|• Total||237.2 km2 (91.6 sq mi)|
|Elevation||461 m (1,512 ft)|
|• Density||4,400/km2 (11,000/sq mi)|
|Bahawalpur Urban agglomeration|
|Time zone||PKT (UTC+5)|
|Postal code type||63100|
|Bahawalpur Government Website|
Bahawalpur (Punjabi, Urdu: بہاولپور), is a city in Punjab, Pakistan. The city used to be the capital of the Bahawalpur princely state, now the Bahawalpur District. It is the 13th most populous metropolitan area of Pakistan. Bahawalpur is also a hotbed of Deobandi extremism with more than 500 madrasas (religious seminaries) and the headquarters of the designated terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The princely state of Bahawalpur was founded in 1802 by Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan II after the break-up of the Durrani Empire. The city is over 4.51 kilometres long. Nawab Mohammad Bahawal Khan III signed a treaty with the British on 22 February 1833, guaranteeing the independence of the Nawab. The state acceded to Pakistan on 7 October 1947 when Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur decided to join Pakistan fifty days after independence.
The main crops for which Bahawalpur is recognised are cotton, sugarcane, wheat, sunflower seeds, rape/mustard seed and rice. Bahawalpur mangoes, citrus, dates and guavas are some of the fruits exported out of the country. Vegetables include onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes and carrots. Being an expanding industrial city, the government has revolutionised and libertised various markets allowing the caustic soda, cotton ginning and pressing, flour mills, fruit juices, general engineering, iron and steel re-rolling mills, looms, oil mills, poultry feed, sugar, textile spinning, textile weaving, vegetable ghee and cooking oil industries to flourish.
Near the city the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park is being erected, a photovoltaic power station named after Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan. It is the first ever utility scale solar power plant in the country and is to have a capacity of 1,000 MW when finished in 2016. A first phase was brought online in April 2015 and opened by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
Deobandi Islamism got established in the Bahawalpur area during colonial times in an effort to counter the strong Sufi influence in the area. After the Partition, a number of Deobandi institutions from Jalandhar and Ludhiana areas relocated to Multan and Bahawalpur in South Punjab. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of Deobandi religoius institutions and considerable recruitment for jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir. There are at least 500–1000 madrassas in Bahawalpur belonging to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith orientations, most of which teach a violent version of Islam to children.
Maulana Masood Azhar, born in Bahawalpur in 1968, went to study at a religious seminary in Karachi and became a militant of Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA, also called Harkat-ul-Mujahideen). Under his influence several militant madrassas got started in Bahawalpur and other areas of South Punjab. Azhar went to fight jihad in Afghanistan as a militant of HuA, and is said to have become an associate of Osama Bin Laden. After many stints as a militant in several countries and imprisonment in Indian-administered Kashmir, he returned to found Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), considered the deadliest terrorist organisation that fights in Kashmir. He established the headquarters of JeM in Bahawalpur with a 6.5 acre walled complex that serves as a training facility and a madrasa in the centre of the city. The JeM has been designated as a terrorist organisation by various countries as well the United Nations. The United States specially designated Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
- Bahawalpur Museum
- Bahawalpur Zoo
- Derawar Fort
- Noor Mahal
- List of people from Bahawalpur
- List of educational institutions in Bahawalpur
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- Talbot 2015, p. 6.
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- Zahab & Roy, Islamist Networks 2004, p. 29.
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- Zahab & Roy, Islamist Networks 2004, pp. 29-30.
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- Zahab, Mariam Abou; Roy, Olivier (2004) [first published in French in 2002]. Islamist Networks: The Afghan-Pakistan Connection. Translated by King, John. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85065-704-0.