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Wah Cantt (Urdu: واہ) is a cantonment city located in the Punjabmarker province of Pakistanmarker, 50 km to the North West of Islamabad.

Location

Wah Cantt is situated approximately 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Pakistan's capital, Islamabadmarker. It is a multicultural city inhabited by people from every corner of Pakistan.

History

Ancient History

Wah Cantt is adjacent to Taxilamarker, a small town enriched with one of the most important archaeological sites of the world. The ancient name of Taxila was 'Takshasila' which means the "city of cut stones". Here civilization and its manifestation in sculpture and other arts took roots and flourished. Taxila was conquered by Alexander in 327 BC. It later came under the Mauryan dynasty and attained a remarkably mature level of development under the great Ashoka. Then appeared the Indo-Greek descendants of Alexander’s warriors and finally came the most creative period of Gandhara. The great Kushan dynasty was established somewhere near 50 AD. During the next 200 years, Taxila became a renowned center of learning, philosophy and art. Pilgrims and travelers as well as teachers and students were attracted to it from as far away as China and Greece.

Mughal Era

The name 'Wah' has its roots in the Mughal era with the Mughal emperor Jehangir reported to have coined the name when his army was stationed here en route from a mission. Emperor Jehangir was impressed by the scenery of this place, so he said "Wah" ('wow') and this place was named 'Wah' after that exclamation.It is said that Mughal emperor Jehangir’s army was coming back from a campaign in Kashmir, it was evening time, and they were tired and looking for a place to stay. After a little search they were successful in finding a place with a natural source of water. As soon as the Mughal King watched the natural beauty of the spring and surrounding mountains, he loudly exclaimed ”Wah!”. His words were written on the stone of history. Since that day, this territory is called Wah . The Mughal advent had a strong influence on the architecture of the city which is still visible to date with prominent Mughal sites like the Wah Gardens.

Post Partition history

After gaining Independence, Pakistanmarker had no facilities capable of producing armaments and military goods so urgent plans were made for an ordnance factory in Wah, Punjabmarker. The word Cantt was added to Wah in 1951, when Prime Minister Khawaja Nazim-u-Din unveiled the foundation stone of Pakistan Ordnance Factories Wah Cantt. Chaudhry Sardar Khan was the founder and first Deputy Director General of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), Wah Cantt. POF is not one ammunition factory but it is a complex of 14 factories manufacturing arms and ammunition ranging from bullets, shells, assault rifles, missiles and bombs. Heavy Mechanical Complex in neighboring Taxila produces tanks and other heavy arms. The nearby town of Kamra is the site of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex where aircraft are manufactured, assembled, repaired and overhauled for the Air Force.

Geographical location

Wah Cantt is located 50 km (appx. 30 miles) north west of Islamabad. It is a valley as it is surrounded by hills in all directions. Mughal Emperor Zaheer-UD-Din Babur mentioned the Wah region in his book the Baburnama. Wah has a rich historical background. It was a favorite place of the great Mughal rulers. They built several gardens here such as the most famous “Wah Garden”. It is still present with its remains of Mughal architecture. It is located on the main G.T Road. Wah Garden has a historical value along with being a beautiful and attractive picnic spot. This park has the potential to attract people from different places.

Sultan Sher Shah Suri, who built the famous Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), built a 'bawley' or watering place here. It is now called the Sher Shah Park and is situated near the Aslam Market. It is said that Sher Shah's horses used to drink water there.

Wah is located in a fertile valley. It is suitable for growing every sort of crops, especially fruits. This area was not developed before the construction of the POF, but now it is one of the most advanced and developed places in Pakistan.

Culture

Wah Cantt is a multicultural City. People with various ethnic backgrounds live and work here. Culture from Karachi to Khyber can be observed in the city. People are skillful and educated and most of them are factory employees. The city is rather quiet in the morning, but all charm of the city is restored in the evening. The hustle bustle of people for evening walks, children and elders playing games in playing grounds and elderly sitting on grass gardens add to the beauty of city. The city is said to have one of the best civic amenities in the entire country with a solid health care and education system.

Wah Cantt is divided into 27 sectors and some private housing colonies. The commonly known colonies are Officer's colony Basti/Lala Rukh Shahwali Colony, Lala Zar, Gulistan colony and AC Wah. Popular markets include Aslam market, Basti market, Anwaar chowk, Laiq Ali chowk Munirabad, Asifaabad, Ahmed Nagar and Nawab Abad . This city is distinguished because of a very high standard of education. Literacy rate is approximately 100% and highest in Asia. 115 educational institutes serve over 50,000 students. Unsurprisingly, it has become one of the most expensive cities in the whole country. The secret of this excellence is disciplined living and strictly conscientious society where parents are reprimanded for keeping their children away from school even for a single day without cogent reason.

Wah also has 'Senior Citizen Foundation of Pakistan-Wah Chaptar' office. The organization is devoted to the cause of senior citizens of Wah. The President Mr. Durrani and Secretary General Mr. Fazal Hussain Awan, and executive committee of the organization are providing dedicated services to the senior citizens of Wah. Some of their prominent contribution to the Senior Citizens in Wah are:-

Establishment of Senior Citizen office at Lalarukh.Library where all daily newspapers and journals are kept for senior citizens.TV room for watching interesting programs.Medical Services like Physiotherapy, Sugar tests and discounted medicines and holding of free medical camps.Free transport service within Wah Cantt.


Besides the organization is also holding quarterly and annual functions wherein the Chairman POF Board and other officials participate and encourage the activities of ageing citizens

Sports

People of this city are highly interested in sports. There are a number of grounds, about 300 small and big ones where different games are in proceeding all the time. Even in Ramzan sometimes people old up to 50 are found engaged in playing while above 70's watching them and rising appraisals.

F.G Science Degree College's basket ball team is champion of ALL Pakistan basketball championship last 9 times consectively

Wah has a hockey field laid with Astro Turf, one of the earliest examples of it in this once hockey-mad nation. The Hockey Stadium at Welfare Club (near Anwar Chowk) is a sad reminder of the glory days of Pakistani hockey when the country was an undisputed champion and a recognized super power in this game. Moreover, the CB Ground (near Barrier 3) can also be used for cricket.

Welfare Club also has an indoor sports arena as well as a swimming complex. Main public swimming facility is located at Ordnance Club near Aslam Market.

Defense

The Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), is responsible for conventional weapons production and is located in Wah Cantonment. POF is a government organization operating under the defense Production Division in Pakistan’s Ministry of defense. POF is a complex of arms and ammunition manufacturing factories employing more than 40,000 personnel. POF has provided weapons and ammunition to the Pakistan Army and all their foreign clients. However, since POF can not produce the complete inventory of the Pakistani Army's armament needs, a high content of the Armed Force requirements are imported. POF produces approximately 70 major products for supply to Army, Navy and Air Force. The main products include automatic rifle; light medium and heavy machine guns, complete range of mortar and artillery ammunition, aircraft ammunition and anti-aircraft ammunition, tank ammunition and anti-tank ammunition, bombs, grenades, land mines, pyrotechnics and signal stores etc. It also has a clothing factory which supplies uniforms to the armed personnel.

Education

Wah has a remarkably high literacy rate.This small city has Two chartered Universities, one Medical College, one Engineering College and a large number of schools. Wah Cantt has the largest literacy rate in all of Pakistan. Students from Wah Cantt can be found studying at all the institutes of Pakistan and most major universities of the world. Wah Cantt also has the largest number of bi-cycles than any city in Pakistan. This links the city with its past as, historically, the neighboring town of Taxilamarker had been a seat of learning for thousands of years. Wah Cantt also has a very beauty full place in the Earth.

Wah Cantt, having an area of no more than 30 square kilometers (approx.), has the highest number of educational institutes per square mile.Apart from a large number of private and government schools up to 12th level, foundations of professional universities have been laid down in past 5 years. Apex Institute of Skills Wah Cantt Sir Syed College Wah Cantt Wah Medical College , University of Wah - which includes Wah Engineering College & Mishal College for Women , COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology are among the big institutes in Wah Cantt. In the private sector, Wah Swedish Institute of Technology, Rawalpindi College of Commerce and Rawalpindi Institute of Technology are popular technical education institutes. Zarghoona College for Women and Cantt College for women are some prominent women colleges. In government sector there is Technical Training Institute (TTI), a center of technical training. People qualified from this college serve not only in the POFs but also work in the Middle East and send valuable foreign exchange.

Some important Institutes:F G Public High School.Sir Syed College.P.O.F Model High SchoolPak Danish Institute of Technology (first technical institute of mechanical engineering in private sector)F.G Science Degree CollegeDegree college for BoysDegree college for WomenFarooqi Ideal Public School And College. (www.fipsc.edu.pk)There is a high competition to get admission at HSSC level in pre-medical and pre-engineering groups in F.G. and F.G Science Degree College for both men and women: Two for men and one post graduate college for women, as they are the most well established government colleges in Wah Cantt. Being a student of these colleges is thought of as an honour in the city. Then, there are other schools like Margalla Grammer School, Wah Grammar school, Lahore Grammar School, Organon, Wah City School, PICS Model School and also BSS (Beacon House School System) and numerous other schools from Montessori to "O" and "A" levels.

Squash At Wah

Another pride for the Wahites is the reputation of Wah for holding national and international level squash competitions.

The 1st POF WISPA Squash Tournament was hosted at Jahangir Khan Squash Complex Wah Cantt from 28 August to 2 September, 2005. The tournament carried a prize purse of US$ 7,000/- and players from Pakistan, England, Korea, Denmark and Malaysia took part in it. Top seeded Carla Khan of Pakistan won the championship beating No 2 seeded Sharon Wee of Malaysia in the final. President World Squash Federation, Mr Jahangir Khan graced the concluding ceremony as the chief guest.

Transport

Wah Cantt offers a unique type of transport to its residents. The transport network is called The POF Welfare Transport and it runs buses and coaches (about 200 in number) on 7 different routes all over the city. They charge only the uniform fare of Rs 07.00 (Approx. US$00.07 or £00.04) and take you anywhere in the city for this amount. This is the cheapest and the most efficient public transport network in Pakistan, which is a landmark in itself. POF Welfare Transport Service now increases the price from Rs. 4.00 to Rs. 7.00.Wah Cantt offers a unique type of transport to its residents. The transport network is called The POF Welfare Transport and it runs buses and coaches (about 200 in number) on 7 different routes all over the city. They charge only the uniform fare of Rs 07.00 (Approx. US$00.07 or £00.04) and take you anywhere in the city for this amount. This is the cheapest and the most efficient public transport network in Pakistan, which is a landmark in itself. POF Welfare Transport Service now increases the price from Rs. 4.00 to Rs. 7.00.

Political Personalities

Prof. Muhammad Waqas Khan is new comer in Politics but he has political background , his father Dr.Muhammad Kamal was contested in various elections against Ch. Nisar Ali Khan and Ghulam serwar Khan from Jamaat-e-Islami Ticket. But unfortunalty he never won the seat, But Muhammad Waqas Khan was members of Punjab Assembly and won a elction of MPA in 2002 on MMA ticket, but in 2008 he boycotted neither contest.He is well reputed personality in this area and also he is Islamic scholar, he is ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Taxila Town and President Political Committee of Jamaat-e-Islami Punjab (N), he run own School System named Lala Rukh Model Schools in Lala Rukh.

References

  1. Wah Canntt
  2. Pakistan Ordnance Factories
  3. Wah - Pakistan Special Weapons Facilities
  4. Apex Institute Of Skills
  5. Sir Syed College
  6. Wah Medical College.
  7. University of Wah
  8. COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology
  9. Zarghoona College
  10. Pakistan Squash Federation


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