Punjab-Rahimyar Khan

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Introduction

The district derives its name from its headquarter town: Rahim Yar Khan (RYK). The previous name of this district was Naushehra; it was renamed Rahim Yar Khan in 1883 by the Nawab of Bahawalpur. It is located between 27° 40Ꞌ to 29° 16Ꞌ north latitudes, and 60° 45Ꞌ to 70° 01Ꞌ east longitudes. RYK is bounded on the north by Muzaffargarh district, on the east by Bahawalpur district, on the south by Jaisilmir (India) as well as Ghotki district of Sindh province, and on the west by Rajanpur district.

District at a Glance

Name of District Rahim Yar Khan District (RYK)
District Headquarter Rahim Yar Khan Town
Population[1] 4,814,006 persons
Area[2] 11,880 km2
Population Density[3] 373.6 persons/ km2
Population Growth Rate[4] 2.3%
Male Population[5] 51.3%
Female Population[6] 48.7%
Urban Population[7] 21.5%
Tehsils 4 Tehsils:

  1. Rahim Yar Khan Tehsil
  2. Sadiqabad Tehsil
  3. Liaqatpur Tehsil
  4. Khanpur Tehsil
Main Towns Mianwali Qureshian, Tarinda Sawai Khan, Kot Samaba, Chowk Bahadurpur, Bagh-o-Bahar, Ghauspur, Nawan Kot, Fatehpur, Zahirpir, Sehja, Jehtha Butha, Tarinda Muhammad Pannah, Feroza, Khanbela, Tanwari Allahabad, Jamal Din Wali, Ahmedpur Lamma, Goth Alo, Dhendi, Machi Goth, and Bhong
Literacy Rate[8] 45%
Male Literacy Rate[9] 57%
Female Literacy Rate[10] 33%
Major Economic Activity[11] Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding, Fishing etc 56.3%
Manufacturing 1.7%
Construction 17.6%
Wholesale/ Retail Trade, Hotel/ Restaurant 7.6%
Community, Social & Personal Services 14.2%
Transport, Storage & Communication 1.8%
Others 0.8%
Main Crops Wheat, sugarcane, cotton, rice, maize, tobacco, bajra, moong, maash, masoor and oilseeds such as rape/ mustard and sunflower
Major Fruits Mangoes, citrus, dates, guavas, jaamun, pears, phalsa, and banana
Major Vegetables Onion, tomato, cauliflower, potatoes, carrot, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, chilies, cauliflower, peas, and garlic
Forests (area)[12] 14,000 HA[13]
Total Black Topped Roads[14] 4,276.6 km
National Highways[15] 157.0 km
Motorways[16] – km
Provincial Roads[17] 3,737.8 km
Sugar Cess Roads[18] 381.8 km
No. of Grid Stations[19] 9 grid stations, with a capacity of 132 KV each
No. of Telephone Exchanges[20] 61 telephone exchanges, ranging in capacity from 200 to 20,150 lines
Industrial Zones[21] There is 1 Industrial Zone in RYK district, which houses 280 cottage level, as well as small, medium, and large enterprises in various areas
Major Industry[22] Beverages 2 Units
Chemicals 1 Unit
Cotton Ginning & Pressing 180 Units
Dairy Products 10 Units
Fertilizers 2 Units
Drugs & Pharmaceuticals 1 Unit
Flour Mills 43 Units
Glycerin 1 Unit
GI/MS Pipes 1 Unit
Poultry Feed 3 Units
Rice Mills 3 Units
Seed Processing 4 Units
Sugar 5 Units
Sulphuric Acid 1 Unit
Oil Extraction 1 Unit
Textile Weaving & Spinning 15 Units
Ice Cream 1 Unit
Industrial Burn Gases 1 Unit
Paper & Paperboard 1 Unit
Cold Storage 4 Units
Household Size[23] 7 persons per house
Houses with Piped Water Inside[24] 16%
Houses with Electricity[25] 53%

Table 1.1 Rahim Yar Khan (RYK) District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census.

[2] 1998 Census.

[3] 2017 Census.

[4] 2017 Census.

[5] 2017 Census.

[6] 2017 Census.

[7] 2017 Census.

[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 yet.

[12] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

[13]Land Utilization Statistics report 6,000 HA under 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 Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[20] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[21] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[22] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 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 Census; 2017 census data has not been made public yet.

Brief HistoryGovernmental StructureAdministrative DivisionsHeritage/ Historical Sites and Tourist Attractions

Brief History of the District

Rahim Yar Khan City was constructed on the ruins/ mounds of an ancient ruined city called Phul Wadda which was the capital city of Soomra Chief Phul and his son Lakha during the Soomra dynasty (1024-1351) in Sindh. The founder of the new city was Fazal Ali Khan, who laid the foundations in 1751. He called this new city Naushehra meaning new city.[1] The city and all areas belonging to RYK district were part of Bahawalpur State (which was founded in 1727 by Amir Sadiq Muhammad Khan 1), and Naushehra (now Rahim Yar Khan) was the headquarters of the Nizamat (tehsil) of Khanpur. Khanpur is now a tehsil of RYK district.

In 1881, the British laid the foundations of a railway line and built a railway station in Naushehra. Since there is another town in Pakistan with a similar name, (Nowshera in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, then NWFP[2]) with a major railway station called Nowshera, the then Nawab of Bahawalpur, Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV, named the new railway station RYK after his first son, Rahimyar Khan (Rahimyar Khan died in 1883), in order to differentiate between these two names. Thenceforth, both the railway station, and the city’s post office were designated Rahim Yar Khan, which became adopted as the name of the town over time.

It is believed that the parts of the region belonging to present day RYK district were a part of Ashoka’s Buddhist Empire and the Gandhara Civilization (1500-500 BC). Alexander the Great, after conquering Multan and before advancing towards Alor (present day Rohri in Sukkur district), appointed General Phillipos as Governor/ Satrap of Multan and Uch. The region remained under Phillipos, who was leter driven out by Raja Porus after Alexander’s death.

After Alexander, these areas became part of the Rai Dynasty (489-690 AD), which extended from Kashmir in the east, Makran and Debal port (modern Karachi) in the west, Surat port in Gujarat (India) in the south, and the Kandahar, Sistan, Suleiman, Ferdan, and Kikran Hills in the north. The Rai Dynasty ended with the death of Rai Sihasi II, the last Rai ruler of Sindh. On the death of Rai Sihasi II, Chach of Alor (now Rohri in Sukkur district), married Sihasi’s widow, and declared himself ruler by displacing the rightful heirs. Chach died after ruling for 33 years; he was succeeded by his brother Chandar, who was succeeded by his nephew Dahir after 8 years, on his death. During Dahir’s reign, some Arab ships carrying mer­chandise were attacked and plundered by his subjects. Arabs demanded compensation and on refusal by Raja Dahir, Muhammad bin Qasim, an Arab general, invaded and con­quered the whole territory, reaching up to Multan, in April 712 AD. Dahir was killed in the battle at Alor. The territory remained under the various governors appointed by the Abbasids and the Umayyad Caliphs (Arabs) from 712-870 A.D. As the power of the Arab Caliphate declined, Sindh became the first province to slip out of their control. By 871 AD, two independent principalities, Multan and Mansura, were founded. The principality of Multan extended from Alor to the sea such that the entire State of Bahawalpur, including Rahim Yar Khan, must have been part of the independent kingdom of Multan.[3]

Multan was captured by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1010 AD. The Ghaznavid Rule was followed by the Karmatian’s[4] rule and then by the Soomras (1024-1351) and Sammas (1351-1524). During the reign of Abu Al Fath al M’utazid Billah, the sixth Abbassid Caliph of Egypt, his son, Amir Sultan Ahmad II) migrated to India with his family and followers in 1366 AD. He came to Sindh via Balochistan and settled there. The Arabs who were already living in Sindh rallied round Amir Ahmad.

In 1540, the Duddees (Daudpotas), a well-known tribe, rose to considerable power in the eastern parts of Bahawalpur. During the same period, Amir Channi Khan Abbasi was made a general or a Panjhazari (Sardar/ Leader of 5,000 Sawars/ Soldiers) by Prince Murad, son of Emperor Akbar the Great. After the death of Amir Mohammad Channi Khan, disputes arose between the two Abbasi houses, the Kalhora and Daudpota tribes. The Arab tribes already settled in Bahawalpur sided with the Daudpotas. Amir Bahadur Khan Abbasi, the chief of the Daudpota tribe, then rose to power; he and his descendants brought small principalities of Bahawalpur State together into a united kingdom and thus formed the Bahawalpur State in 1727.[5]

During the declining years of the Mughal Empire, the Sikhs started occupying large areas in Punjab, until Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) occupied all of Punjab; some of the major towns of his empire included Srinagar, Attock, Peshawar, Bannu, Rawalpindi, Jammu, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kangra, Amritsar, Lahore, and Multan. The Punjab continued to be ruled by the Sikhs till the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, when Punjab was annexed by the British. Bahawalpur State, however, continued to remain independent and was never made a part of the Sikh Empire.

The first treaty between the Nawab of Bahawalpur (Bahawal Khan III) and the British Government was affected in 1883 AD, guaranteeing the independence of the Nawab. On the death of Amir Bahawal Khan III in 1852 AD, his second son, Saadat Yar Khan, succeeded him and adopted the name of Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan III. Soon after assuming power, he imprisoned his brothers. A large part of the Bahawalpur army was demobilized, and grants and other usual expenses were diminished and/ or abolished. These events made the Amir unpopular, and just a few months later, Fatehgarh was attacked at night. Prince Haji Khan, who was kept as a prisoner, was freed and brought to Khanpur. He then entered Ahmadpur East (Ahmadpur Sharqia) without any resistance and Sadiq Muhammad Khan III was imprisoned. Prince Haji Khan assumed the title of Nawab Fateh Khan Abbasi and ruled the State from 1853 to 1858 AD. Nawab Fateh Khan had two sons: Rahimyar Khan and Muhabbat Khan.

Prince Rahimyar Khan succeeded his father, the late Amir Fateh Khan Abbasi, and took on the name Muhammad Bahawal Khan IV (1858–1866). He was poisoned, and died on 25 March 1866. On the death of Bahawal Khan IV (Rahimyar Khan), Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV was crowned. At that time, he was only four and a half years old, but was officially installed as the ruler in 1879, after attaining the age of maturity. In the interim period, from 1866 to 1879, British officers supervised the State. Amir Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, the next successor, was about 16 years old; he ruled the State till 1955, when it was integrated in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Pattan Minara or Pattan, also known as Pattanpur, is located 8 km south of RYK city, and has the most extensive ruins found in the district. The ancient tower, Pattan Minara (said to be the remains of buildings from the Mauryan Period built in 250 BC or a Buddhist Monastery), stands just 13 km from the city center in the south, in its original form. Tradition asserts that the city in the days of its prosperity extended over 100 square miles. The ancient city of Pattan was the capital of Mousicanus, who, after a brief submission to Alexander, revolted and was crucified in 325 BC. Traditions also assert that the ancient tower that used to stand in the center of four similar but smaller towers all formed a Buddhist Monastery. The towers which were joined to the central tower at its upper storey existed in dilapidated condition as late as the beginning of the 18th century when they were pulled down by Fazal Ali Khan Halani. Their bricks and stones were utilized in making new fortifications at Dingarh, Sahibgarh, and Bhagla.[6]

Governmental Structure

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

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 6
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 9

Under the Local Government and Community Development Rahim Yar Khan district has 1 District Council, and 7 Municipal Committees as follows:

  • Rahim Yar Khan
  • Sadiqabad
  • Khanpur
  • Liaqatpur
  • Kot Samaba
  • Zahir Pir
  • Tranda Saway Khan

Administrative Divisions

RYK district covers an area of 11,880 km2 and is subdivided into 4 tehsils as follows:

Rahim Yar Khan 40 Union Councils
Sadiqabad 29 Union Councils
Liaqatpur 25 Union Councils
Khanpur 28 Union Councils

Table 1.2 RYK Administrative Divisions

[1] Punjab State Gazetteers Bahawalpur State 1904

[2] North West Frontier Province, or NWFP, is the old name for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The name was changed on 15th April 2010

[3] Punjab State Gazetteers Bahawalpur State 1904

[4] Karmatians or Qarmatians were a syncretic religious group that combined elements of Zoroastrianisn with the Ismaili Shia sect. They were centered in al-Hasa (Eastern Arabia), where they established a religious utopian republic in 899 AD.

[5] For more details of Bahawalpur State’s history please refer to the chapters on Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar

[6] Punjab State Gazetteers Bahawalpur State 1904

Heritage Sites and Tourist Attractions 

There are a number of important sites of historical significance in the district. These sites offer recreational opportunities as well. They are as follows:

  • Bhong Mosque: The mosque is situated in the village Bhong at a distance of 28 km from Sadiqabad and 53 km from RYK city. It was constructed by Rias Ghazi Muhammad, a landlord of Bhong, over a period of 50 years, from 1932 to about 1982. It is carved with marble stones of various kinds and colors emulating traditional Islamic architecture. Beautiful chandeliers have been installed in the interior of the mosque
  • Pattan Minar: The ruins of Pattan Minar are located at a distance of about 8 km in the southeast of RYK city. It is believed to be either the remains of a tower from the Ashoka period, or that of a Buddhist Monastery, built in 250 BC. Remains of a fort, a mosque, and some tunnels are also visible near the minar (tower).
  • Bagh-e-Bahisht (The Garden of Heaven): This is one of the largest and the most beautiful gardens of this area. It is 5 km from Sadiqabad. Its first owner was Mir Syed Abid Hussain Esq. who is said to have built this garden. The garden consists of more than 75 acres. After Abid Hussain’s death, his son Mir Syed Zahid Hussain Esq. reconstructed it and brought plants from all over the world, making it the most beautiful garden of this area. After his death in 2003, his son Mir Syed Fazal Ellahi Fazli is maintaining it. This garden is, though privately-owned, open to the public at prescribed days and hours
  • Mir Syed Zahid Hussain’s Library: Late Mir Syed Zahid Hussain Esq. created a personal library, which has a very unique collection of books on wide-ranging topics. Some books, including a copy of the Quran, are old and include hand-written manuscrpts. Zahid Hussain’s son, Mir Syed Fazal Ellahi Fazli is maintaining this library. Like the garden, this library is also open to the public
  • Baghla Fort: Remnants and ruins of this fort are found about 34 km south of RYK city, in the Cholistan area. In 1767 AD, Ali Murad Pirjani, founder of Trinda Ali Murad Khan (a village in RYK tehsil) built this fort
  • Islam Garh Fort: The old Bhinwar Fort was built by Rawal Bhim Singh in Samabat in 1665. The inscription on its gate in Babri characters reads “Samabat 1665 Asuj Wadi 2, Maharaj Rawal Siri Bhim Singh ji Maharaj.” The fort is situated in the Cholistan area of Tehsil Khanpur. It is 46 km southeast of Baghla Fort. The fort is in a dilapidated state
  • Khair Garh Fort: Remnants and ruins of this fort are located about 40 km south of Khanpur town, in the Cholistan area. In 1189, Haji Khan, son of Ikhtiar Khan, built it and named it Khair Garh
  • Mau Mubarik Fort: According to Tarikh-e-Murad by Murad Gardezi,[1] a fort was built by Raj Sahanas Kharor as a residence for his mother. The word Mau refers to mother in the local language, and the word Mubarik is attached due to the shrine of Sheikh Hakim, which is within the fort’s boundaries. The fort was captured by Shah Arghun in 1525 AD and was also beseiged by Mahmud of Ghazni on his way to Somnath. It was one of the six fortresses of Raj Salasi II. It had 20 bastions and towers. The ramparts were about 549 m in circumference, and the walls were strongly and thickly built. Here, the shrine of a Saint, Sheikh Hakim, is of great importance, where a Hindu jogi converted to Islam at the hands of Sheikh Hakim. The descendants of both Sheikh Hakim and the Jogi are still living in the area
  • Palace Sultan of Abu Dhabi: this palace was built by Shiekh Zaid bin Sultan, ruler of Abu Dhabi. It is situated in the sandy desert of Cholistan at a distance of 18 km southeast of RYK city. It features large and spacious buildings with separate portions for men and women. Each portion contains rooms and chambers. There are beautiful lawns, featuring different kinds of flowers along the well-shaped pathways. Many domestic birds like peacocks are also kept there. The Sultan of Abu Dhabi visits this district for hunting regularly, and stays in this palace
  • Bhutta Wahan Village: The village is said to be the birthplace of Sassi, the legendary heroine of the Sassi Punno love story

Following are the heritage buildings protected under the Laws of the Government of Pakistan:

  • Faridi Mahal, Chachran, Khanpur Tehsil: This Mahal (Palace) was built by the Nawab of Bahawalpur in 1842[2]
  • Qadim Masjid (Bhong Mosque)
  • Tomb of Hazrat Saddar-ud Din Shamsi and his son Hazrat Kabir-ud Din Shamsi, at Tarandah tehsil, Liaqatpur: Saddar-ud Din Shamsi and his son were both renowned Pirs of the Ismaili Sect. Pir Sadar-ud Din is recognized as having formed the first Jamaat Khana. He was given the title of Khawaj (Lord) by his followers

Figure 1.5 Tomb of Hazrat Sadar-ud Din Shamsi[3]

Figure 1.6 Bhong Mosque

Figure 1.7 Pattan Minar

Figure 1.8 Khair Garh Fort

Figure 1.9 Bagh-e-Bahist

Figure 1.10 Cholistan Desert near RYK

Figure 1.11 Sheikh Zaid Palace, RYK

[1] Tarikh-e-Murad is the historical account of Bahawalpur State by Murad Gardezi, the chief judge of Bahawalpur from 1860 to 1870

[2] Muhammad Khan. “Farid Mahal and the Mausoleum of Hadrat Khawajah Ghulam Farid” Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, Karachi XXXVII (1989) II: 187

[3] Source: https://simergphotos.com/2012/09/21/journey-of-discovery-the-mausoleums-of-the-famous-ismaili-pir-sadardin-and-his-son-pir-hasan-kabirdin/

Topography

This district has three main physical features:

  • Riverine area
  • Canal irrigated area
  • Desert area called Cholistan

Riverine Area

The riverine area of the district is close to the southern side of the Indus River, mainly ending at the riverbed.

Canal Irrigated Area

The canal irrigated area is located to the south of the district, and is separated from the riverine area by the main Minchun Bund. The approximate height of the irrigated area is 150 to 200 meters above sea level.

Desert Area

The part of the area called Cholistan is located on the south of the irrigated tract up to the Indo-Pak border. The surface of the desert consists of successions of sand dunes rising, at places, to a height of 150 meters and covered with the vegetation peculiar to sandy tracts.

Roughly two-thirds of RYK is covered by the desert of Cholistan (or Rohi). This desert spans 3 districts: Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, and RYK.

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

River Indus flows along the northern outskirts of the district, and the River Chenab flows into the district at Sitpur, flowing along River Indus for a short way, joining it near Chachran. There are no other rivers, nullahs, or lakes in the district. There is one small dhand[1] called Malkani Dhand in the district.

Forests

According to Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19, total area under forest in RYK district is 14,000 HA. There are two types of forests in the district: Irrigated Plantations and Desert Forests. Trees grown in the irrigated plantations are kikar (Acacia Arabica), phulai (Acacia modesta), sirin (Albizzia lebbek), amaltas (Cassia fistula), lasura (Odia mixa), peepal (Ficus religiosa), karir (Melia azdarach), mulberry or toot (Morus alba), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo), and poplar (Populus spp).

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

Total Forest Area 34,167 A Forests under Provincial Govt. 22,786 A
Reserved Forests 11,381 A Un-classed Forests – HA
Linear Plantation 3,737 km Resumed Lands – HA

Table 1.3 RYK Forests

Some of the important Irrigated Plantation forests of the district include Abbasia Irrigated Plantation Forest, Qasimwala Irrigated Plantation Forest, and Walhar Plantation Forest.

Soils

Some areas of the district can be classified as sandy clay, but overall, the soils are mostly clay loam. The soils of the desert area/ Cholistan desert are saline, alkaline, and gypsiferous.[2]

Climate

RYK district has a very hot and dry climate in the summer. The summer season is also comparatively longer.  It begins in the month of April and continues till October. June is the hottest month, when mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 42 °C and 27 °C respectively. Dust storms are frequent during the summer. The maximum temperature may go up to 49.7 °C. The winter season is from November to March. The coldest month is January, when the maximum and minimum temperatures are 22 °C and 4 °C. The months of March and November are pleasant.

The average annual rainfall in the district is 165 mm.

Seismic Activity

The district is part of Zone 2A of the Seismic Zone Map of Pakistan. This means there will be minor to moderate damage to property due to earthquakes.

[1] Dhand is a natural depression where water collects, which is used for irrigation and other purposes

[2] Gypsiferous soils contain sufficient quantities of gypsum (calcium sulphate) to interfere with plant growth.

Population

The following table shows the population figures for RYK district as per the 2017 Census:

District/Tehsil Area

km2

Population Male% Female% Urban

%

Growth Rate %
Rahim Yar Khan District 11,880 4,814,006 51.3 49.7 21.5 2.27
RYK Tehsil 1,715 1,530,330
Sadiqabad Tehsil 2,192 1,264,752
Liaqatpur Tehsil 6,727 1,035,509
Khanpur Tehsil 1,246 983,415

Table 1.4 RYK Population Statistics

Religions[1]

Muslims 96.7%
Hindus 1.8%
Ahmadis 0.1%.
Christians 0.4%
Scheduled Castes 0.6%
Others 0.4%

Table 1.5 RYK Religions

Languages[2]

Urdu 2.9%
Punjabi 27.3%
Sindhi 2.0%
Pushto 0.7%
Balochi 1.1%
Seraiki 62.6%
Others 3.3%

Table 1.6 RYK Languages

[1] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been made public yet.

[2] 1998 Census; 2017 Census data has not been made public yet.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity

The economy of district RYK is based on agriculture. The major industrial occupations in the district, as per the 1998 Census, include (2017 Census data has not been made public yet):

  • Agriculture with its Allied Livestock Breeding, Fishing etc (56.3%)
  • Manufacturing (1.7%)
  • Construction (17.6%)
  • Wholesale/ Retail Trade, Hotel/ Restaurant (7.6%)
  • Community, Social & Personal Services (14.2%)
  • Transport, Storage & Communication (1.8%)
  • Others (0.8%)

Land Use

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

Total Area 1,188,000 HA Reported Area 817,000 HA
Cultivated Area 639,000 HA Net Sown area 560,000 HA
Current Fallows 79,000 HA Un-Cultivated Area 178,000 HA
Culturable Waste 92,000 HA Forest Area 8,000 HA

Table 1.7 RYK Land Use Statistics

Agriculture

The district belongs to the Southern Irrigated Plains Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Agriculture is the dominant sector of the economy, with 56.3% of the population engaged in agriculture. Irrigated area is irrigated through tube wells and non-perennial canals.

Major crops of the district are cotton, sugarcane, and wheat. Rice, maize, tobacco, bajra, moong, maash, masoor and oilseeds such as rape/ mustard and sunflower are also grown in minor quantities in the district.

Fruits of the district include mangoes, citrus, guavas, and pomegranate as main fruits grown in the district; dates, jaamun, pears, phalsa, and banana are grown in minor quantities.

Main vegetables are potatoes, onion, and cauliflower. Vegetables grown in minor quantities include bottle gourd, bitter gourd, chilies, carrot, cauliflower, peas, and garlic.

Figure 1.3 Sunflower Fields, RYK

Livestock Breeding

Livestock breeding is the second most important economic activity of the district.

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

Cattle 560,000 Heads Buffaloes 691,000 Heads Sheep 139,000 Heads
Goats 1,347,000 Heads Camels 4,469 Heads Horses 3,425 Heads
Mules 1,018 Heads Asses 45,155 Heads

Table 1.8 RYK Livestock Statistics

Kohistani breed of cows, cross breed cattle, khadali sheep, and marecha/ mehra camels are indigenous to the district.

Poultry

According to Table 17 (Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock) there are 872 poultry farms in the District. Number of privately owned poultry farms as per Punjab Development Statistics are 583 broiler, 27 layer and 10 poultry breeding farms in the District.

Fishing

Fishing is carried out in Rivers Indus and Chenab, as well as canals and dhands like the Minchan Branch Canal, Abbasia Canal, and Malkani Dhand; most of this fish is consumed locally.

Bee Keeping

In Pakistan, honey bee colonies were introduced in the 1980s, and since then, more than 300,000 honey bee colonies have been successfully established in Pakistan. In RYK, bee keeping is taken up on a commercial basis but the honey collected is sold in raw form.

Irrigation

The main sources of irrigation in the district are canals and tube wells. The Abbasia canals and Panjnad canals off-taking from the Panjnad Headworks irrigate RYK district.

The following table shows the mode of irrigation and the area irrigated by each mode as per Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19:

Total Area Sown 733,000 HA Irrigated Area 726,000 HA
Un-Irrigated Area 7,000 HA Canal Irrigated 355,000 HA
Dug Wells – HA Tube Well Irrigated 17,000 HA
Canal Well Irrigated 9,000 HA Canal Tube Wells 344,000 HA
Others 1,000 HA

Table 1.11 RYK Irrigation Statistics

Minerals and Mining

There are prospects of salt mining in RYK district due to saline areas of the district. The Government awarded mining licenses to OGDCL (Oil and Gas Development Corporation of Pakistan) to explore oil and gas deposits in RYK in 2006.

Industry

RYK is a commercial and industrial center; it is connected with the rest of the country, including the other industrial hubs such as Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, and Faisalabad, through road, rail, and air. Industries include fertilizer, cosmetics, glass manufacturing, cotton production and processing, large textile units, flour mills, sugar and oil mills, large-scale power generation plants, edible oil, cottonseed oil, soap, beverage making, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural implement making.

Cottage industry includes cotton ginning, pottery/ clay products, electric desert coolers, agricultural machinery, handicrafts, and embroidery.

The major industrial companies in RYK include Uni Lever, Fauji Fertilizer Co., and Coca Cola, among others.

There is 1 Industrial Estate in the district. It houses 280 small, medium, and large enterprises. The following table shows the type and number of industry in the district as per Directorate of Industries Punjab, Pre-Investment Study RYK District 2012 (latest available):

Industry No. Industry No.
Beverage 02 Chemical 01
Cold Storage 04 Cotton Ginning and Pressing 180
Dairy Product 10 Drugs & Pharmaceuticals 01
Glycerin 01 GI/ MS Pipes 01
Fertilizer 02 Flour Mills 43
Ice cream 01 Industrial Burn Gases 01
Paper & Paper Board 01 Poultry Feed 03
Rice mills 03 Seed Processing 04
Solvent Oil Extraction 01 Sugar 05
Textile Spinning 03 Textile Weaving 12
Sulphuric Acid 01

Table 1.9 RYK Industries

Trade

Sadiqabad is a major local trading hub; it has a number of cotton mills and a large plant that produces fertilizers. A Grain Market was established in 1948 that has provided employment and prosperity to the area. Mango is the major export item from the district, followed closely by cotton, sugarcane, and fertilizers.

Handicrafts

The handicrafts of the district include engraved metal utensils and lightweight pottery embellished with geometrical designs. Utensils engraved with flowers are produced at Khanpur and are considered a fine specimen of workmanship. The lightweight pottery making is concentrated at Khanpur and Garhi Ikhtiar Khan, and generally comprises piyalas (bowls) and double walled surahis (long-necked clay vessels) ornamented with symmetrical holes and raised flower designs. Gun-making is another traditional craft practiced at Ghari Ikhtiar Khan; Collyrium eye-wash boxes, cauldrons, and other brass and copper articles (like copper dishes) are also being produced in the region.

Embroidered handmade shoes known as khussas are also a very popular handicraft

Economic Infrastructure

The district is linked by road, rail, and air to other parts of Punjab and Pakistan as well as the global community.

Roads

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

Total Road Length 4,276.6 km
National Highways 157.0 km
Motorways – km
Provincial Highways 3737.8 km
Sugar Cess Roads 381.8 km

Table 1.10 RYK Road Statistics

Some of the important roads of the district include

  • National Highway N 5, which passes through RYK district
  • Khanpur Road
  • Kacha Shahi Road
  • Taranda Swa-e-Khan Road
  • Sadiqabad-Rahim Yar Khan Road

Rail and Airways

The main Peshawar-Karachi railway line passes through RYK district. The district is linked with Bahawalpur and Sukkur through the Pakistan Railway network. In all, there are 20 Railway Stations in the district.[1]

There is an airport called Rahim Yar Khan or Sheikh Zaid International Airport in the district. This is located in RYK city.

Radio and Television

There is a FM radio broadcasting station in RYK city. Even though there is no TV station in the district, TV can be viewed through boosters and cable.

Telecommunications

Pakistan Telecommunication Ltd. has established a network of telephone lines. In all, there are 61 telephone exchanges[2] operating in the district, ranging in capacity from 200 lines to 20,150 lines. In addition, a number of cellular companies also provide their services in the district.

Post Offices/ Courier Services

There is a Pakistan General Post Office in RYK city with its allied night office. There are a total of 189 branches[3] of Pakistan Post with 69 branch offices in RYK tehsil, 66 in Sadiqabad, 30 in Khanpur, and 24 branch offices in Liaqatpur.

Banking/ Financial Institutions

There are a total of 187 branches[4] of various banks in the district, with 60 in RYK tehsil, 45 in Sadiqabad, 42 in Khanpur, and 40 in Liaqatpur.

According to the List of Reporting Bank Branches 2019 by State Bank of Pakistan, following banks have their branches in the district:

  • Al Baraka Bank Ltd.
  • Allied Bank Ltd.
  • Askari Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Al Habib Ltd.
  • Alfalah Bank Ltd.
  • Bank Islami Pakistan Ltd.
  • Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Ltd.
  • Faysal Bank Ltd.
  • First Women Bank Ltd.
  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd.
  • JS Bank Ltd.
  • KASB Bank Ltd.
  • Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.
  • Meezan Bank Ltd.
  • National Bank of Pakistan Ltd.
  • National Investment Bank Ltd.
  • Silk Bank Ltd.
  • Sindh Bank Ltd.
  • Soneri Bank Ltd.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Ltd.
  • Summit Bank Ltd.
  • The Bank of Khyber Ltd.
  • Bank of Punjab
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd.

In all there are 192 branches of various conventional banks and 31 branches of different Islamic banks in the District.

Electricity and Gas

There are 9 grid stations[5] in the district each of 132 KV capacity.

Natural gas is supplied through the main gas supply pipeline in RYK, Sadiqabad, and Khanpur towns.

[1] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

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

[3] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[4] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[5] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

Education

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

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 1,032/1,175 Middle Schools 191/190
Secondary Schools 135/87 Higher Secondary 20/30
Degree Colleges 20/24 Other Higher Secondary[1] 02/01
Other Degree Colleges[2] 11/11 Technical Training Institutes[3] 04/01[4]
Vocational Institutes[5] -/03 Commercial Training Institutes[6] 04/01
Universities[7] 01 Govt. Mosque Schools 186/08
Medical Schools[8] 01 Engineering Schools[9] 02

Table 1.12 RYK Educational Institutions

Figure 1.12 Sheikh Zaid Public School, RYK

Health

The District Health Officer (DHO) is overall in charge of health services provided in the district. The DHO 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 08/1,889 Dispensaries 64/-
Rural Health Centers 19/396 Basic Health Units 108/208
T B Clinics 02/- Mother Child Health Centers 07/-
Sub-Health Centers -/- Private Hospitals 268/NA
Private Health Care Providers[10] 268/NA

Table 1.13 RYK Health Institutions

Policing

Deputy Inspector General Police (DIGP) looks after Bahawalpur region which comprises of Bahawalpur, RYK, and Bahawalnagar districts. RYK district is subdivided into 5 subdivisions, with 27 police stations[11] in total. The police force in each region is headed by the District Police Officer (DPO) who is assisted by a varying number of Superintendents and Deputy Superintendents of Police.

[1] Includes Private, Federal and Schools owned by PAF etc.

[2] Includes Private, Federal and Schools owned by PAF etc.

[3] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[4] Co-Education.

[5] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[6] Directorate of Industries, Punjab. Pre-Investment Study Rahim Yar Khan District 2012; Latest available.

[7] Campus of Islamia University Bahawalpur

[8] Sarfraz Medical & Dental College

[9] Khawaja Farid University of Engineering & IT (Newly established); Swedish College of Engineering and Technology, RYK

[10] Three Years Rolling Plan RYK (Number of Hospitals/ Beds Not available) ; Latest available.

[11] Punjab Development Statistics 2018-19

Environment and Biodiversity

RYK district is one of the poorest districts of Pakistan, with nearly 52% of its population living below the poverty line. The cotton ginning factories create a lot of dust and lint particles in the district’s air, affecting air quality.

Flora and Fauna

The flora of the district is characterized by 2 major ecological divisions: northern and southern. The botanical life found in the northern half is the same as that of the rest of the irrigated tracts of Central Punjab. Human interference in the form of an irrigation network has damaged the natural environment, while increases in cultivation, waterlogged areas, and salinity have also affected plant life. Because of the increase of salinity at the surface, only salt-resistant plants can survive in most of the region. The southern half of the district, characterized by sand dunes of the Cholistan desert, is mostly barren. The exception is during the rainy season, when multitudes of ephemeral plants grow and transform the bare land into a lush green carpet. These ephemeral plants complete their life cycle before the summer heat, leaving the land bare and dry during the summer months.

Flora

The trees and shrubs grown and found in the district are kikar (Acacia Arabia), white siris (Albizzia procera), phulai (Acacia modesta), neem (Azadirachta indica), siris (Albizzia lebbek), aam (Mangifera indca), amaltas (Cassia fistula), jal or vann (Salvadora oleoides), lasura (Odia mixa), frash (Tamarix articulata), shisham/ tali (Dalbergia sissoo), arjun (Terminalia arjuna), jaamun (Eugenia jambolana), pipal (Ficus religiosa), babri (Acacia jacquemontii), barh (Ficus bengalenisis), jawain or camel thorn (Alhagi camelorum), bakain (Melia azdarach), karir (Capparis aphylla), toot (Morus alba), phog (Calligonum polygonoides), poplar (Populus spp), aak (Calotropis procera), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), khar (Haloxylon recurvum), jhand (Prosopis spicigera), lani (Salsola foetida), mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), lana (Suaeda fruticosa) and sukh chain (Pongamia glabra).

Grasses grown/ found in the district include khabbal (Cynodon dactylon), siriala (Hetropogon contortus), khowi (Cymbopogon jwaraucusa), gam mali (Panicum antidotale), dhaman (Cenchrus ciliaris), sanwakt (Panicum colnum), sinn ghorkhs (Elionurus hirsutus), kana (Saccharum munja), dabb (Eragrostic cynosuriodes), and kundar (Typha angusti-folia).

Fauna

The arid land, generally referred to as the Cholistan desert, has a lot of wildlife. Wild cats, the chinkara deer, a variety of pigs, jackals, foxes, badgers, porcupines, squirrels, gerbils, wild rats, mongoose, poisonous snakes, hog deer, blue bulls (nilgai), ravine deer, sand grouse, wild lizards, and wild egrets are among many other creatures found in the district. Cholistan desert also abounds in birds, such as pigeons, peacocks, crows, mynas, and larks. Migrant houbara bustards can also be found after October.

Figure 1.4 Nilgai (Blue Bull) at Wildlife Park, RYK

Protected Wildlife Areas and Endangered Fauna

Following are the protected wildlife areas of the district:

  • Walhar Plantation Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Part of Cholistan Desert Game Reserve
  • Khanour Plantation Game Reserve
  • Abbasia Forest Game Reserve

These protected wildlife areas provide sanctuary to the desert wolf, Indian fox, red fox, jackal, small Indian civet, small Indian mongoose, Indian grey mongoose, Indian desert cat, jungle cat, caracal, chinkara gazelle, black buck, nilgai (blue bull), houbara bustard, peregrine falcon, saker falcon, black-backed vulture, Indian cobra, monitor lizard, saw‑scaled viper, and Russell’s viper.

There is a zoo in RYK city. It is not protected but was established in 1986 to protect and provide a breeding center for different animals and birds. The total area of the zoo is over 15.5 acres and is located on the Katcha Sadiqabad Road.