Sindh-Thatta

Introduction

The word Thatta has been derived from the Persian word Tah Tah which literally means layer over layer. The term signifies the settlement of various civilizations in the area over time. The district is located between 23° 48” 44Ꞌ to 25° 26” 35Ꞌ North latitudes and 67° 20” 48Ꞌ to 68° 44” 52Ꞌ East longitudes. This district is bounded by Badin and Tando Muhammad Khan districts on the East, Jamshoro district on the North, Hyderabad district on the Northeast, Karachi district on the Northwest and the Arabian Sea and Runn of Kutchh on the South.

District at a Glance

Name of District Thatta District
District Headquarter Thatta Town
Population[1] 1,762,000 persons
Area[2] 17,355 km2
Population Density[3] 101.5 persons/ km2
Population Growth Rate[4] 2.4[5]%
Male Population[6] 52.0%
Female Population[7] 48.0%
Urban Population[8] 15.0[9]%
Tehsils 09 talukas:

1.    Thatta Taluka

2.    Mirpur Sakro Taluka

3.    Keti Bunder Taluka

4.    Ghora Bari Taluka

5.    Sujawal Taluka[10]

6.    Mirpur Bathoro Taluka

7.    Jati Taluka

8.    Shah Bunder Taluka

9.    Kharo Chan Taluka

Main Towns Thatta, Keti Bunder, Sujawal, Gharo, Bhambhore, Dhabeji, Jang Shahi, Jherruck, Jhimpir, Makli, Kalri, Daulatpur, Chuhar Jamali, Mirpur Sakro, Sukhpur, Darro, Mirpur Bathoro, and Jati
Literacy Rate[11] 41%
Male Literacy Rate[12] 57%
Female Literacy Rate[13] 24%
Major Economic Activity[14] Agriculture, Livestock Breeding, Fishing 67.3%
Elementary Occupations 21.7%
Activities not defined 11%
Main Crops Rice, cotton, sugarcane, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, sesanum, barley, gram, rape & mustard, moong, maash, masoor, arhar, guar seed, linseed, sunflower, and soya bean
Major Fruits Banana, betal leaf, musk melon, papaya, mango, coconut, chikoo, dates, guava, jaamun, watermelon, citrus, and ber
Major Vegetables Tomato, onions, peas, okra, tinda, brinjal, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, luffa, cucumber, long melon, purslane, beans, field vetch, lotus roots, turnips, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, radish, garden peas, fenugreek, lettuce, chilies, spearmint, garlic, coriander, ajwain, and sugar beet
Forests (Area)[15] 47,744 HA[16]
Provincial Highways[17] 419.6 km
Secondary Roads[18] 781.4 km
Access Roads[19] 655.4 km
No. of Grid Stations[20] 06 grid stations, each with capacity of 132 KV.

Thatta district has Pakistan’s first Wind Power Project completed in 2008, in Jhimpir, Thatta, which produces 49.5 MW of power

No. of Tel. Exchanges Data not available
Industrial Zones[21] There is one Small Industries Estate in Thatta, and 30 Industrial Units in the district
Industrial Units[22] Sugar 6 Units
Textile Mills 1 Units
Cement Factories 2 Units
Paper Mills 1 Units
Salt Works 11 Units
Jute Mills 1 Units
Poly Propylene 1 Units
Polyvinyl Pipes 2 Unit
Rice Mills 1 Unit
Flour Mills 2 Units
Car Manufacturing Plant 1 Unit
Industrial Chemicals 1 Unit
Household Size[23] 5.1
Houses with Piped Water Inside[24] 14.7%
Houses with Electricity[25] 25.9%

Table 1.1 Thatta District at a Glance

[1] 2017 Census

[2] 1998 Census

[3] 2017 Census

[4] 2017 Census

[5] Average of both Sujawal District and Thatta District.

[6] 2017 Census

[7] 2017 Census

[8] 2017 Census

[9] Average of Sujawal District’s urban population and Thatta District urban population.

[10] Sujawal Taluka was upgraded to a district in 2014. Only 2017 population figures are available which have been added to the total population figures of Thatta District but for the rest this volume continues to treat it as a Taluka of Thatta.

[11] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); latest available

[12] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); latest available

[13] Pakistan Social & Living Measurement Survey 2014-15 (PSLM); latest available

[14] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

[15] Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18

[16] Land Utilization Statistics reports 347,000 HA of area under forests in the district

[17] Road List 2009, issued by Govt. of Sindh (Latest Available)

[18] Road List 2009, issued by Govt. of Sindh (Latest Available)

[19] Road List 2009; issued by Govt. of sindh (Latest available)

[20] Environmental and Social Assessment of HESCO by Elan Partners; 2007; latest available.

[21] Socioeconomic Study and Proposal for Livelihood Improvements: Badin and Thatta Districts, Sindh, Pakistan for the World Bank by Agriculture & Rural Development Sector Unit, South Asia Unit.

[22] Official Website of National Vocational & Technical Training Commission Pakistan. Retrieved July 2020

[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 DivisionsHistorical/ Heritage Sites and Recreational Areas

Brief History

The historical origins of Thatta city are still being debated. Most historians believe the city to be the site of ancient Patala, the main port on the Indus during the time of Alexander the Great. Others refute this claim, pointing to the fact that the lower districts of Sindh have undergone many geo-physical changes since 327 BC, the year Alexander conquered India. Ahmad Hasan Dani[1], the Director of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations, Islamabad, concludes that “There has been a vain attempt to identify the city of Patala. If ‘Patala’ is not taken as a proper name but only refers to a city, it can be corrected to ‘Pattana’, that is, city or port city par excellence, a term applied in a later period to Thatta, which is ideally situated in the way the Greek historians describe” (p. 84).

Thatta—derived from Thatti, Thatt, or Thatto, Sindhi words for a small settlement on riverbanks—was an important medieval city locally known as Nagar-Thato. All historical accounts paint Thatta as a populous and flourishing trading post and a refuge for saints and scholars. In fact, the areas now belonging to Thatta district were once a part of the Rai Dynasty (489-690 AD) as well as the Brahman Dynasty (632-712 AD), among others.

According to Chach Nama (also called Fatehnama Sindh, or Tarekh-e-Hind wa Sindh, an ancient history of Sindh), Raja Dahir was the last Hindu ruler of Sindh, which included the Thatta region as well. His capital was Alor or Aror (medieval name of present-day Rohri, in Sukkur). Raja Dahir’s reign ended with the invasion and conquest of Sindh by Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 AD. Sindh then became the eastern most province of the Umayyad Caliphate.  Arab geographers, historians, and travelers sometimes referred to the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush mountain range as Sindh. The name is derived from the word Sindhu meaning water (or ocean) and appears to refer to the Indus River.

Thatta remained the capital of Sindh for 3 successive dynasties; the traces of this are evident in the Makli necropolis, which spreads over an area of 10 km2. These dynasties are: Samma (1335-1520), Arghun (1520-1555) and Tarkhan (1555-1665). During the rule of Jani Beg Tarkhan, the Mughal Emperor Akbar sent his troops, under the command of Nawab Khan Khanan, to conquer Thatta in 1591. Mirza Jani Beg offered resistance but he was ultimately defeated and Thatta was annexed to the Mughal Empire. Mirza Jani Beg was taken to Lahore and presented at Akbar’s court, where he was pardoned, having won Akbar’s friendship and confidence.

Mughal rule over Thatta lasted till 1736, when Thatta passed into the hands of the Kalhora. Thatta’s importance began to gradually decline, as the Indus River began to shift, and in 1768, instead of Thatta, Hyderabad was made the capital of Sindh by the Talpur rulers.

The British annexed Sindh in 1843 and their immediate concern was to establish a communication network throughout Sindh. During British rule, Thatta was a Taluka of Karachi district and the municipality of Thatta was established in 1854. Several vernacular and private schools, as well as a post office, a dispensary, and a subordinate jail were built. The British established their residential areas at a distance from the main city, on higher grounds, west of the Makli necropolis. Thatta regained prosperity because of an improved communication infrastructure, but its prior importance as a capital city has not been revived. The late 19th century saw a new class of merchants who took full advantage of the British need for services and goods. These rich merchants commissioned many buildings inspired by the elegant mansions constructed by the British throughout the British Empire.

Thatta is home to weavers and artisans of every kind. Lungis (scarves or shawls) of a thick, rich, variegated fabric of cotton as well as silks are woven and traded in the district.

Thatta is famous for its necropolis, a 10 km2 (6 miles2) area on the Makli Hill. This necropolis assumed its quasi-sacred character during Jam Nizamuddin’s[2] rule. The graves testify to a period of 4 centuries when Thatta was a thriving center of trade, religion and scholarly pursuits, and the capital of Sindh. Many of the mausoleums and graves are still considered to be important architectural examples of 16th century styles, with fine stone-carvings, and glazed tile decorations.

According to an article[3] published in the daily newspaper Dawn (the leading English Daily published in Karachi), Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was actually born in Jerruk (also spelled as Jhirrk or Jherruck) which is a small town in Thatta. In the 19th century, Jhirrk was a busy river port connected to the main Karachi port, and was also the headquarters of the Indus Flotilla.[4] Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s grandfather settled in the city and his elder son, Mr. Poonja (father of Quaid-e-Azam), was born here. A Maternity Home built by the Agha Khan Community was described by the Pakistan Archaeology Department as the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam (not Karachi, as is popularly believed) and a blue plaque fixed on a wall in the home displayed this information for over 2 decades after Partition. Jinnah’s early education is believed to have taken place at Sindh Madrassatul Islam, a primary school constructed in 1870 in Jhirrk. Later, this information, as well as the student list of the primary school were both lost.

Sujawal District (ex Taluka of Thatta District)

The decision to create Sujawal District by the provincial government was made on 12 October 2013 through a notification issued by the Revenue Department of Sindh which read as follows:

“A new district encompassing Sujawal, Kharochan, (barring 10 dehs), Mirpur Bathoro, Jati and Shah Bundar talukas would be Sindh’s 28th district to be called Sujawal. Its headquarters will be located in Sujawal taluka. The new district has been established under Section 6 of the Sindh Land Revenue Act, 1967”.

According to the notification the right side of Indus River will comprise old Thatta district and the left side will come under the jurisdiction of newly created Sujawal. The Thatta District  (area wise among the largest districts of the province), will have half the size in its new boundaries, comprising Thatta, Mirpur Sakro, Keti Bunder and Ghora Bari Tehsils, and some areas of Kharochan tehsil have also been included in new Thatta District.

 

Governmental Structure

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

  • Number of seats in the National Assembly 2
  • Number of seats in the Provincial Assembly 5

The district has one Municipal Committee, Thatta and 5 Town Committees:

  • Makli
  • Mirpur Sakro
  • Gharo
  • Ghora Bari
  • Garho

Administrative Divisions

The total area of the district is 17,355 km2 and it is administratively divided into 9 Talukas as follows:

Thatta Taluka 13 Union Councils
Mirpur Sakro Taluka 10 Union Councils
Sujjawal Taluka 06 Union Councils
Mirpur Bathoro Taluka 08 Union Councils
Shah Bunder Taluka 05 Union Councils
Jatti Taluka 06 Union Councils
Kharo Chan Taluka 01 Union Councils
Ghora Bari Taluka 05 Union Councils
Keti Bundar Taluka 01 Union Councils

Table 1.2 Thatta Administrative Divisions

Historical/ Heritage Sites and Recreational Areas

Following are the important historical sites[1] of the district:

  • Port of Bhambhore: Bambhore is an ancient city dating to the 1st century BC. It was a medievalport city deriving its wealth from imported ceramic and metal goods, an industrial sector, and trade. The city was strategically located at the mouth of the Indus, linking it to the rest of the Scytho-Parthian Empire and international traders plying the Indian Ocean. Archaeological findings show a half-submerged anchorage structure with solid stone foundation, which may have been used for berthing cargo boats. However, the port was abandoned when the Indus River shifted its position, and the creek was silted. The Department of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan submitted an application to the World Heritage Sites in January 2004, asking for the induction of the Port of Bhambhore in the list as an important historical site. It is currently in the tentative list under the criteria iv, v, and vi of the cultural category
  • Shahjehan Mosque, Thatta: This mosque was built during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1647 as a gift to the people of Sindh
  • Goth Raja Malik Graveyard: This is also known as Maqam Qadar Shah, and is located in Deh Raja Malik
  • Sonda Graveyard, Sonda Village
  • Sasian Jo Takar, Mirpur Sakro
  • Makli Hills (The graveyard and all monuments): This necropolis is on the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. It is one of the largest necropoli in the world, with a total area of 10 km2. The tombs and graves are dated back to the Samma period. Some of the important tombs in Makli Hills include:
    • Tomb of Mubarak Khan, son of Jam Nizamuddin
    • Tomb of Fateh Khan Talpur’s sister, a brick dome structure to the Northeast of the tomb of Mubarak Khan
    • Jam Nizamuddin II’s Tomb: This tomb is surrounded by other tombs, as well as a compound wall of yellow stone, pavilions on stone pillars over the tombs, another tomb with superstructure on stone pillars, and a brick structure
    • Tomb of Sultan Ibrahim, (1558), son of Isa Khan Tarkhan the elder, a solid octagonal brick structure with a rather pointed dome set upon a high drum
    • Tomb and compound wall of yellow stone to the south of Mirza Muhammad Baqi Tarkhan’s tomb
    • Tomb of Nawab Isa Khan Tarkhan the Younger
    • Brick enclosure of Mirza Baqi Baig Uzbak’s tomb, South of the tomb of Nawab Isa Khan the Younger
    • Diwan Shurfa Khan’s tomb
    • Brick mosque and enclosure near Nawab Shurfa Khan’s tomb (supposed to be the tomb of Sayed Amir Khan)
    • Baradari
    • Tomb of Amir Sultan Muhammad, son of Amir Hajika
    • Mirza Tughral Baig’s tomb
    • Tomb of Mirza Jani and Mirza Ghazi Baig
    • Stone tomb with a dome on stone pillars by the side of Mirza Jani Baig’s tomb
    • Brick tomb near the tomb of Qulia pir
    • Dabgir Masjid
    • Kalan Kot
    • Nawab Amir Khan’s mosque
    • Building with two domes near Civil Hospital
    • Jamia Masjid

Kinjhar Lake, Haleji Lake, Hadero Lake, and other wetlands are very popular spots for recreation and picnics. People come from not only Thatta but from other parts of Sindh and Pakistan to watch the birds and spend quality time here. These lakes offer great fishing opportunities as well.

Makli Hills and Bhambhore Port City also offer a lot to see and admire. There is a rest house and museum at Bhambhore.

Figure 1.5 Tombs at Makli Hills

Figure 1.6 Shahjahan Mosque, Thatta

Figure 1.7 Bhambhore

Figure 1.8 Sonda Graveyard

 

[1] Guidelines for Protected and Critical areas, GoP

[1] A.H. Dani and P. Bernard, Alexander and his Successors in Central Asia

[2] Jam Nizamuddin or Jam Ninda, as he was affectionately known, ruled in Sindh as the leader of the Samma Dynasty from 866 to 1461

[3] “Quaid-i-Azam was born in Jherruck” Dawn. Dec 21, 2001. Retrieved from: https://www.dawn.com/news/11426/quaid-i-azam-was-born-in-jherruck.

[4] Steam ferries called Indus Flotilla used to ply between Karachi and Multan. In 1878, Karachi was connected to Lahore via railways, and the importance of the Indus Flotilla as the essential means of communication waned. The steamers of Indus Flotilla continued to work for many years after the construction of the railway, but with diminished business. In 1889, the service was abolished.

Topography

The River Indus divides the district into 2 parts: Sujawal, Mirpur Bothoro, Jati, Shah Bunder, and Kharo Chan talukas on the East, and Thatta, Mirpur Sakro, Keti Bunder, and Ghora Bari talukas on the west of the river. The northwestern area of the district is a hilly tract called Kohistan.

The Makli Hills are situated close to Thatta town and are home to the famous Necropolis of Thatta. These hills are an extension of the Kirthar Range. The hills are bare, and mostly composed of limestone, while the valleys are more or less level, and covered with grass or brush wood. Southwards, the area degenerates into sandy wastes, uncultivated, and mostly devoid of vegetation. There are short ranges of low stone hills intersected by nais or torrent beds which carry the drainage of the Kohistan Hills to River Indus. To the west, the wind has blown sand over large tracts of land.

In the southeastern quarter of the delta, there is a large expanse of salt waste, including large parts of the Shah Bunder and Jatti talukas. Between the Sir and Khori creeks are the great Sirganda Salt deposits which consist of a large area of solid salt.

The riverine or katchho area of the district starts from Mirpur Bathoro and ends at the Indus River’s deltaic Tehsils: Kharo Chan and Keti Bander. Forests are located on both banks of River Indus. This area is the flood plain of River Indus and agriculture here depends upon its flood waters.

The district was once part of the fertile Indus Delta. The old branch of the Indus that made Thatta a port city and flowed past it into the Gharo Creek, silted up, and is now represented by the Kalri Canal. With the river’s path having shifted over time, the district is no longer close to the river’s delta. Another branch of the river, now extinct, became the Baghar Canal. The apex of the delta is now at Rakhio Shah in the Ghora Bari Taluka. Between this point and the sea, the area is crossed by a network of branches of the River Indus, passing into creeks, and connected by cross channels. An 8 km broad coastal strip is liable to be submerged during high tides and consequently remains wet. This area supports the growth of coarse small grass and bushes. To the west, large tracts of windblown sand hills present a sample of the Thar Desert.

Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

The River Indus is the only river flowing near Thatta. The delta of River Indus covers an area of 8,000 km2 and extends along the coastline for about 200 km. Besides the Indus, there are numerous water channels/ courses which drain the nearby hills. The most important of the courses is Nai Baran, which rises in the Kirthar Range, around its southern extremity. Other important nais of the district are the Gager and Ranpanthani.

There are many lakes in the district, of which the most famous are Kalri and Haleji. The Kalri/ Kinjhar Lake is a reservoir for feeding canals in the Thatta district and was formed by joining two lakes: the Kinjhar and Sonehri. Other lakes of the district are Aghimani in Thatta Taluka, Raeen in Mirpur Bathoro, Muyo Akil Shah Lake in Sakro Taluka and Makarvari Lake in Shah Bunder Taluka.

Forests

Total forest area in the district is 348,000 HA. This area consists of 2 types of forests: the mangrove riverine forests along the banks of River Indus and rangelands.

Sindh has a 342 km long and 50 km wide coastal belt along the coastline of the Arabian Sea covering an area of 600,000 HA. Within the coastal belt, an area of 73,000 HA of the Indus Delta is covered by mangrove forests which span the districts of Thatta, Badin, and Karachi. These mangroves rank as the 6th largest contiguous fresh water mangroves worldwide (IUCN 1991). The mangroves are not productive in terms of timber and fuel wood, but they serve as breeding grounds for fish and shrimp. They also protect the Karachi and Bin Qasim ports from silting, and the city of Karachi from tsunamis. The main tree species growing in these forests is timar (Avicennia marina) which constitutes 97% of the total mangrove tree cover. Other species are kumri (Rhizophora mucronata), kiriri (Ceriops tagal) and chaunr (Aegiceras cornicuata). A new mangrove forest area has been discovered about 120 km inland of Thatta district, adjacent to the southeastern part of Kinjhar Lake. These mangroves are neither close to the Indus River nor are they connected to the sea, and are thus, unique. Experts are taking steps to preserve these mangroves.[1]

The main flora of the Riverine Forests is babul (Acacia nilotica), bahan or euphrates poplar (Populus euphratica), athel pine or farash (Tamarix aphylla), lai or salt cedar (Tamarix dioca) and kandi (Prosopis cineraria).

The major floral species of the rangelands are gum Arabic or khumbat (Acacia senegal), jand (Prosopis cineraria), desert teak or rohida (Tecomella undulate), kikri or baonli (Acacia jacquemontii), peelu or vann (Salvadora oleoides), karir (Capparis deciduas), African foxtail grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), Indian sandbur (Cenchrus biflorus), desert grass (Panicum Turgidum),and bansi grass (Panicum antidotale).

Some of the important riverine forests[2] of the district are:

  • Viran (9,792 HA)
  • Sonda (320 HA)
  • Ali Ganj (5,944 HA)
  • Lallong (3,680 HA)
  • Shah Lunko (2,003 HA)
  • Baopurandas / Bijora (10,869 HA)
  • Cut Munarki / Sadnani (7,324 HA)
  • Hayat Gaho / Gullel / Kathore (5,991 HA)
  • Marho Kotri (3,854 HA)
  • Budhani (1,789 HA)
  • Khirsar (6,005 HA)
  • Surjani (8,228 HA)
  • Ganj (1,501 HA)
  • Panhwar (5,033 HA)
  • Ali Bahar (6,695 HA)
  • Chach Keti / Munarki / Bahadipur (12,587 HA)
  • Pako Allah Bux (3,401 HA)
  • Acho Marho (4,167 HA)
  • Mulchand (5,651 HA)
  • Khadi/ Jurar (15,860 HA)
  • Khokhar (3,168 HA)
  • Budhaka (2,173 HA)

Total Area of irrigated plantations in the district is 15,833 HA.

Soils

Soils of Thatta district are part of the vast fluvial system. The entire land is located in the tectonic trough which has been filled by alluvium carried in from the Himalayas by the Indus and its tributaries. The parent material of the soils is mixed calcareous alluvium.

The soils of the district are extremely saline, especially during the Monsoon period, but salinity declines in the post-Monsoon months.

The soils of the Indus Delta are river sediment deposits, consisting of generally fine to very fine sand in the delta reach. Soil types of the delta include mud, sand, and salt flats, sub-tidal creeks, inter-tidal creeks, sea bays, and straits as well as vegetated sediments.

The soil of the riverine forests of the district is alluvial loam with varying proportions of clay and sand. New deposits are almost pure sand but become stable through continuous deposits of clay and silt. The origin and composition of the soil in the irrigated plantations is also similar to that of the riverine forests.

Climate

The climate of Thatta district is generally moderate. Due to its proximity to the sea, Thatta district experiences moderate temperature in summer as well as in winter. The sea breeze blows from March to October, making the hot weather comparatively temperate. This also makes the summer humid. May is the hottest month. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during this month are 40 °C and 25 °C respectively. The winter season starts from November, when a sudden change from the moist sea breeze to dry and cold by the Northeast winds bring a change. January is the coldest month. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures during this month are 26 °C and 9 °C respectively. Rainfall is scanty, and erratic, and mostly occurs during the Monsoon season from July to September. The average annual rainfall is about 200 mm.

Thatta district is subject to tidal waves, cyclones, and frequent dust storms.

Seismic Activity

The district belongs to Zone 2A of the Pakistan Seismic Zone Map which is the minor to moderate damage seismic zone.

[1] Mangroves Action Plan project (A USA Based NGO working for improvement of Mangroves all over the World)

[2] Study of Riverine Forests, Upstream Sukkur and Downstream Kotri Barrage, Indus for All Program, WWF, Pakistan

Population

The following table shows the population of Thatta district as per the 2017 Census:

District/Taluka Area km2 Population Male% Female% Urban% Growth Rate %
Thatta District 17,355 1,761,784 52 48 15 2.4
Ghora Bari Taluka 1,018 174,088
Jati Taluka 3,488 202,299
Keti Bunder Taluka 771 58,832
Kharo Chan Taluka 778 10,235
Mirpur Bathoro Tehsil 698 210,959
Mirpur Sakro Taluka 2,958 340,834
Shah Bunder Taluka 3,074 159,887
Sujawal Taluka[1] 747 198,587 52.9 47.1 18.3 2.1
Thatta Taluka 3,823 406,063 52.9 47.1 14.8 2.4

Table 1.3 Thatta Population Statistics

The population of the district is mostly rural and is occupied mainly in fishing and agriculture.

Religions[2]

Muslims 96.7%
Hindus 2.7%
Christians 0.2%
Ahmadis Negligible %
Scheduled Castes 0.2%
Others 0.2%

Table 1.4 Thatta Religions

Languages[3]

Sindhi 95.7%
Urdu 1.2%
Punjabi 1.1%
Pushto 0.8%
Balochi 0.7%
Seraiki 0.1%.
Others 0.6%

Table 1.5 Thatta Languages

[1] Sujawal Taluka has been upgraded to a district in 2014. No separate data is available, so this volume continues to treat it as a Taluka of Thatta

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

[3] 1998 Census; 2017 Census Data has not been made public yet.

Economic ActivityEconomic Infrastructure

Economic Activity

The major economic activities of the district are:

  • Agriculture, Livestock Breeding, Fishing (67.3%)
  • Elementary Occupations (21.7%)
  • Activities not defined (11%)[1]

Agriculture

Thatta district belongs to the Indus Delta Agro-Ecological Zone of Pakistan. Crops include rice, cotton, sugarcane, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, sesanum, barley, gram, rape & mustard, moong, maash, masoor, arhar, guar seed, linseed, sunflower, and soya bean.

Important vegetables are tomato, onion, peas, okra, tinda, brinjal, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, luffa, cucumber, long melon, purslane, beans, field vetch, lotus roots, turnips, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, radish, garden peas, fenugreek, lettuce, chilies, spearmint, garlic, coriander, ajwain, and sugar beet.

Major fruits are banana, betel leaf, musk melon, papaya, mango, coconut, chikoo, dates, guava, jaamun, watermelon, citrus, and ber.

Land Use

The following table shows the major land use statistics of Thatta district as per Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18:

Land Use Area Land Use Area
Total Area 1,735,000 HA Reported Area 1,735,000 HA
Total Cultivated Area 338,000 HA Current Fallows 183,000 HA
Net Sown 155,000 A Culturable Waste 198,000 HA
Uncultivated Area 1,397,000 HA Forest Area 347,000 HA

Table 1.6 Thatta Land Use Statistics

Livestock Breeding

Livestock mostly consists of sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, and horses. These animals play a vital role in the economy of the district and provide food of rich nutritional value such as milk and meat, as well as by-products such as butter, oil, cheese, curd, skin/hides and intestines. Sheep provide wool. Bullocks and camels are kept for farming as well as for nutritional purposes. Total livestock population in the district (2006 Livestock Census), as per Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18, is as follows:

Cattle 411,000 Heads Buffaloes 367,000 Heads
Sheep 162,000 Heads Goats 351,000 Heads
Camels 11,000 Heads Horses 3,000 Heads
Asses 19,000 Heads Mules 1,000 Heads

Table 1.7 Thatta Livestock Statistics

Red Sindhi and kanruj breed of cows, kundi buffaloes, kamori goats, and thoroughbred horses are native breeds of Thatta.

Poultry

In rural areas, poultry in small numbers is bred in houses by women for eggs and meat. Most of the commercial poultry farms are located around urban centers. There are 1,018 poultry farms[2] in the district.

Fishing

Thatta district is one of the two coastal, Indus Delta districts of Sindh. Fishing is a major economic activity and nearly 90% of the population in the coastal talukas is engaged in fishing. Of all the districts of Sindh contributing to fish production, Thatta’s contribution is the highest. Keenjhar Lake, River Indus, the estuarine areas, and fish farms are the principal sources of livelihood for rural communities in Thatta district. There are a number of lakes of international importance including the Kinjhar Lake, Haleji Lake, and Hadero Lake. These lakes house a large variety of fish, and both inland and seacoast fishing is taken up at a large scale. Thatta district has the second largest marine fishery in Pakistan (the largest is in Karachi).

Irrigation

The main source of irrigation in the district is a number of canals, tube wells, lift irrigation, and the spill from River Indus. There are some barani areas (areas that do not have irrigation facilities) in the district, which depend upon rains for cultivation. The hilly areas of the district are cultivated using Monsoon water and wells, while the canals and channels irrigate the other areas. The district is irrigated through the Kotri Barrage irrigation canals. Some of the canals are Kalri-Baghar Canal, Sattar Canal, Kanta Canal, Ghar Canal, Kodario Canal, Gungro Canal, Saida Canal, Mirza Canal, and Gungri.

The following table shows the mode of irrigation and area irrigated by each mode for the district as per Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18:

Total Irrigated Area 137,626 HA Un-Irrigated Area 16973 HA
Canal Irrigated 131,017 HA Wells Irrigated – HA
Tube Well Irrigated Area 6,609 HA

Table 1.10 Thatta Irrigation Statistics

Mining

There are large deposits of coal in Thatta district at Meting, Jhimpir, Sonda, and Jherruck. The coal deposits of Sonda and Jherruck are the second largest coal deposits in Pakistan, and it is estimated that there are over one billion tons of lignite quality coal deposits in this area. Limestone, marble, gypsum, and silica sand are other minerals being mined at Thatta, and natural gas is also being mined at Daru. In addition, there are large deposits of marble (known as golden marble) at Sonda, Thatta. Dimension and cut stone deposits are also present in various locations in Thatta.

Manufacturing/ Industry

There is an industrial estate in Thatta district, and an Industrial Zone, and water filter plant at Dhabeji, which is a Union Council of Mirpur Bathoro. A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is being set up in Thatta. Development of Livestock dairy farming, fish and shrimp farming, wind-mill and coal-based power generation are being carried out at a large scale.

There are a total of 30 industrial units[3]:

Sugar 6 Units
Textile Mills 1 Units
Cement Factories 2 Units
Paper Mills 1 Units
Salt Works 11 Units
Jute Mills 1 Units
Poly Propylene 1 Units
Polyvinyl Pipes 2 Unit
Rice Mills 1 Unit
Flour Mills 2 Units
Car Manufacturing Plant 1 Unit
Industrial Chemicals 1 Unit

Table 1.8Thatta Industries

The car manufacturing plant by Deewan Group of Industries is a recent addition.

Handicrafts

Traditionally, Thatta has been home to weavers and artisans of every kind. Handwoven Lungis (scarves or shawls) of a thick, rich, variegated fabric of cotton or silk produced in the region have been famous for centuries. Other handicrafts include traditional Sindhi embroidery work in-laid with tiny mirrors, tuk work (a type of appliqué work), ralli, ajrak, and furniture making.

Figure 1.3 Tuk Work on a Sindhi cap

Figure 1.4 A Ralli of Thatta

 

Economic Infrastructure

Thatta district is connected to the rest of the country through the National Highway N-5, which passes through Gharo, Mirpur Sakro Taluka. The main Karachi‒Lahore‒Peshawar railway line also passes through the northern parts of Thatta district.

Roads

The following table shows the road statistics of the district as per Road List 2009 issued by the GoS (Latest available):

Provincial Highways 419.6 km
Access Roads 659.4 km
Secondary Roads 781.3 km

Table 1.9 Thatta Road Statistics

According to Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18, there are 1,326 km of total roads in the district.

Important roads of the district include:

  • National Highway N-5
  • Gharo‒Mirpur Sakro‒Keti Bunder Road
  • Karachi‒Thatta‒Hyderabad Road
  • Thatta‒Sujjawal‒Badin Road
  • Tando Muhammad Khan‒Sujjawal Road
  • Sujjawal‒Jatti Road

Figure 1.9 A Rest-stop for Trucks on National Highway N-5, Thatta

Rail and Airways

Thatta is connected via rail to all parts of Pakistan. There are a number of railway stations including Jungshai, Rann Pethani, Meting, Jhimpir, Bholari, Braudabad, and Gharo. There is no airport in Thatta district. The closest airport is Jinnah International Airport, Karachi.

Radio and Television

There is no television station in Thatta, but TV can be viewed through boosters and cable. Similarly, there is no radio station in Thatta district.

Telecommunications

Telecommunications facilities are easily available in the urban areas of the district, especially in Thatta town. The district is linked to other parts of Pakistan and the rest of the world through PTCL lines. Internet is also easily available. Most of the major cellular phone companies operate in the district.

Post Offices/ Courier Services

The first post office in the district was established by the British. Pakistan Post has a number of offices in the district. All courier services also provide services in the district.

Banking/ Financial Services

Some of Pakistan’s major banks with branches[1] in the district include:

  • Habib Bank Ltd.
  • Muslim Commercial Bank
  • National Bank of Pakistan
  • Sindh Bank Ltd.
  • United Bank Ltd.
  • Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd.

In all there are 37 branches of conventional banks and 02 branches of Islamic banks in the District.

Electricity

Thatta district gets its electricity through the national grid. The Hyderabad Electricity Supply Corporation and Karachi Electric Supply Corporation are both responsible for supplying electricity to Thatta district. Most of the rural areas of the district are also on the national grid and have electricity. The country’s first Wind Power Project in Jhimpir Thatta, was completed in 2008, and it generates 49.5 MW of electricity. There are 06 grid stations of 132 KV capacity each in the district.

Education

The literacy rate in Thatta district is 22.1% with 31.6% males and 11.4% females being literate. The following table shows the number of educational institutions in the district as per Sindh Development Statistics 2017-18:

Institution Boys/Girls Institution Boys/Girls
Primary Schools 2,291/240 Middle Schools 49/23
High School 54/15 Higher Secondary -/01
Degree College 02/01 Technical Institutes 02/-
Commercial Training Institutes 03/- Vocational Institutes 02/03
Medical Colleges Engineering Colleges
Universities Cadet Colleges

Table 1.11 Thatta Educational Institutes

In addition, there are a large number of privately owned educational institutions of all levels in the district.

Health

The following table shows the Government Health Care Institutions in Thatta district as per Health Profile Sindh District 2017:

Institution No./Beds Institution No./Beds
Government Hospitals 05/368 Dispensaries 118/-
Rural Health Centers 08/110 Basic Health Units 51/102
T B Clinics 14/- Mother Child Health Centers 01/04
Private Hospitals 10/120 Private TB Clinics -/-
Private Dispensaries 38/10 Private MCHC 07/-

Table 1.12 Thatta Health Care Institutes

In addition, there is one leprosy clinic, 1 maternity home, and 2 Unani Shifa Khanas[2] in the district.

Policing

The Sindh Police Department is headed by the Provincial Police Officer who controls 6 Additional Inspectors General Police (AIGP). AIGP Hyderabad is in charge of the entire police department of Hyderabad and Thatta. The District Police Officer (DPO) Thatta reports directly to AIGP Hyderabad. In all, there are 14 police stations[3] in the district.

Figure 1.10 A Floating Jetty at Kharo Chan, Thatta

Figure 1.11 A View of Kinjhar Lake, Thatta

Figure 1.12 A Smooth Coated Otter, Haleji Lake, Thatta

Figure 1.13 Jamia Masjid, Sujawal

 

[1] List of Reporting Bank Branches 2019 (State Bank of Pakistan)

[2] Herbal Medicines

[3] Official Website Sindh Police

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

[2] Table 17 Number of Commercial Poultry Farms and Number of Birds by Size of Flock

[3] Official website of TEVTA Pakistan http://www.skillingpakistan.org/employer/province/9/district/65?page=1

Environment and Biodiversity

Thatta district is one of the coastal districts of Pakistan, and a part of the Indus Delta, one of the world’s richest eco-regions; the Indus Delta, in fact, is on the world’s critically endangered list. The vegetation is dominated by mangrove forests, with Avicennia marina being the most common. Given the unique location of Pakistan’s coastline, the coasts sustain seaweed resources[1] in great abundance, especially during the post-Monsoon period, when the waters becoming particularly rich in anchovies and sardines.

The Indus eco-region is characterized by diverse habitat types consisting of coastal, freshwater, and brackish wetlands, riverine forests, a vast desert, and irrigated plains. The area is rich in biodiversity of significant ecological and economic importance to Pakistan in general, and to the local communities in particular. The Indus Delta has one of the largest arid climate mangrove covers in the world. It includes 17 major creeks as well as a large number of minor creeks and mud flats. Although 8 species of mangroves have historically been reported in the area, only 4 remain. These are Avicennia marina, Aegiceras corniculatum, Ceriops tagal, and Rhizophora mucronata. In addition, the main delta area harbors at least 34 animal species, 138 bird species, 24 reptile species, and about 200 fish species.

There have been many ecological changes in the district, which have altered the ecosystem of the delta. The lack of water below Kotri, for example, has damaged the ecology of the delta.

At the time of Partition, Thatta was included in the boundaries of Karachi district, which was then changed in 1948, when Thatta was separated from Karachi. Post-independence, Thatta is rapidly growing as an urban center, due to which it suffers from a severe lack of basic services, since infrastructure development has not kept up with the demand. This has also resulted in the neglect of the city’s historic center. The Makli monuments and other historic mosques, although of tourist value, are disregarded, with little being done to preserve them.

Flora and Fauna

The flora of the area is governed by the type of soil and the amount of moisture available. Thatta district has a wide range of soil types due to its diverse land forms which include sandy, deltaic, alluvial, gravel, coastal and mountainous soils, as described already.

Flora

Some of the flora of the district includes gum Arabica or babul (Acacia nilotica), aak or milkweed (Calotropis procera), vann or peelu (Salvadora oleoides), kandi or jand (Prosopis spicigera), karir or kair (Capparis aphylla), gugul or mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora wightii), gugul (Commiphora stocksiana), khejri (Prosopis cineraria), Indian tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), tamarisk or ghaz (Tamarix aphylla), leafless milk hedge or thor (Euphorbia caducifolia), sewan grass or ghorka (Lasiurus sindicus), poplar or bahan (Populus euphratica), sihar (Rhazya stricta), flea tree or siris/ sirin (Acacia lebbeck), chimber (Eleusine flagellifera), lani (Salsola foetida), konaj (Barleria acanthoides), wiregrass (Aristida sp.), ber (Zizyphus nummularia), gondni (Cordia gharaf), mallow raisin (Grewia villosa), khimp or khip (Leptadenia pyrotecnica), desert thorn (Lycium depressum), honey tree or desert teak (Tecoma undulata), neem (Azardirachta indica), shisham (Dalbergio sissoo) and mesquite (Prosopis juliflora).

The mangrove forests are present in Karachi and Thatta districts only. Besides having environmental value, these forests also protect Karachi and Bin Qasim ports from siltation and erosion. They are a breeding ground for shrimps and other edible cetaceans that provide livelihood to the local population. Most of the catch is exported. The flora of mangrove forests of Thatta include timer (Avicennia marina) which occupies 97% of mangrove tree cover. Other species are kumri (Rhizophora mucronata), kiriri (Ceriops tagal) and chaunr (Aegiceras cornicuata).

The flora of the rangelands of the district consists of gum Arabica or khumbat (Acacia Senegal), jand or kandi (Prosopis cineraria), desert teak or lahura (Tecomella undulata), baonli or kikri (Acacia jacquemontii), peelu or toothbrush tree (Salvadora oleoides), karir (Capparis deciduas), African foxtail grass or buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), sand bur or kutta ghas (Cenchrus biflorus), taman/tuman (Panicum turgidum), and blue panic grass or gnat (Panicum antidotale).

The flora of the riverine forests supports the growth of species like lai (Tamarix dioica), kanh or sarkanda (Saccharum munja), bahan or euphrates poplar (Populus euphratica), babul/kikar (Acacia nilotica), kandi/jand (Prosopis cineraria), khabbar/peelu (Salvadora oleoides), and lai or athel pine (Tamarix articulate).

Fauna

Mammals found in the district include the Asiatic jackal, jungle cat, fishing cat, desert cat, Bengal fox, Indian mongoose, grey mongoose, Indian civet, wild boar, Indian pangolin, palm squirrel, Balochistan gerbil, rats, house mouse, mole rat, Indian gerbil, desert jird, porcupine, and desert hare.

Reptiles and amphibians of the district include saw-back turtle, tree lizards, Afghan ground agama, Bengal monitor, brown grass skink, house gecko, black cobra, common krait, saw-scaled viper, Asian sand snake, rope snake or dhaman, bull frog, skittering frog, and the Indus valley toad. Crocodiles are found in the Kalri and Haleji Lakes.

Avifauna of the district includes cormorants, black bittern, grey heron, pond heron, egret, painted stork, common kite, black-winged kite, brahminy kite, shikra, white-eyed buzzard, marsh harrier, osprey, black and grey partridge, kingfisher, common koel, dove, gull, tern, plover, stint, redshank, bartailed gotwit, whimbrel, curlew, plover, stilt, pheasant, parakeet, lark, martin, swallow, shrike, black drongo, bank myna, house crow, bulbul, fly catcher, chiffchaff, wheat-eater, robin, wagtail, purple sunbird, Sindh jungle sparrow, and the weaver bird. In addition, a large number of migratory birds visit various lakes of the district.

Protected Areas and Wildlife

Following are the protected wildlife reserves of Thatta district:

  • Hadero Lake: Wildlife sanctuary and a major wetland
  • Haleji Lake: Wildlife sanctuary and a major wetland, on the Ramsar List of Internationally important wetlands
  • Kinjhar/Kalri Lake: Wildlife sanctuary and a major wetland on the Ramsar List of Internationally important wetlands
  • Bijoro Chachh: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Norung: Wildlife sanctuary
  • Cut Monarki Chachh: Wildlife sanctuary and wetland
  • Sadnani: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Shah Lanko: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Hilaya: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Majiran: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Gullet Kohri: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Marho Kotri: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Munarki: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Keti Bunder North: Wildlife sanctuary and a wetland
  • Deh Jangisar: Game Reserve and a riverine forest
  • Deh Khalifa: Game Reserve and riverine forest
  • Mirpur Sakro Forest: Game Reserve and a wetland

A large number of these wetlands are part of the Indus Delta, and provide sanctuary to game and migratory birds as well as the mammals of the riverine forests. The mangroves are a breeding ground of shrimps as well as other marine crustaceans.

[1] Sidra Majeed, Sumia Bint Zaman, Irfan Ali, and Dr. Shahid Ahmad. Situational Analysis of Sindh Coast – Issues and Options