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Pakpattan District is a district of Punjab Province in Pakistan, Pakpattan
is the district capital. According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, it had a
population of 1,286,680 of which 14% were urban this has now risen to
Pakpattan is one of the ancient and smallest cities of Pakistan. It is the
city that has the shrine of the well-known Sufi of his times, Baba Fareed.
Pakpattan is located 190 km from Lahore and is very close to Sahiwal (about
Punjabi is the most spoken language in the district
Pakpattan on Satellite Map
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The capital Pakpattan is located 175-180 km from Lahore - the district is
bounded to the northwest by Sahiwal District, to the north by Okara
District, to the by the Sutlej river and Bahawalnagar District, and to the
southwest by Vehari District.
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In the outskirt of Pakpattan about 12 miles away there is a small village
town called MALKA HANS where the famous Punjabi writer Waris Shah wrote his
famous book 'Heer Ranjha', by Waris Shah.
When Punjab fell into the hands of Britishers, due to its historical
importance and value, the British given a Pakpattan, a significant value.
Pakpattan was made a Distrct Headquarter and only district between Lahore
and Multan. Two big and gigantic water canals Khadar Branch Canal and
Pakpattan Canal (also called Upper and Lower Pakpattan Canals repectively),
were dug and constructed at the left and right sides of the city somewhere
in 1920. These two canals are of hundreds miles long. A Colony Officer and
a Colony Magistrate was posted in the area. As far the area of canals
irrigating, all the disputes and land revenues cases of the irrigating
areas were brought before the Colony Officers and Magistrate courts. A big
and grand train station was built in the city area to connect all the
irrigating areas that was as far away as Bahawalpur State and the areas of
today Mailsi and Khanewal. Once Tehsil Pakpattan was the biggest tehsil
administrative area in the British Raj. The ruins of grand administrative
area can seen in once called "Colony Areas' where big and grand old court
houses and British Officers residences tell its stories. Train station was
so busy and big that can serve hundreds of passengers at the same time.
The ruins of its grandeur can be seen at old Ticket houses and waiting
areas. Many trains were departing daily towards Bahawalpur and Lahore to
cover the areas between these cities. Nowadays Pakpattan train station is
deserted and only one train leaves daily. Once road transportation was not
good and easy then this train station was a big source of link in the
area. But due administrative reasons and mainly was to protect British
Officers from freedom fighter during Great Mutiny, another small and
peaceful village Sahiwal, then called later Montgomery, given the status
of district and Pakpattan was made its Tehsil. Till 1991, Pakpattan
remained Tehsil Headquarters of Sahiwal District formerly Montgomery
District. From 1991, it has been given the status of District Headquarters
and Arifwala has become its 2nd Tehsil.
Pakpattan is so deeply influenced by Saint Baba Farid that a lot of
visitors and faith lovers daily visiting his beautiful white marbled
shrine. Many shops, Business agencies, Housing Schemes and Companies have
set their names on the name of Saint Baba Farid. Pakpattan is also called
PAKPATTAN SHARIF (Sharif means noble, Respectful in Urdu) because many of
Saint Farid's lovers think it is derogatory to call even his city name
Word Pakpattan is made of two words PAK and PATTAN which means clean
dockland (Pattan meaning dockland or place where boats and ships
stop).According to Imperial Gazetteer of India,from a very early date it
was a place of importance, as the principal ferry across the Sutlej River
and the meeting-place of the great western roads from Dera Ghazi Khan and
Dera Ismail Khan.It is said that in old times once Saint Farid was having
ablution at the bank of Sutlej River and a local man told Saint Farid this
area is dirty and water is not clean, then Saint Farid replied "no its a
clean water and area' in local language a word Pak Pattan. Once Pakpattan
was situated at River Sutlej, as other world cities flourished on the
banks of rivers. By the passage of time Sutlej River has changed its
course and now flowing three miles away from today's city areas.
Pakpattan is the ancient Ajoodhun or Ajj-u-dhan, which probably derived
its name from the tribe (the modern Johiyas). Before it was named as
Ajoodhun, some believe that it was called 'Katora'. Old city prior to
Saint Farid was sacred to Hindu religion. Old city is established on a big
mound called DHAKI meaning "something hidden'. This Dhaki is on higher
altitude than the area around, there were gates to enter in the city. It
is said that city was destroyed seventeen times in the history by great
warriors. All times then after destruction a new city was built on the
ruins of old city, because of this a big mond made up. From a very early
date it was a place of importance, as the principal ferry across the
Sutlej River and the meeting-place of the great western roads from Dera
Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan. The city was on the way to Multan State
and Delhi Sultanate. All warriors were travelling from Multan to Dehli or
Dehli to Multan were crossing this city. This city was important in the
line of defence all the times. A road called "Dehli Multan Road' road was
constructed by Sher Shah Suri. The Land marks of Dehli Multan Road are
still in use by Punjab Road Transportation Department. Anybody can read
the mileage of Dehli and Multan at any time in all over the area, only
present in modern times in this area. The fort defending the city was once
captured by Sebüktegin in 977–78 and by Ibrahim Ghaznavi in 1079–80.
According to Firishta, an old writer and historian, in 1079 its fort was
conquered by Ibrahim Ghaznavi/Ibrahim Bin Masaud Ghaznavi.The town owes
its sanctity and modern name, 'the holy ferry', to the shrine of the great
Muslim Sufi Fariduddin Ganjshakar Shaikh-ul-Islam, Farid-ul-Hakkwa-ud-Din,
Shakar Ganj (1173–1265) which was visited by old great traveller and
historian Ibn Batuta in 1334. The town was besieged by Shaikha; the
Khokhar, in 1394, and in 1398 was visited by Timur, Mughal Emperor who
spared much of the inhabitants as had not fled, out of respect for the
shrine of the saint. It was the scene of two of Khizr Khan's victories
over generals of the Delhi 1401 and 1405. The shrine of Baba Farid
attracts crowds of followers, its sanctity being acknowledged as far as
Afghanistan and Central Asia. The urs (death anniversary) of Saint Baba
Farid is observed every year in Islamic/lunar month of Muharram, that
lasts for ten days. Hundreds of thousands pilgrims and visitors come every
year to pay homage to this great Saint. The principal event of urs is
crossing of gate that called Bahishti Darwaza(Gate of Heavens). Followers
believe by crossing this gate all of your sins are pardoned and one
becomes neat and clean again. Some critics say it is unholy to cross this
gate with this intention but believe its sanctity. Critics argue it is
good to cross this gate with resolution not to do sins in future life.
This "Gate To Heavens' remains open ten consecutive nights after sunset to
sunrise and padlocked during the day time. This gate is padlocked all the
year except these ten days.
During British rule Pakpattan Town was headquarters of the tehsil of the
same name in Montgomery District, 29 miles south-east of Montgomery
station on the North-Western Railway. The municipality was created in
1867, the population in 1901 was 6,192. During the ten years ending 1902-3
the income averaged Rs. 7,200, and the expenditure Rs. 7,000. The income
in 1903-4 was Rs. 8,400, chiefly derived from octroi; and the expenditure
was Rs. 7,300.
According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India
“ Pakpattan is a town of some commercial importance, importing wheat,
cotton, oilseeds, and pulses from the surrounding villages, gur and
refined sugar from Amritsar, Jullundur, and the United Provinces,
piece-goods from Amritsar, Delhi, and Karachi, and fruits from
Afghanistan. The exports consist principally of cotton, wheat, and
oilseeds. The town has a local manufacture of silk lungis and
lacquer-work. It contains a vernacular middle school and a dispensary.
From 1849 to 1852 it was the head-quarters of the District.”
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In Pakpattan, the postgraduate degree college for males is known as Faridia
Degree College, at College Road and a female degree college known as Govt
Girls Degree college for Women is at Kachehri Road in North side on city
near District Courts. There are some good Government funded and private
owned schools. Some of these are Govt. Fazilka Islamia High School, Govt.
High School, Govt Girls High School, OPF school (overseaes Pakistanies
Foundation), DPS (District Public School), Laureate Cadet High School,
Little Chums High School, Punjab school system, Punjab Cadet School, Punjab
Girls High school, Al waqar Public school etc. There are some private
tutition academies as well which are providing different undergraduate and
postgraduate courses including M.A, LL.B etc. Co-education is given in
private schools and academies. There is one Commerce College and Vocational
Training School as well in the city area where different technical and
vocational courses are taught. Allama Iqbal Open University sub office as
well is here. Virtual University of Pakistan has set up its campus in the
center of city near Muncipal committee office. There is one nursing school
which is under supervision of District Hospital and EDO (Executive District
Officer) Health. A local NGO named Baba Fareed Ganj shakar educational and
welfare trust is trying to establish a Baba Fareed islamic International
university/Islamic Madrassa at 9-km Sahiwal road, Pakpattan.
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Nowadays Pakpattan is one of the poorest/non-industrial areas in the region.
The only big industry is one Sugar mill that is called "Itefaq Sugar Mills'
which employes some dozens workers from Pakpattan and surrounding areas.
Most of city is unplanned and un-urbanised. Small houses and unpaved roads,
full of pitfalls are its symbol of the day. There is no any intercity
transport system, only transportation is by Rickshaw (Qinqi rickshaw).
Before the advent of rickshaws, transportation was done by horse drawn
carriage called Tanga. Once there was a big industry of Tonga's and its
accessories developed in the city area and hundreds of the workers were
employed by this industry. Once Pakpattan was recorded as a city with most
Tanga Carriages in the country. Now only few Tanga carriages can be seen on
the roads. Today most of the people are employed in shopkeeping business.
Old city area called Dhaki has old and unique designed houses with carved
work on its doors, and small and narrow streets. There is no any modern
housing colony or urbanised housing structure in city. A small Public
Library is run by Local Municipal Committee with few hundred books. A few
year back, there was a big Public library that had thousands of books, was
destroyed by lack of Municipal Authorities' interests. Pakpattan is situated
at the borders of the south and north Punjab. It is the last district of
south Punjab and start of north Punjab. Local language is Punjabi and its
accent is nearer to Lahore accent but has some Saraiki impression as well.
People are courteous and hospitable. A small Christian community also lives
here and a small Protestant Church is as well there. Most of the Christian
community is employed in sanitory department of local Municipal Committee.
Pakpattan proved barren in the field of politics. It could not give birth
to any significant national political leader except some turncoats.Some
local politicians are Ghulam Muhammed Maneka, Ch.Javed Ahmad Advocate,
Dr.Farrukh Javaid, Ghulam Farid Chisti (Late) and Manzoor Wattoo,Mansab
Dogar.Pakpattan remained under the heavy influence of the local Gadi/Sajada
Nasheen Of Shrine Baba Fareed, for centuries. These Gadi/Sajada Nasheen's
were mostly bogeymen and worked as agents of the rulers from Mughals to
Britishers. But all of these rulers, kings and government executives had
respect for the Saint Fareed. Many of them visited the shrine, and given
charity and lands for shrine. King Balban and Mughal King Akbar along with
his son came themselves. Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh had much respect for the
Saint Fareed and always was sending money and gifts for shrine and its
caretakers. Mian Nawaz Sharif (Ex. Prime Minister) and Benazir Bhuto (Ex.
Prime Minister), Musharaf (Ex. President of Pakistan) also visited the
shrine of Baba Farid ud Din Ganj-e-Shakar.
Eatery (Food) Hotels &
Pakpattan is also home of milk and Butter (Desi Ghee). Neeli Bar cows are
famous all over the world for milk production. Sweets made of desi ghee
are the speciality of this city. Pukoorian, a dish (made of corn flour),
is widely liked in the area and is famous all over the country for its
great and novel taste. There is a special sweet called Tosha which is only
found in Pakpattan and it is very tasty. There is no any fine resturant or
eatery place in the city area except a some average resturant cum hotels
such as Mehran Hotel, and Farhan restaurant.
Because of district headquarters, all major government offices located
there such as District & Sessions Judge courts and its offices, District
Co-ordination Officer and its offices, District Police Officer and its
Offices, District Nazim, High ways Deptt.,District Health Officer,District
Education Officer and branches of major banks such as Habib Bank, UBL,
National Bank of Pakistan, Bank Alfalah, MCB, Allied Bank as well.
Pakpattan has a very reputable bar in the country. It has given the birth
to many famous lawyers. There is a grand Bar room and law library,
adjacent to lawyers offices.Around 400 lawyers including some ladies are
members of the District Bar Association,Pakpattan.
Markets and Bazaars
There are many business marktes and bazars such as Shaheedi Bazar, Sahiwal
Road, Dargah Bazar, Mandi Bazar etc. Shaheedi Bazar is one of the busiest
business centre where clothes, jewellery and shoes shops are in abundace.
Festivals (urs and mela)
In Pakpattan and surrounding areas many urs and mela(s) are celebrated
every year such as urs of Baba Farid and mela of Chan pir etc. Urs of Baba
farid attracts more than 500,000 people every year between 1st to 10th of
Moharram (Islamic month of Hijri Calender), so is the case with mela Chan
pir which is held every year in the beginning of summer in the outskirt of
Pakpattan, at Chan pir (Located in south side of city about 3km far where
shrine of Chan Pir and Sakhi Ghulam Qadir. The village is named Chan Pir
or Basti Sakhi Ghulam Qadir).
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Main article: Fariduddin Ganjshakar
It was renamed Pak Pattan (meaning "Clean Land" in old Punjabi) after
arrival of Sufi Saint Baba Fareed whose shrine is located here - today
people come all over the world to pass through a gate called "Bahishti
Darwaza" or Heavens Gate to the shrine from the 1st of Muharram to 5th of
Muharram every year. Hazrat Baba Fareed, a great personality of India was
married out with the daughter of the King of that era,Ghayyas-ud-din Balban.
The founder of the Sikh Faith Guru Nanak had reverence to Baba Fareed and
hence Sikhs also come here to pay tribute. In 1770 after a battle between
Mobarak Khan II of Bahawalpur and Hari Singh, it was agreed that "the
neutral town of Pakpattan, held by a Muslim saint of eminence, should be the
Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar died on 5th of Muharram 664 A.H.
corresponding to 17 October 1265 C.E. He was buried in Pakpattan (135 miles
(190 km) approx. off Lahore).
Baba Farid settled down in a place very next to his current shrine. Once
this place was marked with a tall flag that can be seen from the entrance of
the main mosque of the shrine. He started preaching the Hindus about Islam.
In a short time, a huge number of Hindus in the region embraced Islam. Those
who did not, became ardent followers of Baba Farid and often visited him to
seek spiritual guidance.
His shine was quite old by 1990s. Government of Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime
Minister of Pakistan ordered the development of a large complex with a grant
of RS40 Millions. Due to changes of the government, the project faced
several delays and continues until today. As a part of the project, the old
historical mosque was demolished despite opposition by the Department of
Archaeology and Museums to preserve the old historical mosque. During the
1990s, the old 'Hujra' (the praying room) of Baba Farid's dearest pupil and
son-in-law Khwaja Makhdoom Alauddin Ahmed Sabir was also renovated by the
government. The new 'Hujra' is an imitation of the design of the original 'Dargah'
of Khwaja Makhdoom Alauddin Ahmed Sabir in Kaliyar Sharif (Roorkee). Ganj
Shakar Trust Hospital Pakpattan is serving the needy and poor people under
the aeiges of local NGO Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar Educational And welfare
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The Pakpattan District is known for the fertility of its soil and most of
the population of Pakpattan district makes a living on agriculture. The main
crops are wheat, rice, cotton, maize (corn), sugar cane, etc. The primary
fruits and vegetables that are harvested are mango, guava, carrots,
potatoes,oranges and okra. Mostly canals are six monthly
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