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What You Need To Know about Islamabad

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan located within the federal Islamabad Capital Territory. It has a population of 2 million and together with its neighboring twin city of Rawalpindi, the greater Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the third largest in Pakistan with a population exceeding 4.5 million. The city is the political seat of Pakistan and is administered by Capital Development Authority(CDA). Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the northeastern part of the country, between Rawalpindi District and theMargalla Hills National Park to the north. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the Margalla Pass acting as the gateway between the two regions. Islamabad was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital. The city’s master-plan divide’s the city into eight basic zones, including administrative, diplomatic enclave, residential areas, educational sectors, industrial sectors, commercial areas, and rural and green areas. The city is home to Pakistan’s National MonumentThe city is home to the Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world. Islamabad is ranked very high on the Human Development Index, equivalent to that of Belgium. The city is home to sixteen recognized universities, including the Quaid-i-Azam University and the National University of Science and Technology. While it’s home to AIOU which is one of the world’s largest universities by enrollment. The city has an elaborate surveillance system with 1,900 CCTV cameras contributing towards one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Area: 906 km²
Population: About 2.0 million

Currency

  • The currency used in Islamabad is the Pakistan Rupee. Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. If you are traveling to Islamabad, you will need to exchange your currency for the Pakistani Rupee.

Economy

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 after Karachi 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.

Language

Pakistan’s national language is Urdu. Languages spoken in Islamabad are English and Urdu.

Weather

The climate of Islamabad has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa), 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). The wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudburst and flooding. The coolest month is January. Islamabad’s micro-climate is regulated by three artificial reservoirs: Rawal, Simli, and Khanpur Dam. The latter is located on the Haro River near the town of Khanpur, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Islamabad. Simli Dam is 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Islamabad. 220 acres (89 ha) of the city consists of Margalla Hills National Park. Loi Bher Forest is situated along the Islamabad Highway, covering an area of 1,087 acres (440 ha). The highest monthly rainfall of 743.3 mm (29.26 in) was recorded during July 1995. 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. On 23 July 2001, Islamabad received a record-breaking 620 mm (24 in) of rainfall in just 10 hours. It was the heaviest rainfall in Islamabad in the past 100 years and the highest rainfall in 24 hours as well.

Health and security

  • Islamabad has the lowest rate of infant mortality in the country at 38 deaths per thousand compared to the national average of 78 deaths per thousand. Islamabad has both public and private medical centres. The largest hospital in Islamabad is Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital. It was established in 1985 as a teaching and doctor training institute. PIMS functions as a National Reference Center and provides specialised diagnostic and curative services. The hospital has 30 major medical departments. PIMS is divided into five administrative branches. Islamabad Hospital is the major component with a 592-bed facility and 22 medical and surgical specialties. Children’s Hospital is a 230-bed hospital completed in 1985. It contains six major facilities: Surgical and Allied Specialties, Medical and Allied Specialties, Diagnostic Facilities, Operation Theatre, Critical Care (NICU, PICU, Isolation & Accident Emergency), and a Blood Bank. The Maternal and Child Health Care Center is a training institute with an attached hospital of 125 beds offering different clinical and operational services. PIMS consists of five academic institutes: Quaid-e-Azam Postgraduate Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Medical Technology, School of Nursing, and Mother and Child Health Center.PAEC General Hospital and teaching institute, established in 2006, is affiliated with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The hospital consists of a 100-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. Shifa International Hospital is a teaching hospital in Islamabad that was founded in 1987 and became a public company in 1989. The hospital has 70 qualified consultants in almost all specialties, 150 IPD beds and OPD facilities in 35 different specializations. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics of the Government of Pakistan, in 2008 there were 12 hospitals, 76 dispensaries, and 5 Maternity and Child Welfare Centers in the city with a total of 5,158 beds.

Transport

  • Airports: Islamabad is connected to major destinations around the world through Benazir Bhutto International Airport, previously known as Islamabad International Airport. The airport is the third largest in Pakistan and is located outside Islamabad, in Chaklala, Rawalpindi. In fiscal year 2004–2005, over 2.88 million passengers used Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 23,436 aircraft movements were registered. Islamabad Gandhara 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 is expected to be complete and operational by 2016. This will be the first green field airport in Pakistan with an area of 3,600-acre (15 km2).

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus is a 24 km (14.9 mi) bus rapid transit system that serves the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan. It uses dedicated bus lanes for all of its route covering 24 bus stations. All major cities and towns are accessible through regular trains and bus services running mostly from the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi. Lahore and Peshawar are linked to Islamabad through a network of motorways, which has significantly reduced traveling times between these cities. M-2 Motorway is 367 km (228 mi) long and connect Islamabad and Lahore. M-1 Motorway connects Islamabad with Peshawar and is 155 km (96 mi) long. Islamabad is linked to Rawalpindi through the Faizabad Interchange, which has a daily traffic volume of about 48,000 vehicles.