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The issue of Saraikistan

The Saraiki ethnic people are an ethnic group with distinct ethnic identities. The Saraiki people are ethnically related to the Mandari and Dravidian ethnic groups. Mandaris and Dravidians are ethnic groups. The Saraikis are considered a distinct ethnic group. The Saraiki nation is considered indigenous. Punjabis are the only group within Pakistan who are called settlers. Punjabis have ethnic ties with Sikhs, in contrast to Saraiki and Sindhi indigenous groups. Saraikis are settled in Cholistan, Thal, Daman, Kech.
According to various books, 40% of Saraikis are settled in Sindh, besides 55% of Saraiki are settled within Punjab. Multan is central city of Saraiki belt and is also known as Resham Dalan Multan. The total population of Saraikis is 72 million. Apart from Pakistan, a large number of Saraikis live in India, Afghanistan, Canada, United Kingdom and Gulf countries. The original motherland of the Saraikis is Multan, which has a central position. In addition, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people are settled in Saraiki, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank.
The history of Saraikistan is thousands of years old. The Sultanate of Multan, which at that time included territories including Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, and is remembered by Arab historians as “Bait al-Zahb” meaning the House of Gold, bears witness to the ancient history of Saraikistan; and it is this empire that has the distinction of being the first civilized empire in human history. This empire was also known as the eighth largest province in the Mughal era and it was said that Delhi would be ruled by the same ruler as Multan. So this shows that the history of Saraikistan is very ancient.
South Punjab has an overall warm climate. The district of Multan is especially known for its heat. However, there are some cool and healthy places such as Fort Munro in Dera Ghazi Khan District which holds a prominent position. Mari in Rajanpur district and the areas of Mianwali district that fall into the Sone Skisar Valley and Kalabagh are considered healthy places. Cholistan and Thal deserts are famous for their hot climate.
The location of Panjnad in South Punjab is of great importance as five rivers meet there. It serves as a reservoir for irrigation as well as a recreational site. Panjnad Barrage gives rise to several major canals that irrigate far-flung areas. The water of these rivers would go ahead and join the Indus River. As a resident of Multan, I say that before this, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government, after coming to power, had established a civil secretariat in Multan to manage South Punjab in a better way and to alleviate the deprivations of the people of this area. It was terminated without giving a reason. Making South Punjab a separate province is included in the manifesto of all the major political parties, but practically no action has been taken on it.
Azhar Naveed says that the people living in the districts of South Punjab have to travel hundreds of kilometers to Lahore to get their work done and in many cases they have to return unsuccessfully. The former ruling party Pakistan People’s Party and then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz during their periods not only claimed to make South Punjab a separate province, but also got a resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly, but apart from verbal submissions, practically no action was taken.
The United Nations has published a detailed report on South Punjab for the first time in 2022, in which eye-opening revelations have been made. Firstly, it has been said that poverty in South Punjab is not much different from Sindh and Balochistan. South Punjab has 2.1 times more poverty than the rest of the province. More than 44 percent people are suffering from poverty in South Punjab than the rest of the province.
Similarly, in the field of health, this area is far behind the rest of the province. Rajanpur, D.G Khan, Muzaffargarh and suburbs have no decent hospitals. The patient’s only hope for survival is Nishtar Hospital, Multan, but that too is overrun with patients and there is a shortage of beds. However, South Punjab has 61% fewer beds than the rest of the province. The patient and bed rate is also 50% higher than other provinces. This means that two patients will be accommodated in one bed.
South Punjab is particularly backward in terms of education. Compared to rest of the province, the education rate here is 16% less which is alarming. Almost two-thirds of women in South Punjab are illiterate, which clearly shows the indifference and lack of interest of the ruling class in education.
All the political parties of Pakistan have started campaigns for the general elections 2024, but no party has yet come up with the slogan of making South Punjab a separate province, which is causing concern among the people of this region.