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Pakpattan ( ) is the capital city of the Pakpattan District in the Punjabmarker province of Pakistanmarker. Pakpattan is one of the ancient and smallest cities of Pakistan. It is the city that has the shrine of the well-known Sufi of his times, Baba Fareed. Pakpattan is located 190 km from Lahoremarker and is very close to Sahiwal (about 45 km).

Punjabi is the most spoken language in the district.

Education

In Pakpattan, the postgraduate degree college for males is known as Faridia Degree College, at College Road and a female degree college known as Govt. Degree college for Women is at Kutchery Road. There are some good Government funded and private owned schools.Some of these are Govt. Fazilka Islamia High School, Govt. High School, OPF school (overseaes Pakistanies Foundation), DPS(District Public School), Little Chums High School, Punjab school system, Punjab Cadet School, Punjab Girls High school, Al waqar Public school etc. There are some private tutition academies as well which are providing different undergraduate and postgraduate courses including M.A,LL.B etc. Co-education is given in private schools and academies. There is one Commerce College and Vocational Training School as well in the city area where different technical and vocational courses are taught. Allama Iqbal Open University sub office as well is here. There is one nursing school that is affiliated with Distrct Hospital.A local NGO named Baba Fareed Ganj shakar educational and welfare trust is trying to establish a Baba Fareed islamic International university 9-km sahiwal road pakpattan.Trust has purchased 50 acres of land.

History

In the outskirt of Pakpattan about 12 miles away there is a small village town called MALKA HANS where the famous Punjabi writer Waris Shah wrote his famous book Heer, Waris Shah. When Punjab fell into the hands of Britishers, due to its historical importance and value, the Britishmarker given a Pakpattan,a significant value.Pakpattan was made a Distrct Headquarter and only district between Lahoremarker and Multanmarker. Two big and gigantic water canals Khadar Canal & Pakpattan Canal were dugged and constructed at left and right sides of city. These two canals are of hundreds miles long. A Colony Officer and a Colony Magistrate was posted in the area. As far the area of canals irrigating,all the disputes and land revenues cases of the irrigating areas were brought before the Colony Officers and Magistrate courts. A big and grand train station built in the city area to connect all the irrigating areas that was as far away as Bahawalpurmarker State and the areas of today Mailsimarker and Khanewalmarker. Once Tehsil Pakpattan was the biggest tehsil administrative area in the British Raj. The ruins of grand administrative area can seen in once called "Colony Areas' where big and grand old court houses and British Officers residences tell its stories.Train station was so busy and big that can serve hundreds of passengers at the same time. The ruins of its grandeur can be seen at old Ticket houses and waiting areas. Many trains were departing daily towards Bahawalpurmarker and Lahoremarker to cover the areas between these cities. Now a days Pakpattan train station is deserted and only one train leaves daily.Once road tranportation was not good and easy then this train station was a big source of link in the area. But due administrative reasons and mainly was to protect British Officers from freedom fighter during Great Mutiny, another small and peaceful village Sahiwal then called Montgomery given the status of district and Pakpattan was made its Tehsil. Till 1991, Pakpattan remained Tehsil Headquarters of Sahiwal District formerly Montgomery District. From 1991, it has been given the status of District Headquarters and Arifwalamarker has become its 2nd Tehsil.

Pakpattan is so deeply influenced by Saint Baba Farid that a lot of visitors and faith lovers daily visiting his beautiful white marbled shrine. Many shops have their names on the name of Saint Baba Fareed. Pakpattan is also called PAKPATTAN SHARIF because many of Saint Farid's lovers and followers think it derogatory to call even city name without respect.

Ancient history

Word Pakpattan is made of two words PAK and PATTAN which means clean dockland (Pattan meaning dockland or place where boats and ships stop). It is said that in old times once Saint Farid was having ablution at the bank of Sutlejmarker River and a local man told Saint Farid this area is dirty and water is not clean, then Saint Farid replied "no its a clean water and area' in local language a word Pak Pattan. Once Pakpattan was situated at River Sutlejmarker,as other world cities flourished on the banks of rivers.By the passage of time Sutlej River has changed its course and now flowing three miles away from today's city areas. Pakpattan is the ancient Ajoodhun or Ajj-u-dhan', which probably derived its name from the [Yaudheya] tribe (the modern Johiyas). Before it was named as Ajoodhun, some believe that it was called 'Katora'. Old city prior to Saint Farid was sacred to Hindu religion. Old city is established on a big mound called DHAKI meaning "something hidden'. This Dhaki is on higher altitude than the area around, there were gates to enter in the city. It is said that city was destroyed seventeen times in the history by great warriors. All times then after destruction a new city was built on the ruins of old city, because of this a big mond made up. From a very early date it was a place of importance, as the principal ferry across the Sutlejmarker River and the meeting-place of the great western roads from Dera Ghazi Khanmarker and Dera Ismail Khanmarker. The city was on the way to Multan State and Delhi Empire.All warriors were travelling from Multanmarker to Dehlimarker or Dehlimarker to Multanmarker were crossing this city. This city was important in the line of defence all the times. A road called "Dehli Multan Road' road was constructed by Sher Shah Suri. The Land marks of Dehli Multan Road are still in use by Punjab Road Transporation Department. Anybody can read the mileage of Dehlimarker and Multanmarker at any time in all over the area, only present in modern times in this area. The fort defending the city was once captured by Seb√ľktegin in 977-8 A.D and by Ibrahim Ghaznavi in 1079-80 A.D.

According to Farishta,an old writer and historian, in the year 1079 A.D its fort was conquered by Ibrahim Ghaznavi/Ibrahim Bin Masaud Ghaznavi.The town owes its sanctity and modern name, 'the holy ferry', to the shrine of the great Muslim Sufi Fariduddin Ganjshakar Shaikh-ul-Islam, Farid-ul-Hakkwa-ud-Din, Shakar Ganj (1173-1265A.D) which was visited by old great traveller and historian Ibn Batuta in 1334A.D. The town was besieged by Shaikha; the Khokhar, in 1394 A.D, and in 1398 A.D was visited by Timur, Mughal Emperor who spared much of the inhabitants as had not fled, out of respect for the shrine of the saint. It was the scene of two of Khizr Khan's victories over generals of the Delhimarker 1401 and 1405A.D. The shrine of Baba Farid attracts crowds of followers, its sanctity being acknowledged as far as Afghanistanmarker and Central Asia. The urs (death anniversary) of Saint Farid is observed every year in Islamic/lunar month of Muharram, that lasts for ten days. Hundreds of thousands pilgrims and visitors come every year to pay homage to this great Saint. The principal event of urs is crossing of gate that called Bahishti Darwaza(Gate of Heavens). Followers believe by crossing this gate all of your sins are pardoned and one becomes neat and clean again. Some critics say it is unholy to cross this gate with this intention but believe its sanctity. Critics argue it is good to cross this gate with resolution not to do sins in future life. This "Gate To Heavens' remains open ten consecutive nights after sunset to sunrise and padlocked during the day time. This gate is padlocked all the year except these ten days.

British era

During British rule Pakpattan Town was headquarters of the tehsil of the same name in Montgomery Districtmarker, 29 miles south-east of Montgomery station on the North-Western Railway. The municipality was created in 1867, the population in 1901 was 6,192. During the ten years ending 1902-3 the income averaged Rs. 7,200, and the expenditure Rs. 7,000. The income in 1903-4 was Rs. 8,400, chiefly derived from octroi; and the expenditure was Rs. 7,300.

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India:

Now a days Pakpattan is one of the pooriest/non industial area in the region. The only big industry is one Sugar mill that is called "Itefaq Sugar Mills' which employes some dozens workers from Pakpattan and surrounding areas.Most of city is unplanned and un-urbanised.Small houes and unpaved roads full of pitfalls are its symbol of the day. There is no any intercity transport system, only transportation is by Rickshaw(Qinqi rickshaw). Before the advent of rickshaws, transportation was done by horse drawn carriage called Tanga. Once there was a big industry of Tonga's and its accessories developed in the city area and hundreds of the workers were employed by this industry.Once Pakpattan was recorded as a city with most Tanga(s) in the country. Now only few Tanga(s) can be seen on the roads. Today most of the people are employed in shopkeeping business. Old city area called Dhaki has old and unique designed houses with carved work on its doors, and small and narrow streets. There is no any modern housing colony or urbanised housing structure in city. A small Public Library is run by Local Municipal Committee with few hunred books.A few year back,there was a big Public library that had thousands of books, was destroyed by lack of Municipal Authorities' interests. Pakpattan is situated at the borders of the south and north Punjab. It is the last district of south Punjab and start of north Punjab. Local language is Punjabi and its accent is nearer to Lahoremarker accent but has some Siraki impression as well.People are courteous and hospitable.A small christian community also lives here and a small Protestant Church is as well there.


Baba Farid

It was renamed Pak Pattan (meaning "Clean Land" in old Punjabi) after arrival of Sufi Saint Baba Fareed whose shrine is located here - today people come all over the world to pass through a gate called "Bahishti Darwaza" or Heavens Gate to the shrine from the 1st of Muharram to 5th of Muharram every year. Hazrat Baba Fareed, a great personality of India was married out with the daughter of the King of that era, Ghayyas-ud-din Balban. The founder of the Sikh Faith Guru Nanak had reverence to Baba Fareed and hence Sikhs also come here to pay tribute. In 1770 after a battle between Mobarak Khan II of Bahawalpur and Hari Singh, it was agreed that "the neutral town of Pakpattan, held by a Muslim saint of eminence, should be the common boundary"

Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganj-e-Shakkar died on 5th of Muharram 664 A.H. corresponding to 17 October 1265 C.E. He was buried in Pak Pattan (135 miles (190 km)approx. off Lahore).

Baba Farid settled down in a place very next to his current shrine. Once this place was marked with a tall flag that can be seen from the entrance of the main mosque of the shrine. He started preaching the Hindus about Islam. In a short time, a huge number of Hindus in the region embraced Islam. Those who did not, became ardent followers of Baba Farid and often visited him to seek spiritual guidance.

His shine was quite old by 1990s. Government of Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistanmarker ordered the development of a large complex with a grant of RS40 Millions. Due to changes of the government, the project faced several delays and continues until today. As a part of the project, the old historical mosque was demolished despite opposition by the Department of Archaeology and Museums to preserve the old historical mosque. During the 1990s, the old 'Hujra' (the praying room) of Baba Farid's dearest pupil and son-in-law Khwaja Makhdoom Alauddin Ahmed Sabir was also renovated by the government. The new 'Hujra' is an imitation of the design of the original 'Dargah' of Khwaja Makhdoom Alauddin Ahmed Sabir in Kaliyar Sharif (Roorkee).Ganj Shakar Trust Hospital Pakpattan is serving the needy and poor people under the aeiges of Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar Educational And welfare trust pakpattan.

References


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