Lalkurti

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Lalkurti, Saddar, Lahore Cantt.
Lalkurti, Saddar, Lahore Cantt.
Country  Pakistan
Province Punjab (Pakistan)
District Rawalpindi
Time zone PST (UTC+5)

Lalkurti (literally red shirt; referring to British Infantry from colonial era), is a locality in the heart of Rawalpindi cantonment in Pakistan. Places with the same name are also found in many other garrison cities of Pakistan and India, such as Peshawar, Lahore, Kanpur, Ambala, Meerut and Delhi.

Located to the south of Mall Road,[1] Lalkurti Rawalpindi is a bazaar and a residential area from the British colonial era.[2] The Lalkurti Bazaar area, formerly known as B I Bazaar (British Infantry Bazaar), is one of the busiest shopping areas of Rawalpindi cantonment.[3]

The importance of Lalkurti in the history of Rawalpindi and Pakistan lies in its once being the hub of Pakistan's military and political activities, especially in the 1960s, when Rawalpindi served as the interim capital of Pakistan. The first session of the third National Assembly of Pakistan[4] was held on 8 June 1962 at Ayub Hall, Lalkurti.[5]

Population and demography[edit]

Lalkurti has a population of around 200,000, which includes a majority of Punjabis/Pothoharis and a minority of Urdu speaking Mohajirs, Kashmiris and Pathans. Besides Muslim majority, a significant minority of Christians[6] and a very small number of Hindus also live in Lalkurti. Once a serene and green suburb of Rawalpindi, Lalkurti has over the years become congested and chaotic.

History[edit]

The name Lalkurti (red shirt) is thought to have been derived from the red-coloured dress worn by the troops of the Royal British Indian Army who worked in the shooting ranges of the cantonment. The red-coloured dress made the workers of the shooting ranges more easily visible to the shooters and avoided any accidents. Lalkurti is considered to have originated as the colony of those red-shirted workers of the British Indian Army. The shooting ranges were situated to the south of British Military Hospital (now called Combined Military Hospital), in the present day Harley Street area.

NUST building[edit]

The building hosting the National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan (NUST), situated at the junction of Tameez-ud-din road (formerly called the Church road) and Mamoon Jee road, has a special historical significance. It was here in its Ayub Hall that the national legislative assembly sessions were held for some time in the 1960s.[7] The capital had been shifted from Karachi to Islamabad, but the building for the National Assembly of Pakistan had not been constructed by then and Rawalpindi served as the interim capital of the country. Ayub Hall has been named after Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, former president of Pakistan.

Later this building, i.e. the present day NUST building, housed the prestigious National Defence College (NDC) of the Pakistan Armed Forces before the college was upgraded to National Defence University (NDU) and shifted to its present location in Islamabad.

General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq hosted his first press conference in its auditorium after overthrowing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977.

Important landmarks[edit]

It is located adjacent to the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army and the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), a major tertiary care hospital of the Pakistani Armed Forces.

The other important landmarks in the area include:

  • Military College of Signals (MCS) Khadim Hussain road
  • Army Public College of Management Sciences (APCOMS) Khadim Hussain road
  • Army Public School and College for boys (APS&C) Khadim Hussain road
  • Ordnance mess, Ordnance road
  • SSG mess and rest house, Willoughby road
  • Military Veterinary Hospital (MVH) Khadim Hussain road
  • Canteen Stores Department's (CSD) shopping complex, Tameezuddin road
  • Head office of Additional Inspector General (AIG) Police Rawalpindi region [4] Khadim Hussain road
  • Head office of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)Tameezuddin road
  • Central Ordnance Depot (Arsenal), Fort road
  • Zulfe-Bengal building,at Mamoon jee road, (now the Agha House). This building is one of the prominent landmarks of Lalkurti and without it the story of Lalkurti is incomplete. Before independence of Pakistan in 1947, the building was owned by a rich Hindu trader, who was the manufacturer of a very famous hair oil called ‘Zulfe Bengal’ (The long hair of Bengali woman). His product was very popular in most parts of South Asia. This building is situated in the middle of Lalkurti Bazaar opposite to Tasveer Mahal movie theatre.
  • Bata chowk It is situated on Mamoonjee road and Aziz Bhatti road intersection, near Zulfe-Bengal building. Bata chowk has garments stores, branded shoes outlets, books and stationary stores, fried fish stalls and departmental stores.
  • KERNEL CHOWK It is situated on Knight road and Alamgir road near Military veterinary Hospital.

Schools and colleges[edit]

Mosques, churches and temples[edit]

There are six mosques and a couple of churches (St. Joseph's Cathedral and Christ Church) in the locality. The Christian minority and the Muslims have always lived in exemplary cohesion.[12] Christ Church, built in 1852, is one of the oldest buildings of Rawalpindi cantonment.

There are a few temples in Lalkurti which are a reminder of the Hindu population that lived here before partition. These temples are now in disuse and have been annexed into the neighbouring houses. The only temple being used for worship by a small presently existing Hindu population is the Balmik temple.[13]

Mosques
  • Jamia Masjid Hanafiyah
  • Markazi Jamia Masjid
  • Madinah Masjid
  • MVH, Bilal Masj
  • Jamia Masjid Al-Bushra Indus Road (constructed by an elderly lady, Mst. Bushra Begum wife of Agha Rashid Ahmed Khan and is named after her. She was resident of Zulf-e- Bangal building Lalkurti.).
  • CSD Masjid
  • Mohammadi Masjid

Cinema[edit]

There is one very old cinema house in a dilapidated state known as Tasweer Mahal.

Hotels and restaurants[edit]

Parks[edit]

  • Sarwar Park is at a distance of less than 1 kilometer from Lalkurti chowk, just across the Mall Road
  • 502 Workshop park is one and a half kilometers from Lalkurti chowk.

Museum[edit]

  • Army Museum is situated next to the CSD shopping complex, on Iftikhar Janjua road (formerly called Napier road). It exhibits vintage arms and ammunition, relics of past wars, war paintings and belongings of the Pakistani war heroes.[15] The entrance of the museum is befittingly guarded by an imposing statue of Late Subedar Khudadad Khan VC, the first South Asian recipient of the Victoria Cross.[citation needed]

Library[edit]

  • Army Central Library, Iftikhar Janjua road. Situated one kilometer from Lalkurti Chowk. This library is only for Armed Forces employees and not open to the general public.

Banks and post office[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Trivia[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City Maps". Pindionline.com. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  2. ^ "Lal". Heritage.gov.pk. 2002-11-05. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080705134254/http://www.na.gov.pk/history.htm. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ History of National Assembly of Pakistan, www.na.gov.pk
  6. ^ http://www.dawn.com/2008/12/26/nat14.htm
  7. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080705134254/http://www.na.gov.pk/history.htm. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ http://www.apsacssectt.org.pk/index.html
  9. ^ [2] Archived July 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Educational Institutes". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  11. ^ [3] Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ http://www.dawn.com/news/1126728
  13. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  14. ^ http://www.pchotels.com.pk/
  15. ^ http://www.museum.com/ja/museum/id=44918
  16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100901013610/http://www.askaribank.com.pk/Networks_branches_result.php?cid=6. Archived from the original on September 1, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ http://www.savings.gov.pk/xbranch2.aspx
  18. ^ "Pakistan Post Office Department". Pakpost.gov.pk. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  19. ^ "Welcome to Islamabad International Airport". Islamabadairport.com.pk. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  20. ^ Khakum badahan, by Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi. Maktaba-e-Danyal, Karachi: 2004
  1. http://www.na.gov.pk/history.htm
  2. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C10%5C21%5Cstory_21-10-2006_pg11_7

External links[edit]