Official logo of Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location in Pakistan
Rawalpindi is located in Pakistan
Rawalpindi (Pakistan)
Coordinates: 33°36′N 73°02′E / 33.600°N 73.033°E / 33.600; 73.033
Country Pakistan
RegionPunjab, Pakistan Punjab
DivisionRawalpindi Division
Autonomous towns8
Union councils38
 • TypeMunicipal Corporation
 • Mayor of RawalpindiSardar Naseem
 • Deputy Mayor of RawalpindiChaudhry Tariq Mahmood
 • Total259 km2 (100 sq mi)
508 m (1,667 ft)
 • Total2,098,231[1]
Time zoneUTC+5 (PKT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+6 (PKT)
Area code051

Rawalpindi (Punjabi, Urdu: راولپنڈى, Rāwalpiṇḍī), commonly known as Pindi (Punjabi: پنڈی), is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rawalpindi is adjacent to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, and the two are jointly known as the "twin cities" on account strong social and economic links between the cities.[2] Rawalpindi is the fourth-largest city in Pakistan by population, while the larger Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country's third-largest metropolitan area.

Rawalpindi is located on the Pothohar Plateau, known for its ancient Buddhist heritage, especially in the neighbouring town of Taxila - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3] The city was destroyed during the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni before being taken over by Gakhars in 1493. In 1765, the ruling Gakhars were defeated as the city came under Sikh rule, and eventually became a major city within the Sikh Empire based in Lahore. The city fell to the British Raj in 1849, and in 1851 became the largest garrison town for the British Indian Army.[4] Following the partition of British India in 1947, the city became home to the headquarters of Pakistan Army hence retaining its status as a major military city.[5][6]

Construction of Pakistan's new purpose-built national capital city of Islamabad in 1961 led to greater investment in the city, as well as a brief stint as the country's capital immediately before completion of Islamabad.[7] Modern Rawalpindi is socially and economically intertwined with Islamabad, and the greater metropolitan area. The city is also home to numerous suburban housing developments that serve as bedroom-communities for workers in Islamabad.[8][9] As home of Benazir Airport, and with connections to the M-1 and M-2 motorways, Rawalpindi is a major logistics and transportation centre for northern Pakistan.[10] The city is also home to historic havelis and temples, and serves as a hub for tourists visiting Rohtas Fort, Azad Kashmir, Taxila and Gilgit-Baltistan.[11][12][13]


The word "Rawalpindi" consists of two Punjabi words; Rawal, and Pindi. The origin of the name may derive from the combination of two words:[citation needed] Rawal, meaning "lake" in Punjabi, and Pind, meaning "village." The combination of the two words thus means "The village of lake". Other sources have posited a Sanskrit origin of the city's name.[14]


The "Fasting Buddha," on display at the British Museum in London, was discovered in Rawalpindi.


The region around Rawalpindi has been inhabited for thousands of years. Rawalpindi falls within the ancient boundaries of Gandhara, and is in a region littered with Buddhist ruins. In the region north-west of Rawalpindi, traces have been found of at least 55 stupas, 28 Buddhist monasteries, 9 temples, and various artifacts in the Kharoshthi script.[15] To the southeast are the ruins of the Mankiala stupa – a 2nd-century stupa where, according to the Jataka tales, a previous incarnation of the Buddha leapt off a cliff in order to offer his corpse to seven hungry tiger cubs.[16] The nearby town of Taxila is thought to have been home to the world's first university.[17] Sir Alexander Cunningham identified ruins on the site of the Rawalpindi Cantonment as the ancient city of Ganjipur (or Gajnipur), the capital of the Bhatti tribe in the ages preceding the Christian era.[18]

The first mention of Rawalpindi's earliest settlement dates from when Mahmud of Ghazni gifted a ruined town to the Gakhar chief Kai Gohar in the early 11th century. The town fell into decay again after Mongol invasions in the 14th century.[19] Situated along an invasion route, the settlement did not prosper and remained deserted until 1493, when Jhanda Khan restored the ruined town, and named it Rawal.[20]


The 16th century Rawat Fort offered military protection to Rawalpindi.

During the Mughal era, Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Ghakhar clan, who in turn pledged allegiance to the Mughal Empire. The city was developed as an important outpost in order to guard the frontiers of the Mughal realm.[21] Gakhars fortified a nearby caravanserai, in the 16th century, transforming it into the Rawat Fort in order to defend the Pothohar plateau from Sher Shah Suri's forces.[22] Construction of the Attock Fort in 1581 after Akbar led a campaign against his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim, further securing Rawalpindi's environs.[23] In December 1585, the Emperor Akbar arrived in Rawalpindi, and remained in and around Rawalpindi for 13 years as he extended the frontiers of the empire,[21] in an era described as a "glorious period" in his career as Emperor.[21]

With the onset of chaos and rivalry between Gakhar chiefs after the death of Kamal Khan in 1559, Rawalpindi was awarded to Said Khan by the Mughal Emperor.[24] The Emperor Jehangir visited the royal camp in Rawalpindi in 1622, where he first learned of Shah Abbas I of Persia's plan to invade Kandahar.[25]


Rawalpindi declined in importance after the fall of the Mughals, until the town was captured in the mid 1760s from Muqarrab Khan by the Sikhs under Sardar Gujjar Singh and his son Sahib Singh.[24] The city's administration was handed to Sardar Milkha Singh, who then invited traders from the neighboring commercial centers of Jhelum and Shahpur to settle in the territory in 1766.[19][24] The city then began to prosper, although the population in 1770 is estimated to have been only about 300 families.[26] Rawalpindi became for a time the refuge of Shah Shuja, the exiled king of Afghanistan, and of his brother Shah Zaman in the early 19th century.[18]

Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh allowed the son of Sardar Milkha Singh to continue as Governor of Rawalpindi, after Ranjit Singh seized the district in 1810.[24] Sikh rule over Rawalpindi was consolidated by defeat of the Afghans at Haidaran in July 1813.[24] The Sikh rulers allied themselves with some of the local Gakhar tribes, and jointly defeated Syed Ahmad Barelvi at Akora Khattak in 1827, and again in 1831 in Balakot.[24] Jews first arrived in Rawalpindi's Babu Mohallah neighbourhood from Mashhad, Persia in 1839,[27] in order to flee from anti-Jewish laws instituted by the Qajar dynasty. In 1841, Diwan Kishan Kaur was appointed Sardar of Rawalpindi.[24]

On 14 March 1849, Sardar Chattar Singh and Raja Sher Singh of the Sikh Empire surrendered to General Gilbert near Rawalpindi, ceding the city to the British.[28] The Sikh Empire then came to an end on 29 March 1849.


Rawalpindi's Fatima Jinnah Women University is housed in a Victorian mansion.

Following Rawalpindi's capture by the British Indian Empire, Her Majesty's 53 Regiment took quarters in the newly captured city.[18] The decision to man a permanent military cantonment in the city was made in 1851 by the Marquess of Dalhousie.[18] The city's Garrison Church was built shortly after in 1854,[18] and is the site where Robert Milman, Bishop of Calcutta, was buried following his death in Rawalpindi in 1876.[18] The city was home to 15,913 people in the 1855 census.[26] An outbreak of cholera occurred in 1879 after its introduction from Afghanistan that lead to the deaths of 20 people.[18]

Numerous civil and military buildings were built during the British era, and the Municipality of Rawalpindi was constituted in 1867,[18] while the city's population as per the 1868 census was 19,228, with another 9,358 people residing in the city's cantonment.[18] The city was also connected to railways that offered connection to India and the northwest frontier in Peshawar in the 1880s.[18] The Commissariat Steam Flour Mills were the first such mills in Punjab, and supplied most of the needs of British cantonments throughout Punjab.[18] Rawalpindi's cantonment served as a feeder to other cantonments throughout the region.[18]

Rawalpindi flourished as a commercial centre, though the city remained largely devoid of an industrial base during the British era.[18] A large portion of Kashmir's external trade passing through the city; in 1885, 14% of Kashmir's exports, and 27% of its imports passed through the city.[18] A large market was opened in central Rawalpindi in 1883 by Sardar Sujan Singh, while the British further developed a shopping district for the city's elite known as Saddar with an archway built to commemorate Brigadier General Massey.[18]

Rawalpindi's cantonment became a major center of military power of the Raj after an arsenal was established in 1883.[19] In 1868, 9,358 people lived in the city's cantonment - by 1891, the number rose to 37,870.[18] In 1891, the city's population excluding the Cantonment was 34,153.[18] The city was considered to be a favourite first posting for newly arrived soldiers from England, owing to the city's agreeable climate, and nearby hill station at nearby Murree.[18] In 1901, Rawalpindi was made the winter headquarters of the Northern Command and of the Rawalpindi military division. Riots broke out against British rule in 1905, following a famine in Punjab that peasants were lead to believe was a deliberate act.[29]

Communal riots erupted between Rawalpindi's Sikh and Muslim communities in 1926 after Sikhs refused to silence music from a procession that was passing in front of a mosque.[29] The British Government tested poison gas on native troops during a series of experiments conducted in Rawalpindi over the course of more than a decade beginning in the 1930s.[30]

On 5 March 1947, members of Rawalpindi's Sikh and Hindu communities took out a procession against the formation of a Muslim ministry within the Government of Punjab. Policemen fired upon protestors, while Hindus and Sikhs fought against weaker Muslim counter-protestors.[31] The area's first Partition riots erupted the next day on 6 March 1947, when the city's Muslims, angered by the actions of Hindus and Sikhs and encouraged by the Pir of Golra Sharif, raided nearby villages after they were unable to do so in the city on account of Rawalpindi's heavily armed Sikhs.[32]


At the dawn of Pakistan's independence in 1947, Rawalpindi was a 43.79% Muslim, while Rawalpindi District as a whole was 80% Muslim.[33] The region, on account of its large Muslim majority, was thus awarded to Pakistan. Rawalpindi's Hindu and Sikh population, who had made up 33.72% and 17.32% of the city,[33] migrated en masse to the newly independent Dominion of India after communal riots in western Punjab, while Muslim refugees from India settled in the city following anti-Muslim pogroms in eastern Punjab and northern India.[32]

In the years following independence, Rawalpindi saw an influx of Muhajir, Pashtun and Kashmiri settlers. Having been the largest British Cantonment in the region at the dawn of Pakistan's independence, Rawalpindi was chosen as headquarters for the Pakistani Army, despite the fact that Karachi had been selected as the first capital.[34] In 1951, the Rawalpindi conspiracy took place in which leftist army officers conspired to depose the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan.[34] Rawalpindi later became the site of the Liaquat Ali Khan's assassination, in what is now known as Liaquat Bagh Park. In 1958, Field Marshal Ayub Khan launched his coup d'etat from Rawalpindi.[34] In 1959, the city became the interim capital of the country under Ayub Khan, who had sought the creation of a new planned capital of Islamabad in the vicinity of Rawalpindi. As a result, Rawalpindi saw most major central government offices and institutions relocate to nearby territory, and its population rapidly expand.

Construction of Pakistan's new capital city of Islamabad in 1961 led to greater investment in Rawalpindi.[35] Rawalpindi remained the headquarters of the Pakistani Army after the capital shifted to Islamabad in 1969, while the Pakistan Air Force continues to maintain an airbase in the Chaklala district of Rawalpindi.[36][37] The military dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq hanged Pakistan's deposed Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in Rawalpindi in 1979.[38]

In 1980, tens of thousands of Shia protestors led by Mufti Jaffar Hussain marched on Rawalpindi to protest a provision of Zia ul Haqs Islamization programme.[33] A spate of bombings in September 1987 took place in the city killing 5 people, in attacks that are believed to have been orchestrated by agents of Afghanistan's communist government.[39] On 10 April 1988, Rawalpindi's Ojhri Camp, an ammunition depot for Afghan mujahideen fighting against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, exploded and killed many in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.[40][41] At the time, the New York Times reported more than 93 were killed and another 1,100 wounded;[42] many believe that the toll was much higher.[43]

Riots erupted in Rawalpindi in 1992 as mobs attacked Hindu temples in retaliation for the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India by Hindu extremists.[33] In March 2003, Pakistani authorities captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11th attacks in New York City. On 27 December 2007, Rawalpindi was the site of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.[44]

Modern Rawalpindi is socially and economically intertwined with Islamabad, and the greater metropolitan area. The city is also home to numerous suburban housing developments that serve as bedroom-communities for workers in Islamabad.[45][9] In June 2015, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus, a new bus rapid transit line with various points in Islamabad, opened for service.


Main article: Climate of Rawalpindi

Satellite image of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area.


Rawalpindi features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa)[46] with hot summers, a wet monsoon and wet winters. Rawalpindi and its twin city Islamabad, during the year experiences an average of 91 thunderstorms, which is the highest frequency of any plain elevation city in the country. Strong windstorms are frequent in the summer during which wind gusts have been reported by Pakistan Meteorological Department to have reached 176 km/h (109 mph). In such thunder/wind storms, which results in damage of infrastructure especially electric poles, billboards and sometimes buildings too.[47] Rawalpindi is chaotic, but relatively dust-free. The weather is highly variable due to the proximity of the city to the foothills of Himalayas. The average annual rainfall is 1,200 mm (47 in), most of which falls in the summer monsoon season. However, westerly disturbances also bring quite significant rainfall in the winter. In summer, the record maximum temperature has soared to 48.4 °C (119 °F) recorded in June 1954, while it has dropped to a minimum −3.9 °C (25 °F) in the winter several times in the past. The last time it reached that temperature was in January 1967.

Climate data for Rawalpindi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 17
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 2.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 58
Source: Climate-Data.org, altitude: 497m[46]


The population of Rawalpindi is 2,098,231 in 2017. There are 84% of population are Punjabi and 9% consist of Pashto people and 7% others.

There are different ethnic group who are migrated from different part of countries.

Balochi, Brahvi, Balti, Hunzai, Kohistani, Khowar, Shina, Sindhi and Punjabi speakers are found.


An abandoned Hindu Temple at Bagh Sardaran.
The city's Eid Gah shrine attracts throngs of devotees.

96.8% of Rawalpindi's population is Muslim, 2.47% is Christian, 0.73% belong to other religious groups. The city's Kohaati Bazaar is site of large Shia mourning-processions for Ashura.[48] The neighbourhoods of Waris Shah Mohallah and Pir Harra Mohallah form the core of Muslim settlement in Rawalpindi's old city.

Rawalpindi was a majority Hindu and Sikh city prior to the Partition of British India in 1947,[49] while Muslims made up 43.79% of the population.[33] The Baba Dyal Singh Gurdwara in Rawalpindi was where the reformist Nirankari movement of Sikhism originated.[48] The city's Sikh population is small, but has been bolstered by the arrival of Sikhs fleeing political instability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[50]

The city is still home to a few hundred Hindu families.[49] Despite the fact that the vast majority of the city's Hindus fled en masse to India after Partition, most Hindu temples in the old city remain standing, although in disrepair and often abandoned.[49] Many of the old city's neighbourhoods continue to bear Hindu and Sikh names, such as Krishanpura, Arya Mohallah, Akaal Garh, Mohanpura, Amarpura, Kartarpura, Bagh Sardaraan, Angatpura.

Rawalpindi's Krishna Temple, built in the Kabarri Bazaar in 1897, and the Guru Balmik Swamiji Temple in Rawalpindi Cantonment, remain open to the public.[49] Other temples are abandoned or were repurposed. Rawalpindi's large Kalyan Das Temple from 1880 is has been used as the "Gov't. Qandeel Secondary School for the Blind" since 1973.[51][52] The Ram Leela Temple in Kanak Mandi, and the Kaanji Mal Ujagar Mal Ram Richpal Temple in the Kabarri Bazaar, are both currently used to house Kashmiri refugees. Mohan Temple in the Lunda Bazaar remains standing, but is abandoned and the building no longer used for any purpose. The city's "Shamshan Ghat" serves as the city's cremation grounds, and was partly renovated in 2012.[53]

The city's Babu Mohallah neighbourhood was once home to a community of Jewish traders that had fled Masshad, Persia in the 1830s.[27] The community had entirely emigrated to Israel by the 1960s.[27] [54]


Administrative subdivisions of Rawalpindi District.

The City-District of Rawalpindi comprises eight autonomous tehsils. Rawalpindi city is divided into Rawal & Potohar Tehsils.

Rawalpindi also holds many private colonies that have developed themselves rapidly, e.g. Gulraiz Housing Society, Korang Town, Agochs Town, Ghori Town, Pakistan Town, Judicial Town, Bahria Town[55] which is the Asia's largest private colony, Kashmir Housing Society, Danial Town, Al-Haram City, Education City.


The gate of Paharwala Fort.

Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jhelum Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has a playland, lake with boating facility, an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is on Benazir Bhutto Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened to the public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds.

In 2008 Jinnah Park was inaugurated at the heart of Rawalpindi and has since become a hotspot of activity for the city. People from as far out as Peshawer come to Jinnah Park to enjoy its modern facilities. It houses a state-of-the-art cinema, Cinepax,[56] a Metro Cash and Carry supermart, an outlet of McDonald's, gaming lounges, Motion Rides and other recreational facilities. The vast lawns also provide an adequate picnic spot.[57][58]

A view of Rawal Lake

Rawalpindi is situated near the Ayub National Park formerly known as 'Topi Rakh' (keep the hat on) is by the old Presidency, between the Murree Brewery Co. and Grand Trunk Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres (930 ha) and has a play area, lake with boating facility, an aquarium, a garden-restaurant and an open-air theater. This park hosts "The Jungle Kingdom" which is particularly popular among young residents.[59]


Govt College for Women

Main article: List of educational institutions in Rawalpindi

Rawalpindi District is home to 2,463 government public schools, out of which 1706 are Primary schools, 306 middle schools, 334 are High schools, while 117 are Higher education colleges.[60]

97.4& of children ages 6-16 in urban areas of Rawalpindi District are enrolled in school - the third highest percentage in Pakistan after Islamabad and Karachi.[61] 77.1% of Rawalpindi's students in Class 5 are able to read sentences in English.[61] 27% of children in Rawalpindi attend paid private schools.[62]


Rawalpindi, being so close to the capital, has an active media and newspaper climate. There are over a dozen of newspaper companies based in the city including Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Daily Jang, Daily Asas, The Daily Sada-e-Haq, Daily Express, Daily Din, Daily Aajkal Rawalpindi, Daily Islam, and Daily Pakistan in Urdu and Dawn, Express Tribune, Daily Times, The News International and The Nation in English.

There are a large number of Cable TV service providers in the city such as Nayatel, PTCL, SA Cable Network and DWN. Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation has a centre in Rawalpindi Television channels based in Rawalpindi include:


In mid-2012 3D cinema, The Arena, started its operations in Bahria Town Phase-4 in Rawalpindi.[64][65] The cinema has a maximum capacity of 264 people and caters to the needs of both Rawalpindi and Islamabad residents.

See also


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