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Old Tuesday, October 18, 2005
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Default Information about Rawalpindi

Rāwalpindi

Rāwalpindi, city in northern Pakistan, in Punjab Province. Rāwalpindi is linked to other major Pakistani cities by rail and by the Grand Trunk Road. With its commanding position at the beginning of the road from Punjab to Kashmir Kili, Rāwalpindi has long occupied a place of strategic importance; whoever controlled Rāwalpindi controlled this vital overland trade route. The city is an industrial and military center with a petroleum refinery, an ordnance factory, an arsenal, engineering workshops, a steel-rolling mill, gasworks, and a brewery. A college of technology is here. Farmers in the nearby countryside cultivate barley, maize, millet, and wheat, and trade these products through Rāwalpindi. The city’s water supply is provided by the Rawal Dam, which harnesses the flow of the Kurang River. The Liaqat Gardens and the beautifully landscaped Ayub National Park attract tourists and area residents alike.

Rāwalpindi, which derives its name from an Urdu word meaning “Village of the Rawals,” was inhabited by a community of Hindu ascetics before the town was settled by Sikhs in 1765. The region came under British control in 1849, and Rāwalpindi subsequently became the center of operations for the British Northern Army. It was here that the British signed the 1919 treaty confirming the independence of neighboring Afghanistan.

Rāwalpindi served as provisional capital of Pakistan from 1959 to 1967, when the seat of government was transferred to the newly built city of Islāmābād, located just 14 km (9 mi) to the northeast. The former British military base at Rāwalpindi houses the headquarters of the Pakistani Army. Population 1,406,214 (1998).

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