From Karachi to Islamabad
Pakistan’s military dictator Ayub Khan decided to shift the capital city from Karachi to Islamabad in late 1950 as Karachi had become the economic hub of the country and the infrastructure of the city was proving inadequate for the growing needs of the city. Before 1947 Karachi’s population was barely one million but after the independence of India and creation of Pakistan, over 6 million refugees from India settled in Karachi and many civic problems arose including that of transport and sanitation and water and sewerage services were proving inadequate and many slum areas had arisen.
Islamabad city was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital. However, the capital was not moved directly from Karachi to Islamabad but first moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi then to Islamabad. It was because a capital is a place from where the whole state is run and due to very close to Indian border and all the time vulnerable to Indian attack and an easy and accessible target for Indians it was decided that capital must be shifted to a secure place which will remain functional even in case of attack.
The second reason was that parliamentarians belonging to East Pakistan ( Bangladesh) had to travel a lot to attend sessions of the national assembly so Islamabad was a kind of central place for all parliamentarians at that time (belonging to east and West Pakistan).
Islamabad, the Capital
The development of the country was focused on Karachi and President Ayub Khan wanted it to be equally distributed. He wanted Islamabad to be a 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 Masjid which is well known for its architecture and immense size.
Islamabad (Meaning “Abode of Islam” or “Abode of Peace”) is the capital of Pakistan and is the tenth largest city in Pakistan with an estimated population of 1.74 million in 2009. The Rawalpindi/Islamabad Metropolitan Area is the third largest in Pakistan, with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants. Islamabad is located on 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 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Margalla pass being a gateway to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.