(Urdu: اسلام آباد, abode of Islam), is the capital city of Pakistan, and is
located in the Pothohar Plateau in the northwest of the country. It is
located within the Islamabad Capital Territory (906.0 km˛), though the area has
historically been a part of the crossroads of the Punjab region and the
North-West Frontier Province (the Margalla pass being a historic gateway to
the North-West Frontier Province, and the Pothohar Plateau historically a part
of the Punjab). Islamabad is located at 33°40′N 73°10′E. Islamabad has a
population of 1,740,000 (in 2009). Its highest elevation is 1,604 m
(5,263 ft) and lowest is 457 m (1,499 ft).
independence until 1958 Pakistan's capital was Karachi in Sindh in the
far south. Worries about the concentration of investment and development
in that city are said to have led to the idea of building a new capital
in a different location. There was also the hegemony of the
predominantly Mohajir Civil Service to break, In 1958, during the
administration of Pakistani President Ayub Khan, a site immediately
north of Rawalpindi was chosen as the permanent capital. Rawalpindi was designated as the
temporary capital. Work on the new capital began during the 1960s.
The planning and construction was largely headed by the Greek urban
planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis. His plan revolved around the building
of the city in sectors, each containing four sub-sectors separated by
green belts and parks. There was a strong emphasis on greenery and open
In 1967, the capital was officially moved from Rawalpindi to Islamabad.
The city was divided into Rural and urban Areas. The urban area was
managed by CDA Capital Development Authority, while Rural area was
divided into 12 union Councils and 30 Towns. Among these 12 union councils, union
Council Koral is the biggest and the most developed Union council. It has
When Islamabad was finally built, growth was slow, and the government
did not fully relocate to the city from Rawalpindi until the 1980s.
During this time the capital's population was small, at around 250,000.
This changed dramatically during the 1990s with the population
increasing, instigating the building of new sectors. The CDA was
established on June 14, 1960 (first by an executive order issued on June
24, 1960 entitled the Pakistan Capital Regulation, and superseded by the
CDA ordinance issued on June 27, 1960 by the National Parliament) and
accorded the task of developing Islamabad as well as all major
government buildings. According to the CDA ordinance, the Ministry of
the Interior appoints all members of the board of governors of CDA who
in turn appoint all CDA functionaries under them in consultation with
the Ministry of the Interior. The CDA is also responsible for running
the city of Islamabad and provides most city services such as trash
pickup, street cleaning, etc.
On October 8th 2005, an earthquake hit northern parts of Pakistan and
was also felt in Islamabad. The earthquake destroyed the Margalla Towers
located in sector F-10. The collapsed building was the only one
destroyed in the city. Subsequent surveys of the collapsed building
showed that the building was made from sub-standard material. The
residents of the buildings had sent several complaints to the Capital
Development Authority to which no satisfactory response was sent. More
recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has said that a separate
building code be implemented for Islamabad.
Geography, Climate & Demography
The city is
situated at the edge of the Pothohar plateau, south of the Margalla
hills. The modern capital Islamabad and the ancient Gakhar city of
Rawalpindi stand side by side, displaying the country’s past and
present. The area's micro-climate is regulated by three man-made lakes (Rawal,
Simli and Khanpur). The city has hot summers with monsoon rains
occurring during July and August. Even on the few winter days when
pre-dawn temperatures fall below freezing, the afternoons are usually
sunny and mild: in the coldest month, January, the average daily maximum
temperature is 16°C (61°F).
Punjabis account for 65% of the population followed by the Pashtuns at
around 15-20%, Muhajirs at 7% and others (Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri's,
etc) at 7%. (the refugee population is not counted on the census).
Tourism and Sightseeing
Islamabad is a
young rather modern and clean city,
especially in comparison to other cities in Pakistan. It is well-organized,
with the city being divided into different sectors, each with certain
However, the views from the sculpted gardens of Islamabad's Shakar
Parian Hills, the fascinating Heritage Museum, and the huge marble
statue of Shah Faisal Mosque are the major highlights of the modern
city. To the west of Islamabad is the Buddhist site of Taxila, dating
from 500 BC. Sculptures here show a strong Greek influence, a result of
Alexander the Great's journey through the region. The commercial center
of Islamabad is known as the Blue Area and runs along the length of
Jinnah Avenue. Its eastern end runs into Parliament Road, where the
majority of government buildings are located.
The city is very green, with much afforestation of what was formerly
scrub forest and open ground. The city's pleasant climate has enabled
the introduction of many exotic plants into the area. There is also much
wildlife in the north in the Margalla hills, which have been turned into
a national park.
Islamabad's architecture walks a tight-rope between modernity and
tradition. The Saudi-Pak Tower is a good example of the combination of
modern and traditional styles into one building. The city is also home
to the Faisal Mosque, which is well-known for its architecture and
immense size. Quaid-i-Azam University is also located in the capital
city along with numerous government buildings and foreign embassies such
as the National Assembly building, the Supreme Court building, the
President's official residence (Aiwan-e-Sadr) and the Prime Minister's
secretariat. Another landmark is a giant silver-colored Globe statue,
installed in 2004 to mark Pakistan's hosting of that year's SAARC
Summit. Recently, Atkins UK have constructed a striking building for the
capital, the Centaurus, reflecting the margalla hills surrounding it.
Not only this be the tallest and most impressive structure in Islamabad,
second only to proposed taller skyscrapers in Karachi and Lahore.
Faisal Mosque, Islamabad
Panorama of Islamabad
Supreme Court of
Earthquake Pakistan 2005
(Worse than Asian Tsunami)
Oct 8, 2005
Estimated Deaths: (official)
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One for helping yourself,
second for helping others.
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