Islamabad: The Capital of Pakistan

For other places called Islamabad, see Islamabad (disambiguation).
اسلام آباد
General Information
Country Pakistan
Province Islamabad Capital Territory
Elevation 457–610 m (1,499–2,001 ft)
Area 906.0 km² (350 sq mi)
Calling code 051
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
No. of Towns
Population 805,000 (1998)
Density 880/km² (2,279/sq mi)
No. of Union Councils 40 UC (District Govt. system yet to be placed)

Location within Pakistan
Capital Development Authority Website

Islamabad (Urdu: اسلام آباد Plateau in the northwest of the country. It is located within the (the ) is the capital of Pakistan, and is located in the PotoharIslamabad Capital Territory, the area has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and the North-West Frontier ProvinceMargalla pass being a historic gateway to the North-West Frontier Province).

The city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. A Greek firm of architects, Doxiadis Associates, drew up a master plan, triangular in shape based on a grid system with its apex towards the Margalla Hills. Rawalpindi is considered its sister city due to the close proximity of the two cities.

This city was built for several reasons: The development of the country was focused on Karachi and President Ayub Khan wanted it to be equally distributed; Karachi was vulnerable to attack from the sea in an event of a war with India; and Islamabad by contrast is safely surrounded by the mountains. It was also closer to the GHQ which was, and still is in Rawalpindi.

Islamabad is a rather modern and clean city, especially in comparison to other cities in Pakistan. It is well-organized, with the city being divided into different sectors and zones. Islamabad was divided into eight zones: the diplomatic enclave, the commercial district, the educational sector, the industrial area and so on, each with its own shopping area and park. Islamabad is also home to the Faisal Mosque which is well known for its architecture and immense size. The mosque was gifted by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Recent history
  • 2 Geography and climate
  • 3 Flora and Fauna
  • 4 Tourism and sightseeing
  • 5 Business
  • 6 Demographics
  • 7 Surroundings
  • 8 Transport
  • 9 Sectors
  • 10 Union councils
  • 11 Universities
  • 12 Sister Cities
  • 13 See also
  • 14 External links


The nascent city of Islamabad is preceded by thousands of years of history. This is the site of one of the earliest human settlements in Asia[citation needed], and is at one end of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Near Islamabad is a site where there are stone implements made on a mass scale which were sent down to the lower reaches of the Indus river.[citation needed] This area was the first settlement of the Aryans from Central Asia and is on the route through which passed all those who invaded India from the North and North West. The very large number of languages still spoken in the Northern Areas is evidence of the different races that passed through what is now the federal area.[citation needed] This region has witnessed the passage of ancient caravans from Central Asia as well as the bloody onslaught of the ferocious armies of Alexander and Tamurlane. The banks of the River Soan in Islamabad were host to stone-age man over 7000 years ago and human skulls dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in and around Islamabad.[citation needed]

Recent history

The Parliament House in Islamabad.
The Parliament House in Islamabad.

Construction of the City of Islamabad began during the 1960s, its purpose being to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital. A Greek firm of architects, Doxiadis Associates, drew up Islamabad's master plan, triangular in shape based on a grid system with its apex towards the Margalla Hills. Adjoining Islamabad is a second city called, Rawalpindi. It is considered Islamabad's sister city due to its close proximity. Reasons for Islamabad's construction include the following: 1. The development of the country was focused on Karachi and President Ayub Khan wanted it to be equally distributed; 2. Karachi was vulnerable to attacks from the sea in the event of war with other nations. Islamabad by contrast is safely surrounded by mountains. 3. It was also closer to the GHQ which was, and still is, in Rawalpindi.

The city is considered modern and clean, especially in comparison to other cities of Pakistan. Islamabad was divided into eight zones: the diplomatic enclave, the commercial district, the educational sector, the industrial area and so on, each with its own shopping main area and park. Islamabad is also home to the Faisal Mosque which is well known for its architecture and immense size. The mosque was gifted by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia in the 1970s.

Since 2003, Islamabad has been undergoing a re-development phase. Nearly all of its main roads and highways are being expanded. A number of new under-passes have been built for the benefit of motorists, whose rise in number has been rapid. The city is seeing many new modern-style buildings, with the cars of the traffic police patrolling highways and roads, renovation of the parks, and a sharp rise in the sale of electronic goods and house furniture.

Geography and climate

Climate chart for Islamabad airport
temperatures in °Cprecipitation totals in mm
source: [1]

The city is situated at the edge of the Pothohar plateau, south of the Margalla hills. The modern capital Islamabad and the ancient Gakhar city of Rawalpindi stand side by side, displaying the country’s past and present. The area's micro-climate is regulated by three man-made lakes (Rawal, Simli and Khanpur). The city overall has an extreme climate with hot summers with monsoon rains occurring during July and August, and fairly cold winters with sparse snowfall over the hills and sleet in the city. The weather ranges from a minimum of -4 °C in January to a maximum of 45 °C in June.

The modern city of Islamabad was envisaged as the new capital of Pakistan in the 1960s. In the mid 1960's the capital was shifted from Karachi to Islamabad, with most of the Government machinery shifting to Islamabad, along with the foreign embassies, though off-shoots of some of these remain even today in Karachi. The city was built as a planned city and has been divided into various sectors on a "grid". One axis is indexed numerically, the other alphabetically.

Flora and Fauna

Islamabad is rich in natural animal wildlife ranging from wild boars to leopards that dwell in the Margala Hills. Islamabad also has a sizeable population of feral dogs and cats.

Tourism and sightseeing

Roads leading to Faisal Mosque.
Roads leading to Faisal Mosque.
Parliament House, Islamabad.
Parliament House, Islamabad.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court of Pakistan
Prime Minister's Secretariat
Prime Minister's Secretariat
National Monument Islamabad
National Monument Islamabad
View of Islamabad from the Monal restaurant in Pir Sohawa
View of Islamabad from the Monal restaurant in Pir Sohawa
Blue Area, the central shopping district of Islamabad
Blue Area, the central shopping district of Islamabad
Daman-e-Koh Park
Daman-e-Koh Park
Panorama Of Chattar Park: Slide View in Chattar Park
Panorama Of Chattar Park: Slide View in Chattar Park
Islamabad on a snowy winter day
Islamabad on a snowy winter day
Faizabad Interchange, Islamabad: Gateway to the capital city
Faizabad Interchange, Islamabad: Gateway to the capital city
Chattar Park: Bridge in Chattar Park
Chattar Park: Bridge in Chattar Park

Islamabad is a relatively young city compared to the other cities. However, the views from the sculpted gardens of Islamabad's Shakar Parian Hills, National Monument, the fascinating Heritage Museum, and the huge marble Shah Faisal Mosque are the major highlights of the city. To the west of Islamabad is the town of Taxila, dating from 500 BC with heavy Buddhist influences. Sculptures here show a strong Greek influence, a result of Alexander the Great's journey through the region. The commercial center of Islamabad is known as the Blue Area and runs along the length of Jinnah Avenue. Its eastern end runs into Parliament Road, where the majority of the country's government buildings are located.

The city is very green, with much afforestation of what was formerly scrub forest and open ground. The city's pleasant climate has enabled the introduction of many exotic plants to the area. There is also much wildlife in the north in the Margalla hills, which have been turned into a national park. The Margalla hills are home to various species of wild life including a variety of exotic birds and carnivores such as the rare and presently endangered Margalla leopards.

Islamabad's architecture walks a tight-rope between modernity and tradition. The Saudi-Pak Tower is a good example of the combination of modern and traditional styles into one building. The city is also home to the Faisal Mosque, which is well-known for its architecture and immense size. Quaid-i-Azam University is also located in the capital city along with numerous government buildings and foreign embassies such as the National Assembly building, the Supreme Court building, the President's official residence (Aiwan-e-Sadr) and the Prime Minister's secretariat. Another landmark is a giant silver-colored Globe statue, installed in 2004 to mark Pakistan's hosting of that year's SAARC Summit. Recently, Atkins UK have designed a striking building for the capital, the Centaurus, reflecting the margalla hills surrounding it. Not only will this be the tallest and most impressive structure in Islamabad, second only to proposed taller skyscrapers in Karachi and Lahore, but will also truly put Pakistan's beautiful capital city on the global architectural map.

  • General
    • National Art Gallery, Islamabad
    • National Herbarium Islamabad
    • National Monument Islamabad
    • Murree Hills
    • Margalla Hills
    • Shakar Parrian
    • Daman-e-Koh
    • Islamabad Zoo
    • Rawal Lake
    • Simli dam lake
    • Khanpur dam lake
    • Anchorage, Islamabad
  • Museums
    • Pakistan Museum of Natural History
    • Islamabad Museum
    • Lok Virsa Museum
    • Pakistan Army Museum(Rawalpindi)
    • Museum of Pakistan
    • Taxila Museum
  • Mosques and Shrines
    • Shah Faisal Mosque
    • Golra Sharif
    • Lal Masjid
    • Bari Imaam
  • Government Buildings
    • Supreme Court of Pakistan
    • National Parliament of Pakistan
    • President's official residence (Aiwan-e-Sadr)
    • Prime Minister's Secretariat
    • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Parks
    • Fatima Jinnah Park
    • Rose and Jasmine Garden
    • Japanese Park
    • Chattar Bagh
    • Shakar Padiyan
    • Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Headquarter
  • Main Markets
    • Jinnah Super Market
    • Abpara
    • Karachi Company/G-9 Markaz
    • Super Market
    • Sitara Market
    • Blue Area
    • Peshawar Moore
    • G-10 Markaz
    • G-11 Markaz
    • F-8 Markaz
    • F-10 Markaz
    • F-11 Markaz
    • G-8 Markaz
    • I-8 Markaz
    • I-9 Markaz
    • I-10 Markaz
    • I-11 Markaz
  • Hotels
    • Marriott
    • Serena
    • Holiday Inn
    • Best Western
    • Crown Plaza [2]
    • Pearl Continental Hotel
    • Avari Hotels (2008)
    • Grand Hyatt (Underconstruction)(2009)
    • Intercontinental (2009)
    • Le Meridien (2009)
    • Centaurus Hotel (Under construction)
  • Flights
    • AirBlue [3]
    • PIA [4]
  • Sporting facilities
    • Jinnah Sports Complex
    • Liaquat Gymnasium
    • Para Gliding at Margalla hills
    • Margalla cricket Ground
    • Rawalpindi cricket stadium
    • Islamabad club golf course
    • Yachting facility at Rawal lake
    • Islamabad club tennis courts
    • Mushaf Squash Complex - The Mushaf Squash Complex is a state of the art facility which boasts to be the best squash-playing arena in Asia. It was inaugurated on June 29, 2004 by Kaleem Saadat, President of the Pakistan Squash Federation. It comprises a four-sided glass wall court and 4 Combi courts, imported from Messers ASB Courts, Germany. These courts are convertible into Doubles Court. The complex has a seating capacity of 800+ people and is fitted with one of the best air conditioning systems in the country.


Software houses: There are many software houses in Islamabad. There are 2 software technology parks that exists and planned more... NumberthreeLush Boutique Hotel


Punjabis account for 65% of the population followed by the Muhajir Urdu at around 10%, Pashtun at 10% and others (Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri's, etc) at 15%. [5]

Historical populations
Census Population Urban

1951 95,940 -
1961 117,669 -
1972 237,549 32.26%
1981 340,286 60.05%
1998 805,235 65.71%


East: Kotli Sattian/Muree
North East: Muree / Kahuta
North West: Taxila / Wah Cantt / Attock District
South East: Gujar Khan / Kallar Syedian / Rawat / Mandra
South West: Rawalpindi
West: NWFP


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has intended to carry out a feasibility and reference design for a rapid mass transit system for the twin-cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. On April 5, 2007, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that a railway station would be built near the planned Islamabad Airport at Fateh Jang to facilitate passengers called "New Islamabad International Airport".


Night view of Faisal Mosque area in Islamabad.
Night view of Faisal Mosque area in Islamabad.

Islamabad is divided into several different sectors, each identified by a letter of the Roman alphabet and a number, with each sector covering an area of approximately 2 km x 2 km. Each sector is further divided into 4 sub-sectors. The sectors currently in use are lettered from D to I.

Currently, there is only one D sector, D-12. Although this sector is underdeveloped with its development to be completed in 2008, it will be considered as one of the most beautiful sectors of Islamabad because of its location near the Margalla Hills. However, in the revised Master Plan, CDA has decided to develop new sectors including D-13 and D-14.

The E sectors are numbered from E-6 to E-18. Many foreigners and diplomatic personnel are housed in this sector. But with new revised Master Plan, CDA has decided to develop a park on the patterns of F-9 park in sector E-14. Sector E-8 and E-9 contain the campuses of three Defense universities Bahria University (Sector E-8), Air University (Sector E-9) and National Defence College (now National Defence University).

The F sectors are numbered F-5 through F-12. 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 sector of F-9 is dedicated for the Fatima Jinnah Park. The Centaurus complex (including a 7 star plaza, 5 star hotel and apartments) will be one of the major landmarks of F-8.

The G sectors are numbered G-5 through G-16. Some important landmarks include the Convention Center, SS-CARE and Serena Hotel in G-5, the Lal Mosque and Melody Market in G-6, the Karachi Company shopping center in G-9 (named after a construction company from Karachi who made one of the first flats in this area in and around 1978) and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital in G-8 which is the largest medical complex in the capital and is hence also known by the locals as simply the 'Complex Hospital.' The Institute is a national centre of excellence and tertiary referral centre. With its own helipad it was the focal point of rescue missions and the point of referral for the most seriously wounded in the Northern Areas earthquake of 2005.

Bird eye view of Islamabad
Bird eye view of Islamabad

The H sectors are numbered H-7 through H-12. The H sectors are mostly dedicated to educational and health institutions. Shifa International Hospitals Ltd. and the Shifa College of Medicine are situated in sector H-8/4. Sectors H-8, H-9, H-10 and H-11 contain the campuses of a number of top universities and Institutes of the country, including Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan [6], COMSATS Institute of Information Technology [7], Allama Iqbal Open University, The Roots School System, City School, and Beacon House School in sector H-8; the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and International School of Islamabad in sector H-9; the International Islamic University [8] in sector H-10; the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NUCES) in sector H-10; and the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in H-12. Another eminent university, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, [9] is located in the Blue Area.

The I sectors are numbered I-8 through I-18. Except for I-8, these sectors are primarily set aside as part of the industrial zone. Only Two sub-sectors of Sector I-9 and one sub-sector of sector I-10 is used as Industrial Area. Sector I-11 is proposed site of a state-of-art Vegetable

Union councils

There is no proper District Government setup in ICT but efforts are being made towards the establishment of a local Government system in the ICT, which is still not in place in ICT as local government systems exist in other parts of the country. In 2005, the Ministry of Interior divided the ICT into 40 union councils — 20 union councils in rural/urban areas of the ICT. However, the Union Council system is yet to be implemented. The 20 union councils each cover the following regions of the ICT (the name in brackets refers to each council's jurisdiction, named after a main town in the area covered by each council, e.g. Rewat or Tarnol):

Union Council No. 1 (Rewat): Rewat, Bhangreel Kalan, Bhangreel Khurd, Kortara, Takht Pari, Shadi Dhamial, Mohra Amir, Sood Gangal, Mohri Khumbal, Sheikhpur, Hoon Dhamial, Chuchkal and Bhima Kanait.

Union Council No. 2 (Humak): Humak, Kotha Kalan and Naizian

Union Council No. 3 (Sihala): Sihala, Gagri, Mughal, Chak Kamidar, Nara Sayedan, Sandu, Chitroh, Herdogher, Jabi Gakhran, Ladhiot, Kangota, Sayedan, Jandala and Kangota Gujran.

Union Council No. 4 (Koral): Koral, Lohi Bher, Choocha, Rakh Lohi Bher, Pagh, Panwal, Bora Bangial, Bukher, Khathreel, Dhaliala, Pind Dia, Paija, Darwala, Sher Dhamial, Pindi Malkan, Pindori Hathial, Pindori Sayedan, Bhimber Trar, Gohra Mast, Sigga, Channi Mahsu and Khan.

Union Council No. 5 (Khana): Khana Dak, Gangal, Gandhian, Tarlai Khurd and Sodhar.

Union Council No. 6 (Tarlai Kalan): Tarlai Kalan, Chaper Mir-Khanal, Tramri, Tamma, Gohra Sardar, Chatha Bakhtawar and Khardapur.

Union Council No. 7 (Kirpa): Kirpa, Jhang Sayedan, Partal, Saknal, Panjgran, Frash and Ali Pur.

Union Council No. 8 (Cherah): Cherah, Herno Thanda Pani and Ara.

Union Council No. 9 (Tumair): Tumair, Kijnah, Sihali, New Simbli, Jandala, Jandgran, Garathian, Darkalai, Rakh Tumair A, Rakh Tumair B, Dakhian and Pind Begwal.

Union Council No. 10 (Phulgran): Phulgran, Shahpur, Sakrila, Dohala, Bbbri Betha, Athal, Maira Begwal, Chattar, Karlot, Hotran, Kathar, Mangal, Chaniari, Rakh Maira A & B and Malot.

Union Council No. 11 (Bhara Kau): Kot Hathial.

Union Council No.12 (Malpur); Malpur, Shahdara (Malpur Rural), Jhang Bangial, Mandla, Subban, Mangial, Quaid-e-Azam University and Muslim Colony.

Union Council No 13 (Noorpur Shahan): Noor Pur Shahan, Ratta Hoter, Talhar, Gokina and Saidpur.

Union Council No. 14 (Kuri at Chak Shehzad): Kuri, Rehara, Chak Shahzad, Majuhan, Mohrian, Gohra Baz, Mohra Jijan, Jagiot and Nogazi.

Union Council No. 15 (Rawal Town): Mohra Noor, Rawal Tonw, Rawal Colony, Mochi Mohra, Sumbal Korak (Katchi Abadi) and Sumbal Korak.

Union Council No. 16 (Sohan): Sohan, Kana Kak, Jaba Taili, Shakrial, Pindori, Sihana, Lakhwal, Chak Bera Sing, Kartal, Bohan, Dhoke Sharaf, Ojri Kalan & Khurd and Poona Faqiran.

Union Council No. 17 (Golra): Golra, Maira Bairi, Baker Akku, Dharek Mori, Maira Sumbal Aku, Maira Sumbal Jafer, Dharmian (F-11), E-10 (Sihala), Badia Rustam and Khan.

Union Council No. 18 (Shah Allah Ditta): Shah Allah Ditta, Seri Seral, Pind Sangral, Sara-e-Kharbooza, Johd, Siray Madhu, Bara Dari, Bakhar Fateh and Bakhsh.

Union Council No. 19 (Jhangi Sayeda): Jhangi Sayedan, Nothia, Thala Sayedan and Chailo, Sheikhpur, Kak, Noon, Narala and Bokra.

Union Council No. 20 (Tarnol): Bhadana Kalan, Tarnol, Pindi Parian, Naugazi, Dorey, Ahi Paswal, Sangjani and Bhadana Khurd.



There are a large number of educational institutions in Islamabad including: Air University, Allama Iqbal Open University, Bahria University, Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering, College of Medical Technologies (CMT) at PIMS, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology, Hamdard University, International Islamic University, Institute of Space Technology, Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan, Iqra University, Riphah International University,Muhammad Ali Jinnah University,Foundation University Islamabad (FUI) and (FUIMCS), National Defence University, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences(FAST-NUCES), National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Quaid-i-Azam Postgraduate Medical College (QPGMC), Shifa College of Medicine, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), SS-CARE School of Engineering [10] & University of Lahore [11]



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