Formerly known as Lyallpur, Faisalabad is in the northeast of Pakistan in the Punjab district. It is the third largest city in the country after Karachi and Lahore and is an important commercial centre for the region.
Founded in 1890 by Sir Charles James Lyall, the lieutenant governor of the Punjab (1887–92), after whom it was named, the city was laid out in the shape of the British flag. It served as the headquarters of the Lower Chenab colony before becoming a municipality in 1898. The Faisalabad district was constituted in 1904, carved from the neighbouring districts of Jhang Maghiana, Shekhupura, Multan and Sahiwal, on a plain between the Ravi and Chenab rivers. Originally desert land, irrigation from the Lower Chenab Canal turned the district into a fertile zone and made way for the harvesting of cotton and wheat, the two major crops grown in the region. During the 1930s industry came to the city with the establishment of the Lyallpur Cotton Mills.
Following the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Faisalabad changed from a small town to a burgeoning city. Between 1947 and 1951 its population rose from 71,000 to 421,000. Population continued to grow after the Pakistani government promoted industrialization. Now the centre for textile production, the city is known as ‘the Manchester of Pakistan’.
The main industries are: chemical fertilizer, synthetic fibres, pharmaceuticals, tinned products, ghee (clarified butter), soap, textiles and textile machinery, bicycles, vegetable oil, hosiery, flour and sugar. The city is a wholesale centre for grain and cloth. There are a number of colleges affiliated to the University of the Punjab as well as to the West Pakistan Agricultural University. There are rail, road and air connections to Lahore and Multan and air connections to Lahore and Karachi.
Places of Interest
The central clock tower is now a main tourist attraction. From it, all eight segments of the city, containing the city’s main bazaars and shopping precincts, are visible. There are several parks and recreational grounds.