Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the third largest in Pakistan with a population exceeding four million. The city is the political seat of Pakistan and is administered by the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation, supported by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the northeastern part of the country, between Rawalpindi District and the Margalla Hills National Park to the north. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the Margalla Pass acting as the gateway between the two regions.
Islamabad was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. The city's master-plan divides the city into eight zones, including administrative, diplomatic enclave, residential areas, educational sectors, industrial sectors, commercial areas, and rural and green areas. The city is known for the presence of several parks and forests, including the Margalla Hills National Park and Shakarparian Park. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the fourth largest in the world. Other landmarks include the Pakistan's National Monument and Democracy Square.
Islamabad is a beta- world city; it is categorised as very high on the Human Development Index, the highest in the country. The city has the highest cost of living in Pakistan, and its population is dominated by middle and upper middle class citizens. The city is home to twenty universities, including the Quaid-e-Azam University, PIEAS, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology and NUST. The city is one of the safest in Pakistan, and has an expansive surveillance system with 1,900 CCTV cameras.
The name of the city, Islamabad is derived from two words, Islam and abad, meaning "City of Islam". Islam is an Arabic word which refers to the religion of Islam and -abad is a Persian place name that means inhabited place or city.
Main article: History of Islamabad
Islamabad Capital Territory, located on the Pothohar Plateau of the Punjab region, is considered one of the earliest sites of human settlement in Asia. Some of the earliest Stone Age artefacts in the world have been found on the plateau, dating from 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. Rudimentary stones recovered from the terraces of the Soan River testify to the endeavours of early man in the inter-glacial period. Items of pottery and utensils dating back to prehistory have been found.
Excavations have revealed evidence of a prehistoric culture. Relics and human skulls have been found dating back to 5000 BC that show this region was home to Neolithic people who settled on the banks of the Swaan River, who developed small communities in the region at around 3000 BC. One end of the Indus Valley Civilization flourished here between the 23rd and 18th centuries BC. Later the area was an early settlement of the Aryan community. A Buddhist town once existed in the region. Many great armies such as those of Zahiruddin Babur, Genghis Khan, Timur and Ahmad Shah Durrani used the corridor through Islamabad on their way to invade the Indian Subcontinent.
The popular Shrine of Meher Ali Shah was completed immediately before construction began on the future capital city just east of the shrine.
The caves at Shah Allah Ditta, on Islamabad's outskirts, were part of an ancient Buddhist monastic community
The restored village of Saidpur predates the surrounding city of Islamabad.
Construction and development
Main article: Developments in Islamabad
When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, the southern port city of Karachi was its first national capital. In the 1960s, Islamabad was constructed as a forward capital for several reasons. Traditionally, development in Pakistan was focused on the colonial centre of Karachi, and President Ayub Khan wanted it equally distributed. Moreover, Karachi was located at the southern end of the country, making it vulnerable to attacks from the Arabian Sea. Pakistan needed a capital that was easily accessible from all parts of the country. Karachi, a business centre, was also considered unsuitable partly because of intervention of business interests in government affairs. The newly selected location of Islamabad was closer to the army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the disputed territory of Kashmir in the north.
In 1958, a commission was constituted to select a suitable site for the national capital with particular emphasis on location, climate, logistics, and defence requirements along with other attributes. After extensive study, research, and a thorough review of potential sites, the commission recommended the area northeast of Rawalpindi in 1959. A Greek firm of architects, Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis, designed the master plan of the city based on a grid plan which was triangular in shape with its apex towards the Margalla Hills. The capital was not moved directly from Karachi to Islamabad; it was first shifted temporarily to Rawalpindi in the early sixties and then to Islamabad when the essential development work was completed in 1966.
Islamabad has attracted people from all over Pakistan, making it one of the most cosmopolitan and urbanised cities of Pakistan. As the capital city it has hosted a number of important meetings, such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit. Year 2014 has brought in major changes in Islamabad. Construction of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus began on 28 February 2014 which was completed in March 2015, with 60 buses plying on the route. The Rawalpindi Development Authority took care of the project with a cost of approximately Rs 24 billion, which was shared by both the Federal government and the provincial government of Punjab. In October 2005, the city suffered some damage due to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake which had a magnitude of 7.6. Islamabad has experienced a series of terrorist incidents including the July 2007 Siege of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), the June 2008 Danish embassy bombing, and the September 2008 Marriott bombing. In 2011, four terrorism incidents occurred in the city, killing four people, including the murder of the then Punjab GovernorSalmaan Taseer.
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Islamabad
Margalla Hills, Islamabad
Islamabad's verdant cityscape merges directly with the Margalla Hills
Islamabad's deciduous trees change colours in autumn
Islamabad is located at 33°26′N73°02′E / 33.43°N 73.04°E / 33.43; 73.04 at the northern edge of the Pothohar Plateau and at the foot of the Margalla Hills in Islamabad Capital Territory. Its elevation is 540 metres (1,770 ft). The modern capital and the ancient Gakhar city of Rawalpindi stand side by side and are commonly referred to as the Twin Cities, where no exact boundary exists between the two cities.
To the northeast of the city lies the hill station of Murree, and to the north lies the Haripur District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Kahuta lies on the southeast, Taxila, Wah Cantt, and Attock District to the northwest, Gujar Khan, Rawat, and Mandrah on the southeast, and the metropolis of Rawalpindi to the south and southwest. Islamabad is located 120 kilometres (75 mi) SSW of Muzaffarabad, 185 kilometres (115 mi) east of Peshawar, 295 kilometres (183 mi) NNW of Lahore, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) WSW of Srinagar, the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The city of Islamabad expanses an area of 906 square kilometres (350 sq mi). A further 2,717 square kilometres (1,049 sq mi) area is known as the Specified Area, with the Margala Hills in the north and northeast. The southern portion of the city is an undulating plain. It is drained by the Kurang River, on which the Rawal Dam is located.
Main article: Climate of Islamabad
The climate of Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa), with five seasons: Winter (November–February), Spring (March and April), Summer (May and June), Rainy Monsoon (July and August) and Autumn (September and October). The hottest month is June, where average highs routinely exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). The wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudburst and flooding. The coolest month is January. Islamabad's micro-climate is regulated by three artificial reservoirs: Rawal, Simli, and Khanpur Dam. The latter is located on the Haro River near the town of Khanpur, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Islamabad. Simli Dam is 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Islamabad. 220 acres (89 ha) of the city consists of Margalla Hills National Park. Loi Bher Forest is situated along the Islamabad Highway, covering an area of 1,087 acres (440 ha). The highest monthly rainfall of 743.3 mm (29.26 in) was recorded during July 1995. Winters generally feature dense fog in the mornings and sunny afternoons. In the city, temperatures stay mild, with snowfall over the higher elevations points on nearby hill stations, notably Murree and Nathia Gali. The temperatures range from 13 °C (55 °F) in January to 38 °C (100 °F) in June. The highest recorded temperature was 46.6 °C (115.9 °F) on 23 June 2005 while the lowest temperature was −6 °C (21.2 °F) on 17 January 1967. The city has recorded snowfall. On 23 July 2001, Islamabad received a record-breaking 620 mm (24 in) of rainfall in just 10 hours. It was the heaviest rainfall in Islamabad in the past 100 years and the highest rainfall in 24 hours as well.
|Climate data for Islamabad (1961–1990)|
|Record high °C (°F)||30.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||2.6|
|Record low °C (°F)||−6.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||56.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||195.7||187.1||202.3||252.4||311.9||300.1||264.4||250.7||262.2||275.5||247.9||195.6||2,945.8|
|Source #1: NOAA (normals)|
|Source #2: PMD (extremes)|
|Zones in Islamabad|
|Source:||Lahore Real Estate|
See also: Mayor of Islamabad, Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation, and Capital Development Authority
The main administrative authority of the city is the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) with some help from Capital Development Authority (CDA), which oversees the planning, development, construction, and administration of the city. Islamabad Capital Territory is divided into eight zones: Administrative Zone, Commercial District, Educational Sector, Industrial Sector, Diplomatic Enclave, Residential Areas, Rural Areas and Green Area. Islamabad city is divided into five major zones: Zone I, Zone II, Zone III, Zone IV, and Zone V. Out of these, Zone IV is the largest in area. Zone I consists mainly of all the developed residential sectors while Zone II consists of the under-developed residential sectors. Each residential sector is identified by a letter of the alphabet and a number, and covers an area of approximately 2 km × 2 km (1 1⁄4 mi × 1 1⁄4 mi). The sectors are lettered from A to I, and each sector is divided into four numbered sub-sectors.
Main article: Sectors of Islamabad
Series A, B, and C are still underdeveloped. The D series has seven sectors (D-11 to D-17), of which only sector D-12 is completely developed. This series is located at the foot of Margalla Hills. The E Sectors are named from E-7 to E-17. Many foreigners and diplomatic personnel are housed in these sectors. In the revised Master Plan of the city, CDA has decided to develop a park on the pattern of Fatima Jinnah Park in sector E-14. Sectors E-8 and E-9 contain the campuses of Bahria University, Air University, and the National Defence University. The F and G series contains the most developed sectors. F series contains sectors F-5 to F-17; some sectors are still under-developed. F-5 is an important sector for the software industry in Islamabad, as the two software technology parks are located here. The entire F-9 sector is covered with Fatima Jinnah Park. The Centaurus complex is a major landmark of the F-8 sector. G sectors are numbered G-5 through G-17. Some important places include the Jinnah Convention Centre and Serena Hotel in G-5, the Red Mosque in G-6, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, the largest medical complex in the capital, located in G-8, and the Karachi Company shopping center in G-9.
The H sectors are numbered H-8 through H-17. The H sectors are mostly dedicated to educational and health institutions. National University of Sciences and Technology covers a major portion of sector H-12. The I sectors are numbered from I-8 to I-18. With the exception of I-8, which is a well-developed residential area, these sectors are primarily part of the industrial zone. Currently two sub-sectors of I-9 and one sub-sector of I-10 are used as industrial areas. CDA is planning to set up Islamabad Railway Station in Sector I-18 and Industrial City in sector I-17. Zone III consists primarily of the Margalla Hills and Margalla Hills National Park. Rawal Lake is in this zone. Zone IV and V consist of Islamabad Park, and rural areas of the city. The Soan River flows into the city through Zone V.
Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area
Main article: Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area
When the master plan for Islamabad was drawn up in 1960, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, along with the adjoining areas, was to be integrated to form a large metropolitan area called Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area. The area would consist of the developing Islamabad, the old colonial cantonment city of Rawalpindi, and Margalla Hills National Park, including surrounding rural areas. However, Islamabad city is part of the Islamabad Capital Territory, while Rawalpindi is part of Rawalpindi District, which is part of province of Punjab .
Initially, it was proposed that the three areas would be connected by four major highways: Murree Highway, Islamabad Highway, Soan Highway, and Capital Highway. However, to date only two highways have been constructed: Kashmir Highway (the former Murree Highway) and Islamabad Highway. Plans of constructing Margalla Avenue are also underway. Islamabad is the hub all the governmental activities while Rawalpindi is the centre of all industrial, commercial, and military activities. The two cities are considered sister cities and are highly interdependent.
See also: List of tallest buildings in Islamabad
Islamabad's architecture is a combination of modernity and old Islamic and regional traditions. The Saudi-Pak Tower is an example of the integration of modern architecture with traditional styles. The beige-coloured edifice is trimmed with blue tile works in Islamic tradition, and is one of Islamabad's tallest buildings. Other examples of intertwined Islamic and modern architecture include Pakistan Monument and Faisal Mosque. Other notable structures are: Secretariat Complex designed by Gio Ponti, Prime Minister’s secretariat based on Mughal architecture and the National Assembly by Edward Durell Stone.
The murals on the inside of the large petals of Pakistan Monument are based on Islamic architecture. The Shah Faisal Mosque is a fusion of contemporary architecture with a more traditional large triangular prayer hall and four minarets, designed by Vedat Dalokay, a Turkish architect and built with the help of funding provided by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The architecture of Faisal Mosque is unusual as it lacks a dome structure. It is a combination of Arabic, Turkish, and Mughal architectural traditions.The Centaurus is an example of modern architecture under construction in Islamabad. The seven star hotel was designed by WS Atkins PLC. The newly built Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers is another example of modern architecture in the city.
Main article: Demographics of Islamabad
The mother tongue of the majority of the population is Punjabi, at 68% and the major dialect is Pothohari. 15% of the population are Pashto speakers, 18% speak other languages. The total migrant population of the city is 1 million, with the majority (691,977) coming from Punjab. Around 210,614 of the migrated population came from Sindh and rest from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir. Smaller populations emigrated from Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan, and Gilgit–Baltistan.
The majority of the population lies in the age group of 15–64 years, around 59.38%. Only 2.73% of the population is above 65 years of age; 37.90% is below the age of 15. Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan, at 88%. 9.8% of the population has done intermediate education (equivalent to grades 11 and 12). 10.26% have a bachelor or equivalent degree while 5.2% have a master or equivalent degree. The labour force of Islamabad is 185,213 and the unemployment rate is 15.70%.
Islam is the largest religion in the city, with 95.53% of the population Muslim. In rural areas this percentage is 98.80%. Per 1998 census in urban areas the percentage of Muslims is 97.83%. The second largest religion is Christianity, with 4.07% of the population, 0.94% in rural areas and 5.70% in the city. Hinduism accounts for 0.02% of the population, and other minorities 0.03%.
Main article: Economy of Islamabad
Islamabad is a net contributor to the Pakistani economy, as whilst having only 0.8% of the country's population, it contributes 1% to the country's GDP.Islamabad Stock Exchange, founded in 1989, is Pakistan's third largest stock exchange after Karachi Stock Exchange and Lahore Stock Exchange, and was merged to form Pakistan Stock Exchange. The exchange had 118 members with 104 corporate bodies and 18 individual members. The average daily turnover of the stock exchange is over 1 million shares.
For other uses, see Rawalpindi (disambiguation).
For the district, see Rawalpindi District.
Rawalpindi (Punjabi, Urdu: راولپِنڈى, Rāwalpiṇḍī), commonly known as Pindi (Punjabi: پِنڈی), is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rawalpindi is adjacent to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, and the two are jointly known as the "twin cities" on account strong social and economic links between the cities. Rawalpindi is the fourth-largest city in Pakistan by population, while the larger Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country's third-largest metropolitan area.
Rawalpindi is located on the Pothohar Plateau, known for its ancient Buddhist heritage, especially in the neighbouring town of Taxila - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was destroyed during the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni before being taken over by Gakhars in 1493. In 1765, the ruling Gakhars were defeated as the city came under Sikh rule, and eventually became a major city within the Sikh Empire based in Lahore. The city fell to the British Raj in 1849, and in 1851 became the largest garrison town for the British Indian Army. Following the partition of British India in 1947, the city became home to the headquarters of Pakistan Army hence retaining its status as a major military city.
Construction of Pakistan's new purpose-built national capital city of Islamabad in 1961 led to greater investment in the city, as well as a brief stint as the country's capital immediately before completion of Islamabad. Modern Rawalpindi is socially and economically intertwined with Islamabad, and the greater metropolitan area. The city is also home to numerous suburban housing developments that serve as bedroom-communities for workers in Islamabad. As home of Benazir Bhutto International Airport, and with connections to the M-1 and M-2 motorways, Rawalpindi is a major logistics and transportation centre for northern Pakistan. The city is also home to historic havelis and temples, and serves as a hub for tourists visiting Rohtas Fort, Azad Kashmir, Taxila and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The word "Rawalpindi" consists of two Punjabi words; Rawal, and Pindi. The origin of the name may derive from the combination of two words:Rawal, meaning "lake" in Punjabi, and Pind, meaning "village." The combination of the two words thus means "The village of lake". Other sources have posited a Sanskrit origin of the city's name.
The region around Rawalpindi has been inhabited for thousands of years. Rawalpindi falls within the ancient boundaries of Gandhara, and is in a region littered with Buddhist ruins. In the region north-west of Rawalpindi, traces have been found of at least 55 stupas, 28 Buddhist monasteries, 9 temples, and various artifacts in the Kharoshthi script. To the southeast are the ruins of the Mankiala stupa – a 2nd-century stupa where, according to the Jataka tales, a previous incarnation of the Buddha leapt off a cliff in order to offer his corpse to seven hungry tiger cubs. The nearby town of Taxila is thought to have been home to the world's first university.Sir Alexander Cunningham identified ruins on the site of the Rawalpindi Cantonment as the ancient city of Ganjipur (or Gajnipur), the capital of the Bhatti tribe in the ages preceding the Christian era.
The first mention of Rawalpindi's earliest settlement dates from when Mahmud of Ghazni gifted a ruined town to the Gakhar chief Kai Gohar in the early 11th century. The town fell into decay again after Mongol invasions in the 14th century. Situated along an invasion route, the settlement did not prosper and remained deserted until 1493, when Jhanda Khan re-established the ruined town, and named it Rawal.
During the Mughal era, Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Ghakhar clan, who in turn pledged allegiance to the Mughal Empire. The city was developed as an important outpost in order to guard the frontiers of the Mughal realm. Gakhars fortified a nearby caravanserai, in the 16th century, transforming it into the Rawat Fort in order to defend the Pothohar plateau from Sher Shah Suri's forces. Construction of the Attock Fort in 1581 after Akbar led a campaign against his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim, further securing Rawalpindi's environs. In December 1585, the Emperor Akbar arrived in Rawalpindi, and remained in and around Rawalpindi for 13 years as he extended the frontiers of the empire, in an era described as a "glorious period" in his career as Emperor.
With the onset of chaos and rivalry between Gakhar chiefs after the death of Kamal Khan in 1559, Rawalpindi was awarded to Said Khan by the Mughal Emperor. The Emperor Jehangir visited the royal camp in Rawalpindi in 1622, where he first learned of Shah Abbas I of Persia's plan to invade Kandahar.
Rawalpindi declined in importance after the fall of the Mughals, until the town was captured in the mid 1760s from Muqarrab Khan by the Sikhs under Sardar Gujjar Singh and his son Sahib Singh. The city's administration was handed to Sardar Milkha Singh, who then invited traders from the neighboring commercial centers of Jhelum and Shahpur to settle in the territory in 1766. The city then began to prosper, although the population in 1770 is estimated to have been only about 300 families. Rawalpindi became for a time the refuge of Shah Shuja, the exiled king of Afghanistan, and of his brother Shah Zaman in the early 19th century.
Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh allowed the son of Sardar Milkha Singh to continue as Governor of Rawalpindi, after Ranjit Singh seized the district in 1810. Sikh rule over Rawalpindi was consolidated by defeat of the Afghans at Haidaran in July 1813. The Sikh rulers allied themselves with some of the local Gakhar tribes, and jointly defeated Syed Ahmad Barelvi at Akora Khattak in 1827, and again in 1831 in Balakot. Jews first arrived in Rawalpindi's Babu Mohallah neighbourhood from Mashhad, Persia in 1839, in order to flee from anti-Jewish laws instituted by the Qajar dynasty. In 1841, Diwan Kishan Kaur was appointed Sardar of Rawalpindi.
On 14 March 1849, Sardar Chattar Singh and Raja Sher Singh of the Sikh Empire surrendered to General Gilbert near Rawalpindi, ceding the city to the British. The Sikh Empire then came to an end on 29 March 1849.
Following Rawalpindi's capture by the British Indian Empire, Her Majesty's 53 Regiment took quarters in the newly captured city. The decision to man a permanent military cantonment in the city was made in 1851 by the Marquess of Dalhousie. The city saw its first telegraph office in the early 1850s. The city's Garrison Church was built shortly after in 1854, and is the site where Robert Milman, Bishop of Calcutta, was buried following his death in Rawalpindi in 1876. The city was home to 15,913 people in the 1855 census. During the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, the area's Gakhars and Janjua tribes remained loyal to the British.
Numerous civil and military buildings were built during the British era, and the Municipality of Rawalpindi was constituted in 1867, while the city's population as per the 1868 census was 19,228, with another 9,358 people residing in the city's cantonment. The city was also connected to railways that offered connection to India and the northwest frontier in Peshawar in the 1880s. The Commissariat Steam Flour Mills were the first such mills in Punjab, and supplied most of the needs of British cantonments throughout Punjab. Rawalpindi's cantonment served as a feeder to other cantonments throughout the region.
Rawalpindi flourished as a commercial centre, though the city remained largely devoid of an industrial base during the British era. A large portion of Kashmir's external trade passing through the city; in 1885, 14% of Kashmir's exports, and 27% of its imports passed through the city. A large market was opened in central Rawalpindi in 1883 by Sardar Sujan Singh, while the British further developed a shopping district for the city's elite known as Saddar with an archway built to commemorate Brigadier General Massey.
Rawalpindi's cantonment became a major center of military power of the Raj after an arsenal was established in 1883. Britain's army elevated the city from a small town, to the third largest city in Punjab by 1921. In 1868, 9,358 people lived in the city's cantonment - by 1891, the number rose to 37,870. In 1891, the city's population excluding the Cantonment was 34,153. The city was considered to be a favourite first posting for newly arrived soldiers from England, owing to the city's agreeable climate, and nearby hill station at nearby Murree. In 1901, Rawalpindi was made the winter headquarters of the Northern Command and of the Rawalpindi military division. Riots broke out against British rule in 1905, following a famine in Punjab that peasants were led to believe was a deliberate act.
During World War 1, Rawalpindi District "stood first" among districts in recruiting for the British war effort, with greater financial assistance from the British government channeled into the area in return. By 1921, Rawalpindi's cantonment had overshadowed the city - Rawalpindi was one of seven cities of Punjab in which over half the population lived in the cantonment district. Communal riots erupted between Rawalpindi's Sikh and Muslim communities in 1926 after Sikhs refused to silence music from a procession that was passing in front of a mosque.
The HMS Rawalpindi was launched as an ocean liner in 1925 by Harland and Wolff, the same company which built the Titanic. The ship was converted into an armed vessel, and was sunk in October 1939. The British colonialist government also tested poison gas on native troops during the Rawalpindi experiments over the course of more than a decade beginning in the 1930s.
On 5 March 1947, members of Rawalpindi's Sikh and Hindu communities took out a procession against the formation of a Muslim ministry within the Government of Punjab. Policemen fired upon protestors, while Hindus and Sikhs fought against weaker Muslim counter-protestors. The area's first Partition riots erupted the next day on 6 March 1947, when the city's Muslims, angered by the actions of Hindus and Sikhs and encouraged by the Pir of Golra Sharif, raided nearby villages after they were unable to do so in the city on account of Rawalpindi's heavily armed Sikhs.
At the dawn of Pakistan's independence in 1947, Rawalpindi was a 43.79% Muslim, while Rawalpindi District as a whole was 80% Muslim. The region, on account of its large Muslim majority, was thus awarded to Pakistan. Rawalpindi's Hindu and Sikh population, who had made up 33.72% and 17.32% of the city, migrated en masse to the newly independent Dominion of India after communal riots in western Punjab, while Muslim refugees from India settled in the city following anti-Muslim pogroms in eastern Punjab and northern India.
In the years following independence, Rawalpindi saw an influx of Muhajir, Pashtun and Kashmiri settlers. Having been the largest British Cantonment in the region at the dawn of Pakistan's independence, Rawalpindi was chosen as headquarters for the Pakistani Army, despite the fact that Karachi had been selected as the first capital.
In 1951, the Rawalpindi conspiracy took place in which leftist army officers conspired to depose the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan. Rawalpindi later became the site of the Liaquat Ali Khan's assassination, in what is now known as Liaquat Bagh Park. In 1958, Field Marshal Ayub Khan launched his coup d'etat from Rawalpindi. In 1959, the city became the interim capital of the country under Ayub Khan, who had sought the creation of a new planned capital of Islamabad in the vicinity of Rawalpindi. As a result, Rawalpindi saw most major central government offices and institutions relocate to nearby territory, and its population rapidly expand.
Construction of Pakistan's new capital city of Islamabad in 1961 led to greater investment in Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi remained the headquarters of the Pakistani Army after the capital shifted to Islamabad in 1969, while the Pakistan Air Force continues to maintain an airbase in the Chaklala district of Rawalpindi. The military dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq hanged Pakistan's deposed Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in Rawalpindi in 1979.
In 1980, tens of thousands of Shia protestors led by Mufti Jaffar Hussain marched on Rawalpindi to protest a provision of Zia ul Haqs Islamization programme. A spate of bombings in September 1987 took place in the city killing 5 people, in attacks that are believed to have been orchestrated by agents of Afghanistan's communist government. On 10 April 1988, Rawalpindi's Ojhri Camp, an ammunition depot for Afghan mujahideen fighting against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, exploded and killed many in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. At the time, the New York Times reported more than 93 were killed and another 1,100 wounded; many believe that the toll was much higher.
Riots erupted in Rawalpindi in 1992 as mobs attacked Hindu temples in retaliation for the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India by Hindu extremists. In March 2003, Pakistani authorities captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11th attacks in New York City. On 27 December 2007, Rawalpindi was the site of the assassination of former Prime MinisterBenazir Bhutto.
Modern Rawalpindi is socially and economically intertwined with Islamabad, and the greater metropolitan area. The city is also home to numerous suburban housing developments that serve as bedroom-communities for workers in Islamabad. In June 2015, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus, a new bus rapid transit line with various points in Islamabad, opened for service.
Main article: Climate of Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa) with hot summers, a wet monsoon and wet winters. Rawalpindi and its twin city Islamabad, during the year experiences an average of 91 thunderstorms, which is the highest frequency of any plain elevation city in the country. Strong windstorms are frequent in the summer during which wind gusts have been reported by Pakistan Meteorological Department to have reached 176 km/h (109 mph). In such thunder/wind storms, which results in some damage of infrastructure. The weather is highly variable due to the proximity of the city to the foothills of Himalayas.
The average annual rainfall is 1,200 mm (47 in), most of which falls in the summer monsoon season. However, westerly disturbances also bring quite significant rainfall in the winter. In summer, the record maximum temperature has soared to 48.4 °C (119 °F) recorded in June 1954, while it has dropped to a minimum of −3.9 °C (25 °F) several occasions, though the last of which was in January 1967.
|Climate data for Rawalpindi|
|Average high °C (°F)||17|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||9.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||2.7|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58|
|Source: Climate-Data.org, altitude: 497m|
Social structures in Rawalpindi's historic core centre around neighbourhoods, each known as a Mohallah. Each neighbourhood is served by a nearby bazaar and mosque, which in turn serve as a place with diverse people can gather for trade and manufacturing. Each Mohallah has narrow and short roads that are often unnamed. The grouping of houses around short lanes and cul-de-sacs lends a sense of privacy and security to residents of each neighbourhood. Major intersections in the neighbourhood are each referred to as a chowk.
South of Rawalpindi's historic core, and across the Lai Nullah, are the verdant and wide lanes of the Rawalpindi Cantonment. With tree-lined avenues and historic architecture, the cantonment was the main European area developed during British colonial rule. British colonialists also built the Saddar Bazaar south of the historic core, which served as a retail centre geared towards Europeans in the city. Beyond the cantonment are the large suburban housing developments that serve as bedroom communities for Islamabad's commuter population.
The population of Rawalpindi is 2,098,231 in 2017. There are 84% of population are Punjabi and 9% consist of Pashto people and 7% others.
96.8% of Rawalpindi's population is Muslim, 2.47% is Christian, 0.73% belong to other religious groups. The city's Kohaati Bazaar is site of large Shia mourning-processions for Ashura. The neighbourhoods of Waris Shah Mohallah and Pir Harra Mohallah form the core of Muslim settlement in Rawalpindi's old city.
Rawalpindi was a majority Hindu and Sikh city prior to the Partition of British India in 1947, while Muslims made up 43.79% of the population. The Baba Dyal Singh Gurdwara in Rawalpindi was where the reformist Nirankari movement of Sikhism originated. The city's Sikh population is small, but has been bolstered by the arrival of Sikhs fleeing political instability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The city is still home to a few hundred Hindu families. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the city's Hindus fled en masse to India after Partition, most Hindu temples in the old city remain standing, although in disrepair and often abandoned. Many of the old city's neighbourhoods continue to bear Hindu and Sikh names, such as Krishanpura, Arya Mohallah, Akaal Garh, Mohanpura, Amarpura, Kartarpura, Bagh Sardaraan, Angatpura.
Rawalpindi's Krishna Temple, built in the Kabarri Bazaar in 1897, and the Guru Balmik Swamiji Temple in Rawalpindi Cantonment, remain open to the public. Other temples are abandoned or were repurposed. Rawalpindi's large Kalyan Das Temple from 1880 is has been used as the "Gov't. Qandeel Secondary School for the Blind" since 1973. The Ram Leela Temple in Kanak Mandi, and the Kaanji Mal Ujagar Mal Ram Richpal Temple in the Kabarri Bazaar, are both currently used to house Kashmiri refugees. Mohan Temple in the Lunda Bazaar remains standing, but is abandoned and the building no longer used for any purpose. The city's "Shamshan Ghat" serves as the city's cremation grounds, and was partly renovated in 2012.
The city's Babu Mohallah neighbourhood was once home to a community of Jewish traders that had fled Mashhad, Persia in the 1830s. The community had entirely emigrated to Israel by the 1960s.
The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus is a 22.5 km (14.0 mi) bus rapid transit service that connects Rawalpindi to Islamabad. The Metrobus network was opened on 4 June 2015, and connects the Pak Secretariat in Islamabad to Saddar in Rawalpindi. A second stage is currently under construction from Peshawar Morr Interchange to the New Islamabad International Airport. The system uses e-ticketing and Intelligent Transportation System wand and is managed by the Punjab Mass Transit Authority.
Rawalpindi is situated along the historic Grand Trunk Road that connects Peshawar to Islamabad and Lahore. The road is roughly paralleled by the M-1 Motorway between Peshawar and Rawalpindi, while the M-2 Motorway provides an alternate route to Lahore via the Salt Range. The Grand Trunk Road also provides access to the Afghan border via the Khyber Pass, with onwards connections to Kabul and Central Asia via the Salang Pass. The Karakoram Highway provides access between Islamabad and western China, and an alternate route to Central Asia via Kashgar in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The Islamabad Expressway connects Rawalpindi's eastern portions with the Rawal Lake and heart of Islamabad. The IJP Road separates Rawalpindi's northern edge from Islamabad.
Rawalpindi is connected to Peshawar by the M-1 Motorway. The motorway also links Rawalpindi to major cities in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, such as Charsadda and Mardan. The M-2 motorway offers high speed access to Lahore via the Potohar Plateau and Salt Range. The M-3 Motorway branches off from the M-2 at the city of Pindi Bhattian, where the M-3 offers onward connections to Faisalabad, and connects to the M-4 Motorway which continues onward to Multan. A new motorway network is under construction to connect Multan and Karachi as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The Hazara Motorway is also under construction as part of CPEC, and will provide control-access motorway travel all the way to Mansehra via the M-1 or Grand Trunk Road.
Rawalpindi railway station in the Saddar neighbourhood serves as a stop along Pakistan's 1,687 kilometres (1,048 mi)-long Main Line-1 railway that connects the city to the port city of Karachi to Peshawar. The stations is served by the Awam Express, Hazara Express, Islamabad Express, Jaffar Express, Khyber Mail trains, and serves as the terminus for the Margalla Express, Mehr Express, Rawal Express, Pakistan Express, Subak Raftar Express, Subak Kharam Express, and Tezgam trains.
The entire Main Line-1 railway track between Karachi and Peshawar is to be overhauled at a cost of $3.65 billion for the first phase of the project, with completion by 2021. Upgrading of the railway line will permit train travel at speeds of 160 kilometres per hour, versus the average 60 to 105 km per hour speed currently possible on existing track.
Rawalpindi is served by the Benazir Bhutto International Airport The airport offers non-stop flights throughout Pakistan, as well as to the Middle East, Europe, North America, Cenral Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. The airport handled 4,767,860 passengers between 2015–16, compared to 3,803,060 in 2012-13.
The airport will be replaced in the first quarter of 2018 by the under-construction New Islamabad International Airport, being built to the northwest of Rawalpindi.
The City-District of Rawalpindi comprises eight autonomous tehsils. Rawalpindi city is divided into Rawal & Potohar Tehsils.
Rawalpindi also holds many private colonies that have developed themselves rapidly, e.g. Gulraiz Housing Society, Korang Town, Agochs Town, Ghori Town, Pakistan Town, Judicial Town, Bahria Town which is the Asia's largest private colony, Kashmir Housing Society, Danial Town, Al-Haram City, Education City.
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jhelum Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has a playland, lake with boating facility, an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is on Benazir Bhutto Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened to the public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds.
In 2008 Jinnah Park was inaugurated at the heart of Rawalpindi and has since become a hotspot of activity for the city. People from as far out as Peshawer come to Jinnah Park to enjoy its modern facilities. It houses a state-of-the-art cinema, Cinepax, a Metro Cash and Carry supermart, an outlet of McDonald's, gaming lounges, Motion Rides and other recreational facilities. The vast lawns also provide an adequate picnic spot.
Rawalpindi is situated near the Ayub National Park formerly known as 'Topi Rakh' (keep the hat on) is by the old Presidency, between the Murree Brewery Co. and Grand Trunk Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has a play area, lake with boating facility, an aquarium, a garden-restaurant and an open-air theater. This park hosts "The Jungle Kingdom" which is particularly popular among young residents.
- Liaquat Bagh, formerly known as the "company bagh" (East India Company's Garden), is of great historical interest. The first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated here in 1950. Pakistan's Prime Minister Banazir Bhutto was assassinated here on 27 December 2007. She was the youngest and the only women to be elected as prime minister of Pakistan.
- Rawalpindi Public Park (also known as Nawaz Sharif Park) is located on Murree Road. The park was opened in 1991. It has a play area for children, lawns, fountains and flower beds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 opposite the public park. The 1996 World Cup matches were held on this cricket ground.
Main article: List of educational institutions in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi District is home to 2,463 government public schools, out of which 1706 are Primary schools, 306 middle schools, 334 are High schools, while 117 are Higher education colleges.
97.4& of children ages 6–16 in urban areas of Rawalpindi District are enrolled in school - the third highest percentage in Pakistan after Islamabad and Karachi. 77.1% of Rawalpindi's students in Class 5 are able to read sentences in English. 27% of children in Rawalpindi attend paid private schools.
- Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Rawalpindi, established in 1978 to conduct SSC and HSSC examinations.
- Pir Mehr Ali Shah, Arid Agriculture University (also known as Barani University) is a renowned public university offering research and education in a number of fields and specializing in agriculture. It is on the Murree Road and is placed near other landmarks of the city including the Pindi cricket stadium, Nawaz Sharif Park, Rawalpindi Arts Council etc.
- Army Medical College is also known as the College of Medical Sciences and is on Abid Majid Road in Rawalpindi. Separate computer labs are available for post-graduate and undergraduate students. Other facilities in the campus include a library, cafeteria, college mosque, swimming pool, gym, squash court, and auditorium. There are seven hostels for male and female students near the college campus.
- College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering is located on Grand Trunk Road in Rawalpindi, EME is the largest constituent college of NUST. The campus includes all on-campus facilities, auditorium and conference hall, accommodation and mess facilities. The library is fully computerized, with a collection of 70,000 volumes.
- Military College of Signals is on Hamayun Road in Rawalpindi Cantt; it is the oldest constituent college of NUST, founded in 1947 after the independence of Pakistan to train the members of Pakistan Armed Forces. The College of Telecommunication Engineering is located on this campus. The MCS library is computerized, with over 55,000 volumes.
- Rawalpindi Medical College provides education in health care. It is a comprehensive, state-assisted institution. It was established in March 1974.
- The Rawalpindi Public Library was one of the earliest private public libraries organized after separation from India. The building was donated for a public library by the then-Deputy Commissioner Major Davis on the initiative of philanthropist Khurshid Anwar Jilani, an attorney, writer and social worker. However, the building was confiscated for election and political campaigning during the last days of Field Marshal Ayub Khan's reign, and rare manuscripts and artifacts were taken away by the influential.
- Fatima Jinnah Women University The first ever Women University of Pakistan
- Gordon College Rawalpindi is one of the oldest colleges located in the heart of the city. It was established in 1872. The college has beautiful colonial style campus. College offers Graduate and master's degree programa. Historically the college has been known for its cultural activities as it has one of the largest auditorium in which stage dramas and other programs were regularly conducted. College remained co-education until the early 1970s but after Zia-ul-Haq regime it was converted to boys only. Several notable people are graduates of this college.
Rawalpindi, being so close to the capital, has an active media and newspaper climate. There are over a dozen of newspaper companies based in the city including Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Daily Jang, Daily Asas, The Daily Sada-e-Haq, Daily Express, Daily Din, Daily Aajkal Rawalpindi, Daily Islam, and Daily Pakistan in Urdu and Dawn, Express Tribune, Daily Times, The News International and The Nation in English.
There are a large number of Cable TV service providers in the city such as Nayatel, PTCL, SA Cable Network and DWN. Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation has a centre in Rawalpindi Television channels based in Rawalpindi include:
- Lights Asia
- Aapna Channel
- Pothohari TV (Regional language channel)
- City 51
- Pahariwood Network (Regional language channel)
- K2 TV
- Oxygene TV
In mid-2012 3D cinema, The Arena, started its operations in Bahria Town Phase-4 in Rawalpindi.
- Rawalpindi Golf Course was completed in 1926 by Rawalpindi Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs of Pakistan. The facility was initially developed as a nine-hole course. After several phases of development, it is now a 27-hole course and the biggest in Pakistan. From the clubhouse, there is a panoramic view of Faisal Mosque, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Major domestic golf tournaments are regularly held here.
- Playland is another public park parallel to Ayub Park