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Introduction/geographical Details; Bahawalnagar District

District Bahawalnagar is located between 20° 51′ to 30° 22Ꞌ north latitudes, and 72° 17Ꞌ to 73° 58Ꞌ east longitudes, and is just south of River Sutlej. It is bounded on the north by Okara, Pakpattan and Vehari districts, on the east by Ferozepur and Ganganagar districts of India, on the south by the Indian state of Bikanir, and on the west by Bahawalpur district.

Bahawalnagar District at a Glance

Name of District Bahawalnagar district
District Headquarter Bahawalnagar city
Population[1] 2,981,919 persons
Area[2] 8,878 km2
Population Density 348.7 persons /km2
Population Growth Rate[3] 1.96%
Male Population[4] 50.8%
Female Population[5] 49.2%
Urban Population[6] 20.8%

05 Tehsils:

  1. Bahawalnagar tehsil
  2. Chishtian[7] tehsil
  3. Haroonabad tehsil
  4. Fort Abbas tehsil
  5. Minchanabad tehsil
Main Towns Donga Bonga, Takhat Mehal, Mandi Sadiq Gunj, Faqirwali, Madrisa, Dahranwala, Yateemwala, Qaziwala Bukhshan Khan, Bahawalnagar, Chishtian, Haroonabad, and Minchanabad
Literacy Rate[8] 52%
Male Literacy Rate[9] 61%
Female Literacy Rate[10] 42%
Major Economic Activity[11] Agriculture 50.3%
Elementary Occupations 27.8%
Service Workers 8.5%
Crafts and Related Trades Workers 4.5%
Professionals 5.7%
Others 3.2%
Main Crops Sugarcane, cotton, wheat, rice and rape/mustard, bajra, moong, maash, masoor, jowar, sunflower, maize, groundnut, sesanum, sugar beet, guar seed, linseed, sunn hemp, and castor seed
Major Fruits Citrus, guavas, mangoes, dates, banana, jaamun, pomegranate, pears, watermelon, musk melon, and phalsa
Major Vegetables Cauliflower, onion, turnip, carrot, potatoes, tomatoes, bitter gourd, chilies, peas, bottle gourd, pumpkin, ladyfinger (okra), chilies, coriander, and garlic
Forests (Area)[12] 10,000 HA (Under Forest Division)[13]
Black Topped Roads[14] 3,761.8 km
National Highways[15] – km
Motorways[16] – km
Provincial Highways[17] 3,647.5 km
Sugar Cess Roads[18] 114.3 km
No. of Grid Stations[19] 11 grid stations ranging in capacity from 66 KV to 132 KV
No. of Tel. Exchanges[20] 29 telephone exchanges, with capacity up to 41,956 lines. Most of the major cellular phone companies operate in the district
Industrial Zones[21] There is no Industrial Estate in the district but there are 243 small to medium enterprises operating in the district
Major Industry[22] Rice mills, cotton ginning & pressing, flour mills, agricultural implements, paper & paper board, sugar, tea blending, and textile spinning
Household Size[23] 6.7 persons per household
Houses with Piped Water Inside[24] 26.89%
1Houses with Electricity[25] 53.05%

Table 1.1 Bahawalnagar District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census)

[2] 1998 Census

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] 2017 Census

[6] 2017 Census

[7] Spelled Chistian in the 1998 Census; this chapter uses Chishtian for consistency with a majority of recent resources.

[8] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); Latest available.

[9] PSLM

[10] PSLM

[11] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been made Public.

[12] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[13] Land Utilization Statistics has zero area marked as forests.

[14] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[15] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[16] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[17] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[18] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[19] Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment study Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available.

[20] Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment study Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available.

[21] Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment study Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available.

[22] Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment study Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available.

[23] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been made Public yet.

[24] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been made Public yet.

[25] 1998 Census2017 Census data has not been made Public yet.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative UnitsHistoric/ Heritage Sites and Recreational Areas

Brief History of Bahawalnagar District

Bahawalnagar district was part of Bahawalpur Princely State till 1953, when, for administrative reasons, some parts of the State were made into a separate district. Most of its history is, thus, synonymous with the history of Bahawalpur State described in the chapter on Bahawalpur district. Here, the historical events relevant to the areas now part of Bahawalnagar district are described.

The district’s history is intrinsically linked to that of the Cholistan desert and the ebb and flow of the Ghakkar-Hakra[1] River; the desert forms nearly 46% of the total area of the district, which lies mostly in the Fort Abbas Tehsil (known originally as Phulra) in the south of the district with the riverbed of the now dry Hakra River passing through it. The river was much larger once, and was the cradle of the Hakra Civilization, which dates back to 4000 BC, when the Hakra River[2] flowed through it. The Hakra Civilization was one of the largest ancient civilizations of the world; in cultural advancement, it can be compared to the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Babylonian civilizations.[3] The Hakra River supplied water and helped this civilization flourish around 1200 BC, but by 600 BC, the river had become irregular in flow and ultimately dried up. When the river dried up, the people were forced to resettle near the upper course of the Ghakkar[4] and its tributaries, to the north and the northeast of Cholistan, where water was still available perennially or with seasonal regularity.

In 1974, the Department of Archaeology and Museums Pakistan launched a research program in the Cholistan desert. A survey of nearly 500 km (300 miles) along the dry bed of River Hakra was carried out, and 414 sites of archeological significance were mapped; these sites range in timeframe from at least the 4th millennium BC to the Medieval Period, clearly linking Bahawalnagar region to ancient civilizations like Harappa and Mohen-jo-Daro. The sites generally occur on low mounds in Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur districts, and on sand dunes in Rahim Yar Khan district.[5]

The name Phulra was changed in 1927 by the ruler of Bahawalpur State, Amir Sadiq Muhammad Khan V, who named it Abbas after his eldest son, Muhammad Abbas. Due to the presence of many historical forts in the city, it was popularly nicknamed Fort Abbas. Some of these forts include Walhar Fort (Sardargarh), Phulra Fort (which gave the place its original name), Marot Fort, and Meer Garh Fort.

After the annexation of Sindh in 1843, the British started building railway lines primarily to transport troops for their numerous wars, and secondly to transport goods for export to the United Kingdom. They constructed railway junctions after every 100 miles, where engines were changed and/ or refueled, and the coaches supplied with water. One of the railway junctions built by the British in 1894 helped transform Bahawalnagar (originally known as Rojhanwali village) from a small settlement consisting of a few huts and shacks near Fort Abbas to a thriving town. This town¾developed south of the Rojhanwali Railway Station[6]¾was named Bahawalnagar after the ruler of Bahawalpur State, Nawab Bahawal Khan V. The Rojhanwali railway station was also renamed Bahawalnagar railway junction. The village Rojhanwali still exists at a distance of about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) north of this railway station. Before partition, this was a very busy junction, with trains plying between Karachi and Delhi and vice versa via Bahawalnagar. Passenger trains also traveled between Bahawalnagar and Fazilka, Ferozepur, and vice versa.[7] Construction of a canal system, especially the Fordah Canal, further helped in the development of the city as the irrigation system made it fertile, helping agriculture flourish.

In the year 1900–1901, the first police station post was established in the region, and in 1902–1903 the first primary school was established. In 1906, a Panchayat Committee, consisting of nominated members, was composed. In 1914, Bahawalnagar was upgraded to a tehsil and a regular Municipal Committee was constituted in 1922. The Assistant Commissioner and Tehsildar were then appointed and were called Mir Majlis and Naib Mir Majlis.[8]

As described already, the district Bahawalnagar was separated from Bahawalpur State in 1953 for administrative reasons. In 1954, the Panchayat Committee was dissolved and an Administrator was appointed. In 1960, a Municipal Committee was established, now administered by an Administrator. The district is currently governed under the Punjab Local Government Act, and is one of the largest districts of Pakistan based on land area.

Figure 1.3 Ruins of Marot Fort, Cholistan

Figure 1.4 Fort Abbas Fort, Fort Abbas Tehsil

Governmental Structure; Bahawalnagar District

At the Federal level, Bahawalnagar district is allocated a set number of representatives in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly:

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 4
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 8

Under Local Government and Community Development, Bahawalnagar district, the district has one District Council and 6 Municipal Committees as follows:

  • Bahawalnagar
  • Chishtian
  • Fort Abbas
  • Haroonabad
  • Minchinabad
  • Donga Bonga

Figure 1.5 Civil Offices, Bahawalnagar

Administrative Units; Bahawalnagar district

Bahawalnagar district covers an area of 8,878 km² and is subdivided into 5 Tehsils as follows:

Bahawalnagar 31 Union councils
Chishtian 29 Union Councils
Haroonabad 22 Union Councils
Manchinabad 20 Union Councils
Fort Abbas 16 Union Councils

Table 1.2 Bahawalnagar Administrative Units

Historic/ Heritage Sites/Recreational Areas; Bahawalnagar district

There are no government protected/ heritage structures in the district, but the following are historically important:

  • Fort Abbas Tehsil, formerly called Phulra: A historic fort on the banks of old River Hakra near the border of India, it is said to have been built by Sikh Raja Phool Singh Thakur. The ruins can still be seen. A mosque, said to have been built by Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi, is located on the southwestern corner of this fort. Nawab Muhammad Mubarak Khan III renovated it in 1852 and renamed it Fort Abbas after his son Muhammad Abbas
  • The ruins of the fort of Sardar Garh
  • Mirgarh Fort
  • Jamgarh Fort, built in 1788 by Jam Khan Maroofani
  • Marot Fort, constructed in 1743 by Wadera Maroof Khan Kehrani and his sons Jam Jan Muhammad Khan, Asmat Khan, and Hamza Khan on the ruins of another old town called Lothra
  • Rangeen Mahal in Shahr Farid, 6 km from River Sutlej: The Rangeen Mahal was built by Farid Khan Sani. Other buildings of interest in Shahr Farid are the Masjid Mai Sahib and Masjid Khana

Places of interest in other parts of Bahawalnagar district include:

  • Tomb of Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Sarwar Chisti in Chishtian: He was the grandson of Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj Shakar of Pakpattan
  • Shrine of Hazrat Qibla-e-Alam Khwaja Nur Muhammad Moharvi, Chishtian
  • Ruins of Daulat Khana of Nawab of Bhawalpur in Minchanabad

An Urs/ festival is held every year at these shrines.

Recreational areas include the Bahawalnagar Wildlife park, the banks of River Sutlej and canal banks, as well as Cholistan Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Chopalia Game Reserve. There are parks and gardens in all tehsils of the district.

Figure 1.11 A Village Scene Bahawalnagar

Figure 1.12 Tomb of Baba Fazal Shah, Fort Abbas

Figure 1.13 Tomb of Hazrat Khwaja Noordin Chishti, Chishtian

Figure 1.14 Fort Abbas, Bahawalnagar

Figure 1.15 Civil Club, Bahawalnagar

[1] The Ghakkar river is referred to as Ghaggar in some resources. This chapter uses Ghakkar for consistency.

[2] According to historians, the Hakra River can be associated with Sarasvati River mentioned in the Rigveda. This river is said to have flowed about 10,000 years ago, originating from the Himalayas and flowing down into the desert. This river is said to have dried up 6,000 years ago, and later disappeared from maps. The Sarasvati River has been assigned many names, Hakra being one of them. For details, see Saraswati – The Ancient River Lost in the Desert by A. V. Sankaran

[3] Historical and Archaeological Perspectives of Soil Degradation in Cholistan by Farooq Ahmad, Zulfiqar Ali, and Sameera Farooq. Department of Geography, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

[4] The Ghakkar-Hakra is one river, which is called Ghaggar/ Ghakkar in its upper reaches in India. When it reaches Ottu Barrage and crosses into Pakistan, it is called Hakra.

[5] Recent Archaeological Research in Cholistan Desert by M R Mughal; 1982

[6] Recent Archaeological Research in Cholistan Desert by M R Mughal; 1982

[7] Bahawalnagar – Outline Development Plan, Govt of Punjab, 1978

[8] Bahawalnagar – Outline Development Plan, Govt of Punjab, 1978

Topography; Bahawalnagar District

District Bahawalnagar is mainly an alluvial flood plain in which bar uplands are missing. Topographically, the district may be divided into 4 parts: the riverine area (also called hithar), the canal irrigated plain (also called nehri), the desert area or Cholistan, and the Hakra Depression. The district is situated 150 m above Mean Sea Level.

Riverine Area or Hithar; Bahawalnagar District

The riverine area of the district lies close to the Sutlej River which flows in the northwest, along the district’s border with Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, and Vehari districts. The land in this area is irrigated by non-perennial canals. During the summer Monsoons, the area is generally inundated by the river water.

Irrigated Area or Nehri; Bahawalnagar district

The canal irrigated area is a plain which has been brought under cultivation by the canals. This area lies between the railway line and Cholistan desert. This is the central tract of the district and is locally known as pat or bar. The main sources of irrigation here are the perennial and non-perennial canals from the Sulemanki headworks.

Desert Area or Cholistan; Bahawalnagar district

The desert area of the district is called the Cholistan or roohi. This area forms the southwestern edge of the district. The surface of this desert consists of a succession of sand dunes, rising in places to a height of 36 m. It is covered with vegetation unique to sandy tracts. Wind plays an important part in the formation of sand dunes and different types of dunes are formed. The notable ones for the region are the Barkhan sand dunes, which are isolated sand dunes resembling a blunted crescent.

Hakra Depression; Bahawalnagar district

The most trusted theory for the formation of the Hakra Depression is that it was the old bed of River Jumna. Besides the Hakra Depression, there are other smaller depressions running parallel to each other at a distance of 5-18 km from the Sutlej.

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes; Bahawalnagar district

River Sutlej flows along the northwestern boundary of the district. There are no other rivers, streams or nullahs but River Ghakkar-Hakra is an intermittent river flowing in Tehsil Fort Abbas of the district.

Only one lake called Dhand Mahiwali is located in Minchanabad tehsil of the district.

Forests; Bahawalnagar district

There are 2 types of forests in the district: irrigated plantations and rangelands. The flora of irrigated plantations includes shisham or talhi (Dalbergia sissoo), toot or mulberry (Morus alba), wild sugar cane or baans/ bamboo (Bombax cieba), sufaida (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), kikar or babul (Acacia nilotica), bakain or Persian lilac (Melia azedarach), poplar (Populus spp.), and willow (Salix spp.). Flora of the rangelands includes karir (Capparis aphylla), khar or lani (Suaeda fruticosa), lana (Haloxylon salincornicum), kikar (Acacia nilotica), lani (Salsola foetida), mallah or ber/ jujube (Zizyphus nummularia), and jand (Prosopis cineraria).

The following table shows the types and area of forests in the district (Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19):

Total Forest Area 23,986 A Under Provincial Govt. 23,285 HA
Reserved Forests 701 A Un-classed Forests – A
Resumed Land – A Linear Plantation 3,027 km

Table 1.3 Bahawalnagar Forest Statistics

The notable forests of the district are Dodhlan Forests (4,336 HA), Rahna Bhana Protected Forest (4,977 HA), Bahawalnagar Plantation (283 HA), Mian Wala Toba Protected forest (103 HA), and Donga Bonga Protected Forest (6 HA).

Soils; Bahawalnagar district

Given the sedimentary history of the main land forms in the area, it has been concluded that the soil formation is that of middle Holocene, recent, and sub-recent ages. The soils of the riverine area are mostly loamy or sandy loam. The irrigated areas show clear evidence of comparatively recent river activity. The soil is generally homogenized to a depth of 15-20 cm from the surface. The soils of the northern part of Cholistan are clay alluvium, derived from the Himalayas which is composed of calcareous sand and clay; the central part is sandy alluvium, deposited by the River Hakra.

Figure 1.6 Cholistan Desert, Bahawalnagar

Climate; Bahawalnagar district

The district has a varied climate. In the riverine areas of the north, the climate is relatively milder; it is hot and humid in summer with plenty of rainfall, and is cold in the winters. In Cholistan in the south, there are great extremes of temperatures; the summers are very hot and dry with very little rainfall, and the winters are relatively cold, especially at night.

Generally, Bahawalnagar has a very hot and dry summer season, which starts from April and lasts till November. Mean temperatures are about 40 °C which may go up to 50 °C. Dust storms are common in the evenings, bringing relief from the day’s scorching heat at night by bringing the temperatures down to 25 °C. From July to September, the heat is relatively less intense due to Monsoonal interference. Fort Abbas is the hottest region of the district.

The hotter months are May and June, with June being the hottest. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during June are 42 °C and 28 °C respectively. The climate in winter is very dry and cold. December, January, and February are the winter months, with January being the coldest. The mean average temperatures during January are 29 °C and 6 °C. Fog is common in winters.

Average annual rainfall in the district is 200 mm.

Seismic Activity/Seismicity; Bahawalnagar district

The district belongs to Zone 1 of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan, which means there will be minor damage in case of an earthquake.

Population of Bahawalnagar District

The following table shows the population figures for Bahawalnagar district as per the 2017 census:

District/ Tehsil Area km2 Total Male% Female% Urban% Growth Rate %
Bahawalnagar District 8,878 2,981,919 50.8 49.2 20.8 1.96
Bahawalnagar Tehsil 1,729 815,143
Chishtian Tehsil 1,500 691,221
Fort Abbas Tehsil 2,536 423,529
Haroonabad Tesil 1,295 525,598
Minchanabad Tehsil 1,818 526,428

Table 1.4 Bahawalnagar Population Statistics

Religion; Bahawalnagar district[1]

Muslim 99%
Christian 0.6%
Hindu 0.1%
Ahmadis 0.3%
Scheduled Castes Negligible %
Others Negligible %

Table 1.5 Bahawalnagar Religions

Languages; Bahawalnagar district[2]

Urdu 3.7%
Punjabi 94.6%
Sindhi Negligible %
Pushto 0.3%
Balochi Negligible %
Seraiki 1.2%
Others 0.1%

Table 1.6 Bahawalnagar Languages

[1] 1998 Census; 2017 census results have not been made public as yet.

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 census results have not been made public as yet.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity; Bahawalnagar District

The economy of Bahawalnagar is based on agriculture. Livestock is the second most important sector of the economy, followed by elementary workers, service workers, and shop and market sales workers, as well as craft and related workers. Oil and gas mining licenses have been granted to various companies in 2006. There is no other mining activity in the district.

The main occupations, thus, include:

  • Agriculture (50.3%)
  • Elementary occupations (27.8%)
  • Service workers (8.5%)
  • Crafts, and Related Trades Workers (4.5%)
  • Professionals (5.7%)
  • Others (3.2%)

Land Use; Bahawalnagar district

The following table shows the major land use statistics of the district as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Reported Area 742,000 HA Cultivated Area 620,000 HA
Net Sown Area 586,000 HA Current Fallows 34,000 HA
Uncultivated Area 122,000 HA Culturable Waste 46,000 HA
Forests[1] – HA

Table 1.7 Bahawalnagar Land Use Statistics

[1] The forests are under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department

Irrigation Network; Bahawalnagar district

The main sources of irrigation are canals, dug wells, and tube wells. Main irrigation canals of the district were dug under the Sutlej Valley Project in 1933-34. These canals were inundation canals and were named after various British Officers. Important canals were the Ford Wah Canal, Murad Wah, Grey Wah, Sotri Escape, Kotor Wah, and Daulat Wah. Sadiqia Wah Sharqi Canal was dug in 1889 and the Sadiqia Gharbi Canal was dug in 1887-89.

Currently, the district is irrigated by 2 main canals off-taking from Sulemanki Headworks on River Sutlej. These canals are the Sadiqia and Ford Wah. The following table shows the mode of irrigation and the area served by the system as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Area Sown 830,000 HA Irrigated Area 814,000 HA
Un-Irrigated Area 16,000 HA Canal Irrigated 534,000 HA
Dug Wells 6,000 HA Tube Well Irrigated 40,000 HA
Canal Well Irrigated 21,000 HA Canal Tube Wells 201,000 HA
Others 3,000 HA

Table 1.11 Bahawalnagar Irrigation Statistics

Agriculture; Bahawalnagar district

Part of the district belongs to the Sandy Desert Zone and another part to the Northern Irrigated Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Agriculture is the dominant sector of the economy. Almost 50.3% of the population is engaged in agriculture in the district. Irrigated area is irrigated through tube wells and non-perennial canals. Major crops of the district include sugarcane, cotton, wheat, rice and rape/mustard, bajra, moong, maash, masoor, jowar, sunflower, maize, groundnut, sesanum, sugar beet, guar seed, linseed, sunn hemp, and castor seed.

Fruits of the district include citrus, guavas, mangoes, dates, banana, jaamun, pomegranate, pears, watermelon, musk melon, and phalsa. Vegetables include cauliflower, onion, turnip, carrot, potatoes, tomatoes, bitter gourd, chilies, peas, bottle gourd, pumpkin, ladyfinger, chilies, coriander, and garlic.

Livestock Breeding; Bahawalnagar district

The following table shows the livestock population as of the 2010 Census of Livestock (drawn from Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19):

Cattle 467,000 Heads Buffaloes 640,000 Heads Sheep 139,000 Heads
Goats 853,000 Heads Camels 1,188 Heads Horses 1,811 Heads
Mules 851 Heads Asses 52,403 Heads

Table 1.8 Bahawalnagar Livestock Statistics

The indigenous/ important livestock breeds of the district include kohistani or Cholistani and nili ravi cattle, khaddali and sipli breed of sheep, and mehra breed of camels. Among horses, the through bred is common all over Pakistan.

Figure 1.8 Camels in Cholistan Area

Figure 1.9 Cholistani Breed of Cattle

Figure 1.10 Khaddali Sheep

Poultry Farms; Bahazwalnagar district

In all, there are 520 poultry farms in the district.[1] According to the Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19 there are 173 broiler and 14 layer poultry farms (all privately owned) in the District.

Fishing; Bahawalnagar district

There is very little commercial fishing activity in the district, but the rural population is engaged in catching fish in various canals and other water bodies, including the River Sutlej. This fish is consumed locally. The government has opened up a fish seed farm in Hasilpur, Bahawalnagar, and there are some fish farms in the district.

Bee Keeping/Api Culture; Bahawalnagar district

In Bahawalnagar, bee keeping is taken up on a commercial basis, but the honey collected is sold in raw form.


Figure 1.16 A View of the Sulemanki Headworks

Figure 1.17 Map of Canal System, Sulemanki Headworks

Minerals and Mining; Bagawalnagar district

There is no mining activity in the district. The government awarded licenses for exploration for oil and gas in 2006.

Industry and Manufacturing; Bahawalnagar district

There is no Industrial Estate in the district, but major industries of the area include cotton ginning & pressing, flour mills, marble industry, oil mills, paper and paper board, rice mills, sugar, tea blending, and textile spinning. The following table shows the type and number of industrial units in the district:[2]

Type of Industry Number Type of Industry Number
Agricultural Implements 14 Blending Tea 3
Cotton Ginning and Pressing 154 Flour mills 8
Paper & Paper Board 2 Rice Mills 142
Soap and Detergent 10 Sugar 1
Textile Spinning 1

Table 1.9 Bahawalnagar Industries

Trade (Import/Export); Bahawalnagar district

Haroonabad Tehsil of the district houses one of the biggest grain markets of the country; another major grain market is located in the Chishtian Tehsil of the district. Major dealings include wheat, rice, cotton, sugar cane, and maize. In addition, the district also trades in handicrafts.

Handicrafts; Bahawalnagar district

The main handicraft of the district is shoe making. Other major handicrafts include the weaving of small mats for prayers, and baskets from date leaves. Embroidery on clothes, shoes, caps, and leather goods is also a major handicraft.


Economic Infrastructure; Bahawalnagar District

The district is linked by road and rail to other parts of Punjab and Pakistan.

Road Statistics; Bahawalnagar district

The following table shows the road statistics of the district as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Road Length 3,761.8 km
National Highways – km
Provincial Highways 3,647.5 km
Motorways – km
Sugar Cess Roads 114.3 km

Table 1.10 Bahawalnagar Road Statistics

Bahawalnagar is connected to Bahawalpur and other parts of Punjab and Pakistan through black topped roads.

The important road links of the district include:

  • Bahawalnagar-Bahawalpur Road
  • Bahawalnagar-Hasilpur Road
  • Arifwala-Bahawalnagar Road
  • Bahawalnagar-Chishtian Road
  • Bahawalnagar-Haroonabad Road

Rail and Airways; Bahawalnagar district

The district is linked with Bahawalpur and other parts of Punjab and Pakistan through Pakistan Railways. There are 23 railway stations[1] in the district. Important railway stations include the Bahawalnagar Railway Station, Haroonabad Railway Station, Chishtian Railway Station, Faqirwali Railway Station, Fort Abbas Railway Station, and Phulra Railway Station.

There is an airport called Bahawalnagar airport in the district. This is located in Bahawalnagar town, and serves domestic flights only.

Radio and Television; Bahawalnagar district

There are no television or radio stations in Bahawalnagar, but TV can be viewed through boosters and cable.

Telecommunications; Bahawalnagar district

Pakistan Telecommunication Ltd. has established a network of telephone lines. In addition, a number of cellular companies also provide their services in the district.

Post Offices/ Courier Services; Bahawalnagar district

There are nearly 23 offices of Pakistan Post in the district with 8 branches in Bahawalnagar, 5 in Chishtian, 4 in Fort Abbas, 3 in Haroonabad, and 3 in Minchanabad.[2]

Banking/ Financial Institutions; Bahawalnagar district

There are a total of 85 branches of various banks in the district, with 21 in Bahawalnagar, 22 in Chishtian, 10 in Fort Abbas, 11 in Haroonabad, and 21 in Minchanabad[3].

The following banks all have their branches in the district:[4]

  • The National Savings Center
  • Allied Bank Ltd.
  • Askari Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Al Falah Ltd.
  • Faysal Bank Ltd.
  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.
  • Meezan Bank Ltd.
  • National Bank of Pakistan Ltd.
  • Soneri Bank Ltd.
  • The Bank of Punjab Ltd.
  • The Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank Ltd.
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd.

According to the list of Reporting Bank Branches 2019, by State Bank of Pakistan there are a total of 130 branches of various conventional banks and 12 branches of different Islamic banks in the District.

Electricity and Gas; Bahawalnagar district

There are 11 grid stations in the district (ranging in capacity from 66 KV to 132 KV). The district was first connected with the main gas supply pipeline in the year 2008.[5]

Educational Institutions; Bahawalnagar district

The following table shows the details of educational facilities in the district, as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 767/835 Middle Schools 147/217
Secondary schools 105/89 Higher Secondary 18/21
Degree colleges 18/21 Other Higher Secondary[6] 09/10
Other Degree Colleges[7] 04/06 Technical Training Institutes[8] 04/-
Vocational Institutes[9] -/06 Commercial Training Institutes[10] 05/01
Universities[11] 02 Govt. Mosque Schools 136/03
Medical Schools Engineering Schools

Table 1.12 Bahawalnagar Educational Institutes

Healthcare Facilities; Bahawalnagar district

The District Health Officer (DHO) is overall in charge of health services provided in the district and is supported by doctors, paramedics, technicians, and other support staff. The following table shows the number of health care institutions in the district as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Government Hospitals 10/702 Dispensaries 37/-
Rural Health Centers 10/200 Basic Health Units 102/204
T B Clinics 01/- Mother Child Health Centers 09/-
Private Hospitals 01/10 Private Dispensaries/ Hospitals[12] 30/323
SubHealth Centers 33/-

Table 1.13 Bahawalnagar Health Care Institutes

Policing; Bahawalnagar district

The Bahawalnagar district comes under the jurisdiction of Bahawalpur Region, which comprises of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, and Rahim Yar Khan Districts. The region is headed by Deputy Inspector General Police. The district is headed by a District Police Officer (DPO) and each DPO is in charge of 1 district. The Bahawalnagar district is divided into 5 subdivisions and has a total of 22 police stations[13] in the district.


[1] Directorate of Industries, Punjab Pre-Investment Study, Bahawalnagar, 2012; Latest available

[2] Directorate of Industries, Punjab, Investment Study, Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available

[3] Directorate of Industries, Punjab, Investment Study, Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available

[4] List of reporting bank Branches 2013, provided by State Bank of Pakistan.

[5] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Investment Study Bahawalnagar 2012; Latest available

[6] Includes Private, Federal and Schools owned by PAF and other Organizations

[7] Includes Private, Federal and Schools owned by PAF and other Organizations

[8] Pre-Investment Study 2012. Bahawalnagar District, Directorate of Industries, Punjab; Latest available

[9] Pre-Investment Study 2012. Bahawalnagar District, Directorate of Industries, Punjab; Latest available

[10] Pre-Investment Study 2012. Bahawalnagar District, Directorate of Industries, Punjab; Latest available

[11] SubCampus of Islamia University and one Post Graduate College for Boys

[12] Three Year Rolling Plan 2010-13 District Bahawalnagar, Govt of Punjab

[13] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[1] Table 17 Number Of Commercial Poultry Farms And Number Of Birds By Size Of Flock

[2] Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment Study, Bahawalnagar District 2012; Latest available.

Environment and Biodiversity; Bahawalnagar District

Bahawalnagar district is one of the poorest districts of Pakistan, where nearly 50% of its population lives below the poverty line. The physical environment of the district consists of agriculture lands, riverine forests, and a part of Cholistan desert. The air quality of the district for most parts is good, since there are no major industries; the only sources of air pollution are the dust particles and emissions from some vehicular traffic on the highways. Most of the subsoil water is unfit for human consumption, especially in Chishtian Tehsil.

Flora and Fauna; Bagawalnagar district

Flora; Bahawalnagar district

The indigenous and cultivated trees of the district include jand or jandi (Prosopis spicigera), karir (Capparis aphylla), jal or vann (Salvadora obeides), lai or philchi (Tamarix quellica), kallar or lai (Tamarix), okan (Tamarix dioica), babul (Acacia nilotica), kikar babul (Acacia Arabica), shisham (Dilbergio sissoo), beri (Zizypus jujube), sirin (Albizzia lebbek benth), bakain (Melia azedarach), neem (Azardica indica), sohajna (Morig ptorygosperma), lasura (Teccoma undullata), bohar or bor (Ficus indica), peepal (Ficus religosa), jaamun (Eugenia jamolana), and harnali.

The following trees are cultivated in gardens and orchards:

Sumbul (Ceiba pentandra), bael (Aegle marmelos), dhak (Butea monosperma), kachnar (Bauhinia variegate), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), amaltas (Cassia fistula), sufaid sharinh or siris (Albizzia Lebbek), bahera (Terminalia bellerica), arjun (Terminalia arjuna), baans or bamboo (Bambuseae), sufaida or eucalyptus (Manilkara zapota), mango (Mangifera indica) and guava (Psidium guajava).

Some of the wild plants include:

Aak (calotropis procera), lana (suda ruiteasa), phog (Calligonum polygonoides), khaar (Acacia chundra), piazi or wild onions (Asphodelus tenuifoliius), tumma or jand (prosopis juliflora), wild rose (Woodsii lindl), puth kanda (Litsaea chinensia), pohli (Carthamus oxyacantha), niazboo or tulsi (Carthamus oxyacantha), pudina or mint (menthe species), and bathu (Chenopodium album).

Common water plants of the district include:

Nilofar (water lily), kanwal or water lily, kundar (Olibanum), singhara or water cress, and Indian stargrass or water thyme (Hydrilla verticillata).

The bushes in the Cholistan area are perennial shrubs with scattered small trees. A large number of annual and ephemeral species grow after rains which, after completing their life cycle, dry up in a short span after dispersing their seeds. Most of the trees and shrubs are either leaf-less or have small thin leaves. Common shrubs include Acacia tamarix, zizyphus, and zygophylum.

Fauna; Bahawalnagar; district

The mammals of the district include pigs, hog deer, chinkara deer, otter, jackal, fox, wolf, and dugong or bullan, mongoose, jungle cat, civet, scaly anteater, desert rat and wild hare, rabbits, blue bulls, desert hedgehog, and porcupine.

The avifauna include peacocks, storks, purple moorhen, king fisher, common teal, water fowls, magpies, babblers, kalchirs, falcons, eagles, houbara bustard, sandgrouse, partridge, owls, and weaving birds.

Reptiles of the district include various types of lizards like goh, chameleon, common house lizard, and desert lizard. Various types of snakes including phanyar, naag or cobra, jalebi naag, tirmar, phullan, jharoha, sung choor, ghora, kulsar, kaignaan, and chit kannan are common. Other reptiles include tortoises, crocodiles, alligators, frogs, and toads.

Centipedes and millipedes are common; other insects include various types of spiders, cockroaches, mole crickets, praying mantis, dragon flies, water bugs, leeches, and various types of worms.

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Wildlife; Bahawalnagar district

There are a total of 10,000 HA of reserved forests protected under either Provincial Government laws or Federal Government laws. These forests include Dodhlan Forests (4,336 HA), Rahna Bhana Protected Forest (4,977 HA), Bahawalnagar Plantation (283 HA), Mian Wala Toba Protected Forest (103 HA), and Donga Bonga Protected Forest (6 HA).

Following are the protected wildlife areas of the district:

  • Part of Cholistan Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chopalia Game Reserve
  • Head Islam Game Reserve

In addition, there is a state-run wildlife breeding center in Bahawalnagar and 2 privately‑owned wildlife breeding centers.

These wildlife areas provide sanctuary to hog deer, blue bull or neel gai, black buck, desert wolf, red fox, small Indian civet, grey mongoose, desert cat, caracal cat, chinkara gazelle, peregrine falcon, saker falcon, houbara bustard, monitor lizard, saw-scaled viper, Russells viper, over 200 types of insects, and as many as 60 varieties of snakes.