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Sahiwal Division

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Sahiwal Division

Sahiwal Division
Punjab, Pakistan and (inset) Punjab in Pakistan.

Coordinates: 30°39′52″N 73°6′30″E / 30.66444°N 73.10833°E / 30.66444; 73.10833

Country Pakistan
Province Punjab
Capital Sahiwal
Established 2008[1]
Districts 3
 • Type District
 • Divisional Commissioner Capt (r) Sher Alam Mehsood
 • District Coordination Officer Dr Sajid Mehmood Chohan
 • Total 10,302 km2 (3,978 sq mi)
Population (1998)
 • Total 6,271,247
  Combined population of all Districts of Sahiwal
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Postal code 57000
Dialling code 045[2]

Sahiwal Division (Urdu: ساہیوال‎) is one of the nine Divisions of Punjab province of Pakistan. As of 1998, current regions of Sahiwal had a population of 6,271,247 people, with an annual growth-rate of 1.92%.[3] Since 2008, Sahiwal District along with Okara District and Pakpattan District has comprised the Sahiwal Division. The city of Sahiwal is the capital of both the district and the division. About 18 miles south-west of Sahiwal is Harappa, an ancient city of the world, oldest urban center of Harappan or Indus civilization in South Asia. About 28 miles (45 km) west of Sahiwal, at Kamalia, is the site of Malli city captured by Alexander the Great in 325 bc. Alexander stayed in this region of Punjab for two years and fought almost 12 wars during his stay.[1]

In 1849, a district (now Sahiwal) was made with the name Pakpattan between Lahore and Multan for the administrative purposes. In 1851, its headquarter was moved to Gogera and this region got the name Gogera. In September 1858, participating in India's First War of Independence, this region fought under the command of great Freedom Fighter Rai Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal who was the famous landlord in this area. Along with his companions Murad Fatiana, Shujaa Bhadur, and Mokha Wehniwal, Rai Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal killed Lord Burkley the Commissioner for Gogera. They led an insurrection in the wide area of Punjab covering Ganji Bar, Neeli Bar and Sandal Bar area (an area between rivers Sutlej, Ravi River and Chenab River covered with thick forests in past). These great warriors held the jungles of Gogera and gave the immense resistance to the British forces, besieging Major Crawford Chamberlain at Chichawatni. In 1954, when Railway tack between Lahore and Multan was laid under the British Raj, a large railway station was constructed here and this region got the name of Sahiwal after the Sahi Clan of Kharal Rajputs who were the inhabitants of this area. In 1865, Sahiwal name was changed and it was named Montgomery after Sir Robert Montgomery, then Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab.[1] Its current name was reinstated in 1966.


Sahiwal Division is located in the south-east of Punjab, 175 km from Multan Division on N-5 National Highway. It lies between 30−40 north latitude and 73-06 longitude. It is 500 ft (150 m) above sea level, forming a parallelogram lying NE-SW along the River Ravi. Sahiwal city is 100 km from east to west and 45 km. This Division is bounded by Faisalabad Division to west and Multan Division to south. Bahawalpur Division and India borders the Sahiwal division from east and Lahore Division from the north.

Sahiwal is a plane of three rivers; Ravi River in the west, Satluj in the east, while the dry River Khushak Bias passes through the Sahiwal separating the Sahiwal District from the Pakpattan District. A notable area of almost 28,956 acres is forests.


Sahiwal Division consists of following three Districts and seven Tehsils;

Division Districts Tehsils
Sahiwal Sahiwal Sahiwal
Okara Okara
Renala Khurd
Pakpattan Pakpattan

Sahiwal is one of the nine Divisions of Punjab, Pakistan. In 2008, after the public elections, the new democratic government decided to restore the former tier of Divisions and appointed Commissionaires for each division. Sahiwal Division is the newest with an area of 10302 km² which comprises three Districts which are Sahiwal District, Pakpattan District and Okara District. In every district, the Provincial Government appoints a District Coordination Officer. The District Coordination Officer (DCO) is the coordinating head of the District Administration. Each district is further divided intoTehsils. Sahiwal District have two tehsils; Sahiwal and Chichawatni with prominent towns like Qadirabad, Yousafwala, Iqbal Nagar, Kassowal, Noorshah, Gogera, Malkahans, Harappa and Ghaziabad. Sahiwal is connected via National Highway and Pakistan Railways to all Pakistan.

The maintenance of law & order and control of crime functions are performed by the police under the Regional or Divisional head of police designated as Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sahiwal Region or Division. The districts of Sahiwal, Pakpattan and Okara are headed by the District Police Officers (DPOs) respectively . For better co-ordination of government functions, the District and Police Administrations work in unison to enforce the writ of the government and safeguarding public interests.


This region has a very rich history. Harappa, which is now a large village in the Sahiwal, was once home to one of the earliest urban civilizations of the world; the Indus Valley Civilization.[4]

Indus Valley Civilization is considered as Bronze Age Civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE)with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt as its contemporaries. At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of well over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multi-storey houses. The mature phase of this civilization is known as the Harappan Civilization which overlapped the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age; thus it is difficult to date this transition accurately. The declining period of the IVC from about 1,900 BC and most widely accepted factor of this decline is ecological change due to which migrations occurred. Shaffer & Lichtenstein (in Erdosy 1995:139) stated that: "This shift by Harappan and, perhaps, other Indus Valley cultural mosaic groups, is the only archaeologically documented west-to-east movement of human populations in South Asia before the first half of the first millennium B.C.." This could have been caused by ecological factors, such as the drying up of the Ghaggar-Hakra River and increased aridity in Rajasthan and other places. The Indus River also began to flow east and floodings occurred.[5] Shaffer (as cited in Bryant 2001:192) contends: "There were no invasions from central or western South Asia. Rather there were several internal cultural adjustments reflecting altered ecological, social and economic conditions affecting northwestern and north-central South Asia". However, Indo-Aryan migration into this region is noted as approximately contemporaneous to the final phase of the decline of the Indus-Valley civilization (IVC).

Alexander crossed into India in 327 B.C.E. Here, he defeated many kingdoms capturing the jungles and planes of Indus, Kamalia near Sahiwal.

After Alexander left back, this region along with the whole Indian subcontinent was ruled by the Ashoka the great (Maurya Empire) for some two hundred years. After that no significant ruler came and this region remain under the invasion of Muslims, Mongols, Lodhis and many others till the Babur came and laid down the foundation of Mughal Empirein 1526. However, after just four year after the death of Babur his son Humayun ruled India who later on was defeated by Sher Shah Suri. A soldier of fortune, Sher Shah also proved himself a gifted administrator as well as an able general. During his reign he laid down the road network. The road he constructed connecting Delhi to Multan passed through Gogera, Sahiwal is known in locals as Kakhan Wali Sarak. To maintain his power in this region he constructed a fort in Shergarh (in today's Sahiwal).

The Mughals controlled the region from 1524 until 1739. The pastoral tribes of this barren expanse did not appear to have paid more than a nominal allegiance to the Muslim rulers, and even in the 19th century, when Ranjit Singh extended the Sikh supremacy as far as Multan, the population for the most part remained in a chronic state of rebellion. After the hold of the Mughal Empire had relaxed, the District was divided among the Sikh Nakkais and a number of important Muslim tribes (Kharrals, Sials, Wattus, Hans). Between 1804–1810, Maharaja Ranjit Singh held most of the district, except for a strip on the Sutlej, which was held by the Nawab of Bahawalpur on payment of tribute to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, it was occupied by Maharaja Ranjit Singh on default of payment. His rule lasted till 1839 then after his death the empire was severely weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. This opportunity was used by the British Empire to launch the Anglo-Sikh Wars from 1845 to 1849. This region was the last territory to be merged into British India. British influence was first exercised in the district in 1847, when an officer was deputied to effect a summary settlement of the land revenue. The district came under direct British rule in 1849, when the district was officially formed with its headquarters at Pakpattan. The district was expanded to include the trans-Ravi portion in 1852, and the district headquarters were moved to Gogera. In 1865, when the railway was opened, a village on the railway, was named Montgomery and became the capital of the district.[6]

This region also played a great role during the Indian rebellion of 1857. During that time, there was a general rising of the Jat clans, the District formed the scene of the only rising which took place north of the Sutlej. The District authorities, however, kept down the threatened rising till August 26, 1857 when the prisoners in jail made a desperate attempt to break loose. At the same time Rae Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal, head of the Khurrul tribe, who had been detained at Gogera, broke his arrest, and, though apprehended, was released on security, together with several other suspected chieftains.[7] In September 1858 Rae Ahmed Khan led an insurrection in the Neeli Bar district, between the Sutlej, Ravi and Chenab rivers in the love of mother land. The freedom fighters held the jungles of Gogera and had some successes against the British forces in open rebellion. Kot Kamalia was sacked; and Major Crawford Chamberlain, moving up with a small force from Multan, was besieged for some days at Chichawatni on the Ravi. These freedom fighters were actually able to make vast part of their land totally free of the British Raj for at least three months. Along with his companions Murad Fatiana, Shujaa Bhadroo, and Mokha Wehniwal, Ahmed Khan killed Lord Burkley the Commissioner for Gogera. He united most of the Bari tribes against the British rule. They also attacked the Gogera Central Jail and ensured the freedom of hundreds of freedom fighters who were kept there for charge of actively taking part in the War of Independence. Several minor actions followed in the open field, until finally the rebels, driven from the plain into the wildest jungles of the interior, were utterly defeated and dispersed. The British troops then inflicted severe punishment on the insurgent clans, destroying their villages, and seizing large numbers of cattle for sale.[7]

This district was part of the Lahore Division of Punjab Province. After the independence, the district awarded to Pakistan in 1947. Its boundaries were changed few times till 2008 when it got the level of Division The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Sahiwal Division.


Sahiwal has a Hot Semi-arid climate as classified by Köppen climate classification. More precisely, it intermediates between Desert Climates (BW) and humid climates in ecological characteristics and agricultural potential.

The climate tends to have hot, sometimes extremely hot, summers and mild warm winters. Being around the fringes of Subtropical Deserts and at lower latitude, it has warmer wet seasons and cooler dry seasons. It also experiences the seasonal effects of Monsoon, being extremely wet during the monsoon months and dry during the rest of the year, with few or no months bringing moderate levels of precipitation.

The weather of Sahiwal is extreme during the months of May, June and July, when the temperatures soar to 40–50 °C. While in winter, down to 5–10 °C minimum. The average rainfall is about 200 mm annual.[1] The soil of the land is very fertile and climate tends to support short or scrubby vegetation. A significant area is dominated by grasses, shrubs and forests.


The economy of Sahiwal Division depends on agriculture and agro-based industries.


Sahiwal being the land of three rivers is considered as one of the most fertile land zones of Punjab. Therefore, due to the most sophisticated canal irrigation system and supporting ecological and climate characteristics, this area has a good potential for producing almost all kind of food commodities. Another reason of diverse cropping pattern of the area is the heterogeneity in agro-climatic conditions, producing crops such as wheat, sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, rice, maize, oilseeds and rape/mustard seed. The vegetables produced by this piece of land are potato, onion, cauliflower, peas, carrot, turnip and ladyfinger, while famous fruits of this area are citrus, guava, orange, lemon, mango, dates, jambul, jujube and mulberry.

Sahiwal also contains some sandy areas near the Dry River Dias. These sandy areas are not suitable for cropping the rice, but considered as better for the production of cotton and peanut. This region is famous for producing the best cotton of the world. Cotton is second largest crop while wheat is the largest crop of Sahiwal. Similarly, lands of Yousuf wala and Arif wala are famous for producing corn.

The other significant feature of Sahiwal is its forests. Archaeologists suggest that the forests have been present in this area since old Harappan Civilization. During excavation of Harappa, archaeologist found a number of sculptures, stamps and seals depicting the animals like bull, elephant, zebra and rhinoceros. These are the animals of Hot Humid subtropical climate in which Sahiwal is also fall. So it can be concluded that, this land hosted great forests and animals in ancient times. At present, there is an area of 28,956 acres (117 km2) of forests in different parts of Sahiwal division like Chichawatni and Okara.[1] Peepal, Bargad, Safaida, Peelu, Jundi, Sal, Okaan, Shisham, Kikar/Babul, Neem and Bakain are the prominent trees of this area.

Main article: Sahiwal Breed

Additionally, Sahiwal cattle breed, which is the best dairy breed of Zebu or humped cattle, is the main source of world wide fame of Sahiwal. It is thick-resistant, heat-tolerant and resistant to parasites, both internal and external.[8][9][10] Cows average 2270 liters of milk while suckling a calf and much higher milk yields have been recorded. Besides, as oxen they are generally docile and lethargic, making them more useful for slow work. Information in DAD-IS (2005) indicated that the Sahiwal breed show resistance to tick-borne diseases. Because of these major reasons, they are introduced to many tropical countries. Due to their heat tolerance and high milk production they have been exported to other Asian countries, Africa (Kenya, Jamaica, Guyana, Burundi, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria), Caribbean and around the world.[8][9][10] Other livestocks like sheep, goat, fish and poultry are also in abundant in the region. Nilli Ravi Buffalo, a world wide famous breed of buffalo, is also belong to Sahiwal region.


The industry of Sahiwal division is dominated by agro-based industries and has approximately 1682 industrial units. The main industries include beverage & food processing units (Habib Oil Mill etc.), textile weaving/spinning, soap and detergent, paper and paper board, poultry feed, seed processing and leather products.


Although Sahiwal Division mainly comprises villages, it has a relatively higher rate of literacy than many other regions of Punjab. The average urban literacy rate of Sahiwal Division (Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan) is 60.7% while the rural literacy rate is 33.8%.[1] There are several educational institutes of quality in this area.


Virtual University Sahiwal Campus are the other post graduate and professional institutes offering several programs especially in Business related field (BBA, MBA, ACCA and CAT).

In Medicine education, Sahiwal Medical College keeps the significant importance. It is the only Medical Institute between the Lahore and Multan region. Its building is yet to be constructed, however classes are being held in the premises of DHQ Hospital Sahiwal. For short course and nursing education, there is another institute named School of Nursing, DHQ Hospital, Okara.

Government College of Technology Sahiwal and Allama Iqbal Polytechnic Institute ( Reg.) Sahiwal, Pakistan. play an important role in providing technical education to the students of this area. These institutes offer degrees in electrical, mechanical, civil, automobile, food processing and many other technologies. These institutes are affiliated with the TEVTA

This page would be incomplete without mentioning the most prestigious institute of region; Govt. Post Graduate College Sahiwal

Public School and College, Okara and Divisional Public School Pakpattan are other high-rated institutes in the area. They offer education till the intermediate level in both Engineering and Medicine. These are well disciplined and quality of education there is pretty high.

Other notable schools are The City School, Army Public School Okara, Government College For Women Sahiwal, Government High School Sahiwal, Government Mahmoodia High School Sahiwal, Comprehensive School Sahiwal, Government Pilot Higher Secondary School, Government Immamia College, Muhammadan Law College Sahiwal, Multan Law College Sahiwal, Government Commerce College, The Educators, Punjab Group of Colleges and The Limit Group of Colleges Okara.


Sahiwal Division has following libraries;

  • Govt. Jinnah Public Library, Sahiwal was built in 1989, having more than 45,000 books. It is the 3rd biggest Public library of the province of the Punjab. The number of regular members is more than 6000. The library also organizes seminars, workshops, book fairs and book exhibition throughout the year.
  • COMSATS Sahiwal Library has open shelves collection with vide range of books, Audio-Visual Material, CDs, Data Bases, Newspapers, National and International Journals / Magazines, Thesis, Projects, etc. The facility of more than 30,000 online research journals / Magazines and more than 50,000 books on different subjects through HEC Digital Library Program, is also accessible here at Sahiwal.
  • Govt. Post Graduate College Sahiwal Library is the largest library in Sahiwal Division with more than 50,000 books.
  • Sahiwal Public library, also known as Library Bazm-e-Adab-o-Fikr is the oldest library of Sahiwal.
  • Other libraries are Baldia Library, Govt. College for Women library, Zila Council Library' and Districts Bar Libraries.


As per the 1998' Census of Pakistan, Sahiwal Division has a population of 6,271,247 with a population density of 608 people per km2. This figure includes all three districts of Sahiwal Division. The female proportion is 47%, urban proportion is 75%, urban literacy rate is 60.7% and rural literacy rate is 33.8%, according to this 1998's census.[1]

Locals & Migrants: This area hosts four type of people. First, those who are native to these lands are small in population, and were consisted largely of pastoral communities in eighties. Second are the people who were called here and allotted lands during the British Raj around 1849. Third are the Abadkar people who, after the establishment of irrigation/canal system in this area, were forcibly displaced from other areas of Punjab, mostly from eastern parts. It was these migrants that became the share-cropping tenants of the state-owned farms. They first had to completely change the landscape of the area and were promised ownership rights by the colonialists under the so-called Abadkari schemes and then lands were allotted to them.[1] Fourth type is of people who came here after the Independence of Pakistan in 1947 and they made 14% of population in 1998' census.

Religion: Sahiwal was conquered by Muhammad Bin Qasim and later the teachings of Fariduddin Ganjshakar became the main source of propagation of Islam in this region. Before independence of Pakistan, Sahiwal was known as Montgomery. The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while some Muslim refugees from India settled in the Sahiwal Division. In 1998, Muslim proportion was over 98.7%.

Language: Punjabi is the native language of majority population of district. Urdu is also widely spoken.

Clans: The Sahiwal Division was historically home to various clans of Fatiana, [|Kharal Rajput]]s (Sahis, Bashera, Purbera), Tullah, Maher, Dogar, Syal, Sanpal, Sipra, Khichi, Wasli, Kamboh, Kathia, Arain, Langriyal, Bhatti, Bhutta, Jats, Murdana a Subtribe of Rind Balochs, Khagga (Qureshi), Pathans and Gillani Syeds of Shekhu Shareef.

Notable residents

  • Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel Prize winner was born in Santokdas, Division Sahiwal, according to his elder sister and his obituary,[11] although he grew up in Jhang. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his achievements in the field of Theoretical Physics in 1979. He is buried in Rabwah, in the Jhang district.
  • Fariduddin Ganjshakar commonly known as Baba Farid (Punjabi: بابا فرید (Shahmukhi), was a 12th-century Sufi preacher and saint of the Chishti Order of South Asia. Fariduddin Ganjshakar is generally recognized as the first major poet of the Punjabi language, and is considered one of the pivotal saints of the Punjab region.
  • Majeed Amjad, one of the founding forefathers of modern Urdu literature, was born in Sahiwal and received his education from Government College Lahore. He was inspired by the greenery of Sahiwal and wrote about the trees and greenery of Sahiwal. There is a park named for him.
  • Tufail Mohammad lived and buried in Sahiwal. He was warded Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan's highest military award for his contribution for the defence of Pakistan.

Central Jail Sahiwal

The first jail in this Division was Gogera jail that was built near Gogera Headquarters back in eighties. British used to put political prisoners during the War of Independence of India. Gogera jail was broken into by famous freedom fighter Rai Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal. Later on, in 1873 due to security issues jail was shifted to city Sahiwal which is now known as Central Jail Sahiwal. Central Jail Sahiwal` is an ancient jail situated in Sahiwal, Pakistan and the largest in Pakistan with reference to the area and agricultural land adjacent to it. Comically, this jail is also a source of fame for Sahiwal because before and after independence, a numbers of politicians, poet, and social activists had remained confined in this prison including Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Habib Jalib, Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan and Agha Shorash Kashmeeri.

The jail's authorized accommodation is 1565, however, at present around 4500 prisoners (number varies almost on a daily basis) of three districts i.e. Sahiwal, Okara and Pakpattan are confined in this prison. A rough break-down of the prison population to give an idea to the reader is given below:

Undertrial Prisoners 2768
CT Prisoners 849
CP Prisoners 538
Juvenile Prisoners 57
Female Prisoners 37
Total population 4249

To fulfill the requirements of the inmates and make them useful citizen after their release, a Literacy Center has been established. About 1000 inmates are using this Center. Jail warders and convicts having minimum qualification of Fellow of Arts (12th grade) have been deputied teachers in these Literacy Centers. A computer center has been established for the juvenile prisoners. The jail also has a farm where vegetables and fodder is grown. The prison also has a factory where carpets, duree, woolen blankets and jute tatts are made.

A new high security jail is under construction next to the central jail.

Twin cities

Sahiwal city is twinned with the town of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, North West England. There is a direction sign in Rochdale's town centre pointing in Sahiwal's direction with "Sahiwal 3960 miles" written on it.[1]

See also


Coordinates: 30°35′N 73°20′E / 30.583°N 73.333°E / 30.583; 73.333

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