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Okara District (Punjabi and 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. 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 2017 census, the district has a population of 3,039,139.
Location of Okara in Punjab.
|• D.C||Rana Faisal|
|• Total||4,377 km2 (1,690 sq mi)|
|• Density||690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5 (PST)|
|Number of Union councils||10|
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 importance for defence is high. Okara Cantonment is a Cantt of Pakistan.
Okara region was an 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 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 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 in1005, and followed it by the conquests of northern Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire ruled the 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. During British rule the area was part of Montgomery District and contained a large saltpeter refinery. 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.
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. Babu Rajab Ali the great Kavishari (a genre of Punjabi traditional poem) writer also belonged to this district.
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 common. 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.
Other produce grown locally includes the outputs of lemon, guava & 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.
The predominant first language according to the 1998 census was Punjabi, spoken by 96% of the population, while Urdu accounted for 3.5%.:1 The main Punjabi dialects of the district are Jhangvi (or Rachnavi), and the standard Majhi dialect. Haryanvi (locally known as Ranghari) is also spoken by some Muhajirs.
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 the top milk producing city of Pakistan. The biggest military dairy farm lies in Okara district.
Okara have all the basic physical and organizational structures, services and facilities needed and necessary in a city. Like the whole Pakistan, Cricket is the most famous sports in Okara as well. 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 as it has an all great cricketing facilities along with world class cricket pitches. 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. This stadium will develop a strong infrastructure for hockey in the country.
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 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), Punjab College,IMTS,Superior are well-known institutes in the City, province and also the Country. These institutes include Modern science and computer labs, libraries, playgrounds and canteens. The influx of private institutions in Okara district especially Punjab group of Colleges and superior group of colleges has been prominent over the past two decades.[when?] The previously famous farming district is now becoming more of an educational hub for secondary and higher secondary levels.
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 Rehmpur 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 vast Railway station, which contains 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°), 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.
Nearby cities are Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Depalpur, Mandi Ahmad Abad, Basirpur, [[Renala Khurd]Chak No 10/1.R Bama Bala] and Hvaili Lakha. There is a famous shrine of Sufi Sayed Shubbeer Husain Shah Ghilaani Situated in the village "47/2-L (Raajpootaan)at the travelling Distance of only 10 Minutes on Dipaal Pur road Okara. About a distance of 25 km from Dipaal Pur, on Hvaili Lakha-Houjra Shaah Moqeem road, there is a famous shrine of Sufi Baabaa Wlee Roshun Shaah situated in the village of Bonga Saaleh. Every year on 27th of Harr(Desi Month), Mela is celebrated. Another well-known shrine near Dipaal Pur is that of Daud Bundgee Kirmaani, located in the town of Shairgurh, which is about 12 miles from Dipaal Pur and 7 miles from Houjra Shaah Moqeem. 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 Raavi goes winding along the borders of Faisal Abaad and Shaikhupura districts.Chak No;12/1.R(Balocha Wala) about 15 kilometer away from district. chak NO 13/1R ( Wandran wala ) is about 8 Kilometer away from Tehsil Renala Khurd and imtiaz Ahmad Bhatti is Papular in Chak no 13/1R He worked in Aitchison College, Lahore as PA Vice Principal Academics
The Main Towns of the district are:
- Renaala Khourd
- Hvaili Lakha
- Hujra Shah Moqeem
- Channaran wala 33/4.L
And some minor towns of the district are:
Basti Kaisa (Basti Peeran Wali)
- Somian Bholu
- Mouza Murdani
- Kot Rai Jaffar Hussain
- Tube Well Haider Ali Dhabbi
- Baama Bala
- Baama Zaireen
- Mopaakay Raw-ay Allah Dittah Khizur Mulka waala
- Thuthuh Chaakur Ka Rai moushtaaq Ahmed Wala
- Bseer Pur
- Fteh Pur
- Moza Peer Ali
- Hvaili Lakha
- Kot Gujjraan
- Pull Jaorian
- Mouza Meeruk
- Sukh Pur
- Bhela Gulaab Singh
- Shair Gurh
- Raajo waal
- Khaan Bhadar
- Jhougiaan Raahmoon
- Jhougiaan Mosa
- Kot Haaji Ismail
- Kot Ban wala
- Kot Mian Waryam
- Moza nowl plot
- Bhoutta Muhabat
- Rehem Pur Chak No.6/4-L
- Gushkori Raajpootaan
- Moza Rorree
The following is a table of the Tehsils & Union Councils of Okara District:
|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||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 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:
|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)|
Okara is a basically traditional city.[original research?] 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. The tombs of many great Sufis are also present here.
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's,Malik,Jhujh, Basti Peeran Wali Depalpur Shekikhu Sharif, Channar community in 33/4.L Channaran Wala, Wuttoos,[Mungun Jut] Jhakhar or Jakhar, Juts Klaason Jut, Raajpoots, Shaikhs, Lodhis, Kharals, Kamyanas, Kumbohs, Khaanzaadas, Noons Arains , Chaudhary and Baloch are prominent. However, the Jat population is less compared to other communities.
- Bushra Bibi - First lady of Pakistan
- Syed Samsam Bukhari - Politician
- Aftab Iqbal - Journalist
- Rao Sikandar Iqbal - Politician
- Zafar Iqbal - Poet and Columnist
- Indrias Rehmat, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Faisalabad.
- Ghulam Ali Okarvi - Scholar
- Manzoor Wattoo - Politician, Former CM Punjab
- Saieen Zahoor - Sufi Musician
- Mian Yawar Zaman - Politician
- "DISTRICT WISE CENSUS RESULTS CENSUS 2017" (PDF). pbscensus.gov.pk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2017.
- Dawn Newspaper
- Punjab - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 20, p. 312.
- Dawn Newspaper
- "Mother tongue": defined as the language of communication between parents and children.
- 1998 District Census report of Okara. Census publication. 127. Islamabad: Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan. 2000.
- [Interconnections, Bordeaux International Communications Service, March 2009]
- "First Ladies and Gentlemen of Pakistan", Wikipedia, 24 December 2019, retrieved 25 December 2019
- Agenzia Fides 1 July 2019
- "List of Chief Ministers of Punjab (Pakistan)", Wikipedia, 24 November 2019, retrieved 25 December 2019