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Sialkot

Sialkot
سیالکوٹ
 General Information
 Country Flag of Pakistan Pakistan
 Province Punjab
 District
 Coordinates 32°30′19″N 74°32′03″E / 32.50528°N 74.53417°E / 32.50528; 74.53417
 Elevation 256 m (840 ft) AMSL
 Area 3,016 km2 (1,164 sq mi)
 Calling code 052
 Time zone PST (UTC+5)
 No. of Towns
 Population 0.7 Million (2008)
 Density 1,160/km˛ (3,004/sq mi)
 Government
 Nazim (Mayor) Muhammad Akmal Cheema
 No. of Union Councils 106
 Emblem
 City Flag
 Location
  
Sialkot Government Website

Sialkot (Punjabi, Urdu: سیالکوٹ) is a city situated in the north-east of the Punjab province in Pakistan at the feet of the snow-covered peaks of Kashmir near the Chenab river. It is the capital of Sialkot District and, formerly, it has been the winter-capital of the State of Kashmir. The city is about 125 km (78 mi) north-west of Lahore and only a few kilometres from Jammu in India. The recorded history of Sialkot covers thousands of years. It has, since its creation, changed hands from Greek, Persian, Afghan, Muslim, Punjabi Sikh and British rule to that of present day Pakistan.

Contents

[edit] History

There are various sources tracing the origins of the city of Sialkot but the authenticity of many of these sources varies. The less-reliable historical sources about the origins of the city have been derived from oral traditions based on ancient local beliefs which, most historians concur, are full of inaccuracies, concocted legends and erroneous facts and pertain to the Vedic scriptures which give a description of the ancient city. These are, nonetheless, stated here. More reliable and validated historical references relating to the city date back to 327 BC in which it has been stated that the city is of Persian and/or Greek origin. Excavations throughout the area have revealed large amounts of Greek coins, ancient Zoroastrian temples and several Buddhist stupas. The antiquities of Sialkot have also been discussed by Sir Alexander Cunningham in his Archaeological Survey Reports, II, 21, 22, and XIV, 44 to 47.

[edit] Vedic Era

According to vedic and other mythological scriptures, Siálkot is believed to have been founded by Raja Sul or (Shalya), emperor of Madradesa and brother of Madri, second wife of emperor Pandu and mother to Nakul and Sahadeva. He was the uncle of the Pandavas, whose heroic deeds are recorded in the epic Mahábhárta. After his death, some 5000 years ago, there is a tradition that the dynasty continued for some 1500 years. The seasonal stream, known as the Aik Nala, that still flows through the city, has been mentioned in the Upanishads. In the late Vedic period (c. 1500 - c. 200 B.C.), Sákala (Siálkot) was the capital of the Madras (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad). Sákaladvipa (island of Sákala) was the name of the doáb (land lying between two rivers) between Chandrabhága (Chenab) and Irávati (Ravi). In those early days, Sákala was studded with thick forests and inhabited by a pastoral race called Yahars or Yirs.

[edit] Persian-Greek Era

According to the Greek historical texts which bring mention of the city of Sialkot dating back to before 327 BC when the city was known as Sagala, it represented the eastern-most outpost and expansion of the Hellenic Empire created by Alexander the Great which has been cross-correlated to ancient Greek maps of the era and several monuments found in the Sialkot District. The Greek historians state that the city was one of the most productive silk regions of the Achaemenid Empire. Punjab had earned a reputation of being one of the richest satrapy (province), beside Gandhara, of the then Persian Empire. Sákala or Sagala was the capital, or one of the capitals, of the Indo-Greek Kingdom which broke-away from the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom during the Euthydemid Dynasty, and the residence of Menander I (Milinda) during his reign between 160 and 135 BC. Shun and Dall were two of the most powerful tribes in Sialkot.

the Indo-Greek king, Menander, ruled in Sialkot during the 2nd century

[edit] Scythian-Hun Era

According to Punjabi folk-lore, the early history of Sialkot is closely interwoven with the traditions of Raja (King) Sáliváhan, his son, Raja Rasálu, and his foe, Raja Húdi. A popular belief is that the city was re-founded by Raja Sáliváhan or Sálbán when it became a part of Kashmir under King Sama Dutt. Raja Sáliváhan built a fort (Sialkot Fort)and the city and gave the place its present name. He was of Sia caste (a Jat clan of Scythian origins), and it is believed that the word "Sialkot" means the 'fort of the Sia'. Legend also says that Raja Sáliváhan had two sons: Puran and Rasalu. Puran got punished by his father, Raja Sáliváhan, due the to actions of a wicked stepmother and thrown into a well, still the resort of pilgrims near Sialkot, called "Puran di Khui", (Puran's Well). A mohalla (town) in the city is also named "Puran Nagar". The other son of Raja Sáliváhan, Rasalu, became Raja after the death of Raja Sáliváhan. Attacks from the neighbouring Raja of Jhelum ruined the city. Raja Rasalu got involved in wars with Raja Hudi, popularly stated to have been a Gakkhar chieftain. Being worsted in battle, Rasalu, as the price for peace, was forced to give his daughter in marriage to his conqueror, who gave the territory he had conquered to Rasalu's adopted son. After Rasalu’s death in 400 AD, there are no significant accounts of Sialkot for the next 300 years in the known history except that, after the invasion of the Húnas (Huns or Hephthalites) in the last quarter of the 5th century AD, it became the capital of Toramána and his son Mihirakula until he was defeated by a native Indian Prince, Yasodharman.

Sealkote Fort, 1862 sketch by A. H. Hope Wedderburn (1823-1900)

[edit] Muslim-Mughal Era

Sialkot became a part of the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi when the Afghan noble Shahab-ud-Din Muhammad Ghauri conquered Punjab in 1185. He was unable to conquer Lahore but left a garrison in Sialkot. Later, Sultan Khusro Malik tried to capture the city but failed to do so. Sialkot then became a part of the Muslim Mughal Empire which was of Central Asian origin. The Mughal commander, Usman Ghani Raza, advanced towards Delhi by way of Sialkot which capitulated to his armies.

In 'Babur Nama', Zaheer-ud-Din Muhammad Babur records:

29th December: We dismounted at Sialkot. If one goes into Hindustan, the Jats and Gujars always pour down in countless hordes from hill and plain for loot in bullock and buffalo. These ill-omened peoples are sensless oppressors! Previously, their deeds did not concern us because the territory was an enemy's. But they did the same sensless deeds after we had captured it. When we reached Sialkot, they swooped on the poor and needy folk who were coming out of the town to our camp, and stripped them bare. I had the witless brigands apprehended, and ordered a few of them to be cut to pieces. [1]

During the era of the Mughal Emperor, Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, the present district of Sialkot formed a part of the Rachna-Bar Sarkar of the Lahore province. Under the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Shahab-ud-Din Muhammad Shah Jahan, Ali Mardan Khan held the charge of Sialkot.

[edit] Afghan-Pashtun Era

At the end of the Mughal dynasty, the suburbs and the outlying districts and areas of Sialkot were left to themselves. Sialkot itself was appropriated by a powerful family of Pashtuns from Multan, Afghanistan and Swat, the Kakazai and another family from Quetta. In 1748, the four districts of Gujrat, Sialkot, Pasrur and Daska were given to the Afghan Pashtun ruler, Ahmed Shah Durrani and the area was amalgamated into the Afghan empire. After 1751, Ahmed Shah Durrani left his son, Taimur, to rule Lahore and these districts. During that time, Raja Ranjit Deo of Jammu expanded his domination over the peripheral areas, but the city of Sialkot was not included in it. Afterwards, the city was held strongly by a Pashtun clans till the occupation of the Sikhs who ruled for a period of about 40 years followed by the British. The Pashtun presence is still considerable to this day and continues to attract newer Pashtun migrants and workers from Pakistan's tribal areas.

[edit] Sikh-British Era

During the decline of the Durrani regime, Sialkot was occupied from the Pashtuns by the Sikhs and, thus, began the rise of their short-lived empire. Between 1797 to 1810, Maharaja Ranjit Singh occupied Sialkot. The Sikh Empire extended from Peshawar in the west, to Kashmir in the north (touching) the borders of Tibet, to the Indus river in the south near Multan and, in the east, to the modern-day Tibet (autonomous region in China). Ranjit Singh and his Sikh generals were capable of conquering such a great expanse of land for many reasons, varying from their European-trained army, Sikh rules of discipline, their modern European weaponry, modern British maps and the presence of ex-European mercernaries in the Sikh armed forces. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the British officers were appointed in Sialkot. Sialkot was annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849. The British laid the foundation of the Sialkot cantonment in 1849 which was completed in 1852. For establishing the Sialkot cantonment, the British Commander-in-Chief, Sir Lord Napier, surveyed and selected the area between the seasonal streams, Bher Nala and Palkhu Nala, from the point of view of defence. The Area Command laid its foundation in 1852 under the leadership of Major-General Angulas. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 it was the scene of heavy fighting, and the Sialkot Fort was used by the Europeans for protection. The native troops plundered the treasury and destroyed all the records.

Murray College, Sialkot was established in 1889. The railway branch from Wazirabad to Sialkot was extended to Jammu in 1890. The Sialkot-Narowal railway line was opened in 1915.

[edit] Pakistan Movement

The city played an important role during the Pakistan Movement. The national poet of Pakistan who spearheaded the movement for an independent country, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal was born in Sialkot in 1877. In May 1944, the historic Sialkot Convention was held here. This convention is widely regarded as the landmark event which catapulted the All India Muslim League into prominence in the British-Indian Punjab. This convention was host to such Muslim League luminaries as Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Malhi, ( M. Inayat Ullah Choudhary) Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din, Sardar Abd-ur-Rab Nishtar, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan Daultana, Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Khan Mamdot and Maulvi Tamiz-ud-Din.

[edit] Modern Era

Battle of Chawinda was the biggest tank battle since the Battle of Kursk in World War II

After the formation of Pakistan in 1947, thousands of Muslims from Pathankot and Gurdaspur and from other parts of East Punjab came to Sialkot as refugees and settled here. Earlier, the Muslim residents of Gurdaspur had believed that the entire district, which had a Muslim majority, was to be allocated to Pakistan. However, at the time of partition of India, the British, in a highly controversial decision, allocated the district to India, to grant it access to the land route to the Princely State of Kashmir. Most of these refugees have since settled and inter-married into the local population. Ever since, Sialkot has gradually become one of the major industrial centres of Pakistan and is well-known for its manufacture and export of surgical instruments, musical instruments, sports goods, leather goods, textile products and other light manufactures.

During the Second Kashmir War in 1965, the Lahore-Sialkot region was attacked by the Indian Army which, despite overwhelming numerical superiority managed only to capture some outlying areas in the sector. The people of Sialkot came out in full force to support the troops of the Pakistan Army to repel the invasion by India.[2] In fact, the armoured battles in the Sialkot sector (especially, the Battle of Chawinda), in 1965, were the most intense since the Second World War.[3] In 1966, the Government of Pakistan awarded the Hilal-i-Istaqlal to the citizens of Sialkot, Lahore and Sargodha for their courage and bravery during the 1965 war between Pakistan and India.

Again, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the region witnessed bitter battles, most importantly, the Battle of Basantar in the Sialkot-Shakar Garh area. The major Indian counter-offensive came in this area where, two large Pakistani tank regiments, equipped with the Patton tanks defended the region despite being outnumbered by the Indian First Armoured Corps, which was equipped with the British Centurion tanks.

[edit] Geography and Climate

Lying between 32°30′ North latitude and 74°31′ East longitude at an altitude of 256 m above sea level, Sialkot is bounded on the north by Jammu, north-west by Gujrat, on the west by Gujranwala and on the south by Narowal. The Chenab river flows to the north of Sialkot. There are three small seasonal streams flowing through the city, Aik, Bher and Palkhu.

Sialkot is cold during winters and hot and humid during summers. May and June are the hottest months. The temperature during winter may drop to 0°C. The land is, generally, plain and fertile. Most of the rain falls during the Monsoon season in summer which often results in flooding. Sialkot has one of the most modern weather forecasting and flood warning centres in the country, which is fully equipped to record and transfer data to and from the relevant concerns. This facility is equpped with a radar and is internationally linked.

 Weather averages for Sialkot, Pakistan 
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18
(64)
21
(69)
26
(78)
33
(91)
39
(102)
40
(104)
35
(95)
33
(91)
34
(93)
32
(89)
26
(78)
20
(68)
29
(84)
Average low °C (°F) 5
(41)
8
(46)
12
(53)
18
(64)
23
(73)
26
(78)
26
(78)
25
(77)
23
(73)
17
(62)
10
(50)
5
(41)
16
(60)
Precipitation cm (inches) 4.1
(1.6)
4
(1.6)
4.4
(1.7)
2.1
(0.8)
1.7
(0.7)
6.8
(2.7)
27.1
(10.7)
25.6
(10.1)
13.2
(5.2)
1.4
(0.6)
1.1
(0.4)
2.1
(0.8)
93.6
(36.8)
Source: Weatherbase[4] March 2008

[edit] Government

The Sialkot District Government is headed by the District Administrator who is assisted by the Deputy Administrator who is also Speaker of the District Council. The District Administrator is elected by the Administrators of the Union Councils and Union Councillors who, themselves, are elected directly by the votes of the local public. There are 106 Union Councils in District Sialkot. The District Administrator is assisted by the District Coordination Officer (DCO) and the District Police Officer (DPO). All the Departments are grouped and placed under the Executive District Officers, of various Departments, including Health, Finance, Revenue, Industry, Agriculture, Education, Law, Literacy, IT, Community Development, Transport, etc. who are subordinate to the DCO. The city is managed by the Tehsil Municipal Administration which is headed by a Tehsil Administrator. The Sialkot Cantonment is managed by Sialkot Cantonment Board.

[edit] Demography

Sialkot (district) has a diverse population of 3,500,000 which mainly consists of Punjabis, Kashmiris and Pashtuns. The population of the Sialkot city (proper) is about 502,721[5]. Population Density is 1160/km. Population Growth Rate is very low as compared to other urban areas of Pakistan. In 1947, Sialkot was the 6th largest city[citation needed] in Pakistan (150,000) and in 2009, it is the 13th largest. Major clans are Jatt, Arain, Rajput, Chughtai, Awan, Kakazai, Butt, Mir, Sharif, Sheikh, Gujar, Pathan (Pashtun origin), Mughal and Qureshi. Literacy rate is among the highest in Pakistan. In urban areas, it is 73% and in rural areas, it is 54%. Employment in agriculture is only 19.5% and 32% in elementary occupations. 95% of the population have electricity and 96% have the water facility. Sialkot has also attracted many labourers and other entrepreneurs many of whom hail from Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), notably from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies who have set up vibrant business throughout the area.

[edit] Economy and Industry

Football Industry
Surgical Instruments made in Sialkot

Sialkot is the third largest economic hub in Punjab after Lahore and Faisalabad. It is commercially linked with the Lahore Stock Exchange through its Sialkot branch, known as the Sialkot Trading Floor (STF). The State Bank of Pakistan and the Export Promotion Bureau of Pakistan have branch offices in Sialkot. After Karachi, Sialkot is Pakistan's second largest source of foreign exchange earnings through its exports and remittances from the overseas manpower. For the past several decades, the manufacturers and exporters of the city have been awarded the annual National Exports Award by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Sialkot has an Industrial Estate and an Export Processing Zone. Another Export Processing Zone is planned along the Sialkot Lahore Motorway. The per capita income of Sialkot is ranked among the highest in Pakistan.

The history of industrialisation of Sialkot is very old. The Damascene craftsmen of Sialkot (koftgars or koftars) were famous during the Mughal era for their fine swords and daggers[citation needed]. Papermaking in Sialkot dates back to the time of the Mughal Emperor Akbar which was famous all over the world. Brick making was another historic skill of the people of the Sialkot and those bricks were known as the "Sialkoti Bricks" throughout South Asia. Most of the states in the South Asian region relied on the slender but strong Sialkoti brickslanateer for the erection of forts, castles, monuments, public buildings, infrastructure construction, etc[citation needed].

Nowadays, Sialkot is famous all over the world because of its Sports Equipment and Surgical Instruments manufacturing industry. According to a legend, the sport goods industry got its start in Sialkot when a British man broke his tennis racquet and, since an immediate replacement was not possible, he asked a local craftsman to repair it. The man did a perfect job and the sports goods manufacturing industry took root in Sialkot. The recorded history of the industry goes back to 1895 when the city started becoming famous for its tennis racquets. By 1903, cricket bats were being crafted from imported English willow and exported to different parts of South Asia and beyond. In 1922, a local manufacturer was awarded the British Empire Export Award for supplying footballs to the British Army. Over the years the industry grew to include a variety of wood and leather-based sports equipment, and diversified into related industries such as cricket balls, volleyballs, field hockey sticks, polo sticks, recreational fishing equipment, sports apparel and horse riding equipment and even the Scottish bagpipes. The most successful sports manufacturing firms now have international collaborations with the well-known sports brands like Adidas (Germany), Puma (Germany), Nike (USA), Dita (UK), Mikasa (Japan) and Slazenger (UK). In the recent past, however, lack of modernisation and allegations of child labour usage have resulted in a loss of market share to the new entrants in the business like Thailand, Korea and China. The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry has now almost controlled the incidents of child labour usage within the industry with the collaboration of the United Nations (ILO). Most of the companies have adopted the ISO standards. Sialkot Surgical Instruments

As with the industrial clusters elsewhere in the world, the birth of Sialkot’s surgical industry can partly be explained by what U.S. economist Paul Krugman calls an "historic accident." In 1905, some broken surgical equipment at the American Mission Hospital in Sialkot afforded a chance for Sialkot craftsmen to adopt their skills. Encouraged by the hospital staff, they gradually started manufacturing replicas of originals. Orders were received from other mission hospitals in British India. By 1920, Sialkot was exporting to all parts of the British empire including Afghanistan and Egypt and was later selected for supplying surgical instruments for the Allied forces in World War II. The Metal Industries Development Centre (MIDC) was established in 1942 to act as a supply and inspection agency for the Allied forces. Although the surgical instruments manufacturing factories were mostly owned by Hindus, the craftsmen were mostly Muslim and the industry was not affected by the partition of British India. At present, the surgical instruments manufacturing industry in Sialkot is one of the world's largest surgical instruments manufacturing industrial clusters second only to Tuttlingen, Germany. However, the quality of workmanship and raw materials are the issues that have been hindering the progress of this niche industry which is also likely to face increasing pressures from the rapid advances in the field of surgery. During last three decades, manufacture and export of veterinary instruments has also emerged very prominently here. During the colonial era British India's first bagpipe works opened in the city, today there are 20 pipe bands in the city and business for bagpipe makers good.[6] Other important industries in Sialkot include Leather Tanneries, Leather Garments, Musical Instruments, Sportswear included Martial arts wear , Gloves, Badges, Seat and Walking Sticks, Cutlery, Hunting Knives, Air Guns and Shotguns. These are all export-oriented businesses and fetch billions of dollars every year in foreign exchange. There are several other allied industries which are working day and night as vendors of the automobile industry of Pakistan. Sialkot has a rich tradition of producing wooden and steel furniture, rubber products, cooking utensils, bicycles, their tyres and tubes and shoes[citation needed].

[edit] Important Personalities

Sialkot is a city of writers and poets. Sialkot is also the birthplace of the Muslim philosopher, scholar and poet, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, as well as the famous Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, another famous poet and writer, was born at Kot Mehrath, Sialkot.

Amjad Islam Amjad the famous Urdu poet and lyricist was born at Sialkot. Professor Rajinder Singh Bedi, a famous Urdu writer, was also born at Sialkot. Narendra Kohli, who is one of the most prominent Hindi language authors of modern times, belongs to Sialkot as well. Zulfikar Ghose, famous English writer, was born at Sialkot. The famous Indian journalist, Kuldip Nayyar, was also born at Sialkot. In journalism, Khalid Hasan, Professor Waris Mir and his son, Hamid Mir, Jawed Iqbal, and Mumtaz Hamid Rao are notable. The famous Indian politician and twice Prime Minister of India, Gulzari Lal Nanda, also belonged from Sialkot. The eminent orator of Pakistan Syed Faiz-ul Hassan Shah belonged from Sialkot. Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi was born at Sialkot. Famous religious scholar and politician Ehsan Elahi Zaheer was also from Sialkot.Khawaja Muhammad Safdar a former acting President of Pakistan and Chairman of the Majlis-e-Shoora also hails from Sialkot. His son, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, is a well-known and seasoned politician of Pakistan who presently represents Sialkot in the Pakistan National Assembly. He was a minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources in the last democratically-elected parliament. Former Speaker of the National Assembly, and Acting President, Chaudhry Amir Hussain and the Interior minister Rehman Malik also hail from Sialkot. The famous Bollywood hero Rajendra Kumar, Chaudhry Mohammad Umair and the veteran actor A. K. Hangal were also born at Sialkot. Ghulam Ali, the famous Ghazal singer and Ustad Allah Rakha, the famous Sarangi Nawaz are also from Sialkot. Umera Ahmed, an Urdu novelist and screenplay writer who is mostly popular for writing 'Peer-e-Kamil' is also from Sialkot. Sialkot is not only famous and internationally recognised for its sports industry, but also for the world-famous sports legends like the Pakistan National Cricket players, Ijaz Butt, (Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board), Zaheer Abbas, Ijaz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Mansoor Amjad, Zahid Fazal, Abdur Rehman, Abbas Khan (Finnish National Cricket player) and Jawaid Iqbal (Hong Kong National Cricket player) were also born at Sialkot. The captains and players of the Pakistani National Hockey team including Shahnaz Sheikh, Manzoor Hussain Jr., Nasir Ali, Asif Bajwa, (Secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation), Tariq Sheikh, Zahid Sheikh, Muhammad Waqas Sharif, Mahmood Hussain, Maqsood Hussain, Munir Bhatti and Kamran Ashraf also hail from this city. Chacha Cricket, a world-known cricket fan, also belongs to Sialkot. In the Civil Service of Pakistan, a few names distinguishably surface which belong to Sialkot. These include Ejaz Naik, Ex. Secretary of Commerce; Niaz Naik, Ex. Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Ex. Riaz Naik, Chairman CBR and Shoaib Sadal, Diector General Intelligence Bureau (IB).

[edit] Important Sites

Map of Sialkot City

The old city has a fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and crowded bazaars. In the old part of the city is located the shrine of Hazrat Imam Ali-ul-Haq also known as Imam Sahib. The mausoleum complex is a maze of narrow corridors leading to several shrines of saints. The tomb of Imam Ali-ul-Haq is to the right, through a mirrored gateway tiled with Koranic inscriptions and geometric designs. Seerat Study Center is situated at the southern edge of the Khayaban-I-Iqbal (Company Bagh) on Ghazi Road. It is world renonwed center for conducing research on the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. On a low hill in the centre of the old city are the few remains of the Sialkot Fort. It is one of the oldest forts in Pakistan established around the 2nd century AD. The shrine of the saint Muradia Shah is also on the Fort. Puran's Well is a famous historical site located just outside the city of Sialkot. According to Mutiny in Sialkot there were remains of Puran's tomb extant in 1857, but now there is no tomb except for a small building, a small place for worship and a running well.

Also of interest is the birth place of Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) which has been turned into a small museum containing some of his personal belongings and a library and named as Iqbal Manzil (Iqbal House). The most famous square of Sialkot city is Allama Iqbal Chowk. Here, the famous Shaheen monument has been erected to pay tributes to Dr. Muhammad Iqbal. Near the Allama Iqbal Chowk is located the biggest grand mosque of the city, Jamia Masjid Donga Bagh. One of its three minarets is the tallest land mark in Sialkot. Other places of interest include the tombs of the great Muslim scholars, Mullah Abdul Hakim Sialkoti near Abdul Hakim Park, Hakim Khadim Ali on Khadim Ali Road and Hafiz Muhammad Alam, near Do Darwaza (the name of one of the gates of the once walled city).

On Zafarwal Road is located a famous Sikh Gurdwara Beri Sahib. Every year, many Sikh pilgrims come to visit here. Located in the cantonment area is the famous Holy Trinity Cathedral Church also known as the Sialkot Cathedral which was built in 1852. In Saddar Bazar is located the famous Clock Tower which is more than a century old. The Connelley Park (named after a British Deputy Commissioner of Sialkot), was converted to Jinnah Stadium in 1979. The Jinnah Stadium has one of the fastest cricket pitches in Pakistan. Close to Jinnah Stadium is located the famous Murray College which was established in 1889. Its alumni include Dr Muhammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Sialkot has two main parks, Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park on Parsur Road and Garrison Park on Kashmir Road. More than a century old Company Garden is located on Ghazanvi Road in the Sialkot cantonment. Some of the other famous and historic places are the Talab Maula Bakhush and Ram Talai. Talab Maula Bakhush is the place where, in May 1944, the historic Sialkot Convention of the All India Muslim League was held. It was also attended by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. Both sites have been converted to mini stadiums for traditional Wrestling (Kabadi) and Vollyball matches and also for political rallies.

There are several famous squares in the city as Beri Wala Chowk, Rang Pura Chowk, Dara-Araian, Imam Sahib Chowk, Shahab Pura Chowk, Sublime Chowk, and Anwar Khawaja Chowk. Famous markets (bazaars) are Bazar Kalan, Trunk Bazar, Tehsil Bazar, Lahai Bazar and Saddar Bazar. The Sialkot Railway Station, is situated on the Railway Road near the Iqbal Chowk. On the Paris Road is located the American Christian Mission Hospital which was established in 1880. Also located there is the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the branches of many multi-national banks.

Marala Headworks is located on the Chenab river about 20 km from Sialkot. Two major water canals originate at the Marala Headworks - the Marala-Ravi Link Canal and the Upper Chenab Canal. Planning of the Mangla-Marala Link Canal is in the pipeline. The area around the Marala Headworks lake is also a picnic spot. The Bajwat Wildlife Sanctuary includes a complex of natural riverine habitats along the Chenab river and two of its tributaries, extending up to the border with India with a total area of 5400 hectares providing protection to waterfowl, as well as a variety of mammals including Hog Deer and Nilgai.

[edit] Transport

Daewoo Coach Station

Sialkot International Airport is the first-ever private-sector airport of Pakistan managed by the SIAL consortium. It is located near Sambrial and is noted for having the longest runway in Pakistan. Direct flights are available from Sialkot International Airport to Karachi, Islamabad, Abu Dhabi Sharjha & Behrain, Muscat Kuwait and Dubai. Pakistan International Airlines has plans to start non-stop flights from Sialkot to Manchester and LondonHajj flights will starting from the Sialkot International Airport in this year 2009. Emirates is also expected to start flights in mid 2008 to Dubai. Airblue will operate on domestic routes to Islamabad, Multan and Karachi in mid 2008.

A small Sialkot Cantonment Airport, located in the Sialkot Cantonment, is in use of the aviation wing of the Pakistan Army. This airport has also been used as a public airport by PIA for operating a Helicopter service from Sialkot to Islamabad in 1995-1996.

Sialkot Dry Port carries the honor of being the first-ever private-sector dry port in Asia. It was established in 1986 near Sambrial, about 20 km from the Sialkot city under the control of the Sialkot Dry Port Trust.

Sialkot is served by Pakistan Railways through the Sialkot Junction. Sialkot used to be a junction in the British era with trains leaving for Jammu and Gurdaspur. Plans are under consideration to open the border for an international train between Sialkot and Jammu. Express trains to and from Narowal, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Karachi are available daily. The Railway station is situated in the center of the city. Other suburban train stations are Ugoki and Sambrial.

Sialkot is about two hours from Lahore and four hours from Islamabad.Sialkot is linked with the National Highway N-5 through Gujranwala and Wazirabad. A dual carriage-way is available between Sialkot and Wazirabad. A new bridge on the Chenab river, called the Shahbazpur bridge, is under construction these days which is located to the north-east of Gujrat. Once completed, it will connect Sialkot to N-5 at Gujrat. The Sialkot Lahore Motorway (M-11) is also under construction. All the bus and commuter coach stations are located on the Jail Road. A bus service operated by Daewoo is available from Sialkot to Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan.

Recently, public transport has been launched in Sialkot on one route which circle around the city. However main mode of transport within the city is the auto rikshaw. Although no proper taxi service exists in the city, there are many rent-a-car service outlets.

[edit] Educational Institutions

Murray College Sialkot Main Hall

Sialkot has a fairly well-developed educational infrastructure that comprises a University of Engineering Sciences and Technology (planned in cooperation with Sweden) a sub-campus of the Fatima Jinnah Women University, a sub-campus of the Virtual University of Pakistan, 8 Degree Colleges for Women, 5 Degree Colleges for Men, 2 Cadet Colleges, 6 Commerece Colleges, one Law College, one Medical College, one Homeopathic Medical College, one Nursing School, one Para-Medical School, one Poly-Technic Institute, with numerous Inter Colleges, Higher Secondary Schools and over 250 High Schools.

The Convent of Jesus and Mary, Sialkot was established in 1856. It was the first Catholic mission school in Punjab and the second of its kind in British India. Other eminent private-sector schools include the American School, the City School and the Beaconhouse School.

The Murray College, Sialkot was established in 1889 as the Scotch Mission College by the Scottish missionaries belonging to the Church of Scotland Mission. It is one of he oldest educational institutions in Pakistan offering education up to the post-graduate level. The Jinnah Islamia College, Sialkot is the second oldest college in Sialkot.

The Sialkot Medical College was established in 2002 with a sanction of Rs.750 million. 30 seats were allocated for the year 2003 at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore to be shifted to the Sialkot Medical College in 2004. However, because of local politics, the project was shelved. In April 2007, the President of Pakistan again announced an immediate construction of the Medical College building in Sialkot. Temporary project office has been established at the Allama Iqbal Memorial Hospital, Sialkot which will also be the attached teaching hospital.

The Fatima Jinnah Women University Sialkot Campus is a sub-campus of the Fatima Jinnah Women University and is being established in Sialkot starting from 2008. The sub-campus of the FJWU in Sialkot will be established on a 200-acre (0.81 km2) land with a cost of Rs 300 million.

The University of Engineering Sciences and Technology (UEST), Sialkot is being established in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden on the (under-construction) Sialkot Lahore Motorway. It will also have an attached Technology Park. The Government of Pakistan, through the Higher Education Commission (HEC), is financing and building the campus while the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Sweden will be responsible for the provision of technical support which includes course contents specification, university management, human resource development and education quality control.

[edit] Sports

Sialkot Stallions after victory in RBC Twenty-20 Cup 2008

The Sialkot Cricket Team is called the Sialkot Stallions. It is National Champion and have won Quaid-i-Azam Trophy 2008-2009. It was a national champion in 2005-2006 and won Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Golden League. It was runners-up in 2006-2007. Sialkot Stallions also won the ABN-AMRO Twenty-20 Cup in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 and RBS Twenty-20 Cup 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 making het trick by three in row. Sialkot Stallions will not represent Pakistan in Twenty20 Champions League in December 2008 despite being world number one in the rankings. Its home ground is Jinnah Stadium. According to the latest 20 International Ranking, Sialkot Stallions are at the top position. Sialkot is also the champion of One-day and Three-day competitions of the National Under-19 Championship in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

Sialkot also annually hosts the Allama Iqbal Open Golf Championship at the Sialkot Golf Club. An International Sialkot Hockey Stadium is located at Pasrur Road adjacent to the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park Sialkot. An Internationl level Sialkot Sports Complex is under construction at Daska Road with Tartan track facility for athletic events. Crescent Hockey Club is the one of the top Field Hockey club of Pakistan with almost 10 olympians playing for it. It has played in the Surjit Silver Jubilee hockey tournament at Jalandhar in 2008.[1] [2]

Sialkot is not only famous and internationally recognized for its sports industry, but the world-famous sports legends like the crickters Ijaz Butt Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board, " Asian Bradman" and "Run making Machine" Zaheer Abbas, Ijaz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik (Ex Pakistan Cricket team Captain), Zahid Fazal, Abdur Rehman, Mansoor Amjad and the players and captains of the national hockey team of Pakistan including Shahnaz Sheikh, Manzoor Hussain jr., Nasir Ali, Tariq Sheikh, Zahid Sheikh, Asif Bajwa, Muhammad Waqas Sharif, Mahmood Hussain, Maqsood Hussain, Munir Bhatti and Kamran Ashraf also hail from this city. In Sialkot, there are three main national level Vollyball clubs named as Etihad Volleyball Club, Star Volly Ball Club and Asad Volleyball Club. Mazhar Farid Qurashi (Ex Captain) of Pakistan National Volleyball team was from Asad Volleyball Club, Sialkot. Mostly Pakistan's National Volleyball team has always two to three players being picked up from these three clubs of Sialkot. Famous football clubs are the Crescent FC and the Capital FC. There is also a national level polo club named as Rachna Polo Club. CTI High School Sialkot was one of the pioneers of Basket Ball in Pakistan. CTI produced some of Pakistan’s finest Basket Ball players, including Wallace Badruddin. Bodybuilding and Weightlifting are also among the popular sports in Sialkot. Abdul Waheed Butt and Farooq Butt have represented Pakistan in Asian Games for bodybuilding.

[edit] Media

Radio
Television
Newspapers
Magazine

[edit] Gallery

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Babur Nama Page 250 published by Penguin
  2. ^ K Conboy, "Elite Forces of India and Pakistan" ISBN 1-85532-209-9, page 9
  3. ^ The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965, Synopsis. Retrieved 2008-05-26 at the Internet Archive
  4. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Sialkot, Pakistan". Weatherbase. 2008. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=416000&refer=&units=metric=. 
  5. ^ http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gpro&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-172&srt=pnan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&geo=441097455
  6. ^ Punjab pays tartan homage to Caledonia

[edit] External links

Pakistan portal
Sialkot portal
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