List of capitals in Pakistan

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This is a list of capital cities, including the legislature or seat of government, of Pakistan and its current and former provinces, territories, and states.

National capital[edit]

Islamabad officially became the capital of Pakistan on 14 August 1967, exactly 20 years after the country's independence.[1] Previously, Rawalpindi was the capital, designated in 1958.[1] The first capital of Pakistan was the coastal city of Karachi, which was selected by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. [1] Karachi was and still is the largest city and economic capital of Pakistan. It remained the seat of government until 1959, when the military president, Ayub Khan, decided to build a new capital in the north of Pakistan, near the general headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces at Rawalpindi.

The legislature was based in Dacca in the province of East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan).

The reasons for relocating the capital from Karachi are that it would reflect the diversity of the Pakistani people, it would be separated from the business and commercial activity of Karachi, and also it would be easily accessible from all parts of the country.[2] The move to Islamabad was not completed until the late 1960s and for some years several government ministries were based in nearby Rawalpindi.

Regional capitals[edit]

The capitals of the provinces and territories of Pakistan have remained the same since the 1970s when the current administrative structure was established. All four provincial capitals are the largest cities of their respective provinces.Pakistan has a total population of 197,361,691 according to 2011 census estimate.[3]

Subdivision[4] Status Capital[5] Population
(1998 census)[6]
(2011 estimate)[7]
Azad Jammu and Kashmir Autonomous Province Muzaffarabad 725,000 960,000
Balochistan Province Quetta 565,137 1,162,222
Federally Administered Tribal Areas[8] Federal territory 2,746,490 4,452,913
Gilgit–Baltistan[9] Autonomous Province Gilgit 216,760 548,588
Islamabad Capital Territory Federal territory Islamabad 529,180 1,151,868
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Peshawar 943,645 26,896,829
Punjab Province Lahore 5,143,495 91,379,615
Sindh Province Karachi 9,339,023 55,245,497

Former provincial capitals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McGarr, Paul (2013). The Cold War in South Asia: Britain, the United States and the Indian Subcontinent, 1945-1965. Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ "History of Islamabad". Capital Development Authority. Archived from the original on 2016-05-12. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
    linked from "Visit Islamabad: Islamabad the beautiful". Capital Development Authority. Archived from the original on 2014-10-12. 
  3. ^ Population shoots up by 47 percent since 1998
  4. ^ "The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan". National Reconstruction Bureau, Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  5. ^ Gwillim Law. "Pakistan Provinces". Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  6. ^ "Population size and growth of major cities". Population Census Organization, Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  7. ^ Stefan Helders. "Pakistan - largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  8. ^ "Administrative system". Government of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  9. ^ "Kashmir and Northern Areas Division". Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 

External links[edit]