Faisalabad - The Asian Manchester
After Karachi and Lahore, Faisalabad is the third largest city of Pakistan with an estimated 2006 population of 2.6 million. Faisalabad is bounded on the north by the districts of Gujranwala and Sheikhupura, on the east by Sahiwal district, on the south by Toba Tek Singh district and on the west by Jhang district. The river Ravi flows on the Eastern and the Chenab on the Western boundary of the district. Faisalabad district is un-parallel for its agricultural productivity with cotton and wheat as its major crops, besides grains and ghee (clarified butter). Faisalabad district is also famous for its fruit production, which include fruits like Kinno (a cross breed between oranges), oranges, fruiter, mango and guava. No worthwhile wild life exists in the area except foxes, wild boar and jackals. as for birds, partridges, pigeons, tilliar, lal mena, quail, mallard and teal are found on the agricultural lands.
The city of Faisalabad is not more than a century old and only a century back it was the center of keeping livestock in the area. The present day Faisalabad in late 19th century was known as "Pakka Marri". Being a fertile area across river Chenab, most of the caravans would a stop over in this general area when frequenting between Lahore and Jhang. When the British came into the area, they converted the small town into a colony, which was named as "Chenab Canal Colony" in 1885. This small residential colony later turned into a bigger dwelling and was renamed as "Lyall Pur" after the name of Lt. General Sir James B Lyall, the then governor of Punjab. The main purpose of building this city was to establish a market to transport the agricultural produce from the fertile plains around the city.
The map of Faisalabad is just the copy of British flag Union jack designed by an architect Desmond Yong. The total area of 110 square. acres was used to build eight bazaars & clock tower in a round shape. All these eight bazaars are connected with each other through another bazaar, which is called Goal Bazaar. The clock tower was called the "Ghanta Ghar" for which the gigantic clock was brought from Bombay. On September 1st 1997, Lyall Pur was re-named "Faisal Abad" in the memory of the slain King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who during his life time contributed a lot to bolster the friendship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Faisalabad city has the distinction of being a seat of world famous Agricultural University, Agricultural Research Institute, Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE). Besides the Punjab Medical College there are several other professional Universities and Colleges like Hamadard University Faisalabad Campus, University of Faisalabad, Commerce College, Textile College, Poly Technical College, Superior Science College and many others.
The Government College Faisalabad is one of the oldest educational institutions in Punjab, founded in 1897. The college has produced great sports men, academicians, politicians and notable civil and military officers. The institution has rendered significant services in the dissemination of knowledge.
Besides agriculture, the agro-based industry of Faisalabad has made rapid strides, for which it is usually referred to as the "Manchester of Asia", specially for its extensive development of textile industry. There are dozens of textile mills with other subsidiary units. As a rough estimate, there are over 500 large industrial units out of which 328 are textile units, 92 engineering units and 92 of chemicals and food processing units. Other industries include hosiery, carpet and rugs, printing and publishing and pharmaceutical products etc. Besides, the cottage industry has over the year expanded to some 12,000 units, which include some 60,000 power loom factories.
Whenever any foreign cricket team visits Pakistan, Faisalabad is not left out to provide their traditional hospitality and its residents put up a good crowd at the Iqbal Stadium. despite very hot, cold and fogy weather of Faisalabad, the cricket goes on. In 1998-99 fog caused the third Test against Zimbabwe to be abandoned abandoned without a ball being bowled. An exciting Test was played out in 1997-98 when South Africa brushed aside the home team for just 92, successfully defending a target of 142 on the final day. In 2004-05, Sanath Jayasuriya smashed 253 to bring victory to the Sri Lanka squad. However, the crowd would never forget the confrontation between Mike Gating and Shakoor Rana during England's 1987-88 tour, which led to a day being lost during the match and some long-lasting bad feeling between the teams.
When visiting Faisalabad, one shouldn't forget to visit the Ghanta Ghar and the eight bazaars originating from it. Jinnah Garden is also a beautiful park in the city commonly known as "Company Baagh, where the tomb of Sir Charles James Lyall is located. At the Am Tex Square, the Am Tex water fall, the biggest artificial water fall of Asia, is located. D Ground is the busiest area in the evening, where people usually come out in the evening for the outing. Most of the local eateries and restaurants are located here.
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