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Attock (Punjabi, Urdu: ), formerly known as Campbellpur ( ), is a city located in the north of Pakistan's Punjab Province, not far from the country's capital Islamabad. It is the headquarters of Attock District and Attock Tehsil. The city was founded in 1908 several miles southeast of the older city of Attock Khurd, which had been established by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, and was initially named in honour of Sir Colin Campbell.
Attock is located in a historically significant region. Gandhara was an ancient kingdom extending to the Swat valley and the Potohar plateau regions of Pakistan as well as the Jalalabad district of northeastern Afghanistan. Situated astride the middle Indus River, the region had Takshashila and Peshawar as its chief cities. The place is of both political and commercial importance, as the Indus is here crossed by the military and trade route through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. Alexander the Great, Timur and Nader Shah crossed the Indus at or about this spot in their respective invasions of India.
The Attock Fort was completed in 1583 under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi, a minister of Emperor Akbar. Nader Shah crossed through Attock when he defeated the Mughals at the Battle of Karnal and thus ended Mughal power in Northern India. The Battle of Attock took place at Attock Khurd on 28 April 1758 between the Durrani Empire Maratha Kingdom. The Marathas under Raghunathrao Ballal Peshwa and Tukojirao Holkar Bahadur were victorious in the battle and Attock was captured. But this conquest was short-lived as Ahmad Shah Durrani came in person to recapture Attock and checked the Maratha advance permanently after destroying their forces at Panipat. After the decline of the Durrani Empire, the Sikhs invaded and occupied Attock District. The Sikh Kingdom (1799-1849) under Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) captured the fortress of Attock in 1813 from the Durrani Nawab.
In 1849, Attock Khurd (Old Attock) was conquered by the British East India Company who created Campbellpur District. Following the Indian Rebellion in 1857, the region's strategic value was appreciated by the British, who established the Campbellpur Cantonment in 1857-58. Campbellpore District was organised in 1904, by the division of Talagang Tehsil in the Jhelum District with the Pindigheb, Fateh Jang and Attock tehsils from Rawalpindi District.
The city's foundations were laid in 1908 by Sir Colin Campbell, the British Commander-in-Chief of India for whom the city is named. The old city was established near the 16th century near the Attock fort that had guarded the major routes between Central Asia and South Asia. Attock's first oil well was drilled in Khaur in 1915, while the Attock Oil Company was established. It has an oil and gas field Dakhini near Jand and in Fateh Jang.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs emigrated to India, while Muslim refugees from India settled in Attock. The Government of Pakistan renamed Campbellpur as Attock in 1978. The city and surrounding area are known for their high representation among soldiers of the Pakistani Military.
According to the Alif Ailaan Pakistan District Education Rankings 2019, Attock is ranked 1 out of 146 districts of Pakistan in terms of the quality of education. For facilities and infrastructure, the district is ranked 17 out of 146. A detailed picture of the district's education performance is also available online. Army Public School & College, Government Polytechnic Institute,Beacon Light English Model Secondary School,COMSATS University Islamabad and Punjab College Attock are few important educational institutes in Attock.