Multan - Centre Of Sufi Islam In Pakistan

By Sikander Hayat

Multan is my city and my favourite place in the world. It is situated in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. It is located in the southern part of the province. Multan District has a population of over 3.8 million and the city itself is the sixth largest within the boundaries of Pakistan. It is situated on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about 966 km (600 mi) from Karachi. There is a strong desire in the people of Multan to be declared a separate province of Pakistan as it is the heartland of the Saraiki speaking people. The new Multan province will have all of South Punjab included in it with the city of Multan declared the capital of South Punjab. Majority of Punjabi & Urdu speakers in Multan also support the demand for new province as well.
Multan is known as the City of Sufis due to the large number of shrines and Sufi saints from the city. The city is full of bazaars, mosques, shrines and ornate tombs. It is located in a bend created by five rivers of the Punjab province. The Sutlej River separates it from Bahawalpur and the Chenab River from Muzaffar Garh. The city has grown to become an influential political and economical center for the country, with a dry port and excellent transport links. Yousuf Raza Gillani & Shah Memood Qureshi are from Multan as well. Multan is famous for its crops: wheat, cotton and sugar cane as well as mangoes, citrus, guavas and pomegranates.

Multan is a commercial and industrial centre, as it is connected with the rest of the country through rail and air including the other industrial hubs such as Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar. Industries include fertilizer, cosmetics, glass manufacturing, cotton production and processing, large textile units, flour mills, sugar and oil mills and large-scale power generation projects.

Since Multan is agricultural based, there is also plenty of livestock still growing at a positive rate which has lead to milk processing/dairy products units, ice cream manufacturing, animal and poultry feed, dairy farms, cattle/sheep/goat fattening plants, meat/poultry processing units, leather garments manufacturing, leather footwear, cosmetics, tinned goods as well as Pharmaceuticals.

The majority of Multan's residents speak Saraiki, while Punjabi is the second most spoken language. A good portion of the people are conversant in Urdu. English is understood by the educated. The majority of the people are Muslims. Multan has traditionally been a melting pot of several distinct
ethnic groups due to its location at the intersection of all four of Pakistan's main provinces and due to its historical significance as a centre of learning and culture. As a result, Multan today consists of Saraiki, Punjabi, Baloch, Pashtun, Sindhi, and Urdu-speaking Muhajirs who arrived at the time of independence in 1947.

There is a big hustle bustle in the old city and comfort of a five star hotel and fine dining in the new. The old city has a various bazaars selling mystical artifacts, perfumes to arts and crafts. There are also elaborately decorated Shrines of the Sufi saints, tombs of various travellers and important people within the old city of Multan.

The prime attractions of Multan are its mausoleums of Sufi saints. The Mausoleum of Sheikh Baha-ud-Din Zakariya, as well as the Mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam are the prime attractions of the city. Their lofty domes of are visible, from miles and dominate the skyline of Multan. Another popular shrine is the Mausoleum of Shams-ud-Din, commonly known as Shah Shams Tabrez is located about half a mile to the east of the Multan Fort, on the high bank of the old bed of the Ravi River.

Multan is another Pakistani city that loves cricket. The city government inaugurated a new multi-purpose stadium replacing Ibn-e-Qasim Bagh Stadium which was the lone stadium used for football and cricket matches. The inauguration of the new stadium has allowed the city to offer Test day/night
matches as well as other national sports such as hockey, badminton and football. The stadium is home to the Multan Cricket Association. Other sports grounds include Divisional Sports Ground and the Pakistan Cricket Board owned Government College Cricket Ground.

In 1950, then-Governor Abdur Rub Nishtar founded Nishter Medical College. Doctor graduates of this institution have spread across the world, and many have become established names in the field of medicine. Bahauddin Zakariya University formerly known as Multan University and University of the Punjab are the main sources of higher education for this region.

With thanks to wikipedia.


  1. VERY well written. But I have heard that extremism is creeping into Multan. South Punjab is radicalizing at the extreme rate. Sir, Have you got any idea about this matter? Do share. Regards.

  2. Dear Khosa,

    There is a problem in South Punjab and there is no doubt about it but when it is reported in foreign and non South Punjab based press, they exaggerate it quite a lot. A lot of people who fought in Afghan Jihad against the Soviets belonged to South Punjab. These guys are now in their late 40s and early 50s and are running madrassas in their native land. Out of these madrassas may be 5% are problematic but others are normal small Quaranic education institutes teaching their children only the legitimate text. So to answer your question, South Punjab is not a future problematic area in terms of radicalization.
    Multan and South Punjab would prosper further if Multan is declared a separate province.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Kind regards
    Sikander Hayat

  3. Of course it should be a province but sir there are two question arising in my mind regarding this matter: What will be the geography of this new province, what is the problem in making new provinces after all, why rulers are not giving it go? Regards.

  4. 1. The geography will be from Sahiwal District in the north and Sindh- Punjab border in the South. Where as the eastern and western boundaries will stay the same.
    2. There are two reasons for the federal government to not concede on this issue until now. There are financial implications for setting up a new province and also there will be voices from all parts of Pakistan to be given provincial status. Multan's case is strong but not yet so strong that it cannot be ignored for the time being.


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