District Overview

Rawalpindi district is a district of Pakistan in the north of the Punjab province which contains the city of Rawalpindi. The district has an area of 5,286 sq km (2,041 sq mi). It was part of Rawalpindi division, until the year 2000 when the division was abolished. It is situated on the southern slopes of the north-western extremities of the Himalayas, including large mountain tracts with rich valleys traversed by mountain rivers.It contains the Murree hills and the sanatorium of the same name, the chief hill station in the Punjab. The chief rivers are the Indus and the Jhelum, and the climate is noted for its health benefits.


According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, the population of the district was 3,363,911 of which 53.03% were urban, and is the second-most urbanised district in Punjab. The population was estimated to be 4.5 million in 2010.

The main tribes of the district are the Rajputs, Syed, Khattar, Dar, Gakhars, Janjuas, Awans, Gujjars, Jats, Kassar, Sheikh (Caste), Abbasi, Khawaja, Bhatti, Chauhan, Mir, Butt, Lone,Waini/Wain, Mughals, Qureshi (Caste), Rawal, Arain and Sattis.


As per the 1998 census of Pakistan, the following are the demographics of the Rawalpindi district, by spoken language:

  • Punjabi language: 90%
  • Other: 10%

Inhabitants of Rawalpindi district speak a great variety of Punjabi dialects, which are:

  • Pothohari (Tehsils of Gujar khan, Potohar Town & Kallar syedan)
  • Pahari (Tehsil Muree, Kotli Sattian & people of AJK living in the district)
  • Majhi or Standard (Tehsil Rawal town & in cities)
  • Chhachi (A variety of hindko spoken in Tehsil Taxila)
  • Ghebi (South western border areas to Attock district)
  • Dhani (Southern borders near district Chakwal)
  • Shapuri (People of Sargodha division living in the district)

Other Languages include:

  • Urdu is the mother tongue of few people, but being the national language is spoken and understood by a sizeable population.
  • English is also understood and spoken by the sizeable educated elite.
  • Pashto which is also spoken by sizeable population in the Rawalpindi city.
  • Minority Languages spoken in Rawalpindi city being languages of different parts of Pakistan and Afghanistani refugees (Kashmiri, Shina, Balti, Khower, Burshiski, Gujri, Hindko, Ladakhi, Hazargi, Tajik, Sindhi, Saraiki, Baluchi, Brahwi).


Ancient history

In ancient times the whole or the greater part of the area between the Indus and the Jhelum seems to have belonged to a Naga tribe called Takshakas, who gave their name to the city of Takshasila. Known as Taxila by the Greek historians, the location of the ancient city has been identified to be in the ruins of Shahdheri in the north-west corner of the district. At the time of Alexander's invasion Taxila was described by Arrian as a flourishing city, the greatest indeed between the Indus and the Hydaspes; Strabo adds that the neighbouring country was crowded with inhabitants and very fertile; and Pliny speaks of it as a famous city situated in a district called Amanda. The invasion of Demetrius in 195 B.C. brought the Punjab under the Graeco-Bactrian kings. Later they were superseded by the Sakas, who ruled at Taxila with the title of Satrap. At the time of Hiuen Tsiang the country was a dependency of Kashmir.

Rawalpindi district was agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture that invaded from Central Asia and settled in Punjab region. The Kambojas, Daradas,Kaikayas, Madras, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas and Kurus invaded, settled and ruled ancient Punjab region. After overrunning the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BCE, Alexander marched into present-day Punjab region with an army of 50,000. The Rawalpindi was ruled by Maurya Empire, Indo-Greek kingdom, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, White Huns,Kushano-Hephthalites and Shahi kingdoms.


In 997 CE, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, took over the Ghaznavid dynasty empire established by his father, Sultan Sebuktegin, In 1005 he conquered the Shahis in Kabul in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of northern Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslimdue to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region.

Mughal era

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi passed through the district after his defeat of Anand Pal and capture of Ohind. The Gakhars, a tribe still of importance within the district trace their origins back to Mahmud of Ghanzi. The first mention of the Gakhars occurs in the memoirs of Babar, who gives an interesting account of the capture of their capital, Paralah. It was strongly situated in the hills, and was defended with great bravery by its chief Hati Khan, who escaped from one gate as the Mughal army marched in at the other. Hati Khan died by poison in 1525 ; his cousin and murderer Sultan Sarang then submitted to Babar, who conferred on him the area of Potwar. From that time on the Gakhar chieftains remained firm allies of the Mughal dynasty, and provided significant aid to the Mughal in their struggle against the house of Sher Shah. Salim Shah attempted in vain to subdue their country.

In 1553 Adam Khan, Sarang's successor, surrendered the rebel prince Kamran to Humayun. Adam Khan was subsequently deposed by Akbar, and his principality given over to his nephew Kamal Khan. During the height of the Mughal empire, the family of Sarang retained its territorial possessions. Its last and Gakhars chief, Mukarrab Khan, ruled over a kingdom which extended from the Chenab to the Indus.

Sikh era

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikh Empire came to power.

British era

In 1849 Rawalpindi passed with the rest of the Sikh dominions under British rule; and though tranquillity was disturbed by an insurrection four years later, led by a Gakhar chief with the object of placing a pretended son of Ranjit Singh on the throne, its administration was generally peaceful until the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857. The Dhunds and other tribes of the Murree Hills, incited by Hindustani agents, rose in insurrection, and the authorities received information from a faithful native of a projected attack upon the station of Murree in time to organise measures for defence. The women near the station, who were present in large numbers, were placed in safety, while the Europeans and police were drawn up in a cordon round the station. The rebels arrived expecting no resistance, but were met with organised resistance and were repelled.

The district of Rawalpindi was created during British rule as part of Punjab province. The district obtained its current boundaries in 1904 when Attock district was created as a separate district. According to the 1901 census of India the population in 1901 was 558,699, an increase of 4.7% from 1891.During the period of British rule, Rawalpindi district increased in population and importance.


The town dwindled in importance during the British Raj. The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim Leagueand Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to Indiawhile the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Rawalpindi district.

Climate and Geography

The climate and geography of the city varies a lot due to changes in elevation and location. The highest elevation is 9210 feet close to Dunga Gali and in the south is as low as 1100 feet. The climate in the mountains is subtropical highland climate, while low lying areas have a humid subtropical climate.


The principal crops were wheat, barley, maize, millets, and pulses. The district was traversed by the main line of the North-Western railway, crossing the Indus at Attock and also by a branch towards the Indus at Kushalgarh.


Administrative subdivisions of Rawalpindi district is divided into seven tehsils:

  • Gujar Khan
  • Kahuta
  • Kallar Syedan
  • Kotli Sattian
  • Murree
  • Rawalpindi Tehsil
  • Taxila

Kallar Syedan became the seventh Tehsil of Rawalpindi district on 1 July 2007; prior to this date it was part of Kahuta Tehsil.


Kahuta Tehsil  is one of the seven Tehsils (subdivisions) of Rawalpindi district. The tehsil is administratively divided into 13 Union Councils, two of which form the city of Kahuta. Kahuta is a scenic place, of many mountain ranges, panoramic views, snow-capped mountains, forests, rivers and a cool climate, cold winters, wildlife, and tribes of people living off the land, keeping livestock. According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, Kahuta has a total population of 153,000.

Gujar Khan

Gujar Khan is located in the heart of the Potohar region and is also called the land of Shaheed. The region has produced people from all walks of life. Two recipients of Nishan-i-Haider came from Gujar Khan. The area is notable for producing many top Military professionals as well. See also famous personalities of Gujar Khan. Gujar Khan is largest subdivision in Pakistan. Gujar Khan Have Most old Town, Gulyana, Kauntrila, sukho, daultala, jatli, Sasral Garmala etc.


Taxila is famous for UET Taxila, and the historic Taxila Museum.


In the North of Rawalpindi district, where the Punjab meets the North-West Frontier Province is the city of Murree, Murree is one of the hill stations that was established during the British Raj. It is located in the Pir Panjal Range, some 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Islamabad and Rawalpindi via the Benazir Bhutto Road.

Kallar Syedan

Kallar Syedan became the seventh Tehsil of Rawalpindi in 2007, a very promising area with people of all tribes residing there including Syed, Raja, Bhatti, Abbasi, Awan, Jatt, Chaudary, Rajputs, Kashmiri Butt & Dhar and many others. During the building of the Mangla Dam many of the inhabitants of the surrounding areas of the Mangla Dam migrated in Kallar Syedan, making Kallar the hot spot of new technological developments.

Notable People

  • Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  • Ghulam Sarwar Khan current Federal Minister for Petroleum.
  • Sheikh Rashid Ahmad MNA & current Federal Minister for Railways.
  • Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Former Interior minister of Pakistan.
  • Gen. Tikka Khan, Former Chief of the Army Staff (1972–1976), Governor of East Pakistan(1971), Governor of Punjab (1988–1990)
  • Muhammad Basharat Raja current Provincial Minister of Punjab for Law and Parliamentary Affairs.
  • Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Former Chief of the Army Staff (2007–2013)
  • Shoaib Akhtar former Pakistan Cricket Team player and World's Fastest Bowler.
  • Sohail Tanvir, Pakistan Cricket Team player
  • Gen. Zaheerul Islam (Former DG ISI)
  • Azhar Mahmood (Cricketer)
  • Yasir Arafat Satti {Cricketer}