MULTAN (Southern Punjab)
Multan, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, is one of the oldest cities in South Asia, the exact age has yet to be determined. It has seen a lot of warfare because of its location on a major invasion route between South Asia and Central Asia. It is famous for its Sufi shrines and has been a center of learning, culture and civilization for centuries.
Multan was ruled by various Hindu and Buddhist empires for over 1000 years. It was the capital of ancient Trigarta Kingdom at the time of Mahabharta and ruled by Katoch Clan Kshatriya Rajputs. It is believed to have been visited by Alexander the Great. The noted Chinese traveller Huen Tsang visited Multan in 641. During the Pre-Islamic period, Multan was known as the city of gold for its large and wealthy temples.
After Muhammad Ghuri‘s victories in India, and his establishment of a capital in Delhi, Multan was made a part of his empire. Under the Mughal Empire, Multan enjoyed over 200 years of peace, and became known as Dar al-Aman (Abode of Peace). The British built some rail routes to the city, but its industrial capacity was never fully 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. Today, it is one of the country’s largest urban centers and remains an important settlement in the Southern Punjab.
South Punjab (Urdu, Saraiki: جنوبی پنجاب) is the southern most region of Pakistan‘s Punjab province. The districts of Bahawalpur, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and D. G. Khan are geographically regarded as components of the region. Unlike other areas of mainland Punjab, where Punjabi-speaking people are the majority, the demographic make-up of southern Punjab has historically been made up of Saraiki people who speak the Saraiki language. This area is often alternatively called Saraikistan or Rohi. Sometimes, the Saraiki-concentrated districts of Bhakkar, Mianwali and D.I. Khan in Punjab are also associated with the regional belt.