Rahim Yar Khan was previously known as Naushera which was built in 1751 A.D. by Fazal EIlahi Khan Halani on the ruins of ancient Phul Wadda during the Sumra Supremacy in Sindh. In the year 1880 when Lahore Karachi Railway Line was built, the railway authorities desired to alter the name of the station in 1881, as Naushera was also the name of a station in Peshawar District. Consequently, Nawab Muhammad Sadiq Khan named it Rahim Yar Khan after his first son Rahim Yar Khan in 1890.
A committee lead by Tehsildar and centrally controlled by Bahawalpur Municipal Committee, was established in 1905, which meant the recognition of the fact that Rahim Yar Khan had grown into a small urban Centre by that time. At that time the District Head Quarter was Khanpur. Thereafter, in the year 1930 Rahim Yar Khan was designated as a District Head Quarter and through an extension development scheme Jadeed Bazar, Sadar Bazar, Qazi Bazar, Sadiq Bazar and School Bazar were developed.
This committee attained the status of a Municipal Committee for which Secretary was appointed in 1933 while the Ex-Officio Chairman of the Municipal Committee used to be the Session Judge of the District. In 1942 Rahim Yar Khan became an industrial town and cotton centre with the advent of several mills and factories all over the town. In the year 1950, Improvement Trust started many new schemes and two more factories that are Abbasia Textile Mills and Sadiq Vegetable and Oil Mills (now Unilever) were established which played a vital role in the urbanization of the city.
In the year 1970 Improvement Trust was merged into the Municipal Committee. Hence more bulk of people from rural areas migrated towards city area which demanded more development and in this regards, new schemes such as Satellite Town, Mohajir Colony, Officer’s Colony, Businessmen Colony, Khawaja Colony etc., were constructed to provide quality residences.
According to the District Census report 1998, the total population of Rahim Yar Khan District was 3,141,053, and now in 2016 it is almost over five millions. Getting status of Tehsil Municipal Administration in 2001, this city is one of the modern district headquarter cities in Punjab.
Rahim Yar Khan is also an industrial centre and many important industries are based in Rahim Yar Khan. This city is known as one of the largest producers of cotton. Agriculture is the occupation of 65% people living in Rahim Yar Khan. Well known Lever Brothers Ltd. (Now called Unilever) has one of its main factories in Rahim Yar Khan, producing Dalda, Planta, Sunflower Oil and other famous brands like Lux-Rexona and Detergents like Surf-Excel etc. Similarly, a very large Ahmad Oriental Textile, Ahmad Fine Textile, Ahmad Oil & Ghee Mills, Poultry feed mills like Hamalia Feeds, Haleeb Foods Limited, Vita Bread Limited, Marble Factories, Ginning Factories, Flour mills provides a strong industrial base. Etihad Sugar Mills is a new addition in the industrial base of Tehsil Rahim Yar Khan. Coca Cola also has one of its factories in Rahim Yar khan. Many fertilizer plants such as Fauji Fertilizer Company, Fatima Fertilizer Company are located near the city. All these are the most important industries playing fundamental role in the economy of the area.
Location and Travel
Although the city seems a far off place to those living in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad, but the city has very good civic facilities. Today Rahim Yar Khan city is the District Headquarter. It is linked by air, rail and road with the other parts of the country. It is situated on the main Railway line and National Highway Linking Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar. Now Daewoo and Faisal Movers also link Rahim Yar Khan to many other cities in Pakistan through air-conditioned bus service.
Flights: Rahim Yar Khan to Karachi (4 to 6 flights per week, 1h 25m duration)
Rahim Yar Khan to Lahore (2 flights per week, 1h 25m duration).
Rahim Yar Khan to Islamabad via Lahore (1 flight per week, 1h 55m duration).
Trains:Shalimar Express, Tezgam, Khyber Mail, Allama Iqbal Express, Awam Express, Fareed Express, and many others.
Bus Service: Daewoo operates buses with a frequency of more than 10 buses per day passing through Rahim Yar Khan at beautiful Chowk Bahadur Bus Station.
The most interesting activity which one can take in Rahim Yar Khan is desert safari. However, no one is operating, but one can explore the desert himself (selfguided). Every year notables from the royal family of United Arab Emirates also come to explore the Cholistan desert. One can go for hunting (after permission) as we have lots of wildlife. Wild cats, the Chinkara deer, a variety of pigs, jackals, foxes, badgers, porcupines, squirrels, gerbils, wild rats, mongeese, poisonous snakes, hog deer, blue bulls, ravine deer, sand grouse, wild lizards, wild egrets are among many other creatures are found in the district. Farm stay is also possible if anyone is interested in visiting Rahim Yar Khan, and it can be arranged at both sides with local villager families in arid Cholistan desert side south of city (Paka) or also in rather green irrigated areas in north (Kacha) as the district is divided into 3 vicinities by common men as Kacha, Paka and Urban.
Bhong Mosque is located some 40 km from city, easily accessible by road, it is also one of the places to see in Rahim Yar Khan. It stands among the most beautiful mosques in the world.
Pattan Minara (Light House)
An ancient tower (light house) located at the bank of once running Hakra or Ghagra river. It is almost 10 km from city. However rest of the remnants of the building are long gone but this tower is still existing and is also one of the places to be visited in Rahim Yar Khan.
In and around Rahim Yar Khan are numerous mausoleums to explore. Mausoleums were built to bury the saints in the district and are visited by tourists from all over the world. These mausoleums are beautiful works of architecture and a definite must-see while you are in Rahim Yar Khan.
Derawar Fort is a large square fortress in located in the desert around 85 km from Rahim Yar Khan. The forty bastions of Derawar are visible for many miles in the Cholistan Desert. The walls have a perimeter of 1500 metres and stand up to thirty metres high. Derawar fort was built by Rai Jajja Bhatti, a Rajput ruler of the Bhatti clan. The fort was built in the 9th century AD as a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti, a Rajput sovereign king of the Jaisalmer and Bahawalpur areas who had his capital at Lodhruva. The fort was initially known as Dera Rawal, and later referred to as Dera Rawar, which with the passage of time came to be pronounced Derawar, its present name.
In the 18th century, the fort was taken over by Muslim Nawabs of Bahawalpur from the Shahotra tribe. It was later renovated by Abbasi rulers, but in 1747 the fort slipped from their hands owing to Bahawal Khan's preoccupations at Shikarpur. Nawab Mubarak Khan took the stronghold back in 1804. This historically-significant fort presents an enormous and impressive structure in the heart of the Cholistan desert, but it is rapidly deteriorating and in need of immediate preventative measures for preservation.
The Derawar Fort can be accessed either from north downwards from Bahawalpur or Ahmed Pur East or from Rahim Yar Khan moving on the Desert Road. The Rahim Yar Khan route is much easier, as it is along a metaled road (though midway, where after it turns into a desert track up to the fort), while for other two routes from north downward have quite a distance across desert and one has to have a local driver and guide to access the fort.
Recently establishment of Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering & Information Technology Rahim Yar Khan has revolutionized the higher education of southern Punjab. Besides, this city possesses strong connections with International dignitaries. Establishment of Sheikh Zayed Medical College named after (Late) Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan from United Arab Emirates, has put the city on international map. The Board of Directors of this college keep personal links to the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sub-campus of Islamia University Bahawalpur, Khawaja Farid Post-Graduate Government College, Government Women Degree College, Sheikh Zayed Public College and School, Army Public School, Beacon House School System, Rangers Public School, City School and many other private schools and colleges are working to provide quality education and possess a high rank significance all over the Country. The City Rahim Yar Khan has Tehsil Hospital (“Sheikh Zayed Hospital) which is a modern Hospital.