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Rahim Yar Khan District (Urdu: ضلع رحیم یار خان) is a district in the Punjab province of Pakistan, the city of Rahim Yar Khan is the capital. The district lies between 27.40′ – 29.16′ north latitudes and 60.45′ – 70.01′ east longitudes. The Indus flows on the northern outskirts of the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh. There is no other river, Nallah or lake in this district
Rahim Yar Khan is bounded on the north by Muzaffargarh District, on the east by Bahawalpur District, on the south by Jaisalmer (India) and Ghotki District of Sindh province and on the west by Rajanpur District.
This district is divided into three main physical features i.e. (a) Riverside area. (b) Canal irrigated area and (c) Desert area which is called Cholistan. The Riverside area of the district lies close on the southern side of the Indus river mainly falling in the river bed. The canal irrigated area lies on the South and is separated by main Minchan Bund. The approximate height of the irrigated area is 150 to 200 meters above the sea level. The third part of the area called Cholistan lies in the south of the irrigated tract up to the Indo-Pak border. The surface of the desert consists of a succession of sand dunes rising at places to a height of 150 meters and covered with the vegetation peculiar to sandy tracts.
The climate of the district is hot and dry in the summer and cold and dry in the winter. The summer season is comparatively longer. It starts in April and continues until October. The winter season goes from November to March. However, the month of March and November are pleasant. Dust storms are frequent during the summer season. The average rain fall is about 100 millimetres.
District was 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 Punjab region. The Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Madras, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas and Kurus invaded, settled and ruled ancient Punjab region. After overunning the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BCE,Alexander marched into present-day Punjab region with an army of 50,000. The Rahim Yar Khan was ruled by Maurya Empire, Indo-Greek kingdom, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, White Huns,Kushano-Hephthalites and Shahi kingdoms.
The Rahim Yar Khan(RYK[dead link]) area came under Greek control during Alexander the Great’s Invasion of India, after Alexander victory at Multan, he appointed General Philipos to rule Multan and Uch and advanced himself towards Alor. This part of the country is also said to have been a part of the Buddhist Empire of Ashoka. Authenticated history of the district begins by about 493 CE, when the Raja dynasty of Rai dynasty came to the throne. In the Rai dynasty dominions were vast, extending from Kashmir and Kanauj to Kandhar and Seistan and on the west to Mekran and a part of Debal, while on the south to Surat.
During the reign of Raja Dahir some Arab carrying ships carrying merchandise were attacked and plundered by his subjects. Arabs demanded compensation and on refusal by Raja Dahir, Muhammad Bin Qasim invaded this area in April 712 and conquered the whole territory up to Multan. Dahir was killed in the battle at Pawar. The territory remained under the various governors appointed by the Abbasid and the Umayyads from 712-870. In 871 the powers of Caliphs declined and the province of Sindh slipped from their control. Sindh went under the Balkh dynasty when two principalities, Multan and Mansura (Bahawalpur Division) were founded. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape ofPunjab region. In the 1578 the territory was invaded and conquered by the Ghjori Sultans of Delhi, who were succeeded by the Mughals. The exodus of the Abbasides nobles of Egypt to India had already started in the reign of Muhammad Taughlak Bin Ghiasuddin. Amir Muhammad Mubarik Khan 1, Abbasi who came to the power in 1702, was an able commander and leader. Throughout his reign he had to fight many battles against the Kalhoras. He abdicated in 1723 in favour of his son, Sadiq Mohammad Khan 1, who was killed in battle with Khuda Yar Kalhora. Amir Mohammad Bahawalpur Khan 1, (1746–1949) ascended the throne in 1746. During his short rule, he built the towns of Bahawalpur, Qaimpur, Hasilpur, Tranda Ali Murad Khan, Shabazpur and Mohammadpur Lamman. During his reign three canals namely Khan Wah, Qutab Wah and Wahi Qaider Dina were dug. As a result the agriculture of the state improved considerably and the people became prosperous. In 1776, the Sikhs confederates Jhanda singh, Ganda Singh and Hari Singh invaded the Amir”s trans-sutlej territories but were repulsed. Amir Mohammad Mubarik Khan II Abbasi was an able administrator and a powerful ruler. He took keen interest in building his army. Many of the forts on the border of the state were built during his reign. He kept the Sikhs in check. Many canals on which the prosperity of the district depended were constructed during his time.
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 in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region.
After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikh invaded and occupied Rahim Yar Khan District. The Muslims faced severe restrictions during the Sikh rule. During the period of British rule, Rahim Yar Khan district increased in population and importance.
The first treaty between Bahawalpur and the British government was affected in 1883, which remained in force till the 14th August, 1947 when the state acceded to Pakistan. On the death of Amir Bahawal Khan III, Sadiq Mohammad Khan III, (1852–1853 ) was crowned as Amir. On assuming rule, he confined prince Haji Khan and his brothers and treated them harshly. A large number of the Bahawalpur army was demobilized. All the grants, rights and claims of Daudpotas and other usual expenses were diminished and abolished. These events made the Amir unpopular. On the 29th of Rabi-ul-Sani, 1269 A.H., Fateh Garh Fort was attacked at night. Prince Haji Khan who was kept as prisoner, was freed and brought to Khanpur. Prince Haji Khan, who was kept as a prisoner, was freed and brought to Khanpur. Haji Khan entered Ahmedpur East without any resistance and Sadiq Muhammad Khan III was imprisoned. Prince Rahim Yar Khan succeeded his father, the late Amir Fateh Khan Abbasi, as Muhammmad Bahawal Khan IV (1858–1866). He was poisoned and died on 25 March 1866. On the death of Bahawal Khan IV, Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan IV was crowned when he was four and half years old. He was installed in 1879, when he attained maturity. In the interim period from 1866 to 1879, British officers supervised the state. Amir Muhammad Bahawal Khan V, the next successor was about 16 years old, he ruled the state till 1955 when it was integrated in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
Rahim Yar Khan was created as a separate administration district in 1932 (during the days of the British Raj. The district derives its name from its headquarters – the city of Rahim Yar Khan. The previous name of this district was Naushehra which was built as a castle in 1750 by Fazal Elahi Halani on the ruins of the ancient Pul-Wadda during Sumra rule in Sindh. In 1883,Nawab Sadiq Khan-IV of Bahawalpur renamed it after his son Rahim Yar Khan.
Rahim Yar khan was declared as a separate administration district in In the year 1881, the Railway Authorities desired to change the name of railway station in the name of a town called Nowshera situated in Peshawar district. Consequently in 1881 to avoid any confusion because of similar nomenclature, Nawab Sadiq Khan-IV of Bahawalpur changed the name of the sub-division Naushehra after the name of his first son crown prince Rahim Yar Khan.
The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Rahim Yar Khan District.