Islamabad has been the capital of Pakistan since 1960 when the capital city was moved from Karachi. Although it is technically only the ninth largest city of Pakistan, together with its neighbouring twin city of Rawalpindi, the greater Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the third largest conurbation with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants.
Since its foundation in the 1960's, Islamabad has attracted people from all over Pakistan, making it one of the most cosmopolitan and urbanized cities of Pakistan. As the capital, Islamabad is the seat of the Government of Pakistan and the Presidential Palace (Aiwan-e-Sadr) is located here.
Islamabad is known as a relatively clean, calm and green city by Pakistan standards. It hosts a large number of diplomats, politicians and government employees. Islamabad is a modern, well planned, well maintained and well-organised international city located on the Pothohar Plateau in the north-eastern part of Pakistan, within the Islamabad Capital Territory and regarded as the most developed city in Pakistan. It has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan and, like Canberra in Australia, is surrounded by hills.
|POPULATION :||• Capital city 1.9 million|
• Urban 1,829,180
• Metro 2.2 million
|TIME ZONE :||PKT (UTC+5)|
|LANGUAGE :||Punjabi 68%, Pashto 15%, Others 18%|
|RELIGION :||Islam 95.5% , Christianity 4 %, Others 0.5%|
|AREA :||• Capital city 906.00 km2 (349.81 sq mi)|
• Urban 906.00 km2 (349.81 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 620 m (2,000 ft)|
Lowest elevation 490 m (1,610 ft)
|COORDINATES :||33°43′N 73°04′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.40%|
• Female: 48.60%
|ETHNIC :||Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhajirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%|
|AREA CODE :||051|
|POSTAL CODE :||44000|
|DIALING CODE :||+92 51|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
A relatively quiet city, Islamabad covers an area of 1,165.5 km² (450 mi²) of which 906 km² (349.8 mi²) is Islamabad proper. Travellers may be interested mainly in the Federal Government offices, Parliament House, the official residences of the President and Prime Minister; together with the Diplomatic Enclave - an area next to the Parliament House dedicated to foreign embassies and missions appointed to Pakistan.
Although the majority of the population in Islamabad traditionally have been employees of the Federal Government, the wealth of the Musharraf years fuelled a boom in Islamabad and it is becoming an important financial and business centre. In the last decade there have been vast changes in the city's traditional reputation. From it being a typical 9 to 5 city, Islamabad has become more lively with many new restaurants and hotels springing up to service this new wealth. A lot of international food chains have opened, and generally a great improvement in night life with increasing shopping areas opening till late. However during winter season streets are considerably quiet after dark.
Even now, Islamabad remains a city where people come from all over the country to enjoy its peaceful, noise-free atmosphere with a lot of greenery and nice surrounding scenery. It also serves as a base camp for people from the south and coastal areas like Karachi, visiting relatively lush valleys such as Swat and Kaghan together with northern areas like Gilgit, Hunza,Skardu and Chitral located in the Himalayas mountains.
Islamabad city is divided into five major zones: Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, and Zone 5. Out of these, Zone 4 is the largest in area. Zone 3 consists primarily of the Margalla Hills and Margalla Hills National Park. Rawal Lake is also in this zone. Zone 4 and 5 consist of Islamabad Park, and rural areas of the city. Zone 1 consists mainly of all the developed residential sectors while Zone 2 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. The sectors are lettered from A to I, and each sector is divided into four numbered sub-sectors.
Travellers will soon notice that Islamabad is laid out on a grid system - sector names are based on the following scheme:
D sector designates Diplomats, E sector designates Elites, F sector designates Forces, G sector designates General, H sector designates Health and Education, and I sector designates Industry.
E7, F6, F7, G6, G7 are the oldest sectors and F8, F10, F11, G10, G11, I8 are where the 'new money' has been invested.
E8, E9 are occupied by military housing complexes and are effectively out-of-bounds to travellers. G7, G8 and G9 are poorer areas where the city planners wanted the cleaners and office clerks to live. But these areas tend to be the only cultured areas in the city. Here you would find a common Pakistani rather than a common Islamabadi.
The H and I sectors are a hotchpotch of mixed use residential, academic and industrial areas. E11, E12 and even now D12 are under construction, there is even a G13 being built up. F6 and F7 are where most of the action happens, but the numbers of embassies and powerful Pakistanis' dwellings in these areas also mean a lot of security, concrete barriers and raise arm barrier gates that happily are largely absent elsewhere.
In choosing your guest house, F6 & F7 may be your best bet as they are generally posh areas and have all the necessary facilities close-by.
The city of Islamabad is located on the Pothohar Plateau which is one of the earliest known sites of human settlement in Asia. Some of the earliest Stone Age artifacts in the world have been found on the plateau, dating from 500,000 to one million years ago. The crude 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 in several areas. Limited excavations have confirmed evidence of prehistoric cultures. Relics and human skulls have been found dating back to 5000BC that show this region was home to Neolithic man, who roamed the banks of the Soan River. During the Neolithic, people developed small communities in the region around 3000BC. Situated at one end of the Indus Valley Civilization, the area was an early habitation of the Aryan community in Central Asia. Their civilization 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 the region on their way to invade the Indian Subcontinent. A Buddhist town once existed in the region and remains of a stupa have been identified in the G-12 sector. Modern Islamabad also incorporates the old settlement of Saidpur. The British took control of the region from the Sikhs in 1849 and built Asia's largest cantonment in the region in Rawalpindi.
When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, Karachi becomes 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 equally distributed. Moreover, Karachi having tropical weather conditions, was located at one end of the country, making it vulnerable to attacks from the Arabian Sea. Pakistan need a capital that was easily accessible from all parts of the country was needed. Karachi, a business centre, 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.
Islamabad has attracted people from all over Pakistan, making it one of the most cosmopolitan and urbanised areas 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. Tragic air crashes also took place here: on 28 July 2010, 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 the final approach for landing, killing all on board on 20 April 2012.
Today, Islamabad is considered by some as one of the most extensively and successfully planned cities in South Asia. The city is home to many migrants from other regions of Pakistan and has a modern culture that is not so dissimilar to other internationalised cities.
The climate of Islamabad has a typical version of humid subtropical climate, with five seasons: Winter (November–February), Spring (March and April), Summer (May and June), Rainy Monsoon (July and August) and Autumn (September and October). The hottest month is June, where average highs routinely exceed 38°C (100.4°F). Wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudburst and flooding. Coolest Month is January. Islamabad's micro-climate is regulated by three artificial reservoirs: Rawal, Simli, and Khanpur Dam. Winters generally feature dense fog in the mornings and sunny afternoons. In the city, temperatures stay mild, with snowfall over the higher elevations points on nearby hill stations, notably Murree and Nathia Gali. The temperatures range from 13°C (55°F) in January to 38°C (100 °F) in June. The highest recorded temperature 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.
|Daily highs (°C)||17.1||19.1||23.9||30.1||35.3||38.7||35.0||33.4||33.5||30.9||25.4||19.7|
|Nightly lows (°C)||2.6||5.1||9.9||15.0||19.7||23.7||24.3||23.5||20.6||13.9||7.5||3.4|
Islamabad's forecast at BBC Weather
Islamabad is located at 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) NNW of Lahore, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) WSW of Srinagar, the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and 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 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 afterKarachi 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 information technology 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.
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 is a major landmark of the F-8 sector. G sectors are numbered G-5 through G-17. Some important places include the Jinnah Convention Centre 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 Lakeis 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.
+923215374880 for tourism information and places to goin twin cities (Islamabad / Rawalpindi) The area code for Islamabad is 51. To dial from within Pakistan, dial 051-nnn-nnnn