Okara District

Coordinates: 30°48′05″N 73°26′54″E / 30.801380°N 73.448334°E / 30.801380; 73.448334
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Okara District
ضلع اوكاڑہ
Top: Satghara
Center: Ghausia Masjid, Okara
Bottom: Shaikhu Sharif, Okara
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; 73.448334
Country Pakistan
Province Punjab
DivisionSahiwal
HeadquartersOkara
Government
 • TypeDistrict Administration
 • Deputy CommissionerDoctor Zeeshan Hanif[1]
 • District Police OfficerN/A
 • District Health OfficerN/A
Area
 • Total4,377 km2 (1,690 sq mi)
Population
 (2017)[2]
 • Total3,040,826
 • Density690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+5 (PST)
TehsilsDepalpur
Okara
Renala Khurd
Number of Union councils10
Websiteokara.punjab.gov.pk

Okara District (Punjabi and Urdu: ضلع اوكاڑہ), is a district of Punjab, Pakistan. It became a separate district in 1982, prior to that it was part of Sahiwal District.[3] The Multan Road connects the district capital, Okara with Lahore 110 km away and Faisalabad is 100 km by passing away Ravi River.

Geography[edit]

Okara District is bounded on the south by Bahawalnagar district, on the South-West by Pakpattan district, 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 district in Indian Punjab. Okara District lies on Radcliffe line/Indo-Pakistani border, therefore its geographic importance for defence is high. Okara Cantonment has a significant position in Pakistan.

History[edit]

Okara region was an agricultural region with forests during the Indus Valley civilization.the old name of Okara city was (okan-wala اوکا والا) The Vedic period is characterized by Indo-Aryan culture that invaded from Central Asia and settled in the 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 the Turk and Hindu Shahi kingdoms.[3]

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, and followed it by the conquests of northern Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire ruled this region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of the 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 Okan Tree gave birth to word Okanwali (Land of Okan) which ultimately finalized into Okara.[4][5] During British rule the area was part of Montgomery District and contained a large saltpeter refinery.[6] 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.[3]

Okara District was previously part of Montgomery District which included: Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Okara districts of Punjab. The predominantly Muslim population supported the Muslim League and the 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.

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. Orange and mango orchards are common.[4] The area of district Okara is the gold mine for history seekers, spiritual and curious travelers. 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.[4][3]

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.

Other produce grown locally includes the outputs of lemon, guava and grapefruit orchards, belonging to the food processing company, Mitchell's Fruit Farms Limited. The orchard runs for about 6 miles, along with the LBDC, from Renala Khurd all the way up to the Okara bypass.[3]

Okara is famous for world-class potato production. Okara ranks on the top in potatoes cultivation along Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Khanewal, Vehari and Multan contribute more than 60% of the potatoes produced in Pakistan.[7][8]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1951 730,472—    
1961 827,528+1.26%
1972 1,123,812+2.82%
1981 1,487,261+3.16%
1998 2,232,992+2.42%
2017 3,040,826+1.64%
2023 3,515,490+2.45%
Sources:[9]
Religion in Okara district (2017)[2]
Religion Percent
Islam
98.53%
Christianity
1.44%
Other or not stated
0.03%

At the time of the 2017 census, Okara district had 487,576 households and a population of 3,040,826. Okara had a sex ratio of 943 females per 1000 males and a literacy rate of 58.28% - 66.72% for males and 49.32% for females. 842,564 (27.71%) lived in urban areas. 830,621 (27.32%) were under 10 years of age.[2] In 2023, the district had 550,057 households and a population of 3,515,490.[10]

Religion in Okara District[a][b]
Religion Population (1941)[11]: 42  Percentage (1941) Population (2017) Percentage (2017)
Islam 414,437 73.02% 2,995,995 98.53%
Hinduism [c] 78,751 13.87% 214 0%
Sikhism 65,749 11.58%
Christianity 8,602 1.52% 43,636 1.44%
Ahmadi 956 0.03%
Others [d] 60 0.01% 25 0%
Total Population 567,599 100% 3,040,826 100%

Languages of Okara district (2017)[2]

  Punjabi (96.10%)
  Urdu (2.65%)
  Others (1.25%)

At the time of the 2017 census, 96.10% of the population spoke Punjabi and 2.65% Urdu as their first language.[2] The main Punjabi dialects of the district are Jhangvi (or Rachnavi), and the standard Majhi dialect.

There are many tribes and clans settled in the Okara District. The majority of the population of Okara are Punjabi speaking Muslims. The main tribes and clans include: Syed, Malik, Jhujh, Basti Peeran Wali Depalpur Shekikhu Sharif, Channar, Wattus, Mungun, Jhakhar, Klaason, Dhall Jutt, Raajpoots, Shaikhs, Lodhis, Kharals, Kamyanas, Kumbohs, Khanzadas, Noons, Arains, Chaudhary and Baloch are prominent. However, the Jat population is less compared to other communities.[12]

Livestock[edit]

Okara is also known 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 Faisalabad road from DepalPur Chowk Okara). The farm has a large number of cows, buffalos, bulls (for reproduction), goats and sheep. Okara is a major milk producing city of Pakistan. There is also a large military dairy farm in Okara district originally set up in 1913.[13] After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the 'battai system' (sharing-partners in crop yields) continued in all military-owned farms in Pakistan, with the farmers taking their respective shares in the crop yields.[14][13]

Infrastructure[edit]

There are two modern Cricket Stadiums (Okara Gymkhana Cricket Ground and Jinnah Cricket Stadium). Okara Gymkhana Cricket ground is a First Class Cricket venue of Pakistan Cricket Board. Football, Hockey, Basketball Court, Badminton Arena are also constructed in the heart of City. A new international hockey stadium is being constructed in Renala Khurd Tehsil of Okara, which would be completed by 2013.

There are also many small and considerable big parks for the 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 various numerous public & private hospitals and clinics providing the health services. Hospitals include the District Government hospital, surgical hospital and C.M.H Okara Cantt. There is also a Social welfare health society which is being operated by the Government of Punjab. Every hospital has more than two ambulances. Located in the village of Rehampur the Rosary Christian Hospital also provides medical services to Okara and surrounding areas.

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 the city, which has several old and also latest fire engines for safety services.

Okara also has a Railway station, which contains several platforms, where almost every train going from Islamabad to Karachi makes a stop. There are two railway underpasses and two flyovers 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°), the 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.[3]

Surroundings[edit]

Nearby cities are Hvaili Lakha, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Depalpur, Mundi Ahmad Abaad, Basirpur and Renaala Khurd. There is a famous shrine of Sufi Sayed Shubbeer Husain Shaah Gilaani situated in the village "47/2-L (Raajpootaan) near Depalpur road, Okara. There is a famous shrine of Soofi Baaba Wlee Roshun Shaah situated in the village of Bonga Saaleh. Every year on 27th of Harr (Desi month), Maila(Fair) is celebrated. Another well-known shrine near Depalpur is that of Daud Bundgi Kirmaani, located in the town of Shair Gurh. His ours is held in the middle of March, and is attended by thousands from all over Punjaab and beyond. In the west of Okara city, the Ravi river goes winding along the borders of Faisalabad District and Sheikhupura District.

The main towns of the district are:

And some minor towns of the district are:

Administration division[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 Thatta Ghulamka CHAK NO 25/2R SANGO-KA (CH BASHIR AHMAD SANGO-KA PAK ARMY), AKBAR, BIBI PUR, BURJ JEWAY KHAN, CHAK 2/4L, CHAK 12/GD, CHAK 14/GD, CHAK 15/1R, CHAK 16/GD, CHAK 17/GD, CHAK 18/GD, CHAK 24/GD, CHAK 27/4L, CHAK 32/2L, CHAK 32/2R, CHAK 38/2R, CHAK 34/GD, CHAK 36-A/4L, CHAK 4/4L, CHAK 40/3R, CHAK 40-A/4L, CHAK 42/3R, CHAK 44/2L, CHAK 43/GD, CHAK 45/GD(RETRI), CHAK 48/3R, CHAK 52/2R, CHAK 53/2L, FATEH PUR, GOGERA-1, JABOKA, JANDRAKA, KOHLA, LASHARI, OKARA-1, E-BLOCK, Masibat Pura, 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 13/1.R,( Imtiaz Ahmad Bhatti PA Vice Principal Academic, Aitchison College Lahore)

Chak 7/1-AL(of mahalmis) CHAK 10/1.AL, KOT GUJJARAN o KAMYANA Chak No 8/1R

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 also represented in the National Assembly, by 4 elected members who represent the following constituencies:

Constituency Member Party
NA-141 Ch. Nadeem Abbas Rabbera PML(N)
NA-142 Riaz ul Haq PML(N)
NA-143 Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan PML(N)
NA-144 Muhammad Moeen Wattoo PML(N)
Total 4

Culture[edit]

Okara 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. The tombs of many great Sufis are also present here and Doll village of Pakistan Thatta Ghulamka.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

Thatta Ghulamka Doll Village of Pakistan in Okara

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 1941 figures are for Okara and Depalpur tehsils of the former Montgomery District, which roughly corresponds to present-day Okara district
  2. ^ Historic district borders may not be an exact match in the present-day due to various bifurcations to district borders — which since created new districts — throughout the historic Punjab Province region during the post-independence era that have taken into account population increases.
  3. ^ 1941 census: Including Ad-Dharmis
  4. ^ Including Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, or not stated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Punjab CM appoints juniors as DCs in 22 districts". Pakistan Observer (newspaper). February 2023. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e "District Wise Results / Tables (Census - 2017)". www.pbscensus.gov.pk. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
  3. ^ a b c d e f History of Okara District on Cantonment Board Okara website Government of Pakistan website, Retrieved 12 April 2021
  4. ^ a b c Okara on Punjab Portal, Punjab Government website Retrieved 11 April 2021
  5. ^ Aslam Piracha (22 February 2018). "Visiting Okara District Complex a tough task". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  6. ^ Punjab – Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 20, p. 312.
  7. ^ Mahmood, Amjad (19 April 2021). "The tuber territory of Okara". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  8. ^ "Pakistan eyes China to boost potato industry". The Express Tribune. 29 March 2022. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Population by administrative units 1951-1998" (PDF). Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
  10. ^ "TABLE 1 : HOUSEHOLDS, POPULATION, HOUSEHOLD SIZE AND ANNUAL GROWTH RATE" (PDF). www.pbscensus.gov.pk. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. 2023.
  11. ^ "CENSUS OF INDIA, 1941 VOLUME VI PUNJAB PROVINCE". Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  12. ^ a b "After election debacle, Wattoo resigns as PPP's central Punjab president". Dawn (newspaper). 14 May 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  13. ^ a b Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (1 June 2016). "This Land is Our Land: Peasants in Okara fight for their rights". Newsline (magazine). Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  14. ^ Ikram Junaidi (14 February 2017). "Okara farms dispute nearing 'amicable solution'". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Population Detail of Okara District on Government of Punjab website Retrieved 12 April 2021
  16. ^ Sana Jamal (19 February 2018). "Baba Farid: Where Imran Khan and Bushra Maneka found each other". Gulf News (World Asia) website. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Younis Iqbal". Front Line Defenders. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  18. ^ "ASIA/PAKISTAN - Appointment of the Bishop of Faisalabad". Agenzia Fides website. Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2021.