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Rawalpindi ( ) is a district of Pakistan in the north of the Punjabmarker province which contains the city of Rawalpindimarker. The district has an area of . It was part of Rawalpindi Divisionmarker, until the year 2000 when the division was abolished. It is situated on the southern slopes of the north-western extremities of the Himalayas, including large mountain tracts with rich valleys traversed by mountain rivers. It contains the Murree hills and the sanatorium of the same name, the chief hill station in the Punjab. The chief rivers are the Indus and the Jhelum, and the climate is noted for its health benefits.


According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, the population of the district was 3,363,911 of which 53.03% were urban, and is the second-most urbanised district in Punjab. The population was estimated to be 4.41 million in 2008.

The main tribes of the district are the Gujjar, Rajput, Awan, Dhund Abbasi, Pashtuns, Bhatti,Chauhan Janjua, Mughals, Qureshi, Rawal, Satti and Sayyid.


Ancient history

In ancient times the whole or the greater part of the area between the Indus and the Jhelum seems to have belonged to a Turanian race called Takkas or Takshakas, who gave their name to the city of Takshasila. Known as Taxilamarker by the Greek historians, the location of the ancient city has been identified to be in the ruins of Shahdheri in the north-west corner of the District. At the time of Alexander's invasion Taxila was described by Arrian as a flourishing city, the greatest indeed between the Indus and the Hydaspes ; Strabo adds that the neighbouring country was crowded with inhabitants and very fertile ; and Pliny speaks of it as a famous city situated in a district called Amanda. The invasion of Demetrius in 195 B.C. brought the Punjab under the Graeco-Bactrian kings. Later they were superseded by the Sakas, who ruled at Taxila with the title of Satrap. At the time of Hiuen Tsiang the country was a dependency of Kashmir.

Mughal era

Mahmud of Ghazni passed through the District after his defeat of Anand Pal and capture of Ohind. The Gakhars, a tribe still of importance within the district trace their origins back to Mahmud of Ghanzi. The first mention of the Gakhars occurs in the memoirs of Babar, who gives an interesting account of the capture of their capital, Paralah. It was strongly situated in the hills, and was defended with great bravery by its chief Hati Khan, who escaped from one gate as the Mughal army marched in at the other. Hati Khan died by poison in 1525 ; his cousin and murderer Sultan Sarang then submitted to Babar, who conferred on him the area of Potwar. From that time on the Gakhar chieftains remained firm allies of the Mughal dynasty, and provided significant aid to the Mughal in their struggle against the house of Sher Shah. Salim Shah attempted in vain to subdue their country.

In 1553 Adam Khan, Sarang's successor, surrendered the rebel prince Kamran to Humayun. Adam Khan was subsequently deposed by Akbar, and his principality given over to his nephew Kamal Khan. During the height of the Mughal empire, the family of Sarang retained its territorial possessions. Its last and gakhars chief, Mukarrab Khan, ruled over a kingdom which extended from the Chenab to the Indus.

Sikh era

In 1765, during the total paralysis of the Mughal government, Sardar Gujar Singh Bhangi, a powerful Sikh chieftain, marched from Lahore against Mukarrab Khan, whom he defeated outside the walls of Gujrat.Mukarrab Khan then retired across the Jhelum, where he was soon treacherously murdered by his own tribesmen; but the traitors forthwith quarrelled over their spoil, and fell one by one before Sardar Gujar Singh. The Sikhs ruled Rawalpindi with their usual rapacity, exacting as revenue the last coin that could be wrung from the proprietors, who were often glad to admit their tenants as joint-sharers, in order to lighten the incidence of the revenue. Gujar Singh held the District throughout his life, and left it on his death to his son, Sahib Singh, who fell in 1810 before the power of the great Ranjit Singh. Another Sikh Sardar, Milka Singh, fixed upon Rawalpindi, then an insignificant village, for his headquarters. In spite of Afghan inroads and the resistance of the Gakhars, he soon conquered on his own account a tract of country round Rawalpindi worth 3 lakhs a year. On his death in 1804, his estates were conferred to his son, Jiwan Singh, by Ranjit Singh, until 1814, when, upon Jiwan Singh's death, they were annexed to the territory of Lahore.

The Murree and other hills long retained their independence under their Gakhar chieftains ; but in 1830 they were defeated after a bloody struggle, and handed over to Gulab Singh of Jammu, under whose merciless rule the population was almost decimated, and the country reduced to a desert.

British era

In 1849 Rawalpindi passed with the rest of the Sikh dominions under British rule ; and though tranquillity was disturbed by an insurrection four years later, led by a Gakhar chief with the object of placing a pretended son of Ranjit Singh on the throne, its administration was generally peaceful until the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857.The Dhunds and other tribes of the Murree Hills, incited by Hindustani agents, rose in insurrection, and the authorities received information from a faithful native of a projected attack upon the station of Murree in time to organise measures for defence. The women near the station, who were present in large numbers, were placed in safety, while the Europeans and police were drawn up in a cordon round the station. The rebels arrived expecting no resistance, but were met with organised resistance and were repelled.

The district of Rawalpindi was created during British rule as part of Punjab province. The district obtained its current boundaries in 1904 when Attock Districtmarker was created as a separate district. According to the 1901 census of India the population in 1901 was 558,699, an increase of 4.7% from 1891.

The principal crops were wheat, barley, maize, millets, and pulses. The district was traversed by the main line of the North-Western railway, crossing the Indus at Attock, and also by a branch towards the Indus at Kushalgarh.


The district is divided into seven tehsils:

Kallar Syedan became the seventh Tehsil of Rawalpindi district on the 1st of July 2007; prior to this date it was part of Kahuta Tehsil.

Notable people

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is a most popular personality of Rawalpindi district, He comes from an Alpial Rajput family from Fateh Jang. He is the current opposition leader in the National Assembly. He is a member of Pakistan Muslim League (N) and was elected as MNA for his seventh term as a PML(N) candidate in the 2008 general election from the constituencies NA-52 (Rawalpindi-III) and NA-53 (Rawalpindi-IV). Ch. Nisar Ali Khan was a senior minister and held the portfolios of Ministry of Communication and Ministry of Food and Livestock (MINFAL). However, all the PML-N ministers resigned en route on 12 May, 2008 protesting the delay of restoration of judges by the PPP-led government.

Nisar Ali Khan has previously served as Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, and Provincial Coordinator during 1990 - 1993 government of PML(N). From 1997 - 1999 government of PML(N), he was again Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister. He has served as Member National Assembly (MNA) for the terms of 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002. Currently he is Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly of Pakistan.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad was elected 4 times as a Member to the National Assembly (MNA) and is Ex. Minister of Railways. He was the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Ejaz-ul-Haq was also an MNA and remain the Minister of Religious Affairs from Rawalpindi. He is the son of the Dictator General Zia-ul-Haq who served as President of Pakistan and Chief Marshal Law Officer for 11 years. Three of the above mentioned ministers lost their seats in the 2008 Elections.

Ijaz-ul-Haq, elder son of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who was ex-president of Pakistan, is among notable people of Rawalpindi district. He was elected MNA number of times and remain federal minister in era of Nawaz Sharif and Prevaiz Musharaf.

Pir Mujtaba Farooq Gul Badshah ,son of Pir Farooq Gul is a famous saint in Pir wadhi.Hanif Abbasi is elected MNA from Rawalpindi. He was well known social worker of Jamaat-e-Islami, the main religious party of the country. He is now a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)and defeated Sheikh Rashid with a huge margin in Election 2008.

Khan Ghulam Sarwar Khan is a another politician from the area who was a Federal Minister of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis. He has served as a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Punjab, Health Minister of Punjab and Member of the Central Zakat Council in the past. His younger brother, Khan Muhammad Sadeeq Khan, was elected Nazim of Tehsil Taxila.

Gujar Khan

Gujar Khanmarker is located in the heart of the Potohar region and is also called the land of Shaheed. The region has produced people from all walks of life. Two recipients of Nishan-i-Haider came from Gujar Khanmarker. The area is notable for producing many top Military professionals as well. See also famous personalities of Gujar Khan.


Taxilamarker is famous for UET Taxila, and the historic Taxila Museum.


In the North of Rawalpindi District, where the Punjab meets the North-West Frontier Provincemarker is the city of Murreemarker, Murree is one of the hill stations that was established during the British Raj.

Kotli Sattian

Provincial Minister of Public Health Engineering, Mushtaq Ahmad Kiani is elected MPA from Kotli Satyan.

Rawal Town

  • The Administration of Rawalpindi city is called Rawal Town administration. The main Rawalpindi city is Rawal Town. Famous personality is Former Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad. The main shopping Centers and Bazars are Raja Bazaar, Committee Chowk, Kashmiri Bazar, Sarafa Bazar, Rehman Abad, Seattlite Town, Commircial Market, Kohati Bazar, Dhoke Hassu Chowk, Pirwadhai, Pirwadhai Mor, Khana Pul, Kaak Pul, Faizabad, Mochi Bazar, Jinnah Road.

Kallar Syedan

  • Kallar Syedan became the seventh Tehsil of Rawalpindi in 2007, a very promising area with people of all tribes residing there including Rajeh, Malik, Jatt, Chaudary, Rajputs and many others. During the building of the Mangla Dam many of the inhabitants of the surrounding areas of the Mangla Dam migrated in Kallar Syedan, making Kallar the hot spot of new technological developments.

External links


  1. Rawalpindi - Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  2. 1998 Census details
  3. District Profile: Northern Punjab - Rawalpindi
  4. Rawalpindi District - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 264.
  5. Dawn Pakistan - RAWALPINDI: Kallar Syedan starts functioning as tehsil
  6. Murree - Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition

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