Islamabad (Urdu: اسلام آباد Islām ābād) is the capital of Pakistan and the ninth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.15 million as of 2011. The greater Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area is the third largest conurbation in Pakistan with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants.
Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the northeastern part of the country, within the Islamabad Capital Territory. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Margalla pass acting as the gateway between the two regions. The city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. Islamabad is a well-organised international city divided into several different sectors and zones. It is regarded as the most developed city in Pakistan and is ranked as a Gamma- world city. The city is home to Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world.
Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan and is home to the some of the top-ranked universities in Pakistan, including Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences and National University of Sciences and Technology. Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad is one of the world's largest universities by enrollment.
The name of the city, Islamabad is derived from two words, Islam and abad, meaning "City of Islam". Islam an Arabic word refers to the religion Islam and abad is a Persian and Urdu placename suffix which means inhabited place or city.
Islamabad Capital Territory, located on the Pothohar Plateau, is regarded to be one of the earliest sites of human settlement in Asia. Some of the earliest Stone Age artifacts 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. The Neolithic people developed small communities in the region at around 3000 BC. A Buddhist town once existed in the region.
Situated at one end of the Indus Valley Civilization, the area was the first habitation of the Aryan community. Their civilisation flourished here between the 23rd and 18th centuries BC. Many great armies such as those of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Timur and Ahmad Shah Durrani used the corridor through Islamabad on their way to invade the Indian Subcontinent. Modern Islamabad is based on the old settlement known as Saidpur. The British took control of the region from the Sikhs in 1849 and built Asia's largest cantonment in the region.
Construction and development
When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, Karachi was its first capital. In 1960, 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 to be equally distributed. Moreover, Karachi having warm and humid weather condition, was located at one end of the country, making it vulnerable to attacks from the Arabian Sea. A capital which was easily accessible from all parts of the country was needed. Besides, Karachi a business center, 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 which was based on a grid plan and 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. In October 2005, the city suffered some damage due to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake having 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 Governor Salmaan Taseer. Some tragic air crashes took place on 28 July 2010, when Airblue Flight 202, crashed in the Margalla Hills killing all 152 flight crew and passengers on board and Bhoja Air Flight 213 carrying 121 passengers crashed while making final approach for landing, killing all on board on 20 April 2012.
Geography and climate
Islamabad is located at 33°26′N 73°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) NNE of Lahore, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) WSW of Srinagar, the capital of Indian 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.
Islamabad features an atypical version of a humid subtropical climate, with warm and dry springs, hot and humid summers accompanied by a monsoon season, and brief but cool winters. Islamabad's micro-climate is regulated by three artificial reservoirs; Rawal, Simli, and Khanpur Dam. Khanpur Dam is located on the Haro River near the town of Khanpur, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Islamabad. Simli Dam is located 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 hottest months extend from May to July, where average highs routinely exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). The monsoon season lasts from July through September, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms frequently flooding the area. Highest monthly rainfall of 743.3 millimetres (29.26 in) was recorded during July 1995. Winters occur from December to February, with temperatures variable by location, generally with dense fog in the mornings and sunny afternoons. In the city, temperatures stay mild, with sparse snowfall over the highest elevations points on nearby hill stations, notably Murree and Nathia Gali. The weather ranges from 13 °C (55 °F) in January to 38 °C (100 °F) in June. The highest temperature recorded 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 millimetres (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)|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.1 |
|Average low °C (°F)||2.6 |
|Precipitation mm (inches)||56.1 |
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||195.3||189.3||201.5||252.0||313.1||300.0||263.5||251.1||261.0||275.9||249.0||195.3||2,947.0|
|Source: HKO |
|Zones in Islamabad|
|Source:||Lahore Real Estate|
The main administrative authority of the city is Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICT) 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.
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 will be one of the major landmarks of the F-8 sector. G sectors are numbered G-5 through G-17. Some important places include the Jinnah Convention Center and Serena Hotel in G-5, the Red Mosque in G-6, and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, the largest medical complex in the capital, located in G-8.
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
When the master plan for Islamabad was drawn up in 1960, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, along with the adjoining areas, would be integrated to form a large metropolitan area called Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area. The area would consist of the developing Islamabad, the old colonial, cantonement city of Rawalpindi, and Margalla Hills National Park, including surrounding rural areas. The three combined areas are now called Islamabad Capital Territory.
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. 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.
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, Presidency 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 Saudia 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.
|Population through decades|
|Sources:||1998 Census of Pakistan|
Islamabad had an estimated population of 1.152 million in 2011.
Urdu, the national and first official language of the country, is predominantly spoken within the city due to the ethnic mix of populations. English, is widely used & is also commonly understood. Other languages include Punjabi, Pashto and Pothohari. The mother tongue of the majority of the population is Punjabi, at 72%. 10% of the population are native Urdu speakers, 10% are native Pashto speakers, and 8% other languages. The total migrant population of the city is 397,731, with the majority from Punjab (241,977). Around 76,614 of the migrated population came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 75,143 from Sindh, 24,438 from Azad Kashmir, and 21,372 from other countries. Smaller populations emigrated from Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan, and Gilgit–Baltistan.
Islam is the largest religion in the city, with 95.53% of the population Muslim. In rural areas this percentage is 98.80%, while in urban areas the percentage of Muslims is 93.83%. 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%.
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 87%. 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%.
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. The exchange has 118 members with 104 corporate bodies and 18 individual members. The average daily turnover of the stock exchange is over 1 million shares. As of 2012, Islamabad LTU (Large Tax Unit) was responsible for Rs 371 billion in tax revenue, which amounts to 20% of all the revenue collected by Federal Board of Revenue.
Islamabad has seen an expansion in information and communications technology with the addition two Software Technology Parks which house numerous national and foreign technological and IT companies. The tech parks are located in Evacuee Trust Complex and Awami Markaz. Awami Markaz houses 36 IT companies while Evacuee Trust house 29 companies. Call centres for foreign companies have been targeted as another significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 10% in order to encourage foreign investments in the IT sector.
Most of Pakistan's state-owned companies like PIA, PTV, PTCL, OGDCL, and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd. are based in Islamabad. The city is home to many branches of Karachi-based companies, banks, and TV channels. Headquarters of all major telecommunication operators such as PTCL, Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, China Mobile and are located in Islamabad.
Islamabad is home to many migrants from other regions of Pakistan and has a cultural and religious diversity of considerable antiquity. Due to its location on the Pothohar Plateau, remnants of ancient cultures and civilisations such as Aryan, Soanian, and Indus Valley civilisation can still be found in the region. A 15th century Gakhar fort, Pharwala Fort, which was built on the remains of a 10th century Hindu fort, is located near Islamabad. Rawat Fort in the region was built by the Gakhars in 16th century and contains the grave of the Gakhar chief, Sultan Sarang Khan.
Saidpur village in Islamabad is supposedly named after Said Khan, the son of Sultan Sarang Khan. The 500-year-old village was converted into the a place of Hindu worship by a Mughal commander, Raja Man Singh. He constructed a number of small ponds: Rama kunda, Sita kunda, Lakshaman kunda, and Hanuman kunda.. The region is home to many Hindu temples that are preserved, showing the history of Hindu civilisation and architecture in the region..
The shrine of Sufi mystic Pir Meher Ali Shah is located at Golra Sharif, which has a rich cultural heritage of the pre-Islamic period. Archaeological remains of the Buddhist era can also still be found in the region. The shrine of Bari Imam was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Thousands of devotees from across Pakistan attend the annual Urs of Bari Imam. The event is one of the largest religious gatherings in Islamabad. In 2004, the Urs was attended by more than 1.2 million people.
The Lok Virsa Museum in Islamabad preserves a wide variety of expressions of folk and traditional cultural legacy of Pakistan. It is located near the Shakarparian hills and boasts a large display of embroidered costumes, jewellery, musical instruments, woodwork, utensils and folkloristic objects from the region and other parts of Pakistan.
Islamabad boasts the highest literacy rate in Pakistan at 87%, and has most advanced educational institutes in the country. A large number of public and private sector educational institutes are present here. The higher education institutes in the capital are either federally chartered or administered by private organisations and almost all of them are recognised by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. High schools and colleges are either affiliated with the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education or with the UK universities education boards, O/A Levels, or IGCSE. According to Academy of Educational Planning and Management's report, in 2009 there were a total of 913 recognised institutions in Islamabad (31 pre-primary, 2 religious, 367 primary, 162 middle, 250 high, 75 higher secondary and intermediate colleges, and 26 degree colleges). There are seven teacher training institutes in Islamabad with a total enrolment of 604,633 students and 499 faculty.
The Gender Parity Index in Islamabad is 0.93 compared to 0.95 for Pakistan. There are 178 boys only institutes, 175 girls, and 551 mixed institutes in the capital territory. Total enrolment of students in all categories is 267,992; 138,272 for boys and 129,720 for girls.
There are 16 recognised universities in Islamabad with a total enrolment of 372,974 students and 30,144 teachers. The world's second largest general university by enrolment, Allama Iqbal Open University is located in Islamabad for distance education.. The two top ranked engineering universities by Higher Education Commission; Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences and National University of Sciences and Technology, also have their headquarters in the capital. Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad is the top ranked university in Pakistan in the general category. Other universities include Air University, Bahria University, Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Hamdard University, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, National Defence University, Shifa College of Medicine, National University of Modern Languages, International Islamic University, and Virtual University of Pakistan.
In 2006–2007, the Federal Government spent a total of 54,523.637 million Rs. on the education sector out of which 25,830.670 million was the developmental fund. This amount is 25.18% of the total educational budget spend in that year, which was 216,518.059 million Rs. The public expenditure on education as a percentage of total government spending that year was 14.09%.
Islamabad has the lowest rate of infant mortality in the country at 38 deaths per thousand compared to the national average of 78 deaths per thousand. Islamabad has both public and private medical centres. The largest hospital in Islamabad is Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital. It was established in 1985 as a teaching and doctor training institute. PIMS functions as a National Reference Center and provides specialised diagnostic and curative services. The hospital has 30 major medical departments. PIMS is divided into five administrative branches. Islamabad Hospital is the major component with a 592-bed facility and 22 medical and surgical specialities. Children's Hospital is a 230-bed hospital completed in 1985. It contains six major facilities: Surgical and Allied Specialities, Medical and Allied Specialties, Diagnostic Facilities, Operation Theatre, Critical Care (NICU, PICU, Isolation & Accident Emergency), and a Blood Bank. The Maternal and Child Health Care Center is a training institute with an attached hospital of 125 beds offering different clinical and operational services. PIMS consists of five academic institutes: Quaid-e-Azam Postgraduate Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Medical Technology, School of Nursing, and Mother and Child Health Center.
PAEC General Hospital and teaching institute, established in 2006, is affiliated with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The hospital consists of a 100-bed facility and 10 major departments: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatric, General Medicine, General Surgery, Intensive Care Unit/Coronary Care Unit, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Radiology, and Dental Department.
Shifa International Hospital is a teaching hospital in Islamabad that was founded in 1987 and became a public company in 1989. The hospital has 70 qualified consultants in almost all specialities, 150 IPD beds and OPD facilities in 35 different specialisations.
According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics of the Government of Pakistan, in 2008 there were 12 hospitals, 76 dispensaries, and 5 Maternity and Child Welfare Centers in the city with a total of 5,158 beds.
Islamabad is connected to major destinations around the world through Benazir Bhutto International Airport, previously known as Islamabad International Airport. The airport is the third largest in Pakistan and is located outside Islamabad, in Chaklala, Rawalpindi. In fiscal year 2004–2005, over 2.88 million passengers used Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 23,436 aircraft movements were registered. Islamabad Gandhara International Airport is under construction at Fateh Jang to cope with the increasing number of passengers. When completed, the airport will be the largest in Pakistan. The airport will be built at a cost of $400 million and should be completed by mid 2013. This will be the first green field airport in Pakistan with an area of 3,600-acre (15 km2). All major cities and towns are accessible through regular trains and bus services running mostly from the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi. Lahore and Peshawar are linked to Islamabad through a network of motorways which has resulted in a significant reduction in travelling times between these cities. M-2 Motorway is 367 km long and connect Islamabad and Lahore. M-1 Motorway connects Islamabad with Peshawar and is 155 km long. Islamabad is linked to its 'Father' city Rawalpindi through the Faizabad Interchange, the cloverleaf interchange has a daily traffic volume of about 48,000 vehicles.
Islamabad has a multi-purpose Sports Complex opposite Aabpara. The complex includes Liaquat Gymnasium for indoor games, Mushaf Squash Complex and Jinnah Stadium for outdoor games, which is a venue for regular national and international events. 2004 SAF Games were held in the stadium. Major sports in the city include Football, Cricket, Squash, Hockey, Table Tennis and Boxing. The Islamabad Golf Club has recently been enlarged to 27 holes (with 9 holes under repair in 2012/2013). Other golfcourses are the Navy course (18 holes) and the Air Force golf course (9 holes). Modest water sporting facilities are developed at the Rawal Lake.
|China||Beijing Municipality||Beijing||8 October 1993|
|Jordan||Levant||Amman||19 March 1989|
|South Korea||Gyeonggi-do||Seoul||7 November 2008|
|Spain||Community of Madrid||Madrid||5 June 2010|
|Indonesia||Southeast Asia||Jakarta||1984. Restarted in 2010|
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