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( ) Rāwalpindī) is a city in the Potwar Plateau near Pakistanmarker's capital city of Islamabadmarker, in the province of Punjabmarker. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachimarker, Lahoremarker and Faisalabadmarker. Locally known as Pindi, the area was home to the pre-historic Soanian culture indigenous to this region. Numerous shopping bazaars, parks and a cosmopolitan population attract shoppers from all over Pakistan and abroad. In the 1950s, Rawalpindi was smaller than Hyderabad and Multan, but the building of Islamabad in the 1960s boosted the city's economy, resulting in a tenfold increase in population, from 180,000 to over 2.1 million.

Rawalpindi is also the military headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces and also served as the nation's capital whilst Islamabadmarker was being constructed in the 1960s. The city is home to several industries and factories. Islamabad International Airportmarker, formerly known as "Chaklalamarker" airport, now known as "Benazir Bhutto International Airport" is actually in Rawalpindi; it serves the city along with the capital. Rawalpindi is located in the Punjabmarker province, 275 km (171 miles) to the north-west of Lahoremarker. It is the administrative seat of the Rawalpindi Districtmarker. The total area of the city is approximately . It is a bustling town strategically located between the Punjabmarker and Azad Kashmirmarker. Many tourists use the city as a stop before traveling towards the northern areas.

History

A map representing the Rawalpindi Division, pre-independence
Rawalpindi has been inhabitied for thousands of years, it is believed that a distinct culture flourished on this plateau as far in c1000BC. The material remains found at the site prove the existence of a Buddhist establishment contemporary to Taxilamarker and of a Vedic civilisation. The nearby town of Taxila has another significance; according to the Guinness Book of World Records it has the world's oldest university - Takshashila University.

Sir Alexander Cunningham identified certain ruins on the site of the cantonment with the ancient city of Gajipur or Gajnipur, the capital of the Bhatti tribe in the ages preceding the Christian era. Graeco-Bactrian coins, together with ancient bricks, occur over an area of 500 ha (2 mi²). Known within historical times as Fatehpur Baori, Rawalpindi fell into decay during one of the Mongol invasions in the fourteenth century.

It appears that the ancient city went into oblivion as a result of the White Hun devastation. The first Muslim invader, Mahmud of Ghazni (979-1030), gave the ruined city to a Gakhar Chief, Kai Gohar. The town, however, being on an invasion route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakhar Chief, restored it and named it Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Gakkhars until Muqarrab Khan, the last Gakkhar ruler, was defeated by the Sikhs under Sardar Milka Singh in 1765. Singh invited traders from the neighbouring commercial centres of Jhelummarker and Shahpur to settle in the territory.

Early in the nineteenth century Rawalpindi became for a time the refuge of Shah Shuja, the exiled king of Afghanistan, and of his brother Shah Zaman. The present native infantry lines mark the site of a battle fought by the Gakhars under their famous chief Sultan Mukarrab Khan in the middle of the eighteenth century. Rawalpindi was taken by Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1818. It was at Rawalpindi, on March 14, 1849, that the Sikh army under Chattar Singh and Sher Singh finally laid down their arms after the battle of Gujrat and were decisively defeated.

British rule

Queen Victoria's Statue sculputed in England was placed in the city during the rule of the British Empire, 1939
Following the Britishmarker invasion of the region and their occupation of Rawalpindi in 1849, the city became a permanent garrison of the British army in 1851. In the 1880s a railway line to Rawalpindi was laid, and train service was inaugurated on 1 January 1886. The need for a railway link arose after Lord Dalhousie made Rawalpindi the headquarters of the Northern Command and the city became the largest British military garrison in British India.

On the introduction of British rule, Rawalpindi became the site of a cantonment, and shortly afterwards the headquarters of 2nd Division; while its connexion with the main railway system by the extension of the North-Western Railway to Peshawarmarker immensely developed both its size and commercial importance. The municipality was created in 1867. The income and expenditure during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged 2–1 lakhs. In 1903-4 the income and expenditure were 1-8 lakhs and 2-1 lakhs respectively. The chief item of income was octroi (1-6 lakhs) ; and the expenditure included administration (Rs. 35,000), conservancy (Rs. 27,000), hospitals and dispensaries (Rs. 25,000), public works (Rs. 9,000), and public safety (Rs. 17,000). The cantonment, with a population in 1901 of 40,611, was the most important in all of British South Asia. It contained one battery of horse and one of field artillery, one mountain battery, one company of garrison artillery, and one ammunition column of field artillery; one regiment of British and one of Native cavalry; two of British and two of Native infantry; and two companies of sappers and miners, with a balloon section. It was the winter head-quarters of the Northern Command, and of the Rawalpindi military division. An arsenal was established here in 1883. It has also been recently disclosed that the British Government tested poison gas on Indian troops during a series of experiments that lasted over a decade.

After independence

In 1951, Rawalpindi saw the assassination of the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan in Company Bagh now known as Liaquat Bagh Parkmarker (also called Liaquat Garden.) On 27 December 2007, Liaquat Bagh Park's rear gate in Rawalpindi was the site of the assassinationmarker of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Her father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi in 1979.

The famous Murree Road has been a hot spot for various political and social events. Nala Lai, in the middle of city, history describes Nala Lai water as pure enough for drinking but now it has become polluted with the waste water from all sources including factories and houses. Kashmir Road, was renamed from Dalhousie Road, Haider road from Lawrence road, Bank Road from Edwards Road, Hospital Road from Mission Road, Jinnah Road from Nehru Road. Today Rawalpindi is the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force.

Climate

Rawalpindi, during the summer season experiences a number of Thunder/Windstorms that sometimes cause damage to property. Windspeeds could reach an astonishing 168 km/h in some windstorms which results in the collapse of walls and roofs causing injuries and sometimes death.

Rawalpindi is chaotic but relatively dust-free. The literacy rate is 70.5% (January 2006). The population is ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous, comprising Pothoharis, Punjabis,Paharis, Kashmiris, Pakhtuns, Gilgitimarker, Muhajirs, Hindkowans and Afghansmarker. The weather is highly variable due to the location of Rawalpindi. The average annual rainfall is , most of which falls in the summer monsoon season. However, frontal cloudbands also bring quite significant rainfall in the winter. In summer, the maximum temperature can sometimes soar up to , while it may drop to a minimum of in the winter.

Demographics

The population of Rawalpindi is approximately 3,039,550 according to the 2006 estimate consensus with a large increase due to influx of Afganistanis and people from the villages looking for work in the city.

The majority of the people of Rawalpindi are Muslims. There are many mosques throughout the city. The most famous Mosques are Jamia Mosque, Raja Bazaar Mosque and Eid Gah Mosque which attract thousands of visitors daily. Other minority religions are Christian, Zorastrian, Bahai, Parsi, Hindu, Sikh and Ahmadiyya Religion.

Administration

The City-District of Rawalpindi comprises eight autonomous tehsils, besides Rawalpindi city (divided into Rawal & Potohar Tehsils):
  1. Gujar Khanmarker
  2. Potohar (Southern Rawalpindi)
  3. Taxila Tehsil
  4. Rawal (Northern Rawalpindi)
  5. Kallar Syedan
  6. Kahuta
  7. Kotli Sattian
  8. Murree


Today Rawalpindi is the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force.

The famous Murree Road has been a hot spot for various political and social events. Nala Lai, in the middle of city, history describes Nala Lai water as pure enough for drinking but now it has become polluted with the waste water from all sources including factories and houses.

Kashmir Road, was renamed from Dalhousie Road, Haider road from Lawrence road, Bank Road from Edwards Road, Hospital Road from Mission Road, Jinnah Road from Nehru Road.

Culture

The Murree Road during the construction of Committee Chowk underpass
The Saddar Bazaar


Rapidly developing into a large city, Rawalpindi has many good hotels, restaurants, clubs, museums and parks, of which the largest is the Ayub National Park. Rawalpindi forms the base camp for the tourists visiting the holiday resorts and hill stations of the Galiyat area, such as Murreemarker, Nathia Galimarker, Ayubia,Rawlakotmarker,Muzaffarabadmarker, Bagh, Abbottabadmarker, Swatmarker, Kaghanmarker, Gilgitmarker, Hunza, Skardumarker and Chitralmarker.

The best way to see Rawalpindi is by wandering through its bazaars, but you should orient yourself before setting out. The city has two main roads: the Grand Trunk Road runs roughly from east to west and is known as The Mall as it passes through the cantonment. Murreemarker Road originates towards north from The Mall, crosses the railway lines and brushes the east end of the old city on its way to Islamabadmarker. The two main bazaar areas are Raja Bazaar in the old city and Saddar Bazaar, which developed as the cantonment bazaar between the old city and the Mall. Another developing market is called the Commercial Market located in the area of Satellite Town near Islamabadmarker.

The crowded alleys of the old city are home to many attractions, including Hindu which are in ruins now, Zorastrian, Sikh temples and Islamic shrines. There are also several museums and arts galleries such as the Lok Virsa, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Army Museum of Pakistan and the $Idara Saqafat e Pakistan.

Rawalpindi has been a military city since colonial times and remained Army headquarters after independence in 1947. Due to this, also located in Rawalpindi is the Pakistan Army Museum, with displays on colonial and present day armies, armoury of historical significance and war heroes.

Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jhelummarker Road. It covers an area of about and has a play-land, lake with boating facility, an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened for public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds.

Rawalpindi Cricket Stadiummarker, built in 1992, has a grass pitch, floodlights, and a initial capacity of 20,000 but in mid 2008 it is being upgraded and then it can hold more than 40,000 people. The home team is the Rawalpindi Cricket Association. Also located in the city is Rawalpindi Hockey stadium. This small but well built facility plays host to the national side throughout the year.

Rawat Fort is located east of Rawalpindi, on the Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road leading to Lahore. Gakhars, a fiercely independent tribe of the Pothohar Plateau built the fort, in early 16th century. The grave of a Gakhar Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. He died in 1546 fighting against the forces of Sher Shah Suri. A climb up the broken steps inside the tomb is rewarded with a panoramic view of the plateau and the Mankialamarker Stupa. Besides Rawat, about an hours drive from Rawalpindi on the grand trunk road towards the city of Peshawar, is Attock Fort. This impressive fort is easily visible and located near the Shrine 'Hazrat Jee Sahib', the tradition burial grounds for the 'Bati' Family of the Paracha clan from the near by (deserted) village of 'Malahi Tola'. The Akbari fort is not open to the public as it is in active military use.

Pharwala Fort is about from Rawalpindi beyond Lehtrar road. It is a Gakhar fort built it in 15th century on the ruins of a 10th century Hindi Shahi Fort. Emperor Babur conquered the fort in 1519. Later, in 1825, Sikhs expelled Gakhars from this fort. Though the fort is in a crumbling state, it is still an attraction for castle lovers. The fort, being situated in prohibited area, is only open for Pakistani visitors.

Rawalpindi has numerous sights of architectural masterpieces. Few of the heritage buildings are Purana Qil'aa (The Old Fort), Bagh Sardaran (Chief's Gardens), Haveli Sujaan Sigh, which is the remains of the Sikh Nawabs of Rawalpindi, the grand building has been converted into Fatima Jinnah Women University, which is the only female university to have established in the region.Other ancient buildings include Jain Mandir, Jain Temple. Gordon College, a prestigious institution of high learning was set during the British Raj. The shrine of Hazrat Sakhi Shah Chan Charagh is one of the centres devotees are flocked to. An institution of high devotion and solace located near the famous Raja Bazarmarker He is the patron saint of the city and regarded as one of the two protectors of the twin cities, i.e. Islamabadmarker and Rawalpindi along with Hazrat Bari Imam, his cousin brother. The "Rawalpindi Public Library" was one of the earliest private public libraries organized after separation from India. The building was donated for public library by the then Deputy Commissioner Major Davis (also Mrs. Davis' motel's owner)on the initiative of a 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.

Economy

Bank Alfalah branch in Rawalpindi
According to the general survey of industry conducted by Directorate of Industries and Mineral Development Punjab. There are at present 939 industrial units operating in the district. This district is not famous for industrial goods like other districts. The progress has been mostly in the private sector. The existing industrial units provide employment to about 35,000 persons i.e. about 1.6% of district population is directly employed in large, medium and small industrial units.

Apparently there is no shortage of skilled manpower. The Technical/Vocational Training Institute operating in the district turn out about 1974. Technicians/Artisans annually trained in various fields of engineering. Air conditiong, Drafting, Metallurgy, Welding, Auto knitting and commerce etc.

  • Kohinoor Textile Mills: Kohinoor Mills is the largest unit in the district, which is located near Naseer Abad and is equipped with 50,000spindles and 1,021 power looms.
  • Wattan Woolen Mills: Next is Wattan Woolen and Hosiery Mills fitted 10,000 spindles.
  • Rahat Woolen Mills established in 1954 is one of the oldest and most prominent mill in Rawalpindi.


Jinnah Road formally known as City Saddar Road one of the most busiest business market could be consider as business headquarter of north region of Pakistan including retailers, whole salers, distributors, manufacturers heaving approximately cash flow of more than 1 billion per day. Importance of Jinnah road can be seen by the presence of more than 9 banks on road and more branches opening soon.

Transport

Rawalpindi Railway Station
There are many ways to get in and around Rawalpindi. Public transport for travel within Rawalpindi is diverse, ranging from yellow taxis, auto-rickshaws, mini-buses and even tongas (horse-drawn carriages). Due to the lack of planning of roads, traffic jams are found even on smaller roads. For inter-city travel, air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses and coaches are regularly available to many destinations in Pakistan. There is also an Islamabad/Rawalpindi central railway station that allows travel to every major city in Pakistan. In addition to freight, Pakistan Railways provides passenger rail service throughout the day, with train coaches that have air-conditioning in first-class.

Rail

The Rawalpindi Railway Station is located in the Saddar City. The Railway Station was built in the 1880s by the government of British India. The British built many railways across South Asia to help facilitate trade and more importantly to help consolidate their rule.The routes the British built from Rawalpindi, which contained a major military base, linked to Lahoremarker, Karachimarker, Peshawarmarker, Quettamarker, Multanmarker, Faisalabadmarker, Hyderabad, Sindhmarker, Sukkurmarker, Bahawalpurmarker, Jhelummarker, Gujratmarker, Gujranwalamarker, Kohatmarker, Khanewalmarker, Nawabshahmarker, Nowsheramarker and the Malakand Passmarker.

Airport

Benazir Bhutto International Airportmarker is actually located at Chaklalamarker which technically is a part of Rawalpindi. The airport is served by over 25 airlines, both national and international. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national carrier of Pakistan, has numerous routes, with many domestic and international flights every day. Construction on the new Rawalpindi/Islamabad international airport has now been started near the town of Fateh Jang approx from both cities.

Motorway

Mall Road, Saddar
The main route running through Rawalpindi is the Murree Road. This road runs West-East through the city and continues to the hill station of Murreemarker, which is a major summer attraction for Rawalpindi residents. Murree Rd is one of the busiest roads in the Punjab Province of Pakistan.

Rawalpindi is on the ancient Grand Trunk Road (also known as G.T. Road or, more recently, N-5) which links Rawalpindi to nearly every major city in northern Pakistan, from Karachimarker, to Peshawarmarker, Lahoremarker, Quettamarker, Multanmarker, Faisalabadmarker, Hyderabadmarker, Sukkurmarker, Bahawalpurmarker, Jhelummarker, Gujratmarker, Gujranwalamarker, Kohatmarker, Khanewalmarker, Nawabshahmarker, Nowsheramarker and the Malakand Passmarker.

The city is also served by two nearby six-lane Motorways, M2 (Lahoremarker-Islamabadmarker) and M1 (Islamabadmarker-Peshawarmarker), which were completed in the 1990s. Somewhat further away is the famous Karakoram Highwaymarker, the world's highest international road, which connects Pakistanmarker to Chinamarker.

General Bus Stand

General Bus Stand, Pir Wadhi is the principal bus station for interstate buses and other public vehicles which regularly transports passengers. GBS, Pir Wadhi caters government and private operated buses. It also constitutes large number of reasonable hotel for stay. Luxury Hino, Mercedes buses also operated from Pir Wadhi.

Telecommunication

The PTCL provides the main network of landline telephone with minority shares of other operators. All major mobile phone companies operating in Pakistanmarker provide service in Rawalpindi. Broadband internet access is available from DSL, FTTH to state of the art WiMax technology from many ISP, WiMax and WiFi operators like Witribe,Wateen,Micronet,Nayatel etc

Parks

Govt College for Women
Rawalpindi Medical College, Tipu Road
General Post Office, Saddar
Beauty of Mall Road
Jinnah Park


  • Ayub National Park formerly known as "topi rakh" (stay hat or remove hat) is located by the old Presidency, and between the Murree Brewery Co. and Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road. It covers an area of about 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 of the city.
  • Liaquat Baghmarker 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 elected Prime Minister of the world.
  • 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. From the clubhouse, there is a panoramic view of Faisal Mosque, the twin cities of Islamabadmarker and Rawalpindi, and the course itself. Major golf tournaments are regularly held here.
  • 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 cricket matches were held on this cricket ground.
  • Playland is another public located parellel to Ayub Park, its nearness to many classy colonies and housing schemes makes this wonderland an attractive hotspot during the holidays.
  • Liaquat National Baghmarker
  • Jinnah Park
  • Ayub Park
  • DHA Jungle Park (DHA Phase I, Rawalpindi)
  • Rumi Park
  • Shah Balot Park
  • Race Course
  • Ladies & Childrens Park, Dhoke Hassu
  • Children Park in Commercial Market
  • 502 Workshop Park Lalazar
  • Dussehra Ground Asghar Mall
  • Ladies & Childrens Park, Gawalmadi


Sport

Rawalpindi is home to some of the most recognised players in the history of Pakistani cricket. The city also has an array of stadiums and grounds to meet the needs of all the popular sports played in the country. The Rawalpindi Cricket Stadiummarker is the official cricket stadium used for international tests and ODI. However, there are plenty of other cricket grounds such as Army Cricket ground (which is home to the Pindi Club), KRL Cricket ground, CMTSD Cricket stadium as well as the Attock Oil Refinery cricket ground. There are also stadiums for hockey such as the Army Hockey Stadium, Army Signals Hockey ground as well as the Noor Station Ground Dhoke Hassu. There are also stadiums for football including the Municipal Football stadium and the Army Football ground. Other sports complexes include, COD Sports Complex and the Railway Ground Dhoke Matkial.

Media

Lal Haveli
Rawalpindi being so close to the capital of the country, teams with a great deal of media and newspaper climate. There are over a dozen of newspaper companies based in the city including: Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Daily Jang, Daily Islamabadmarker Times, Daily Asas, Daily Times, Daily Nation, National Herald Tribune, The Daily Sada-e-Haq, Daily Express, Daily Dawn, Daily Din, Daily Aajkal Rawalpindi, Daily Islam, and Daily Pakistan.

See also



References

External links




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