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Islamabad
اسلام آباد
—  Capital City  —
Clockwise from top: Faisal Mosque, Serena Hotel, Parliament House, Pakistan Monument, Night view of Islamabad city, and Prime Minister's Secretariat.

Flag
Islamabad is located in Pakistan
Islamabad
Location within Pakistan
Coordinates: 33°43′N 73°04′E / 33.717°N 73.067°E / 33.717; 73.067Coordinates: 33°43′N 73°04′E / 33.717°N 73.067°E / 33.717; 73.067
Sovereign state  Pakistan
Territory Islamabad Capital Territory
Constructed 1960s
Government
 - Governing body Capital Development Authority (CDA)
 - Chief Commissioner Fazeel Asghar
 - Chairman CDA Imtiaz Inayat Elahi
Area
 - Capital City 120.00 km2 (46.3 sq mi)
 - Metro 233.00 km2 (90 sq mi)
 - Specified area 3,626.00 km2 (1,400 sq mi)
 - Rural area 466.00 km2 (179.9 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,604 m (5,263 ft)
Lowest elevation 457 m (1,499 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Capital City 1,740,000 (2,009 est.), 805,000 (1,998 census)
 Density 880/km2 (2,279.2/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Postcode 44000
Area code(s) 051
Website www.islamabad.gov.pk

About this sound Islamabad (Urdu: Pashto: اسلام آباد) Islām ābād (Meaning "Abode of Islam") is the capital of Pakistan, and is the tenth largest city in Pakistan with an estimated population of 1.74 million in 2009.[1] The Rawalpindi/Islamabad Metropolitan Area is the third largest in Pakistan, with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants.[2]

Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the north of the country, within the Islamabad Capital Territory. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, Margalla pass being a gateway to the North-West Frontier Province.[3] The city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. However, the capital was not moved directly from Karachi to Islamabad. It was first shifted to Rawalpindi and then to Islamabad after all the developmental works were finished.

Islamabad is one of the greenest and most well-planned cities of South Asia.[4] According to a survey, Islamabad is considered the cleanest city in Pakistan.[5] The city is well-organized and divided into different sectors and zones. Islamabad was ranked as a Gamma world city in 2008.[6] The city is home to Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the sixth largest mosque in the World. Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan.[7] The top ranked university in Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam University, is located in Islamabad. The top two engineering universities in Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences and National University of Sciences and Technology are also located here.[8] Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad is the world's second largest university by enrollment.[9]

Contents

History

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Early history

15th century Pharwala Fort beside the Swaan River
Rawat Fort, built by the Gakhars in the 16th century

The region is preceded by thousands of years of history. Islamabad Capital Territory, located in the Pothohar Plateau, is regarded to be one of the earliest sites of human settlement in Asia.[10] The plateau has revealed evidence of a prehistoric culture. It is known that a Buddhist town once existed in the region.[11] Relics and human skulls have been found dating back to 5000 B.C. that show this region was home to Stone Age people who used the banks of Swaan River as their settlement.[10] The Stone Age people developed small communities in the region at around 3000 BC, leading to the early roots of civilization here.[12][13]

Situated at one end of the Indus Valley Civilization, this area was the first habitation of the Aryan community from Central Asia.[10] The civilization flourished here between the 23rd and 18th centuries BC. Some of the earliest Stone Age artifacts in the world have been found on the plateau, dating from 500,000 to 100,000 years. The crude stones recovered from the terraces of the Soan carry the account of human grind and endeavours in this part of the world from the inter-glacial period.[13] Items of pottery and utensils dating back to prehistory have also been found.[14]

Islamabad was one of the routes though which the armies from the north and northwest passed to invade the Indian Subcontinent. Many great armies such as those of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Timur and Ahmad Shah Durrani have used this route on their way to Indian Subcontinent.[10] Modern Islamabad is based on the old settlement known as Saidpur. The region later became a Sikh town and became an important trading centre. The British seized the region from the Sikhs in 1849 and built Asia’s largest cantonment in the region.[11]

Construction and Development

When Pakistan came into being in 1947, Karachi was its first capital. However, in 1960, Islamabad was constructed as a forward capital due to certain reasons. Traditionally, the development was focused on the colonial centre of Karachi and President Ayub Khan wanted it to be equally distributed. Moreover, Karachi was located at one end of the country making it vulnerable to attacks from the Arabian Sea and a capital which was easily accessible from all parts of the country was needed. The new selected location of Islamabad was closer to GHQ in Rawalpindi and the disputed territory of Kashmir in the North.[10]

In 1958, a commission was constituted to select a suitable site for the national capital with particular emphasis on location, climate, logistics, and defence requirements along with other attributes. After extensive study, research, and thorough review of various sites, the commission recommended the area northeast of Rawalpindi. A Greek firm of architect Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis designed the master plan of the city which was triangular in shape, based on a Grid plan, with its apex towards the Margalla Hills.[15]

Recent history

Since its establishment it has attracted people from all over Pakistan making it the most cosmopolitan city in the country.[16] As the capital city it has hosted a number of important meetings, such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit.[17] In October 2005, the city suffered some damages due to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake having a magnitude of 7.6.[18] Islamabad has also undergone a recent series of terrorist incidents including the July 2007 Siege of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), June 2008 Danish embassy bombing, and the September 2008 Marriott bombing.[19]

Geography and climate

Islamabad is located at 33°26′N 73°02′E / 33.43°N 73.04°E / 33.43; 73.04 at the edge of the Pothohar Plateau on the foot of the Margalla Hills in Islamabad Capital Territory. It is situated at an elevation of 507 metres (1,663 ft).[20] The modern capital and the ancient Gakhar city of Rawalpindi stand side by side and are therefore commonly referred to as the Twin Cities. On the east of the city lies Murree and Kotli Sattian. On the north lies the Haripur District of North-West Frontier Province. Kahuta lies on the northeast, Taxila, Wah Cantt, and Attock District on the northwest, Gujar Khan, Kallar Syedian, Rawat, and Mandrah on the northeast, and Rawalpindi on the southwest. Islamabad is located 120 kilometres (75 mi) SSW of Muzaffarabad, 185 kilometres (115 mi) east of Peshawar, 295 kilometres (183 mi) NNE of Lahore, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) WSW of Srinagar; the capital of Indian Kashmir.

The capital area of the Islamabad city is 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.[21]

Islamabad's micro-climate is regulated by three artificial reservoirs; Rawal, Simli, and Khanpur Dam. Khanpur Dam is located on the Haro River near the town of Khanpur (NWFP), about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Islamabad. Simli Dam is located around 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Islamabad. 220 acres (89 ha) of the city is covered with Margalla Hill National Park. Along the Islamabad Highway, Loi Bher Forest is situated, covering an area of 1,087 acres (440 ha).[22]

Climate

Islamabad features an atypical version of a humid subtropical climate, with long and very hot summers accompanied by a monsoon season followed short and mild winters. The hottest months are from May to July, where average highs routinely exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). The monsoon season occurs during July and August, with heavy rainfalls. Winters occur from October to March and temperatures are variable by location, with fairly mild temperatures in the city and sparse snowfall over the hills. The weather ranges from a minimum of 3.9 °C (39.0 °F) in January to a maximum of 46.1 °C (115.0 °F) in June.[23] The average low is 2 °C (35.6 °F) in January, while the average high is 40 °C (104.0 °F) in June.[24] The highest temperature recorded was 48 °C (118.4 °F) in June, while the lowest temperature was −4 °C (24.8 °F) in January.[25] On 23 July 2001, Islamabad received a record breaking 620 mm of rainfall in 10 hours. It was the heaviest rainfall in Islamabad in 100 years.[26][27]

Climate data for Islamabad
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24
(75)
31
(88)
36
(97)
44
(111)
46
(115)
48
(118)
46
(115)
42
(108)
39
(102)
38
(100)
32
(90)
27
(81)
48
(118)
Average high °C (°F) 16
(61)
19
(66)
24
(75)
31
(88)
37
(99)
40
(104)
36
(97)
34
(93)
34
(93)
32
(90)
28
(82)
20
(68)
29
(84)
Average low °C (°F) 2
(36)
6
(43)
10
(50)
15
(59)
21
(70)
25
(77)
25
(77)
24
(75)
21
(70)
15
(59)
9
(48)
3
(37)
15
(59)
Record low °C (°F) -4
(25)
-2
(28)
1
(34)
7
(45)
12
(54)
14
(57)
17
(63)
14
(57)
12
(54)
7
(45)
-1
(30)
-3
(27)
-4
(25)
Precipitation mm (inches) 64
(2.52)
64
(2.52)
81
(3.19)
42
(1.65)
23
(0.91)
55
(2.17)
233
(9.17)
258
(10.16)
85
(3.35)
21
(0.83)
12
(0.47)
23
(0.91)
961
(37.83)
Avg. precipitation days 7 6 7 6 4 7 13 10 5 2 1 3 71
Source: BBC Weather 09-25-2009[28]

Cityscape

Zones in Islamabad
Zone Area
acres km2

I 54,958.25 222.4081
II 9,804.92 39.6791
III 50,393.01 203.9333
IV 69,814.35 282.5287
V 39,029.45 157.9466

Source: Lahore Real Estate[29]

Civic administration

Islamabad Capital territory is divided into eight zones; Administrative Zone, Commercial District, Educational Sector, Industrial Sector, Diplomatic Enclave, Residential Areas, and Rural Areas and Green Area.[30] 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.[29] Zone I comprises mainly of all the developed residential sectors in Islamabad while Zone II comprises the under-developed residential sectors. Each residential sector is identified by an alphabet and a number, and covers an area of approximately 2 km × 2 km (1+14 mi × 1+14 mi). The sectors are named from A to I, and each sector is divided into four sub-sectors, named numerically.

Islamabad Zones

Series A, B, and C are still underdeveloped. D series have 7 sectors (D-11 to D-17)[29] in which only sector D-12 is complete. This series is located right under the foot of Margalla Hills.[30] The E Sectors are named from E-7 to E-17[29] and many foreigners and diplomatic personnels are housed in these sectors.[30] In the revised Master Plan of the city, CDA has decided to develop a park on the patterns of F-9 park in sector E-14. Sectors E-8 and E-9 contain the campuses of three Defense universities; Bahria University, Air University, and National Defence University.[31][32][33]

The F and G series contains the most developed sectors. F series contains sectors F-5 to F-17 where the later sectors are still under-developed.[29] F-5 is an important sector for the software industry in Islamabad, as both of the two software technology parks are located here. The entire F-9 sector is covered with Fatima Jinnah Park. The Centaurus complex will be one of the major landmarks of the F-8 sector.[30] G sectors are numbered G-5 through G-17.[29] Some important places include the Jinnah Convention Center and Serena Hotel in G-5, the Red Mosque in G-6, and Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in G-8 which is the largest medical complex in the capital.[30] The H sectors are numbered H-8 through H-17.[29] The H sectors are mostly dedicated to educational and health institutions. National University of Science and Technology covers a major portion of sector H-12.[30] The I sectors are numbered from I-8 to I-18. Except for I-8 which is a well developed residential area, these sectors are primarily a part of the industrial zone. Currently, only two sub-sectors of I-9 and one sub-sector of I-10 is used as industrial areas. CDA is planning to set up Islamabad Railway Station in Sector I-18 and Industrial City in sector I-17.[30]

Zone III constitutes primarily of the Margalla Hills and Margalla Hills National Park. Rawal Lake is also present in this zone. Zone IV and V comprises Islamabad Park and rural areas of the city. Soan River flows into the city through Zone V.[29] The main administrative authority of the city is Capital Development Authority (CDA) which oversees the planning, development, construction, and administration of the city.[34]

Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area

Satellite view of Islamabad and Rawalpindi

In 1960, when the master plan for Islamabad was designed, it was planned that Islamabad and Rawalpindi along with the adjoining areas will be integrated to form a large metropolitan area called Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area. The area would consist of the developing Islamabad, the old city of Rawalpindi, and the Islamabad National Park.[35] Initially, it was proposed that the three areas will be connected by four major highways; Murree Highway, Islamabad Highway, Soan Highway, and Capital Highway. However, to date only two highways have been constructed; Murree Highway (now called Kashmir Highway) and Islamabad Highway.[35]

Presently, the area comprises Islamabad Capital Territory (Islamabad, Islamabad National Park, and Islamabad Rural Area) and Rawalpindi.[36] Islamabad is the hub all the governmental activities while Rawalpindi is the centre of all industrial, commercial, and military activities. The two cities are considered sister cities and are highly dependent for the development of the metropolitan.

Islamabad/Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area is the third largest in Pakistan, with a population of over 4.5 million.[2] The area is drained by two major rivers; Kurang River and Soan River. Three dams; Rawal Lake, Simly Dam, and Khanpur Dam are located in the region, providing water to the local population.[36]

Architecture

Night view from Margalla Hills (Faisal Mosque in the front).

Islamabad's architecture walks a tightrope between modernity and old Islamic and regional traditions. The Saudi-Pak Tower is a good example of the integration of modern architecture with traditional styles. The beige-coloured edifice is trimmed with blue tile works in Islamic tradition, and is one of Islamabad's tallest buildings. Other examples of intertwined Islamic and modern architecture include Pakistan Monument and Faisal Mosque.

The murals on the inside of large petals of Pakistan Monument are based on Islamic architecture.[37] The design of Shah Faisal Mosque is a fusion of contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin's tent with large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. The mosque's architecture is a departure from the long history of South Asian Muslim architecture with a lack of dome structure in Faisal Mosque. However, in some ways it makes a bridge between Arabic, Turkish, and Mughal architectural traditions.[38]

The Centaurus is one of the examples of modern architecture under construction in Islamabad. The seven star hotel is designed by WS Atkins PLC.[39] The newly built Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers is another example of modern architecture in the city.[40]

Demographics

Population through decades
Census Population Urban

1951 95,940 0
1961 117,669 0
1972 237,549 76,641
1981 340,286 204,364
1998 805,235 529,180
2009 (est.) 1,740,000 -

Sources: 1998 Census of Pakistan[41]

According to the 1998 census, the total population of the city was 805,235; 434,239 for males and 370,996 for females.The average annual population growth rate from 1981 to 1998 was 5.19. The urban population of the city was 529,180; with 209,717 males and 238,463 females. The total rural population in 1998 was 276,055; 143,522 males and 132,533 females.[42]

The main language spoken in Islamabad is Urdu which is predominantly used within the city due to an ethnic mix of populations. English, being the official language of Pakistan, is also commonly understood. Other languages include Punjabi, Pashto and Pothohari. The mother tongue of majority of the population is Punjabi, with 71.66%. Pashto with 10.52%, followed by Urdu which is the mother tongue of 10.11% of the population, Saraiki with 1.11%, Sindhi with 0.56% and other languages accounting for 7.04%.[43] The total migrant population of the city is 397,731, with the majority from Punjab (241,977). Around 76,614 of the migrated population belongs to NWFP, 26,143 from Sindh, 24,438 from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and 21,372 from other countries. Smaller population belongs to FATA, Baluchistan, and Northern Areas.[44]

Islam is the largest religion in the city, with 95.53% of the population Muslim. In rural areas this percentage is 98.80%, while in urban areas the percentage of Muslims is 93.83%. The second largest religion is Christianity, with 4.07% of the population; 0.94% in Rural areas and 5.70% in the urban city. Hindus account for 0.02% of the population, Ahmadis 0.34%, and other minorities 0.03%.[45]

The majority of the population lies in the age group of 15–64 years, around 59.38%. Only 2.73% of the population is above 65 years of age and 37.90 below the age of 15.[46] Islamabad has the highest literacy ratio in Pakistan, at 72.88%.[7] 9.8% of the population has done intermediate (equivalent to 11 and 12 grades). 10.26% have a bachelor or equivalent degree while 5.2% have a master or equivalent degree.[47] The labor force of Islamabad is 185,213[48] and the unemployment rate is 15.70.[49]

Economy

Alt text
Jinnah Avenue at night.

Jinnah Avenue is an important road located in Blue Area, the main business district of Islamabad.

Islamabad is a net contributer to the Pakistani Economy, as whilst having only 0.8% of the country's population, it contributes 1% to the country's GDP.[50] Islamabad Stock Exchange is Pakistan's third largest stock exchange after Karachi Stock Exchange and Lahore Stock Exchange,[51] founded in 1989. 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.[52]

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 IT 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.[53] Call centers for foreign companies have been targeted as another significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 10% in order to encourage foreign investments in the IT sector.

Most of Pakistan's state-owned companies like PIA, PTV, PTCL, OGDCL, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd. etc. are based in Islamabad. The city is also home to many branches of Karachi-based companies, banks, TV channels etc. Headquarters of all major telecommunication operators; PTCL, Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, China Mobile and others are located in Islamabad.

Culture

Young men playing sitar at a workshop in the city

Islamabad is home to many migrants from other regions of Pakistan and has a surprising cultural and religious diversity of considerable antiquity. Due to its location in the Pothohar Plateau, remnants of ancient cultures and civilizations such as Aryan, Soanian, and Indus Valley civilization can still be found in the region. A 15th century Gakhar fort, Pharwala Fort, is located near Islamabad which was built on the remains of a 10th century Hindu fort.[54][55] Rawat Fort in the region was built by the Gakhars in 16th century where the grave of Gakhar chief, Sultan Sarang Khan, is located.[55]

Saidpur Village in Islamabad is named after Said Khan, the son of Sultan Sarang Khan who was a Gakhar chief. The 500 year old village was converted into the a place of Hindu worship by a Mughal Commander, Raja Man Singh. He constructed a number of small ponds; Rama kunda, Sita kunda, Lakshaman kunda, and Hanuman kunda in the area.[56] The region hosts many Hindu temples that are still preserved showing the remains of Hindu civilization and architecture in the region.

The shrine of Sufi Mystic, Pir Meher Ali Shah, is located at Golra Sharif which has a rich cultural heritage of pre-Islamic period. Archaeological remains of the Buddhist era can still be found in the region.[57] The shrine of Bari Imam was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Thousands of devotees from across Pakistan attend the annual Urs of Bari Imam. The event is one of the largest religious gatherings in Islamabad. In 2004, the Urs was attended by more than 1.2 million people.[58]

The Lok Virsa in Islamabad preserves the living folk and traditional culture of Pakistan. The Folk Heritage Museum, located near Shakarparian hills, has a large display of embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, black printing, ivory, and bone work from the region and other parts of Pakistan.[59]

Infrastructure

Education

National Defence University

Islamabad boasts the Highest Literacy Rate in Pakistan at 72.88%.[7] A large number of public and private sector educational institutes are present here. The higher education institutes in the capital are either federally chartered or administered by private organizations and almost all of them are recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. High schools and colleges are either affiliated with the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education or with the UK universities education boards (O/A Levels, IGCSE etc.). According to Academy of Educational Planning And Management's report, in 2006 there were a total of 904 recognized institutions in Islamabad (30 pre-primary, 2 religious, 384 primary, 157 middle, 291 high, 15 intermediate, and 25 degree colleges).[60] 7 teacher training institutes are also running in Islamabad with a total enrolment of 581,068 students and 491 teaching faculty.[61]

The Gender Parity Index in Islamabad is 0.93 compared to 0.95 for Pakistan.[62] There are 178 boys only institutes, 175 girls, and 551 mixed institutes in the capital territory.[60] Total enrolment of students in all categories is 273,583; 139,961 for boys and 133,622 for girls.[63]

There are 17 recognized universities in Islamabad with a total enrollment of 279,820 students and 25,653 teachers.[64] The world's second largest university by enrolment Allama Iqbal Open University is located in Islamabad.[9] The two top engineering universities in Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences and National University of Science and Technology also have their headquarters in the capital.[8] Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad is the top ranked university in Pakistan in general category.[8] Other notable universities include Air University, Bahria University,National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, COMSATS, Hamdard University, National Defence University, Shifa College of Medicine, National University of Modern Languages, International Islamic University, and Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering.

In 2006-2007, the Federal Government spent a total of 54,523.637 million Rs. on the education sector out of which 25,830.670 million was developmental fund.[65] This amount is 25.18% of the total educational budget spend in that year, which was 216,518.059 million Rs. The public expenditure on education as percentage of total government expenditure that year was 14.09%.[65]

Health care

Islamabad has a list of public and private medical centres. The largest hospital in Islamabad is Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital. It was established in 1985 as a teaching and doctor training institute. PIMS also functions as a National Reference Center and provides specialized diagnostic and curative services.[66] The hospital has 30 major medical departments.[67] PIMS is divided into five administrative branches. Islamabad Hospital is the major component with 592 bed facility and 22 medical and surgical specialities.[68] Children Hospital is a 230 bedded hospital completed in 1985. It contains six major facilities; Surgical and Allied Specialities, Medical and Allied Specialties, Diagnostic Facilities, Operation Theatre, Critical Care (NICU, PICU, Isolation & Accident Emergency), and a Blood Bank.[69] The Maternal and Child Health Care Center is a training institute with an attached hospital of 125 beds offering different clinical and operational services.[70] PIMS consists of five academic institutes; Quaid-i-Azam Postgraduate Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Medical Technology, School of Nursing, and Mother and Child Health Center.[71]

PAEC General Hospital and teaching institute is affiliated with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and was established in 2006.[72] The hospital consists of a 100[72] bed facility and 10 major departments; Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatric, General Medicine, General Surgery, Intensive Care Unit/Coronary Care Unit, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Radiology, and Dental Department.[73] Shifa International Hospital is also a teaching hospital in Islamabad that was founded in 1987 and publicized in 1989. The hospital has 70 qualified consultants in almost all specialities, 150 IPD beds and OPD facilities in 35 different specializations.[74] Recently Maroof International Hospital has started functioning in F 10 area of Islamabad. It provides medical facilities in all descipilines of medicine and surgery. It has state of the art diagnostic facilities.

According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan, in 2008 there were 12 hospitals, 76 dispensaries, and 5 Maternity and Child Welfare Centers in the city with total 5,158 beds.[75]

Transport

Faizabad Interchange, connects Islamabad with Rawalpindi

Islamabad is connected to the major destinations around the world through "Benazir Bhutto International Airport" previously known as Islamabad International Airport.[76] The airport is the third largest in Pakistan and is located outside Islamabad, in Chaklala, Rawalpindi.[77] In fiscal year 2004-2005, over 2.88 million passengers used Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 23,436 aircraft movements were registered.[78] Another airport, New Islamabad International Airport is under construction at Fateh Jang to cope with the increasing number of passengers. When completed, the airport will be the largest in Pakistan. The airport will be built at a cost of $400 million and will be operational by 2010. This will be the first green field airport in Pakistan with an area of 3,600-acre (15 km2).[79]

All major cities and towns are accessible through regular trains and bus services running mostly from the neighboring city of Rawalpindi which is considered a gateway town between north and south. Lahore and Peshawar are linked to Islamabad through a network of motorways which has resulted in a significant reduction in travelling times between these cities. M-2 Motorway is 367 km long and connect Islamabad and Lahore.[80] M-1 Motorway connects Islamabad with Peshawar and is 155 km long.[80] Islamabad is linked to its sister city Rawalpindi through the Faizabad Interchange, the first cloverleaf interchange in Pakistan with a daily traffic volume of about 48,000 vehicles.[81]

Points of interest

Sister cities

Following cities have twin city relationships with Islamabad.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Pakistan: Largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-172&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&srt=pnan. 
  2. ^ a b Frantzeskakis, J. M., Islamabad, a town planning example for a sustainable city, http://www.ses.gr/docs/edeltia/elvima/139_Islamabad_Skiathos.pdf 
  3. ^ "Islamabad". Islamabad.net. http://www.pakistan.net/cities/islamabad/islamabad.htm. 
  4. ^ [Official website "Islamabad"]. Capital Development Authority. Official website. 
  5. ^ "Islamabad The Cleanest City: Survey". Pakistan Housing. http://www.pakistanhousing.pk/News/index.php/islamabad-the-cleanest-city-survey/. 
  6. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2008". Globalization and World Cities(GaWC). http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/world2008t.html. 
  7. ^ a b c Population Census Organization, Govt. of Pakistan. "LITERACY RATIO BY SEX". http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/statistics/other_tables/literacy_ratio.pdf. 
  8. ^ a b c Higher Education of Pakistan
  9. ^ a b http://aiou.edu.pk/SalientFeatures.asp
  10. ^ a b c d e Pakistan.net. "Islamabad history". http://www.pakistan.net/cities/islamabad/islamabad.htm. 
  11. ^ a b Lonely Planet. "Islamabad History". http://www.lonelyplanet.com/pakistan/islamabad-and-rawalpindi/history. 
  12. ^ LEAD. "Background on the Potohar Plateau". http://casestudies.lead.org/index.php?cscid=71. 
  13. ^ a b Pakistan Defence Ministry. "Potohar". http://www.defence.pk/forums/military-history/3753-potohar.html. 
  14. ^ Sacred rocks of Islamabad
  15. ^ CDA Islamabad. "History of Islamabad". http://www.visitislamabad.net/islamabad/files/file-detail.asp?var=history-of-islamabad. 
  16. ^ CDA Islamabad. "Islamabad Demographics". http://www.visitislamabad.net/islamabad/files/file-detail.asp?var=demographics. 
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  18. ^ BBC. "Quake's terrible toll is revealed". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4323008.stm. 
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External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : South Asia : Pakistan : Islamabad
For other places with the same name, see Islamabad (disambiguation).

Islamabad [1] has been the capital of Pakistan since 1963. A relatively quiet city, it consists of mainly Federal Government offices, Parliment House, the official residences of the President and Prime Minister along with the Diplomatic Enclave, an area next to the Parliament House dedicated to foreign embassies and missions appointed in Pakistan.

Although the majority of the population in Islamabad traditionally have been employees of the Federal Government, in recent years Islamabad has become a very important financial and business city. In the last decade there has been vast changes in the city's traditional reputation. From it being a typical 9 to 5 city, Islamabad has become more lively with a lot of international food chains opening businesses, 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 valleys like Swat and Kaghan and northern areas like Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu & Chitral located in the Himalayas mountains.

  • Benazir Bhutto International Airport (IATA: ISB) receives flights from a variety of international destinations, including London, Dubai, and other Asian cities.
  • Niazi express,Skyways and Daewoo Sammi [2] (+92 51 111 007 008) are 2 of the nicer long-haul operators. Skyways offer some direct services to/from Islamabad and Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. Daewoo has it's own terminal on the road from Islamabad just outside Rawalpindi. The majority of buses arrive and depart from Rawalpindi, a few kilometers and a 45 minute taxi ride from Islamabad. It's best to book Daewoo by phone in advance if possible. At the moment they serve Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Murree, Sialkot, Abottabad, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Multan.

By train

Since First Class travel with Pakistan Railway is good, it's worth knowing that Rawalpindi, the neighbourhood city, has railway connections with various major cities including Karachi, Lahore & Peshawar

Get around

Taxis in Islamabad are abundant, popular and generally safe. Cost is around Rs35 - Rs45 per sector traveled, depending on your bargaining skills. Prices will be higher at night, especially departing from places like Jinnah Super (F-7). It is always advisable to agree the fare before traveling.

Car Hire is also a good way of getting around. Although road signs and directions are only available on main roads, the city's grid and numbering system make it relatively easy to find your way around. There are various car hire companies in Blue Area F-6 and also in G-8 Markaz where cars can be hired with drivers. Most major hotels have their own car hire services and are relatively cheap. A tip to the driver at the end of the booking period is appreciated but not mandatory.

  • Blue Area, is Islamabad's financial center and is the main arterial road which leads up to the main government buildings at the Constitution Avenue.
  • Daman-e-Koh, a lookout point in the hills above E-6 with great views of the city on a clear day/night. Its beauty is enhanced by the greenery and flowers at different sites. High quality restaurants, good food, live music, hiking trails and lush green hillsides make it a favorite place for local and foreign tourist alike.
  • Japanese Park, is a children's park located near Islamabad Zoo. It is popular among children, families and to those visiting Islamabad from other cities due to its park facilities and children swing facilities.
  • Islamabad Zoo is located at the foot of Daman-e-Koh view point. It has more than 300 animals including 200 birds of different kinds were also there for visitors, besides tigers, lions and other animals.
  • Pir Sohawa. Birds eye view of Islamabad. There are now two eateries at Pir Sohawa and both worth visiting. A walk up from Trail 3, from F-6/3 will get you to the hill top in around 2 hours with the perfect appetite, but you can reach Pir Sohawa by road in around 35-40 minutes.
  • Faisal Masjid, Islamabad's most recognizable landmark, a very large mosque gifted by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Beautiful in the day or night, definitely worth the short taxi ride. Dress and act respectfully, this is much more a place of serious worship than a tourist site.
  • Shakarparian is another wonderful place. Consist of beautiful hilly area for a nice evening walk in a green natural atmosphere.
  • National Monument near Shakarparian, represents Pakistan's four provinces and three territories. From air the monument looks like a star (center) and a crescent moon (formed by walls forming the petals), these represent the star and crescent on Pakistan's flag.
  • Lake View Park is a beautiful laid out park with gardens, picnic spots, and secluded paths. The terraced garden and the lake are used for fishing and boating purposes. The highest point in the garden offers a panoramic view of Islamabad. Boating, sailing, water skating and diving facilities are organized by private clubs. To the west of the lake is the Islamabad Club, which offers different sporting facilities.
  • Fatima Jinnah Park; also known as the F-9 park is considered one of the largest in South East Asia. The park also has an indoor facility with a nice bowling alley.
  • National Art gallery Almost 423 art pieces are in permanent collection, purchased or gifted by the artists for National Art Gallery.
  • Lok Virsa Museum, recently renovated, a delight. Definitely worth a visit. It is one of the largest museums featuring more than 25 large galleries in four blocks linked through passages depicting cultural linkages with Iran, Central Asia and China. There are large halls dedicated to architecture, musical heritage, textiles, romances, Sufi shrines and several other cultural themes. It has a large collection of embroidered costumes, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork, block printing, ivory and bone work on display. The Heritage Reference Library of Museum has a great collection of data on art, music, history and crafts of all regions of Pakistan. Books on culture, heritage, audio and video cassettes of folk and classical vocal and instrumental music are sold at the Lok Virsa's Sales Centre. Lok Virsa celebrates the national events in a befitting manner with musical concerts, exhibitions and public film shows on cultural heritage.
  • The Saidpur Village used to be a sleepy little village lying in the foothills of the Margallas with a mystic past and breathtaking natural beauty. It has now been remodeled. The resort has now become popular with the citizens of Islamabad who want an occasional break from the frenzy of urban life. Surrounded with lush, tranquil wilderness, the centuries old village is furnished with rustic fittings and offers amenities like a wide range of local food outlets. Exhibitions are held regularly to show case the traditional arts, crafts and the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.
  • Attend open-air theater or just sit by the Lotus lake and relax. Check to see if there are is anything happening. The schedules are entirely calendar and weather dependant.
  • Caravan Park is at a little distance away from the Shakarparian Hills. This park is open and accessible only for foreigners, making it exclusive and safe. Adequate facilities are provided to make visitors to the area comfortable and at home.
  • Rose & Jasmine Garden is located near Islamabad sports complex & Jinnah Stadium. South of Shahrah-e-Kashmir road and east of Islamabad Highway. Not too far from Rawal Lake.
  • Margalla Hills. Take a nice nature walk in the hills surrounding Islamabad.
  • Pakistan Museum of Natural history [3]
  • Islamabad Museum
  • China town is one of the best restaurants in Islamabad. It offers Sichuan Cuisine with Firepot as one of it's specialities coupled with the modern blend where the waiters use PDAs to take orders. China Town enjoys a very loyal patronage from its customers. The restaurant is being re-located to a beautiful 8,000 sq ft building on Street 55, F-8/4. It features a professional kitchen in the basement, a beautiful lounge on ground floor, a fine dining hall on the first floor, and a roof top sitting with a fantastic view of Margallas.
  • Chattar bagh is a small park in the hills, around 25 minutes away from Islamabad. A water park with a few amusement rides, but will not offer much excitement for those who have seen other amusement parks or water parks.
  • Imam Barri Shrine Historical shrine of a Sufi saint located in the beautiful valley of NurPur Shahan (Islamic religious site).
  • Golra Sharif Shrine of Pir Mehr Ali Shah(RA), a Sufi Saint located in a village of Golra (Islamic religious site).
  • Taxila, World's oldest university. Taxilla is also home to one of the oldest civilizations, and has a museum that boasts plenty of interesting pieces. Worth a visit and a picnic. Should you be interested further in the subject, guided tours can be arranged for sites around the museum.
  • Murree, One hour scenic journey through beautiful mountains to the hill resort of Murree which is a nice place to visit especially during summers. A small place has a weather entirely different to that of Islamabad and much similar to most cities of Northern Europe. High class educational institues such as Lawrence College, Convent of Jesus and Mary,and the Presentation Convent are the hallmark of Murree. Chairlifts of Murree and Patriata, Kashmir point are attractions for tourists. A two kilometer "Mall" is the center of gravity of Murree where all the shops and hotels are located. A place worth visiting during your stay in Islamabad.
  • Trekking & Hiking – Margalla Hills.
  • Fishing – Rawal lake
  • Para Gliding – at Margalla Hills. The Pakistan Adventure Foundation is the place to call, reservations are recommended.
  • Cycling – Mountain biking is fast becoming a much-loved activity because of the weather and the terrain. If you're in the mood for some adventurous cycling down one of Islamabad's beautifully scenic bike trails, get your bike ready and head down. Information can again be had from the ASG's hiking publication.
  • Night Life – it exists, but it's not easy to find. Try befriending some hip locals, and see if you can tag along.

Buy

Islamabad is divided into sectors, each sector having its own central shopping area (or markaz) where all local amenities are located. Some of the more popular markazes are the F6 Markaz (aka Supermarket) F7 Markaz (aka Jinnah Super Market), F8 Markaz (aka Ayub Market), G6 Markaz (aka Melody Park), G9 Markaz (aka Karachi Company) and so on. Each markaz has its own peculiarities and each one is worth visiting individually. However most things are catered for in each markaz i.e. clothing, shoes, fast food etc. There’s always a real buzz in the evenings when all the shoppers come out, particularly in the run up to Eid.

  • 7th Avenue, located at Jinnah Super Market (F7 Markaz), has large selection of western food products.
  • Best Price, located at Super Market (F6 Markaz), also sells western food products.
  • Handicrafts, The Capital Development Authority, has recently established a handicrafts village near super market, where small stalls with handicrafts from around the country are available. You should be able to walk from there to Mahraja (next to united Bakery) and find plenty of other stores much larger and with a much better collection of handicrafts and traditional items. This is a MUST visit for all first time visitors and a useful stop for quick gift items for people back home. A good present for the ladies is Pashmina shawls or wraps, which can cost anywhere between $15 to as much as $700. Remember to bargain, you will be charged Gora price.
  • Art For art lovers, I suggest that you get in touch with some local to take you around. There are three or four art gallaries that are worth visiting and each will offer a completely different range of art work, style and pricing. All the facilities should be visited if you are art lovers. Some of the places to visit are, Khaas, The National Art Gallery and Nomad Art Gallery.

Foreign Currency Exchange is easily available from F-6 Blue Area where there are 100's of money changer privately owned shops. It is advised to check the rate with a few of them before going ahead with it.

  • Jharoka, F-7 (Opposite to Telenor Head Office). Only for dinner, exclusive taste of Namak Mandi along with other Pakistani cuisines. A must must go place in Islamabad If you really love to dine out in a traditional yet modern way.Really good one.  edit
  • Iffi's (Restaurant/ Bakery), F-7/2 (Rana Market) (Near Jinnah Super (Opposite Alliance Francaise)), +92 51 2655060-1, [4]. 1100 - 0000. The architecture of an old ship with Mexican, Thai, Chinese, French, and Italian food as well as burgers, pizzas and steaks. Iffi's has its own bakery as well.  edit
  • Melody Food Street In Melody G-6 Markaz is a newly opened food area with variety of food to choose from with some nationally famous restaurant names having outlets there. Plenty of BBQ and traditional Pakistani food with a variety of fresh fruit juices to choose from. Unfortunately, due to Pakistan's security problems, Melody Market was closed after the siege of the Red Mosque, in the summer of 2007. Melody Market is located very near to the Red Mosque.
  • Red Onion Chain of Restaurants Blue Area, opposite the Saudi Park Tower building stands one of the oldest restaurants in Islamabad. Established in 1991, pioneer to 'Buy one Pizza & Get the second one Absolutely FREE' this restaurant offers a wide range of cuisines i.e Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Pakistani & Continental. Prices are very moderate, ambiance is modern & customer service is very friendly!
  • Papa Sallis, F-7 Markaz (Jinnah Super)(Ph: 2650550-3), Very well known place (Please ask any local shop for directions) for steaks and pizzas since 1999. Prices are quite high for Pakistani standards, but from a Western perspective still very cheap.
  • Kitchen Cuisine, F-7 markaz (Jinnah Super), At the back of main shopping area, This is quite a popular bakery with really fresh and tasty bakery products including chocolate fudge cakes, cheese cakes and low cholesterol items. Made to Order services are also available.
  • Civil Junction, F-7/3 markaz (Gol Market) offers good coffee and an interesting array of drinks and 'mocktails'. Light snacks are also offered along with coffee and drinks. The place offers occasional live music from upcoming local bands, making it a popular hangout with the youth of the city.
  • Hot Spot, One of the few places that Islamabad can claim as theirs first. F-7/3 (Gol Market) also offers a great ice-cream place. Though the menu has now increased from just ice-cream to milkshakes, pies, sandwiches and plenty more, the place still has the feel of an ice-cream joint. With a unique, rather artistic decor, Hot Spot is a must visit for any first time traveler to Islamabad.
  • Rakaposhi, pastry shop at the Serena, has some of the best coffee and pastries in Pakistan. Worth a visit if you just want to relax or get some work done. The Serena also offers wireless internet, so, it is an ideal place to sit and get some work done if you like.
  • Lasania Restaurant, 66 West Junaid Plaza, Blue Area (Ph: 227-3200, 287-2200). This place is very nicely decorated and is also situated in a very nice location. They have a huge selection of BBQ, Pakistani and Chinese food items on the menu. Their food is not extremely spicy like most other places.
  • Jahangir's, Masco Plaza, Blue Area is one of the most popular local restaurant chains. Its delicious local or 'desi' items and barbecue are a treat, garnering it lots of appreciation from food lovers. Known for their mastery of Pakistani and Indian specialties, Jahangir is definitely a must-visit restaurant.
  • China Town Restaurant Most well known and popular Chinese Restaurant in Islamabad and frequently crowded.(Better to get reservations for dinner). Although most of the food is the best Chinese cuisine you will find in Islamabad what the restaurant is famous for is their Firehot/Hot Pot. A considered must have for anyone visiting Islamabad. Lots of Imitations of the restaurant has cropped up in Pakistan however nothing beats the original. Definitely one of Islamabad's gems. China Town enjoys a very loyal patronage from its customers. The restaurant has been re-located to a beautiful 8,000 sq ft building on Street 55, F-8/4. It features a professional kitchen in the basement, a beautiful lounge on ground floor, a fine dining hall on the first floor, and a roof top sitting with a fantastic view of Margallas. Re-launched in early December 2008, the new location is already the talk of the town.
  • Cinnamon, Beverely center, Blue Area is one of the hippest places to eat. They serve an adequate range of carefully selected international delicacies, including authentic gourmet meals, popular salads and refreshing mocktails. The décor is absolutely superb, with clashing black and white motifs and photographs, and the service and quality of food equally brilliant. The perfect place to have a quiet albeit slightly expensive family dinner.
  • Ye Olde Hangout, F-7 Markaz (Jinnah Super), behind Shell petrol station. A wonderful little coffee shop/sheesha bar. They serve a small selection of global and local food, and play sexy Bollywood and Egyptian videos. Posters of Jimi Hendrix, 50 Cent, Marilyn Manson and Angus Young are on the walls. One room is all men. Another for mixed couples and ladies only. No alcohol of course, but lots of cigarettes and a good tea selection.
  • Majlis, Street 3, F-6/3, a trendy, upperclass, big pocket place for Lebanese food. A place where you will find the the movers and shakers of the city and a large portion of the Arabic diplomatic community. The food is to die for and the setting just right for that. Though those visiting on a tight budget can choose to avoid it, it sure is worth a stop.
  • Cafe Khaas, Cafe Khaas, is an extension of Khaas Art Gallery. A lunch only place that is normally packed, though expensive has great food. They also boast some of the finest art collection in Islamabad. Look for "Mouse" or the manager, and you will be given personal attention. Make sure you get a suggestion for what is best, and work your way through the limited, but exquisite menu. At the lunch hour, this place is filled with yet more, movers and shakers of Islamabad, from the business men, to politicians, models and expats. The place is always kicking for the sophisticated lunch.
  • Upper Deck, F-7 Markaz (Jinnah Super), above Gourmet Bakery, near north-west corner of Markaz. A very nice, up-market restaurant specializing in seafood. Popular with expats and well-off locals. Nice ambiance, a variety of well-prepared fish, fish & chips and a fish burger. Decent cheesecake and chocolate cake for dessert. Main courses Rs300 - Rs800.
  • Rahat Bakers, F-6 Blue Area, Driving along the main road in blue area, this place can not be missed. Eatables like Pizzas, Bakery products, Rich creamy milk ice creams etc are available. A big range to choose from. Although it is a fairly big store, due to the variety of food they do, there are no eat-in arrangements. Right next to Rahat Bakers is a place called Safilo, which offers a wide range of ice-creams, milkshakes and juices. They pride themselves in their cleanliness, so, always a great health drink next to Rahat.
  • Usmania Restaurant In Blue Area is also a famous place for traditional Pakistani cuisine.
  • Kamran Restaurant In Aabpara, G-6/1 is also a famous place for traditional Pakistani cuisine.
  • Kabul Restaurant, F-7 Markaz (Jinnah Super), +91 51 265 0953. 11AM-10PM. This large restaurant just off the markaz serves up tasty kebabs and Afghani specialties, and is usually very crowded with locals and expats at dinner time. Mains Rs 75-200.  edit
  • Mcdonald's, F-10 Markaz
  • Pizza Hut, F-7 Markaz (Jinnah Super), F-10 Markaz
  • KFC, F-6 Markaz (Super Market)
  • Subway, F-7 Markaz (Blue Area)
  • Yummy's, In Jinnah Super is one of the oldest coffee and ice cream parlours in the city.
  • Dunkin' Donuts, F-7 Markaz (Blue Area), F-10 Markaz, G-10 Markaz, etc.
  • Kim Mun is a well known Chinese Restaurant around Islamabad because the food there is exquisite and it mainly the best place if you are looking to eat Chinese.
  • Monal, Pir Sohawa (Road to Pir Sohawa starts from 7th Avenue at junction of F6 and F7), +92-51-7165915, [5]. Set at an altitude of 3900 ft on Margalla Hills, Monal offers a spectacular view of the Islamabad city, a great weather and an outstanding food. It is the largest restaurant in Pakistan in terms of seating capacity  edit
  • Cafe @ Brabus, 70 Margalla road F 8-2, 0518314570. 12pm-2am. Drop by the Cafe @ Brabus and enjoy hearty pub grub, tasty light bites and some of the most refreshing beverages in town from our lavish coffee and cocktail bar. Experience the freshest seafood in town along with the privilege of choosing your own lobsters and crabs "Live" from our salt water fish tank or treat your taste buds to our heart warming Italian cuisine (pastas and risottos). A variety of salads are tossed freshly for our calorie conscious guests. Kick back, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the best sports events on the big screen. Use our wireless internet service to share the special moments with your friends. "Your lounge away from home". 1000 per head.  edit
  • Luciano's pizza, 03459282985. 12pm to 2am. Changing the concepts of "Pizza" nationwide, we bring you New york strip 20 inch pizza for the very first time. Cooked to perfection using only the freshest ingredients. Give your pockets a break and treat yourself to a slice of Italian heaven and mouth watering knick knacks. . Hot dogs and subs in homemade bread filled with delicious cheese and stuffing. . To treat the craving of something fried indulge yourself in our chicken buffalo wings, onion rings and potato wedges. . Pizza's by the slice to those on the go or better yet get the whole pie for a yummy family meal. 300 per head.  edit
  • Bar-B-Q Tonight (Bar-B-Q Tonight), Shorab Palaza,Block 32, FazlL-e-haq Road Islamabad., 051-8317131, 051-8317132, [6]. 12-24. Popular new BBQ restaurant, same owners as the branch in Karachi. Big rush on dinner timings. Price ranges from 300-700 per person. 300+.  edit

Drink

Drinking Alcohol in public is nominally ban and most of the top end hotels have their own bars. Try local brands like Murree Brewery, in addition to that there are other brands such as Budweiser and Bavaria with non-alchoholic beer. Non-Muslim visitors can obtain from the local police a so called 'non-Muslim declaration'. This permit gives you the right to legally buy a limited amount of alcoholic drinks like bottles of wine or beer. For instance, Pakistan's small Christian minority is by law allowed to consume alcohol because the consumation of alcohol (wine) appears in some biblical stories. Most Pakistani's though would find it extremely rude and offensive if you show or drink alcohol in public.

In soft drinks, try local limca cola which makes "pop" sound when opened. you can also try Pakola; Pakistan’s premier soft drink brand which is available in different flavors like Ice cream soda, Lychee, Orange, Raspberry, Apple sidra, Vino, Double cola, Bubble up etc.

In other drinks try Strawberry milk shakes and dhamaka soda (dhamaka means bang - the bang that happens when one opens the bottle) from Jinnah super market.

If you happen to be there in winter then in Karachi company G9,there is a place that serves excellent soup... Just ask someone and they will happily show you. This particular place is on left hand side of famous Prince Bakers.

  • Gelato Affairs (Gelato Affairs), F-7/3 (Gole Market), 0512610919.  edit

Sleep

Budget

Budget accommodation in Islamabad is fairly lackluster and questionably clean. There are many guesthouses around the city that make a nice alternative to a hotel.

  • The Boys Hostel (TBH), G-8 (campus), F-10 (Campus) & G-10 (Campus). Phone: 2102352, 2256705, 2224012
  • Hotel Blue Sky, Sitara Market, G-7 Markaz. Double rooms from Rs300, with cable tv from Rs400.
  • Hotel Friends Inn, Aabpara Market, G-6 Markaz. Double rooms from Rs1000, single room from Rs600
  • Hotel Meraj Next to National Bank of Pakistan, G-9 Markaz, Karachi Company. Tel: +92 (0)51 2282587, 2255056-7 Double rooms from Rs600
  • Tourist Camping Site Opposite Aabpara Market in the Rose Graden G-6 Markaz. Rs50 per person, Rs100 per vehicle (bicycles free). Popular with overlanders.
  • Chez Soi, 6 Kohsar Rd, F-7/3 (Nearby to Jinnah Super Market), +92 (51) 265-1451 (). Same owner as Upper Deck restaurant. Starting around Rs3500/night..  edit
  • Continental House, 94-A Nazimuddin Road, F-8/4 (Near Centaurus), +92 (51) 2256670 (), [7]. starting around Rs 3,000/night.  edit
  • Crown Plaza, 99-E Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area (near Citibank and Zero-poin), +92 (51) 227-7890 (), [8]. 4-star range hotel, around Rs3500/night.  edit
  • New Cape Grace Guest House, H 8, Justice Abdul Rasheed Road, F-6/1, +92 (300) 5252232 (), [9]. 3-star range GuestHouse with 3MB WiFi@FiberOptic, Airconditioning & Heating, Powerbackup & more. Starting from 2200PKR per night.  edit
  • Paramid International Guest House, House # 248, Street # 31,G-8/2, +92-300-8525521 (), [10]. 3-star range guesthouse with WiFi,Aircondition and heated rooms. Starting around Rs. 1800-2800/night.  edit
  • Sabipak Travelers Home (Savanna Inn), House No. 14-A, Street No. 28, 7th Avenue, Sector F-6/1, +92 (0)300-5192413 (), [11]. affordable rooms, for families, Single Female, seniors, Tourist and business travelers. around PKR 2200/night.  edit
  • Serena Hotel, Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy, F-6. +92 (0) 51 111-133133, [12]. This 5-star hotel is the nicest in the city, with great restaurants and a gym. Rooms and suites $300-700. Presidential suite $2000.
  • Number Three, 3 College Road, F-7/3. +92 (0) 51 2822070 -71, [13]. A luxury boutique hotel in a posh residential area, with private terraces and stunning views of the Margalla Hills.
  • Number Three Lush, House 27-A, Street 18, F-7/2. +92 (0) 51 2651070 – 72, [14]. A luxury boutique hotel in a posh residential area, with a restaurant and business center.
  • Radisson Hotel Islamabad Capital Park, F-8 Markaz. Opening Fall 2008.
  • Radisson Hotel Islamabad Civic Centre, G-6 Markaz. Slated to open February 2009.
  • PC Bhurban, in Bhurban [15] is a holiday resort located just 100kms from Islamabad in the surroundings of beautiful hills. Very close to Murree, so a great place to stop and see as well.
  • Marriott Hotel, Agha Khan Road, Shalimar 5. +92 (0) 51 111-223344, [16]. Once one of the top hotels in the city, it was ravaged by a truck bomb in September 2008. Rebuilt in just 3 months, it's once again open for business. But now the security is improved.

some of the future hotels in Islamabad includes: Grand Hyatt, Avari, Jumeirah, Inter Continental and Hilton cornad

Contact

The area code for Islamabad is 51. To dial from within pakistan, dial 051-xxx-xxxx

The Police emergency number is 15. There are various Police stations in the city with staff available 24/7.

Stay safe

Islamabad is generally a safe and calm city, but is no stranger to the occasional bomb targeting major hotels and embassies. Most recently, on September 2008 the Marriott was gutted by a truck bomb, killing 53 people. It's unlikely that you would be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it's rare that they penetrate deep into their targets, but you may want to avoid lingering near the entrance of the major hotels.

Stay healthy

Bottled water is a good idea. Although water in Islamabad is generally clean, it is mainly gained from mountain water and tube wells and may contain minerals your system is not used to, and may not be stored and carried in the cleanest of ways.

Most locals do not drink tap water, but may get water from Govt. istalled filteration plans. Tap water is normally boiled and it is strongly suggested that you carry bottled water and request it at all food places. If you are unsure about the hygine of a particular place, try to avoid ice in all your drinks.

There are 3 major hospitals in Islamabad. Pakistan Institute of medical sciences also known as PIMS next to G-8 Markaz, Shifa International Hospital in H-8/4 and Poly Clinic in sector G-6.

Also, there are various private hospitals in every sector in Islamabad providing extensive health care with different price ranges.

Blue Area and Super Market (F-6) both have the two most trustable names in drug stores, Shaheen Chemists and D. Watson. Both the stores are completely reliable and will be able to offer sound advice for minor ailments. They also carry a wide variety of European and American foods, albeit at a high price. They may even have a doctor at the facility, should a quick suggestion be required.

Respect

Although Islamabad may look relatively modern, superficially hinting at a Western lifestyle, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind given the cutural values of Pakistan's society.

  • People are very friendly and indeed very good hosts. Many of Islamabad's citizens are well-educated and speak English very well, working for the government and in the private sector. Be gracious in accepting invitations to people's houses for lunch, tea or dinner: it will reflect well on you if you verbally ensure that you are causing them no inconvenience.
  • Generally, women do not shake hands with men, though this varies greatly by social class, social setting, age and personal upbringing. A good rule of thumb for both men and women: do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex unless they extend their hands first (in which case it would be rude of you not to shake their hands!). The best way to greet someone is to nod and say "Assalam-u-alaikum" - smiling always helps!
  • Don't consume alcohol in public.
  • It's a good idea to avoid taking photographs of military establishments, police stations and anyone in uniform (army officers wear khaki, naval officers wear white, and the Islamabad police wear navy blue trousers with a light blue shirt). If in doubt, permission can be requested from the officers concerned.
  • Islamabad is relatively safe, compared to other Pakistani cities, or indeed, most capital cities: violent crime is very rare, but use precautions as you would in any other city.

Media

Newspapers

English Local Newspaper The Dawn, The News, The Nation & The Daily Times are national newspapers in English supplemented with local news sections.

Business Recorder is the only newpaper providing national and international business news. However, newspapers are like New York Times, Los Angles Times, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Khaleej Times, Gulf News, Sunday Times and etc., are also available. These international newspapers usually arrive in Islamabad a day after publishing.

All newspapers (international, national and local) are available at book stores in leading hotels like Serena & Marriott. They can also be purchased from leading book stores such as London Book House (Kohsar Market in sector F-6/3), Saeed Book Bank (Jinnah Super Market in sector F-7), and Mr. Books (Super Market in sector F-6).

  • Taxila – fascinating ancient ruins await you here
  • Simly Dam It is situated at a distance of about 30 km north east of Islamabad. The lake is spread over an area of 28,750 acre. There is complete facilities for all kinds of water sports.
  • Khewra Salt mines
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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English

Proper noun

Islamabad

  1. The capital of Pakistan, located within the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Translations


Simple English

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