Chaklala Cantt / Chaklala Garrison
Chaklala is a garrison town of Rawalpindi in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is located at 33°36'0N 73°6'0E with an altitude of 487 metres (1601 feet). It is situated astride the Airport road, to the east of Grand Trunk Road on the main railway line and also has a railway station of its own. It is home to some important army and air force units, depots and workshops; residential bungalow colonies of British era, and modern and posh Chaklala housing schemes (I, II, and III) with a rapidly diminishing rural area.
The headquarters of the Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) of Pakistan Armed Forces and the Joint Services Staff College are also located in Chaklala. The entire defence complex is being moved to Islamabad. This was part of the master plan of Islamabad. It was recommended by the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report and approved in March 1973 by the then defence committee of the cabinet chaired by Premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Since the air force headquarters were to move from Peshawar and there was already a base available at Chaklala, it was moved in two phases. In phase one, it was moved from Peshawar to Chaklala, and in phase two, from Peshawar to Islamabad.
Islamabad International Airport is actually located at Chaklala which technically is a part of Rawalpindi. It also has an important air base of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) called Chaklala Airbase located just next to the airport. The airport is served by over 25 airlines, both national and international. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national carrier of Pakistan, has numerous routes, with many domestic and international flights every day. Construction on the new Rawalpindi/Islamabad international airport has now been started near the town of Fateh Jang approx 25 kilometres (20 mi) from both cities.
A 2009 report in The New York Times by David Sanger relates "To get to the headquarters of the Strategic Plans Division, the branch of the Pakistani government charged with keeping the country's growing arsenal of nuclear weapons away from insurgents trying to overrun the country, you must drive down a rutted, debris-strewn road at the edge of the Islamabad airport, dodging stray dogs and piles of uncollected garbage. Just past a small traffic circle, a tan stone gateway is manned by a lone, bored-looking guard ..... The gateway marks the entry to Chaklala Garrison, an old British cantonment from the days when officers of the Raj escaped the heat of Delhi for the cooler hills on the approaches to Afghanistan. Pass under the archway, and the poverty and clamour of modern Pakistan disappear."
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