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Wah Cantonment

Wah Cantt is located north west of Islamabad at a distance of approximately 50 km (31 miles). The city is located in a valley which is surrounded by hills in all directions. Wah Cantonment is a multicultural city inhabited by people from every corner of Pakistan who live and work here. Wah is one of the most beautiful cities of Pakistan. Its a very very clean and lively place with a rich and diverse cultural scenenery.

At least sixty people were killed and over 80 others were injured in two suicide bomb blasts outside Pakistan''s main military arms factory in Wah Cantonement 21 August 2008. A blast occurred at Main Gate of the POF at rush hour which was immediately followed by another blast at Gate no.1. Security personnel immediately rushed the scene as the incident place considered to be sensitive due to the military installments. There was no place to keep such a huge quantity wounded persons and dead bodied. Some critically wounded were shifted to Hospital in Taxila and Rawalpindi (CMH and PIMS).

The Pakistani Ordnance Factories at Wah is a cluster of about 20 industrial units producing artillery, tank, and anti-aircraft ammunition for the Pakistan armed forces. It employs around 25,000 to 30,000 workers. The Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), located in Wah Cantonment, is responsible for conventional weapons production. POF is a government organization operating under the Defence Production Division in Pakistan's Ministry of Defence. POF is a complex of arms and ammunition manufacturing factories employing more than 40,000 personnel. POF has provided weapons and ammunitions to the Pakistan Army and all their foreign clients. However, since POF can not produce the complete inventory of the Pakistani Army's armament needs, a high content of the Armed Force requirements are imported. POF produces approximately 70 major products for supply to Army, Navy and Air Force. The main products include automatic rifle; light medium and heavy machine guns, complete range of mortar and artillery ammunitions, aircraft ammunition and anti-aircraft ammunitions, tank ammunition and anti-tank ammunitions, bombs, grenades, land mines, pyrotechnics and signal stores etc. It also has a Clothing Factory which supplies uniforms to the armed personnel.

The word "Cantt" was added to Wah in 1951, when Prime Minister Khawaja Nizam-UD-Din unveiled the stone of Pakistan Ordinance Factory Wah Cantt. It is the sole one ammunition factory of Wah Cantt. This area was not very developed before the construction of the Pakistan Ordinance Factories. After gaining Independence Pakistan had no facilities capable of producing armaments and military goods so urgent plans were made for an ordnance factory in Wah, Punjab. The word Cantt was added to Wah in 1951, when Prime Minister Khawaja Nazim-u-Din unveiled the foundation stone of Pakistan Ordnance Factories Wah Cantt. Chaudhry Sardar Khan was the founder and first Deputy Director General of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), Wah Cantt. POF is not one ammunition factory but it is a complex of 14 factories manufacturing arms and ammunition ranging from bullets, shells, assault rifles, missiles and bombs. Heavy Mechanical Complex in neighboring Taxila produces tanks and other heavy arms. The nearby town of Kamra is the site of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex where aircraft are manufactured, assembled, repaired and overhauled for the Air Force.

The name 'Wah' has its roots in the Mughal era with the Mughal emperor Jehangir reported to have coined the name. It is said that Jahangeer's army was coming back from Kashmir mission, it was evening time, and they were tired and looking for a place to stay. They started to search an appropriate place among Barren Mountains. After a little search they were successful to find a place, where there was natural source of water. As soon as the Mughal King watched the natural spring, he loudly said "Wah" ('bravo', 'how amazing,' 'wow') and this place was named 'Wah' after that exclamation. His words punched on the stones of history. After that day, this territory is called Wah.

Wells are the important remnant of the Mughals; one of them still exists with its Mughal glory that is in the Sher Shah Park Aslam Market. Sultan Sher Shah Suri, who built the famous Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), built a 'bawley' or watering place here. Now this place is called Sher Shah Park and is situated near the Aslam Market. It is said that Sher Shah's horses used to drink water there. Wah is the area having fertile soil. It is suitable for growing every sort of crops and especially fruits. Wah has always been a favorite place of the Mughal rulers. They built here several gardens such as the most famous "Wah Garden". It is still present with its remains. It is located on the main G.T Road bisecting the Islamabad. Garden has a historical value as well as it is a beautiful and attractive picnic spot. Still this park has potential to drive the people from different places.

The tranport network, the POF Welfare Transport, and it runs buses and coaches (about 120 in number) on 7 different routes all over the city. They charge only the uniform fare of Rs 4.00 (Appx. $00.08 or 00.04) and takes riders anywhere in the city for this amount. This is the cheapest and the most efficient public transport network in Pakistan.

Wah Cantt is a multicultural City. People with various ethnic backgrounds live and work here. Culture from Karachi to Khyber can be observed in the city. People are skillful and educated and most of them are factory employees. The city is rather quiet in the morning, but all charm of the city is restored in the evening. The hustle bustle of people for evening walks, children and elders playing games in playing grounds and elderly sitting on grass gardens add to the beauty of city. The city is said to have one of the best civic amenities in the entire country with a solid health care and education system.

Wah Cantt is divided into 27 sectors and some private housing colonies. The commonly known colonies are Gulistan colony , Basti / Lala Rukh and Nawab Abad. Popular markets include Aslam market, Basti market, Anwaar chowk, Laiq Ali chowk and Nawab Abad . This city is distinguished because of a very high standard of education. Literacy rate is approximately 100% and highest in Asia. 115 educational institutes serve over 50,000 students. Unsurprisingly, it has become one of the most expensive cities in the whole country. The secret of this excellence is disciplined living and strictly conscientious society where parents are reprimanded for keeping their children away from school even for a single day without cogent reason.

A recent drive for cultural excellence in the city has been pioneered by Baroness Zanee of London who has infused the cultural traditions with a western culture ranging from smiling at strangers at Aslam Markeet and replacing russ malai with heinz spaghetti hoops, thereby transforming an inherently patriarchal and reserved city into one that plays tennis in the streets (gallis) and listens to 'put your hands up for detroit' instead of 'mera long gawacha'.

Wah has the highest literacy rate in all of Asia, effectively 100%. TWah Cantt, having an area of about 35 square kilometers, has the highest number of educational institutes per square kilometer. Apart from a large number of private and government schools up to 12th level, foundations of professional universities have been laid down in past 5 years. Wah Medical College, University of Wah - which includes Wah Engineering College & Mishal College for Women, Comsats Institute of Information and Technology are among the big institutes in Wah Cantt. In the private sector, Wah Swedish Institute of Technology, Rawalpindi College of Commerce and Rawalpindi Institute of Technology are popular technical education institutes. In the government sector there is Technical Training Institute (TTI), a center of technical training. People qualified from this college serve not only in the POF but also work in the Middle East and send valuable foreign exchange.

Wah Cantt is adjacent to Taxila City, which is called the "First University of The World" as it is enriched with one of the most important archeological sites of the Asia as well as world. The world "Taxila" is inferred from the word "Takshasila", meaning "City of Stones". Taxila was the cradle of the one of the world's great civilization. It is the place where Gandhara civilization and sculpture art roots and flourished. There are excavated ruins of three prominent cities Bhir Mound, Sirkap, and Sirsukh. There are also many important ministries, Stupas and palace excavated all among the Taxila valley.

Taxila was conquered by Alexander in 327 BC. It latter came under the Mauryan dynasty and attained a remarkably mature level of development under the great Ashoka. Then appeared the Indo-Greek descendants of Alexander's warriors and finally came the most creative period of Gandhara. The great Kushan dynasty was established somewhere near 50AD.During the next 200 yeas Taxila become a renowned center of learning, philosophy and pilgrims and traveler were attracted to it from as far away as China and Greece.

The GT road leads to Hasan Abdal, a pleasant little town particularly associated with Sikhs. Sikh pilgrims still visit it from India every year. Hasan Abdal has been a holy place for various religious groups throughout the ages, largely because of its springs. In the 7th century AD, Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsuan Tsand reported that the place was sacred to the Buddhist and that there was a tank dedicated to a serpent King, Elapatra. In the 15th century AD that town was associated with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, and with a Gurdwara contemporary Muslim saint, Pir or Baba Wali of Qandhar, who may or may not be the same person as another Muslim saint, Hasan Abdal, after whom the town is named after.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:39:42 ZULU