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Lahore  is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab. It is the second largest and most populous city in Pakistan, after Karachi, and the 32nd most populous urban city in the world. The city is located in the north east part of Punjab province, near the border with India. Lahore is ranked as a world city, and is one of Pakistan’s wealthiest cities with an estimated GDP of $58.14 billion (PPP) as of 2014. Lahore is the historic cultural centre of the Punjab region, and is the largest Punjabi city in the world. The city has a long history, and was once under the rule of the Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Lodis, Marathas and the Delhi Sultanate. Lahore reached the height of its splendour under the Mughal Empire, serving as its capital city for a number of years. The city then became capital of the Sikh Empire, before becoming the capital of the Punjab under British rule. Lahore was central to the independence movements of both India and Pakistan, with the city being the site of both the declaration of Indian Independence, and the resolution calling for the establishment of Pakistan. Following the Partition of British India, Lahore became the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Lahore is one of Pakistan’s most liberal and cosmopolitan cities. It exerts a strong cultural influence over Pakistan. Lahore is a major centre for Pakistan’s publishing industry, and remains the foremost centre of Pakistan’s literary scene. The city is also a major centre of education in Pakistan, with some of Pakistan’s leading universities based in the city. Lahore is also home to Pakistan’s film industry, Lollywood, and is a major centre of Qawwali music. The city is also much of Pakistan’s tourist industry, with major attractions including the old Walled City, and the Badshahi and Wazir Khan mosques. Lahore is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens.

Area: 1,772 km²

Population: Estimate 6.5 million

Currency

 

The Pakistani rupee (Urdu: روپیہ‎ / ALA-LC: Rūpiyah; sign: ₨; code: PKR) is the currency of Pakistan.

Economy 

As of 2008, the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at $40 billion with a projected average growth rate of 5.6 percent. This is at par with Pakistan’s economic hub, Karachi, with Lahore (having half the population) fostering an economy that is 51% of the size of Karachi’s ($78 billion in 2008). The contribution of Lahore to the national economy is supposed to be around 13.2%. As a whole Punjab has $115 billion economy making it first and to date only Pakistani Subdivision of economy more than $100 billion at the rank 144. Lahore’s GDP is projected to be 102 billion$ by the year 2025, with a slightly higher growth rate of 5.6% per annum, as compared to Karachi’s 5.5%. A major industrial agglomeration with about 9,000 industrial units, Lahore has shifted in recent decades from manufacturing to service industries. Some 42{% of its work force is employed in finance, banking, real estate, community, cultural, and social services.  The city is Pakistan’s largest software & hardware producing centre, and hosts a growing computer-assembly industry.  The city has always been a centre for publications where 80% of Pakistan’s books are published, and it remains the foremost centre of literary, educational and cultural activity in Pakistan. The Lahore Expo Centre is one of the biggest projects in the history of the city and was inaugurated on 22 May 2010. Defense Raya Golf Resort, also under construction, will be Pakistan’s and Asia’s largest golf course. The project is the result of a partnership between DHA Lahore and BRDB Malaysia. The rapid development of large projects such as these in the city is expected to boost the economy of the country. Ferozepur Road of the Central Business Districts of Lahore contains high-rises and skyscrapers including Kayre International Hotel and Arfa Software Technology Park.

Festivals

The people of Lahore celebrate many festivals and events throughout the year, blending Mughal, Western, and other traditions. Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are celebrated. Many people decorate their houses and light candles to illuminate the streets and houses during public holidays; roads and businesses may be lit for days. The mausoleum of Ali Hujwiri, also known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (Punjabi: داتا گنج بخش) or Data Sahib, is located in Lahore, and an annual urs is held every year as a big festival. Basant is a Punjabi festival marking the coming of spring. Basant celebrations in Pakistan are centred in Lahore, and people from all over the country and from abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite-flying competitions traditionally take place on city rooftops during Basant. Courts have banned the kite-flying because of casualties and power installation losses. The ban was lifted for two days in 2007, then immediately reimposed when 11 people were killed by celebratory gunfire, sharp kite-strings, electrocution, and falls related to the competition.

Government

Under the latest revision of Pakistan’s administrative structure, promulgated in 2001, Lahore became a City District, and was divided into nine towns. Each town in turn consists of a group of union councils (U.C.’s).

Health

Healthcare in Pakistan is administered mainly in the private sector which accounts for approximately 80% of all outpatient visits. The public sector was until recently led by the Ministry of Health, however the Ministry was abolished in June 2011 and all health responsibilities (mainly planning and fund allocation) were devolved to provincial Health Departments which had until now been the main implementers of public sector health programs. Like other South Asian countries, health and sanitation infrastructure is adequate in urban areas but is generally poor in rural areas.

Language

Pakistan’s national language is Urdu, which, along with English, is also the official language. In 2015, the government of Pakistan announced plans to make Urdu the sole official language and abolish English as the second official language.

Religion

The city has a Muslim majority and a large Christian population. There is also a small but longstanding Zoroastrian community. Additionally, Lahore contains some of Sikhism’s holiest sites, and is a major Sikh pilgrimage site. According to the 1998 census, 94% of Lahore’s population is Muslim, up from 60% in 1941. Other religions include Christians (5.80% of the total population, though they form around 9.0% of the rural population) and small numbers of Bahá’ís, Hindus, Ahmediya, Parsis and Sikhs.

Transport

Lahore Metro

The Lahore Metro or Lahore Rapid Mass Transit System (LRMTS) was first proposed in 1991. Funding was not secured, and in 2012 it was abandoned by the Punjab Government in favour of the more cost–effective Lahore Metro Bus System which opened in February 2013. However, in May 2014 the Punjab Government decided to restart development on the Lahore Metro as a $1.6 billion project with Chinese assistance. The Orange Line, which will be 27.1-kilometre (16.8 mi) long, (25.4 kilometres (15.8 mi) of which will be elevated), will be the first line of the project and is under construction.

Buses

Allama Iqbal International Airport, Several bus companies operate in Lahore. Premier Bus Services, owned by the Beaconhouse Group, was started in 2003, and provides transportation services to the general public in Lahore. With over 240 buses running on exclusive routes, it is the largest public transport company in Pakistan. As of 2010, the buses are in the process of being converted to compressed natural gas for environmental and economic reasons. Sammi Daewoo’s City Bus Division operates three routes within the city and two suburban routes for Gujranwala and Sheikhupura. The Daewoo City Bus also operates routes within Lahore. Its headquarters are located in the city of Lahore. It is operated by a Korean company, Sammi. On 11 February 2013, Punjab Government launched Rapid Bus Transit System (MBS) in Lahore.

Airport

The government built a new city airport in 2003. It was named Allama Iqbal International Airport after the national poet-philosopher of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal,  and is served by international airlines as well as the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The old terminal now operates as the Hajj terminal to facilitate the great influx of pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj every year. Lahore also has a general aviation airport known as Walton Airport. The second closest commercial airport is in Amritsar, India.

Tourism

Lahore remains a major tourist destination in Pakistan. Particularly the Walled City of Lahore which was renovated in 2014 is popular due to presence of UNESCO World Heritage Site’s. Among the most popular sights are the Lahore Fort, located to adjacent to the Walled City, is home to Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate, Naulakha pavilion, and Moti Masjid. The fort along with the adjoining Shalimar Gardens has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. The city is home to several ancient religious sites including prominet Hindu temples, the Krishna Temple and Valmiki MandirSamadhi of Ranjit Singh, also located near the Walled City, houses the funerary urns of the Sikhruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The most prominent religious building is the Badshahi Mosque, constructed in 1673, it was the largest mosque in the world upon construction. Another popular sight is the Wazir Khan Mosque which is known for its extensive faience tile work was constructed in 1635.

Weather

Lahore has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). The hottest month is June, when average highs routinely exceed 40 °C (104.0 °F). The monsoon season starts in late June, and the wettest month is July, with heavy rainfalls and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudbursts. The coolest month is January with dense fog. The city’s record high temperature was 48.3 °C (118.9 °F), recorded on 30 May 1944. 48 °C (118 °F) was recorded on 10 June 2007. At the time the meteorological office recorded this official temperature in the shade, it reported a heat index in direct sunlight of 55 °C (131 °F). The record low is −1 °C (30 °F), recorded on 13 January 1967. The highest rainfall in a 24-hour period is 221 millimetres (8.7 in), recorded on 13 August 2008. On 26 February 2011, Lahore received heavy rain and hail measuring 4.5 mm (0.18 in), which carpeted roads and sidewalks with measurable hail for the first time in the city’s recorded history.