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 ( ) is a city in the Punjab Provincemarker of Pakistanmarker and capital of Multan Districtmarker. It is located in the southern part of the province. Multan District has a population of over 3.8 million—according to 1998 census—and the city itself is the sixth largest within the boundaries of Pakistan. It is situated on the east bank of the Chenab Rivermarker, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about   from Karachimarker.


Multan is known as the City of Sufis due to the large number of shrines and Sufi saints from the city. The city is full of bazaars, mosques, shrines and ornate tombsmarker. It is located in a bend created by five rivers of the Punjab provincemarker. The Sutlej Rivermarker separates it from Bahawalpurmarker and the Chenab Rivermarker from Muzaffar Garh. The city has grown to become an influential political and economical center for the country, with a dry port and excellent transport links. Multan is famous for its crops: Wheat, Cotton and Sugar Cane as well as Mangoes, Citrus, Guavas and Pomegranates.

History

A map dated from 1669 showing Multan


Multan is one of the oldest cities in the Asian subcontinent. It was the capital of the Trigarta Kingdom at the time of the Mahabharata war, ruled by the Katoch Dynasty. Multan has had various names over the years, originally Kashtpur (Kashyapapura)after the great Hindu sage Kashyapa, this is also the Gotra used by the Katoch dynasty. Other names were Hanspur (Hamsapura), Bagpur (Vegapura), Sanb or Sanahpur (Sambapura). Its current name is derived from the Sanskrit name Mulasthana (also Mitrasthana) named after a sun temple. Multan has frequently been a site of conflict due to its location on a major invasion route between South Asia and Central Asia. It is believed to have been visited by Alexander the Great's army.In the mid-5th century, the city was attacked by a group of Huna Hephthalite nomads led by Toramana.

In 7th century during Amir Muavia's period, his one commander Mohlab in 664 captured Multan but it was not permanent.In the 8th century, Multan was conquered along with Sindhmarker by Banu Ummaya the army of Muhammad bin Qasim from the local ruler Chach. Following bin Qasim's conquest, the city was securely under Muslim rule, although it was in effect an independent state and most of the subjects were non-Muslim.

In 1005 CE (396 AH), the ruler of Multan, Abool Futteh Dawood, rebelled against the rule of Mahmud of Ghazni. When Abool heard of the approach of Mahmud from Ghaznimarker, he solicited the aid of his ally Anandpal, the successor of Jaipal; who—true to his alliance—detached the greater part of his army to oppose Mahmud in Peshawarmarker. Multan's location at the entrance to the sub-continent resulted in it being invaded by a long series of conquerors on their way to Delhi. Timur, Babur and many others passed through the city leaving much destruction in their wake.

Following annexation to Mughal empire in 1557 CE, at the beginning of emperor Akbars rule; Multan enjoyed 200 years of peace, and became known as Dar al-Aman (Abode of Peace). Akbar was known as a wise ruler, setting reasonable taxes, creating effective government and being tolerant of religious differences.

Multan witnessed difficult times as Mughal rule declined in early 1700s, starting after death of emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. Persia was united under Nader Shah, ruling from 1736 as Shah of Iran. After his assassination in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani—who was originally born in Multan—rose to power. This counts as beginning of Durrani Empire. However, after death of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1772, the influence of Durrani empire declined sharply in mere fifty years. Starting at late in 1700s, Multan was ruled locally by the Pashtun Sadozai and Khakwani chieftains.

In 1817, Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent a body of troops to Multan under the command of Diwan Bhiwani Das to receive from Nawab Muzaffar Khan the tribute he owed to the Sikh Darbar. Bhiwani Das laid siege to the city, but failed to capture Multan. Maharaja Ranjit Singh planned a fresh expedition and sent a strong force under his son Kharak Singh's charge.

In 1818, Kharak Singh's armies lay around Multan without making much initial headway. Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent a large cannon named Zamzama along with Akali Phula Singh's Nihang regiment. The Zamzama was fired with effect and the gates of the city were blown in. Akali Phula Singh made a sudden rush and took the garrison by surprise. The Nawab stood in his way resolved to fight to death. Prince Kharak Singh left Jodh Singh Khalsa with 600 men to guard the fort of Multan. The Sikhs thereafter ruled Punjab until 1849, losing it to the British in the Second Anglo-Sikh War.

However, Sikh rule would not last long, as the British were eventually provoked into checking the Sikh strength in Punjab. After a long and bloody battle, Multan was made part of the British Raj. During this time, Sardar Karan Narain's son became an icon during the British Raj and was awarded titles 'Rai Bahadur' and Knighted 'Sir' by Her Majesty. The British built some rail routes to the city, but its industrial capacity was never developed.

Upon Pakistan's independence in 1947, Multan became part of the Punjab province. It initially lacked industry, hospitals and universities. Since then, there has been some industrial growth, and the city's population is continually growing. But the old city continues to be in a dilapidated state, and many monuments wear the effects of the warfare that has visited the city.

Geography and climate

The city of Multan is located in southern Punjabmarker province at almost the exact centre of Pakistan. The closest major city is Sahiwal. The area around the city is a flat plain and is ideal for agriculture, with many citrus and mango farms. There are many canals that cut across the Multan District, providing water from nearby farms. This makes the land very fertile. However usually land close to the Chenab are usually flooded in the monsoon season.

The city also witnesses some of the most extreme weather in the country. During summertime, temperatures reach approximately , and in the winter has been recorded. The average rainfall is roughly 127mm. Dust storms are also a common occurence within the city.

Economy

A local copppersmith displays his wares at the central market in Multan, Pakistan.


Multan is a commercial and industrial centre, as it is connected with the rest of the country through rail and air including the other industrial hubs such as Lahoremarker, Karachimarker, Quettamarker and Faisalabadmarker. Industries include fertilizer, cosmetics, glass manufacturing, cotton production and processing, large textile units, flour mills, sugar and oil mills and large-scale power generation projects. It is famous for its handicrafts (carpets & ceramics) and cottage industries. Roughly 1900 acres of the city is still forested in the district. Trees grown in the area are Kikar, Shisham and Mulbury.

Large, irregular suburbs have grown outside the old walled town, and two satellite towns have been set up. Mangoes of Multan district are well known. Multani khussa (traditional shoes), embroidery on dresses for women and men, furniture and other wooden products, earthenware pottery, painted pottery, camel-skin ware, surgical instruments and carpets are a few of the city's major export items with a great demand within the country as well.

Mangos form a large portion of Multan's agricultural export market
Multan is an important agricultural, industrial and tourist centre. Wheat, cotton and sugarcane are the main crops grown in the district. Moreover, rice, maize, tobacco, bajra, moong (lentils), mash (lentils), masoor (lentils), oil seed such as rape, mustard and sunflower are also grown in minor quantities in the district. Mangoes, citrus, guavas and pomegranate are the main fruits grown in the Multan district. Additionally, dates, jaman, pears, phalsa and bananas are grown in minor quantities in the district.

The city also a very rich in minerals. These include Argillaceous Clay, Coal, Dolomite, Fire Clay, Gypsum, Limestone, Silica Sand and Rock Salt. Most of these are excavated for commercial activities and transported to many cities within the country. Many industrial factories are being inaugurated to handle the separation and quality control of these minerals. Much of the minerals within the city are used in Dolomite Processing, Fire Bricks/Refractories, Hollow Glass-ware, Insulators/Capacitors and Ceramics Sanitary-ware. There have also been studies to finalise whether setting up power stations to deal with the electricity shortages in many parts of the city.

Since Multan is agricultural based, there is also plenty of livestock still growing at a positive rate which has lead to milk processing/dairy products units, ice cream manufacturing, animal and poultry feed, dairy farms, cattle/sheep/goat fattening plants, meat/poultry processing units, leather garments manufacturing, leather footwear, cosmetics, tinned goods as well as Pharmaceuticals.

Government

Administrative divisions of Multan District
Since the introduction of the local government system in 2001 the city has been governed by a Nazim (Mayor). Multan is spread over an area of 3,721 square Kilometers comprising of four tehsils: Multan Cantonment, Multan Sadar, Shujabad and Jalalpur Pirwala. In 2005, Multan was reorganised as a City-District composed of six autonomous towns:

  1. Boson Town
  2. Shah Rukan e Alam Town
  3. Mumtazabad Town
  4. Shershah Town
  5. Shujabad Town
  6. Jalalpur Town
  7. A. Multan Cantonment


Twin City

Multan has a friendship agreement with two cities in the world as of 2009:



Demographics

The Shahi Eid Ghah Mosque, Islam is the major religion in Multan
A Sikh Gurdwara within the city of Multan


The majority of Multan's residents speak Saraiki, while Haryanvi is the second most spoken language. A good portion of the people are conversant in Urdu. English is understood by the educated. The majority of the people are Muslims. However, the city does have a significant Sikh and Hindu communities within the district. There are still many temples and Gurdwaras within the city.

Multan has traditionally been a melting pot of several distinct ethnic groups due to its location at the intersection of all four of Pakistan's main provinces and due to its historical significance as a centre of learning and culture. As a result, Multan today consists of Saraiki, Haryanvi, Punjabi, Baloch, Pashtun, Sindhi, and Urdu-speaking Muhajirs who arrived at the time of independence in 1947.

As per the 1998 census of Pakistan, the following are the demographics of the district, by spoken language:



Culture

A fruit vendor in a fruit market in the heart of Multan


Multan is generally known as the 'City of Saints, Sufis and Beggars'. The city is one of the main cities in Southern Punjab province of Pakistan. The city has been the focal point in many religions especially becoming a central abode for Sufism, the mystical side of Islam. The city has attracted Sufi saints from far places of the globe. Today, Multan is known as the 'City of Sufis'. It was one of the oldest cities in South Asia with many tombs, shrines, temples, cathedrals and mausoleums as well as a historical fort. Today Multan is a combination of old and the new Pakistan culture. There is a big hustle bustle in the old city and comfort of a five star hotel and fine dining in the new. The old city has a various bazaars selling mystical artifacts, perfumes to arts and crafts. There are also elaborately decorated Shrines of the Sufi saints, tombs of various travellers and important people within the old city of Multan.

The prime attractions of Multan are its mausoleums of Sufi saints. The Mausoleum of Sheikh Baha-ud-Din Zakariya, as well as the Mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam are the prime attractions of the city. Their lofty domes of are visible, from miles and dominate the skyline of Multan. Another popular shrine is the Mausoleum of Shams-ud-Din, commonly known as Shah Shams Tabrez is located about half a mile to the east of the Multan Fort, on the high bank of the old bed of the Ravi Rivermarker.

Another famous and beautiful mausoleum of a warrior sufi saint and poet Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Jamal Multani (1747-1811 AD) is situated near Aam Khas garden outside Daulat Gate, Multan.

There are also a number of other mausoleums located within the city which gather a great deal of attention. The Nuagaza tombs are shrines to martyrs and warriors who fought in wars centuries ago some dating back 1,300 years ago. The Multan Museum located within the city has a vast collection of coins, medals, postage stamps of the former State of Bahawalpur, manuscripts, documented inscriptions, wood carvings, camel-skin paintings, historical models and stone carvings of the Islamic and Pre-Islamic periods.

Multan also has a number of old mosques which were once considered as the jewels of the city. Some have been dated back to a few thousand years and have been recognised as some of the oldest mosques within South East Asia. The legend goes that the first mosque ever built in Multan was the Jamia Mosque which was constructed on the orders of General Mohammed Qasim, who conquered Multan in 712AD. Ruins of this mosque were visible till 1954 at Qasim Bella however due to repeated floods, the structure was lost. Sawi Mosque is supposed to be the oldest mosque which still exists today though in deteriorating state, there are glazed blue tiles from the era in which it was built which dates the mosque to several centuries ago. The second oldest mosque within Multan is Mohammad Khan Wali Mosque. It is an excellent condition, situated in the busiest Chowck Bazar of the city. It was built by Nawab Ali Mohammad Khan Khakwani, in 1757 when he was the governor of Multan in the time of Alamgir II. The mosque is provided with a reservoir for the ablutions, baths, and a large hall for prayers.

Multan is another Pakistani city that loves cricket. The city government inaugurated a new multi-purpose stadiummarker replacing Ibn-e-Qasim Bagh Stadiummarker which was the lone stadium used for football and cricket matches. The inauguration of the new stadium has allowed the city to offer Test day/night matches as well as other national sports such as hockey, badminton and football. The stadium is home to the Multan Cricket Association. Other sports grounds include Divisional Sports Ground and the Pakistan Cricket Board owned Government College Cricket Ground.

Education

In 1950, then-Governor Abdur Rub Nishtar founded Nishter Medical College. Doctor graduates of this institution have spread across the world, and many have become established names in the field of medicine. Bahauddin Zakariya University formerly known as Multan University and University of the Punjab are the main sources of higher education for this region.

Transport

Local billboards in a busy street in Multan
Multan has connection with other cities by a variety of transport means. The district has concrete road reaching up to 983.69 Km. The district is linked with Khanewalmarker, Lodhranmarker and Muzaffargarh districts through concrete roads. Buses to Bahawalpurmarker leave frequently, since it is located closely to the city. There are a variety of buses travelling farther from the city. Many of them are now air-conditioned with a fairly good safety record. The N-5 National Highway connects the city to connect to all parts of Pakistan. The road otherwise, known as GT Road, allows connections to Rawalpindimarker, Islamabadmarker, Faisalabadmarker, Karachimarker, Lahoremarker as well as Bahawalpurmarker. Coach services such as Daewoo Express, Faisal Movers Express, Niazi Express, Punjab Tourism Department, Skyways and New Khan Bus Service are some of the most reliable coach companies operating out of Multan.

Multan is connected by rail with all parts of the country and lies on the main track between Karachimarker, Peshawarmarker, Lahoremarker and Quettamarker. The main Peshawar-Karachi railway line passes through Multan district. The district then links trains to nearby districts of Khanewal, Lodhran and Muzafargarh districts through the railway network.

Multan International Airportmarker is an airport situated 10 km away from the city centre of Multan. It is not as large as the other airports in Pakistan, as it operates to cater mainly to the population of Multan, Vehari, Khanewalmarker, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Sahiwal, and Pakpattanmarker to mainly to other points within Pakistan as well as the Middle East. Flight are currently operated by the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. However, since the growth of air travel within the region, there has been speculated interest from other private carriers. The rise in air-travel has also lead to the expansion of the current airport with a new runway and terminal.

Notable people from Multan



References



External links




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