Cities of Pakistan


Karachi, city in southern Pakistan, capital of Sind Province, on the Arabian Sea, at the northwestern edge of the Indus River delta. The hub of a sprawling metropolitan area, Karachi is the nation's largest city and its chief transportation, financial, commercial, and manufacturing center. Most of the international trade of Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan pass through the city's busy modern port, centered on the island of Kiamari. Major highways and railroads focus on the city, and the modern airport here is a stopover and refueling point for intercontinental flights. Among the many products of Karachi are steel, textiles, chemicals, refined petroleum, footwear, machinery, handicrafts, and processed food. The city also is an important banking center and has a stock exchange. The University of Karachi (1951) and NED University of Engineering and Technology (1922) are here. The tomb of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, is a landmark. An old settlement, Karachi was a small fishing and trade center when captured by the British in 1839 and annexed three years later. Under British rule, it became the chief outlet for Indus Valley cotton and grain exports. Karachi was the capital of newly independent Pakistan from 1947 until 1959, when it was replaced by the provisional capital of Rawalpindi (Islamabad became Pakistan's permanent capital in 1967.) During the early years of independence Karachi grew rapidly as the chief port and industrial center of West Pakistan, and many Muslim refugees from India settled here. Since the 1980s the city has been the site of violent eruptions between the rival political, religious, and ethnic groups. Population (1998) 9,269,265.


Islamabad, city and capital of Pakistan, northern Pakistan, in the Capital Territory, on the Potwar Plateau, near Rawalpindi. In 1959 the site of Islamabad was chosen to replace Karachi as the capital of Pakistan. Constantinos A. Doxiadis and other internationally known urban planners were commissioned to design the new city, and construction began in 1961. In 1967 Islamabad was officially made the capital, and work on the city's principal buildings, streets, and facilities was completed by the mid-1970s. The city is divided into eight largely self-contained zones, each characterized by its predominant usages (such as for government, commerce, light industry, or residential areas). Notable structures in Islamabad include the National Assembly Building, designed by Louis I. Kahn. The city is the site of Quaid-i-Azam University (1965). Population (1998) 524,500.


Lahore, city, northeastern Pakistan, capital of Punjab Province, on the Ravi River. It is the principal commercial and banking center of the province. Although little industry is located in the city proper, Lahore serves as a distribution center for the heavily industrialized surrounding area. Manufactures include textiles, metal products, chemicals, machinery, glassware, and leather and rubber goods. An educational and cultural center, the city is the site of the University of the Punjab (1882), the oldest university in Pakistan, and the University of Engineering and Technology (1961). An atomic energy research center is located in the city. Lahore is the site of architecturally significant buildings and monuments, many dating from the Mughal Empire (circa 1526-1707), during which the city achieved great prominence. In 1849, Lahore fell to the British. When India was partitioned in 1947, Lahore was made capital of West Punjab. Population (1998) 5,063,499.


Peshawar, city, northwestern Pakistan, capital of North-West Frontier Province, near the entrance to Khyber Pass. The city is a commercial center and the traditional terminus of caravans from Afghanistan. Industries include handicrafts and the manufacture of processed food, footwear, silk, and cotton textiles. Peshawar University was established here in 1950. Also in the city is Peshawar Museum, which houses important collections of sculpture of the ancient Gandhara civilization. An ancient trading center known as Purushapure, the city was a target for invaders of the Indian subcontinent because of its strategic location near the pass. In the early 19th century Peshawar came under the control of the Sikhs, and in 1849 it was captured by the British. It has been the capital of the Pakistani North-West Frontier Province (except for 1955-70) since 1947. Population (1998) 988,055.


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