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Islamabad city site was chosen by a Commission in 1959 after Karachi was found unsuitable for capital. It's a compact city (area 25 square miles [65 square km]),lying at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 feet(450 to 600 meters).The second phase of construction completed with completion of Secretariat, Pakistan House, President's House, National Assembly Building, Grand National Mosque, and housing for government staff.

The Urban Area is divided into eight zones: administrative, diplomatic, residential, Institutional, Industrial, and commercial areas, a green belt and a National park. It Includes an Olympic village and gardens and dairy, poultry and vegetable farms as well as such institutions as the Atomic Research Institute and the National Health Centre.

The name Islamabad ("City of Islam", or "City of peace") was chosen to reflect the country's ideology. The planned capital area of 350 square miles (906 square km) is an expanse of natural terraces and meadows surrounding the city. A further 1,049 square miles(2,717 square km) of hinterland, known as the Specified areas and subject to planning control, is roughly a trapezoid, with the Margala Hills,3,000 to 5,000 feet(900 to 1,500 metres) high, in the north and northeast. The southern portion is rising and falling plain. It is drained by Kurang River, on which the Rawal Dam forms a lake holding about 50,000 acre-feet (61,650.000 cubic meters) of water. Population (1998) city, 524,500, capital area, 799,000.