Okara District

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Okara District
ضِلع اوكاڑا
District
Location of Okara in Punjab.
Location of Okara in Punjab.
Coordinates: 30°48′05″N 73°26′54″E / 30.801380°N 73.448334°E / 30.801380; 73.448334Coordinates: 30°48′05″N 73°26′54″E / 30.801380°N 73.448334°E / 30.801380; 73.448334
Country Pakistan
Province Punjab
Headquarters Lahore
Government
 • D.C.O Socrat Aman Rana
Area[1]
 • Total 4,377 km2 (1,690 sq mi)
Population (1998)
 • Total 2,232,992
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Number of Tehsils 3
Number of Union councils 10

Okara District (Punjabi, Urdu: ضِلع اوكاڑا‎), is a district of Sahiwal Division in Punjab, Pakistan. It became a separate district in 1982, prior to that it was part of Sahiwal District.[1]:1 The Multan Road connects the district capital, Okara with Lahore 110 km away and Faisalabad is 100 km by passing away Ravi River. According to the 1998 census, the district had a population of 2,232,992 of which 12.84% were urban.[2] The postal code of Okara is 56300.[3]

Geography[edit]

Okara District shares boundary on the South Bahawalnagar,on the South-West by Pakpattan, on the west by Sahiwal, on the north by the districts of Faisalabad and Nankana Sahib, on the Near-East & Far-North by Kasur, on the South-East by Fazilka (India). Okara District lies on Radcliffe line/Indo-Pakistani border, therefore its geographic importantance for defence is high. Okara Cantonment is a beautiful Cantt of Pakistan.

History[edit]

Okara region was agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture that invaded from Central Asia and settled in Punjab region. The Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Madras, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas, Saindhavas and Kurus invaded, settled and ruled ancient Punjab region. After overrunning the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BCE, Alexander marched into present-day Punjab region with an army of 50,000. The Okara was ruled by Maurya Empire, Indo-Greek kingdom, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, White Huns, Kushano-Hephthalites and Shahi kingdoms.

In 997 CE, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, took over the Ghaznavid dynasty empire established by his father, Sultan Sebuktegin, In 1005 he conquered the Shahis in Kabul in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of northern Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikh Empire invaded and occupied Sahiwal. The Muslims faced restrictions during the Sikh rule. During the period of British rule there was a forest of Okaan where the city has been built. The city is a relatively new agricultural city. The word "Okara" for this district was actually originated from word "Okan" (a lush green tree with needle like leaves). The tree Okan gave birth to word Okanwali (Land of Okan)which ultimately finalized into Okara.[4] During British rule the area was part of Montgomery District and contained a large saltpeter refinery.[5] At independence in 1947, one of the two textile mills that Pakistan got was in Okara. The mill was known as Sutlej textile mill and it was Asia's biggest textile mill at that time but at present it is closed down. In 1982 the city became the headquarters of the newly created Okara District. Okara has had a railway line since 1892.[6]

Okara District was previously part of Montgomery District which included: Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Okara, districts, of Punjab. The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Okara district. Babu Rajab Ali the great Kavishari (a genre of Punjabi traditional poem) writer also belonged to this district.

Agriculture[edit]

Okara District is famous for its fertile lands, peaceful natural environment and green fields of Potato, tomato, sugarcane, wheat, rice and maize crops. Oranges and Mangoes orchards are famous. The area of district Okara is the gold mine for history seekers, spiritual and curious travellers. One can find archaeological remains of different dynasties of prehistory, Indus Valley Civilisation, Persians, Ghaznavids, Sultanates, the Mugal Empire, the Sikh Confederacy and the British Raj.

There is a central ridge, in the centre of Okara District, which marks the old river bed of the Beas, and the boundary b/w the eastern and western half of the district. The ridge descends from Kasur, all the way to Chunian, and then Shergarh in Okara. As you go west of the ridge, into Okara & Renala Khurd, the subsoil water is brackish, therefore the area is dependent on canals for irrigation. However, after you cross the ridge east into Depalpur Tehsil, the subsoil water is sweet and good for agriculture.

Okara District is also famous for the lemon, guava & grapefruit orchards, belonging to the food processing company, Mitchell's Fruit Farms Limited. The orchard runs for about 6 miles, along the LBDC, from Renala Khurd all theI way up to the Okara bypass.

Language[edit]

The predominant first language[7] according to the 1998 census was Punjabi, spoken by 96% of the population, while Urdu accounted for 3.5%.[1]:37 The national language Urdu and official language English is taught in all schools. The varieties spoken are standard Punjabi (Majhi) and Jhangvi (Rachnavi) dialects but the other major language is Haryanvi and Ranghari.[citation needed]

Livestock[edit]

Okara is also famous for its cattle breed known as Sahiwal and a Water buffalo breed known as Niliravi. It is very rich in livestock population and production. The Livestock Production Research Institute (LPRI) Bahadar Nagar Farm is a very large Government farm near Okara city (18.5 km on Faislabad road from DepalPur Chowk Okara). The farm has large number of cows, buffalos, bulls (for reproduction), goats and sheep.

Infrastructure[edit]

Okara have all the basic physical and organizational structures, services and facilities needed and necessary in a city. There are two stadiums of Okara district, in which one of them includes Football ground, Basketball court and Swimming pool for Sports. A new international hockey stadium is being constructed in Renala khurd Tehsil of Okara, which would be completed by 2013. This stadium will develop a strong infrastructure for hockey in the country.

There are also many small and considerable big parks for general public. The three main recreational parks are Ladies Park, Bagh-e-Jinnah and District Park.

Educational institutes include Education University, Cadet College, Government College for Boy, two Government Colleges for Women. There are also many privately owned colleges and schools, which are nationally recognised, well built, big and their standard of education is also high as compared nationally. The District Public School and College, Okara (DPSC Okara) is a well known institute in the City, province and also the Country. These institutes include Modern science and computer labs, libraries, playgrounds and canteens.

There are various numerous public & private hospitals and clinics providing the health services. The popular and well equipped hospitals are District Government hospital, surgical hospital and C.M.H Okara Cantt. There is also a Social welfare health society which is being operated under the Government of Punjab. Every hospital has more than two ambulances. Located in the village of Rehmpur the Rosary Christian Hospital also provides medical services to Okara and surrounding areas.[8]

The 1122 Rescue Government organization is also offering their services in Okara city. There is also a separated Fire station, located in the centre of city, which have several old and also latest fire engines for safety services.

Okara also have a vast Railway station, which contain several platforms, where almost every train going from Islamabad to Karachi makes stop. There are two railway underpasses and one flyover which helps in smooth flow of traffic.

On 31 May 2005, the Ex-President General Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the Okara Bypass (30.786887° 73.459238°), length of 12.7 km, on GT road (N-5). This project was commenced on 5 September 2003, due to the great demand of the people of the area. It was completed at the cost of 62.817 Crore Rupees. This interchange proved very helpful in the smooth flow of national highway traffic, particularly between Lahore and Multan and to reduce the national traffic in the city. This bypass connects the Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar national highway which is the economic lifeline of Pakistan.

Surroundings[edit]

Nearby cities are Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Depalpur, Basirpur, Renala Khurd and Haveli Lakha. There is a Famous Shrine of SUFI of Hazrat Sayed Shabeer Husain Shah Ghilani Situated in village "47/2-L (RAJPUTAN)at the tarivling of only 10 Minutes on depalpur road OKARA.. About a distance of 25 km from Depalpur, on Haveli Lakha-Hujra Shah Muqeem road, there is a famous shrine of sufi "Baba Wali Roshan Shah" situated in village "Bunga Saleha". Every year on 27th of Harr(Desi Month), Mela is celebrated with great joyous. Another well known shrine near Depalpur is that of Hazrat Syed Daud Bandagi Kirmani, located in the town of Shergarh, which is about 12 miles from Depalpur and 7 miles from Hujra Shah Muqeem. His urs is held in the middle of March, and is attended by thousands from all over Punjab and beyond. In the west of Okara city, the Ravi goes winding along the borders of Faisalabad and Sheikhupura districts.

The Main Towns of the district are:

And some minor towns of the district are:

Administration[edit]

Map of the district's constituent units (national assembly)

The following is a table of the Tehsils & Union Councils of Okara District:

Tehsil Unions Total Unions
Depalpur 1/SP WESAWEWALA, AMLI MOTI, AWAN KALAN, BARICT (CHAK BAWA), BASIRPUR-1, BASIRPUR-2, BEHLOL PUR, BHELA GULAB SINGH, BHOMAN SHAH, BHONE MANZaBTA, BHUTA MOHABBAT, BONGA SALEH, CHIPLI PUR, DEPALPUR-1, DEPALPUR-2, DEPALPUR-3, DHULLIANA, FARID PUR SOHAG, GUDDAR MULKANA, HAVELI LAKHA-1, HAVELI LAKHA-2, HAVELI LAKHA-3, HUJRA SHAH MUQEEM-1, HUJRA SHAH MUQEEM-2, HUJRA SHAH MUQEEM-3, JAITH PUR, JHUJH KALAN, KANI PUR, KLAIR KALAN, MAHANT DARSHAN, MANCHARIAN, MANDI AHMADABAD, MAROOF, MAZHAR ABAD, MEHAR SHAH KHAGA, MOHIB ALI UTAR, MUHAMMAD NAGAR, MUSTAFABAD., NAHAL MAHAR, NAMA JINDEKA, PANDAT MANFOOL PUR, PHULLAN TOLI, PIPLI PAHAR, QADIR ABAD, QILA JAVAND SINGH, QILA TARA SINGH, RAJOWAL, RATTA KHANNA, REHMAT WALA, ROHILA TAJEYKA, RUKAN PURA, SHAH NAWAZ KHAN, SHAH YAKKA, SHERGARH, SOBHA RAM 55
Okara AKBAR, BIBI PUR, BURJ JEWAY KHAN, CHAK 2/4L, CHAK 12/GD, CHAK 15/1R, CHAK 17/GD, CHAK 18/GD, CHAK 24/GD, CHAK 27/4L, CHAK 32/2L, CHAK 32/2R, CHAK 34/GD, CHAK 36-A/4L, CHAK 4/4L, CHAK 40/3R, CHAK 40-A/4L, CHAK 42/3R, CHAK 44/2L, CHAK 45/GD(RETRI), CHAK 48/3R, CHAK 52/2R, CHAK 53/2L, FATEH PUR, GOGERA-1, JABOKA, JANDRAKA, KOHLA, LASHARI, OKARA-1, OKARA-10, OKARA-11, OKARA-2, OKARA-3, OKARA-4, OKARA-5, OKARA-6, OKARA-7, OKARA-8, OKARA-9, SATGHARA, SHEIKHU SHARIF, TARIQ ABAD 41, 19/1R REHANO WALA
Renala Khurd Chak 8/1.R{Azhar bhatti (Pak Air Force)}, Chak 13/1.R, Chak 7/1-AL(of mahalmis) CHAK 10/1.AL, KOT GUJJARAN o KAMYANA

AKHTARABAD, BAZEEDA, CHAK 11/1L,Chak 12/1-L, CHAK 13/1-L, CHAK 14/1-L, CHAK 18/1L, CHAK 22/1AL, CHAK 23/2L, CHAK 33/1AL, CHAK 4/1AL, CHAK 4/GD, CHAK 5/1RA,CHAK NO 4/1RA, CHAK 6/1L,CHAK 4/1.L, CHAK 7/1R, KAMAN, MOPALKEY, RENALA-1, RENALA-2 || 18

The district is represented in the Provincial Assembly, by 9 elected MPAs, who represent the following constituencies:

Constituency Member Party
PP-186 Javed Allaudin Sajid PML(N)
PP-187 Syed Raza Ali Gillani PML (N)
PP-188 Ch. Iftikhar Hussain Chachar PML(N)
PP-189 Ch. Masood Shafqat Rabera PTI
PP-190 Mian Muhammad Munir PML(N)
PP-191 Mian Yawar Zaman PML (N)
PP-192 Malik Ali Abbas Khokhar PML (N)
PP-193 Mian Khurram Jehangir Wattoo PPP
Total 9

The district is also represented in the National Assembly, by 5 elected members who represent the following constituencies:

Constituency Member Party
NA-143 Ch. Nadeem Abbas Rabera PML(N)
NA-144 Riaz ul Haq PML(N)
NA-145 Syed Muhammad Ashiq Hussain Shah PML(N)
NA-146 Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan PML(N)
NA-147 Muhammad Moeen Wattoo PML(N)
Total 5

Culture[edit]

It is also known for the wide variety of culture reflecting the traditions and customs of the area. Melas (fairs) in the month of 'Saawan' are notable among these traditions where different types of games are played on the drum-beat and shops of sweets and toys etc. are decorated. The population mostly relies on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, although a number of people work in factories and offices as well. Dairy and fruit products are the identical mark of the area.

Demography[edit]

There are many tribes aand clans settled in the Okara District. The majority of the population of Okara are Punjabi speaking Muslims. The main tribes and clans include: Jats, Rajputs, Shaikhs, Lodhis, Kharals, Kamyanas, Wattus, Kambohs, Khanzadas, Noons Arains and the Chaudhary are prominent. However, the Jat population is less compared to other communities.

There are many Syed clans settled in the district, who have been in the area for a long time, and have a great impact & history in the district. The main Syed families are the Kirmanis of Shergarh, the Gilanis of Hujra Shah Muqeem, Satghara, Shaikhu and Depalpur, & the Mashdis of Mustafabad. All these towns are in Depalpur Tehsil except Satghara Sharif and Shaikhu Sharif, these are in Okara Tehsil. Their ancestors were Sufis, all of whom migrated from Iran, and converted many tribes of the area to Islam. They are revered as saints by the people of the region, and thousands attend the respective shrines daily. The ancestor of the Saadat of Shergarh, Hazrat Daud Bandagi, a renowned follower of the Qadiri Order is revered by millions all around Punjab, and his urs is attended by many in March.

The ancestor of Sadaat Gilani of Depalpur and Satghara, is Muhammad Ghaus Bala Peer, a renowned Shaikh Ghousiyah Qadiriyyah Order is revered by unaccountable people throughout Pakistan and India. The town of Balakot in Azad Kashmir is named after him. His Urs is on first Naochandi Thursday of every lunar month, it is a miracle of the time. His shrine is near Satghara, about 8 km and 10 to 15 minutes journey on own car or motor bike.

There are some Mughal families living in Okara District who migrate here from India during 1947. Mughals are mostly involved in Manufacturing Industry.

The Raos, are a Rajputs tribe, after independence of Pakistan, the East Punjab/Haryana Rao families have settled down mainly in the districts of Okara, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Bhakkar, Bahawalnagar, Rahim yar Khan District (specially in Khanpur tehsil), Layyah, Vehari, Sahiwal and Multan of Punjab. They speak a Haryanvi dialect which is often called Ranghari. In districts of Okara, Pakpattan and Bahawalnagar which have the densest concentrations of Rao, they consist to be brave, with many serving in the army, police and Civil Services. They maintain an overarching tribal council (panchayat), which deals with a number of issues, such as punishments for petty crime or co-operation over village projects.

Most Raos are now bilingual, speaking Punjabi and Sindhi, as well as still speaking Ranghari/Haryanvi. A large number of Rao are also found in the capital city of Islamabad, where they speak Urdu with Ranghari accent.

Okara is home to a lot of politicians, doctors, lawyers, army officers and landlords including Quaid-e-Tamir-e-Shehar / Fakhar-e-Okara Rao Sikandar Iqbal 25th Defence Minister of Pakistan, Rao Muhammad Afzal Khan, 19th Chief of Air Staff (Pakistan) Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman and Shabbir Ahmad Rao (Late), Dr. Rao Ali Bahadur Khan (Late) {Okara's First Doctor}. Kanvar saeed advocate{late}.RaoAbdul mujeeb khan advocate

The Sial is a Rajput tribe present in the Area of tehsil Okara. Renala Khurd and Depalpur but in lesser amount.

The Gujjar Is an agricultural and livestock caste of Okara district. They are settled all over the district. They are hardworking, honest, and dedicated people. Most of the Gujjar in this area migrated from India, Punjab. Rizwan Farooque Gujjar (ACMA, CSCP) is most famous Supply Chain Professional of Gujjar's. They reside in various villages and in Okara city. On the Lahore-Multan Rd. Famous village of Gujjar's Kot Gujjaran, Akhter Abad, 11/1.AL, 12/1.AL.

The Kamboh Is an agricultural caste of Okara district. They are settled all over the district. They are hardworking, honest, and dedicated people. Most of the Kamboh in this area migrated from East Punjab. Mian Ghulam Murtaza Kamboh is most famous poet of kamboh's.

The Baloch have a long history in the area. Their 15th century folk sardar, Mir Chakar Rind, migrated from Sibi, with a large number of his people to this area and settled in Satghara which was awarded to him as a jagir by Moghul Emperor Humayun . Many Baloch can still be found in the District, especialyly near the Ravi, but also have many villages around Shergarh . They are mainly of Lashari and Rind stock. They are the only people of the region who did not revert to agriculture prior to the development of the irrigation system in the region. They still practice the ancient tradition of rearing cattle along the courses of the rivers as their main source of livelihood.

The Wattu are a Muslim Rajput and Jatt tribe who reside mostly in the eastern part of Okara District, namely Depalpur Tehsil.Some of them also reside in Okara Tehsil in villages like 45/GD. They can be found along the Sutlej, & have many villages around towns such as Basir Pur, Haveli Lakha, Hujra Shah Muqeem & Mandi Ahmedabad all the way up to Pakpattan District. Their sub-clans include the Kueka, Ladhuka, Maneka, etc. They claim that their pastoral ancestors were converted to Islam, by Baba Farid of Pakpattan

The Joiya, are also a Muslim Rajput tribe of Chandravanshi origin. They too, like the Wattoos live in areas around the Sutlej and can also be found on the other side, in Bahawalnagar District. They are native to Depalpur Tehsil, & can be found around towns such as Hujra Shah Muqeem, Shergarh, Haveli Lakha, Basir Pur etc. They too, like many native clans of the region, had ancestors that were mainly pastoral, but reverted to agriculture after the development of the irrigation system.

  • Jakhar

The Jakhar (Jaanwer) are settled in the district They reside in 8 villages and in Okara city. On the Okara-Faisalabad Rd., the Jakhar Chowk is famous.

The Ranghars are a Rajput community of considerable influence in the district. Their ancestors were allotted plots of land all over the district, after the partition of Sub-Continent. They were the prime choice of the British for recruitment in the British Army, as they were skilled warriors, and were later awarded the title of Martial Race. Their ancestors migrated from Haryana, Rajputana and East Punjab. They spoke Haryanvi also called Ranghari. Prior to partition, they started adopting titles such as Rao (surname), Rana etc. Today, they wield significant power in the running of the district's affairs, and have gained substantial landed property through the decades.

The Dugar are settled in the district, mainly settled in Depalpur Tehsil. They migrated from Ferozpur and Gurdaspur districts.

The Arain are primarily an agricultural caste of Okara district. They are settled all over the district. They are hardworking, honest, and dedicated people. Most of the Arain in this area migrated from East Punjab, from districts like Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur etc. They were also rewarded plots of land by the British, upon the development of irrigation in the area.

The Kharal are a tribe of both Rajput & Jatt origin. They are Political People. Rae Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal, a Kharal from Gogera is famous for rebelling against the British, in 1857. The Kharals are native to the region around the Ravi River, majority live around towns like Baman Bala, Chuchak, Gogera, Satghara, Jaboka etc., and can also be found on the other side of the river, in Sheikhupura, Faisalabad & Toba Tek Singh districts. Their ancestors were converted mainly by Baba Farid of Pakpattan, and Daud Bandagi Kirmani of Shergarh. Their subclans include the Rabera's,Randera's ,Gogera's Jurrera's, Masrera's, Lakhwera's, Sangoka's, Beguka's etc. They were the most powerful and influential pastoral clan of their time. However, due to the mass migration of immigrants from East Punjab, and the development of the canal colonies by the British, their power declined and they became absorbed in the agrarian society. The ones of [Jatt] Origin Use Rai And Chauhdary As There Royal Title.

Chandor or Chandol (a subcast of Arain) are a clan of Muslim Rajput. They are migrated from Harayana and are settled in tehsil Dipalpur in city and subarab area named 'Bahni chandor', also in Shergarh and Haveli lakhan area. The shrine of their elder,Baba Mahal Peer, is in Basir pur.

There are many Pathan settled in the district, who have been in the area for a long time, and have a great impact & history in the district. The main personality of this family is Brig Abdul Ahad Khan S.I.(M) belongs to Okara city by proud for his services for the country.

  • Kamyana

Kamyana is a prominent caste in district Okara. Mainly situated in Kamman, Islam pur, 4-GD, 4/1-AL Khurd, Renala and Okara city. Prominent Kamyana figures from Okara include Prof. M Mansha and Dr Naeem Mansha.

Shrines[edit]

The honour of the city, shrine of Hazarat Sufi Manzoor Ahmad Sabri is situated in Mohalla Ghaziabad in Okara which is serving the humanity by showing real picture of spending life.A project of charity work, free maternity home serving poor women there at Dargha shraif. new project of free education free food and library is under consideration.

Moreover, the shrines of Syed Shabbir Ali Shah and Baba Karmanwalli Sarkar have also gained popularity among the people.

Notable People[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 1998 District Census report of Okara. Census publication. 127. Islamabad: Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan. 2000. 
  2. ^ Urban Resource Centre (1998 Census figures) Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Pakistan Post
  4. ^ Dawn Newspaper
  5. ^ Punjab - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 20, p. 312.
  6. ^ Dawn Newspaper
  7. ^ "Mother tongue": defined as the language of communication between parents and children.
  8. ^ [Interconnections, Bordeaux International Communications Service, March 2009]