|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
Pakpattan (Urdu: پاکپتن) is the capital city of the Pakpattan District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. 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 Lahore and is very close to Sahiwal (about 45 km).
Punjabi is the most spoken language in the district.
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), Laureate Cadet High 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.
When Punjab fell into the hands of Britishers, due to its historical importance and value, the British given a Pakpattan, a significant value. Pakpattan was made a Distrct Headquarter and only district between Lahore and Multan. Two big and gigantic water canals Khadar Canal and Pakpattan Canal (also called Upper and Lower Pakpattan Canals repectively), were dug and constructed at the left and right sides of the 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 Bahawalpur State and the areas of today Mailsi and Khanewal. 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 Bahawalpur and Lahore to cover the areas between these cities. Nowadays Pakpattan train station is deserted and only one train leaves daily. Once road transportation 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 Arifwala 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 Farid. Pakpattan is also called PAKPATTAN SHARIF because many of Saint Farid's lovers think it is derogatory to call even his city name without respect.
Word Pakpattan is made of two words PAK and PATTAN which means clean dockland (Pattan meaning dockland or place where boats and ships stop).According to Imperial Gazetteer of India,from a very early date it was a place of importance, as the principal ferry across the Sutlej River and the meeting-place of the great western roads from Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan.It is said that in old times once Saint Farid was having ablution at the bank of Sutlej 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 Sutlej, 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 Sutlej River and the meeting-place of the great western roads from Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan. The city was on the way to Multan State and Delhi Sultanate. All warriors were travelling from Multan to Dehli or Dehli to Multan 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 Dehli and Multan 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 Sebüktegin in 977–78 and by Ibrahim Ghaznavi in 1079–80.
According to Firishta, an old writer and historian, in 1079 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 (1173–1265) which was visited by old great traveller and historian Ibn Batuta in 1334. The town was besieged by Shaikha; the Khokhar, in 1394, and in 1398 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 Delhi 1401 and 1405. The shrine of Baba Farid attracts crowds of followers, its sanctity being acknowledged as far as Afghanistan and Central Asia. The urs (death anniversary) of Saint Baba 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.
During British rule Pakpattan Town was headquarters of the tehsil of the same name in Montgomery District, 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:
|“||Pakpattan is a town of some commercial importance, importing wheat, cotton, oilseeds, and pulses from the surrounding villages, gur and refined sugar from Amritsar, Jullundur, and the United Provinces, piece-goods from Amritsar, Delhi, and Karachi, and fruits from Afghanistan. The exports consist principally of cotton, wheat, and oilseeds. The town has a local manufacture of silk lungis and lacquer-work. It contains a vernacular middle school and a dispensary. From 1849 to 1852 it was the head-quarters of the District.||”|
Nowadays Pakpattan is one of the non-industrial areas 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 houses 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 Carriages in the country. Now only few Tanga carriages 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 hundred 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 Lahore accent but has some Saraiki impression as well. People are courteous and hospitable. A small Christian community also lives here and a small Protestant Church is as well there. Most of the Christian community is employed in sanitory department of local Municipal Committee.
Pakpattan proved barren in the field of politics. It could not give birth to any significant national political leader except some turncoats.Some local politicians are Ghulam Muhammed Maneka,CH.Javed Ahmad Advocate,Dr.Farrukh Javaid, Ghulam Farid Chisti and Manzoor Wattoo,Mansab Dogar.Pakpattan remained under the heavy influence of the local Gadi/Sajada Nasheen Of Shrine Baba Fareed, for centuries. These Gadi/Sajada Nasheen's were mostly bogeymen and worked as agents of the rulers from Mughals to Britishers. But all of these rulers, kings and government executives had respect for the Saint Fareed. Many of them visited the shrine, and given charity and lands for shrine. King Balban and Mughal King Akbar along with his son came themselves. Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh had much respect for the Saint Fareed and always was sending money and gifts for shrine and its caretakers. Mian Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhuto, then Prime ministers of Pakistan, Musharaf also visited the shrine.
Pakpattan is also home of milk and Butter (Desi Ghee). Neeli Bar cows are famous all over the world for milk production. Sweets made of desi ghee are the speciality of this city. Pukoorian, a dish (made of corn flour), is widely liked in the area and is famous all over the country for its great and novel taste. There is no any fine resturant or eatery place in the city area except a some average resturant cum hotels such as Mehran Hotel, and Farhan restaurant.
Because of district headquarters, all major government offices located there such as District & Sessions Judge courts and its offices, District Co-ordination Officer and its offices, District Police Officer and its Offices, District Nazim, High ways Deptt.,District Health Officer,District Education Officer and branches of major banks such as Habib Bank, UBL, National Bank of Pakistan, Bank Alfalah as well.
Pakpattan has a very reputable bar in the country. It has given the birth to many famous lawyers. There is a grand Bar room and law library, adjacent to lawyers offices.Around 400 lawyers including some ladies are members of the District Bar Association,Pakpattan.
There are many business marktes and bazars such as Shaheedi Bazar, Sahiwal Road, Dargah Bazar, Mandi Bazar etc. Shaheedi Bazar is one of the busiest business centre where clothes, jewellery and shoes shops are in abundace.
In Pakpattan and surrounding areas many urs and mela(s) are celebrated every year such as urs of Baba Farid and mela of Chan pir etc. urs of Baba farid attracts more than 500,000 people every year, so is the case with mela Chan pir which is held every year in the beginning of summer in the outskirt of Pakpattan, at Chan pir (a place).
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 Ganjshakar died on 5th of Muharram 664 A.H. corresponding to 17 October 1265 C.E. He was buried in Pakpattan (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 Pakistan 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 local NGO Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar Educational And welfare trust, Pakpattan.