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Islamabad

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan, and is federally administered as part of the Islamabad Capital Territory. Islamabad is the ninth largest city in Pakistan, while the larger Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country's fourth largest with a population of about 3.1 million. Built as a planned city in the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan's capital, Islamabad is noted for its high standards of living, safety, and abundant greenery.

The city's master plan, designed by Greek architect Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis, divides the city into eight zones, including administrative, diplomatic enclave, residential areas, educational sectors, industrial sectors, commercial areas, and rural and green areas which are administered by the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation, supported by the Capital Development Authority. The city is known for the presence of several parks and forests, including the Margalla Hills National Park and the Shakarparian. The city is home to several landmarks, with the most notable one being the Faisal Mosque − the largest mosque in South Asia and the fourth largest in the world. Other landmarks include the Pakistan National Monument and Democracy Square.

History

Islamabad Capital Territory, located on the Pothohar Plateau of the northern Punjab region, is considered one of the earliest sites of human settlement in Asia. Some of the earliest Stone Age artefacts in the world have been found on the plateau, dating from 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. Rudimentary stones recovered from the terraces of the Soan River testify to the endeavours of early man in the inter-glacial period. Items of pottery and utensils dating back to prehistory have been found.

Excavations by Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Lone reveal evidence of a prehistoric culture in the area. Relics and human skulls have been found dating back to 5000 BCE that indicate the region was home to Neolithic peoples who settled on the banks of the Swaan River, and who later developed small communities in the region around 3000 BCE.