Vehari (also spelled as Vihari; Urdu: وہاڑی) is a city about 100 km (62 mi) from the historical city of Multan and is the headquarters of Vehari District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is situated at the Multan Delhi Road constructed by Indian Muslim Emperor Sher Shah Suri. It is located at an altitude of 135 m (443 ft). It is 96 km (60 mi) from the regional metropolis of Multan, 956 km (594 mi) from Karachi, 300 km (190 mi) from Lahore, 218 km (135 mi) from Faisalabad, 119 km (74 mi) from Bahawalpur, 61 km (38 mi) from Hasilpur, 41 km (25 mi) from Mailsi, 46 km (29 mi) from Kacha Khuh, 36 km (22 mi) from Burewala, 27 km (17 mi) from Luddan, 78 km (48 mi) from Arifwala, 112 km (70 mi) from Pakpattan, and about 37 km (23 mi) north of the river Sutlej – the southernmost of the five rivers of the Punjab region. Islam Headworks is located on this river near Luddan on the Luddan-Vehari canal providing irrigation water to both banks of the river, which includes the upper fringes of the Cholistan Desert.
Vehari is the centre place for diverse socio-economic life in the region. Vehari District was established in 1976. It has an area of 4,373 sq. km and an estimated population of 3.5 million. The district shares its boundaries with Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur districts on the Southern side, Pakpattan district on the Eastern, Lodhran district on the Western and Sahiwal and Khanewal districts on the Northern side.
Vehari is known to be city of cotton, among other crops. The summer in Vehari is very hot; however the weather becomes much more pleasant between October and February. Occasionally, light rainfall leaves the land generally arid and dusty. Vehari has dozens of cotton processing factories and cottonseed oil manufacturing plants, and sugarcane farming and processing is also common. Agricultural products include mangoes in the Summer and guava and other citrus fruits in the Winter.
As per national census of 1998 Punjabi is the main language of Vehari spoken by 94% population (83% Majhi dialect, 11% in siraiki dialect). Urdu, the national language, is spoken widely while English spoken by educated elite. Other language spoken by few afghan refugees is Pashto.
Vehari District 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 Punjab region. The Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Madras, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas 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 Vehari 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 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 Sikhs invaded and occupied Vehari District. During the period of British rule, Vehari district increased in population and importance.
Vehari District is the result of construction of the Pakpattan canal from Sulemanki Head Works on the Sutlej and the institution of Nili Bar colony project in 1925, so called because of the hints of blue in the water of the Sutlej. The ancient history of the district is obscure. The populated areas in ancient times was restricted to the banks of the river Sutlej where seasonal inundation permitted some cultivation. The rest of the area was a vast sandy scrap-land at best affording pastures itinerant herdsmen. The riparian tract formed the state of Fatehpur during the time of Akbar the Great. This was ruled by Fateh Khan of Joya family who founded and gave his name to the town of Fatehpur. Fatehpur is still in existence about 15 kilometres to the south of Mailsi and is the oldest town of Mailsi subdivision. It has some remains of archaeological value.
The predominantly Muslim population supported Muslim League and 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 Vehari District.
In May 2002, Vehari District was the scene of a shootout between members of the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and local Shia villagers. LeJ members had come to a local village to stage an attack on a prominent local Shia, but were met with local armed resistance. In the ensuing shootout, all four LeJ members were killed, including their leader, Riaz Basra.
City has two full fledge operational university campuses and two post graduate colleges both for men and women. Virtual University Campus is working at Vehari since 2001. Also the city contain many higher secondary schools and private colleges. Education University is a government. funded and operated campus with more than four faculties and many departments. COMSATS Vehari is ministry of Science and Tech funded public sector university. Pakistan's leading agriculture university, UAF (University of Agriculture Faisalabad) has also recently launched its sub campus in Vehari.
Vehari is located on the southern alternate route of both railway and road between Multan and Lahore, the capital of the province. The northern route is the main route. Both of these routes run roughly in a northeasterly direction, almost parallel to each other and only 20 to 30 miles apart at any given point. A section of the railway between Multan and Lahore was electrified on the main line between Khanewal and Lahore during the 1960s; however in subsequent decades and lately with rapid decline and deterioration of the infrastructure of Pakistan Railway (PR) the above electrified section lies in ruins and is not likely to be restored in the foreseeable future. With the new motorway between Multan and Lahore which is due to be completed sometimes in the early part of 2014, Vehari is set to benefit from its proximity to its north.
The Vehari route goes to Lahore through the religiously renowned city of Pakpattan, where the Sufi saint Fariduddin Ganjshakar is buried. Thousands of pilgrims come annually to Pakpattan for the saint's Urs celebration which include all sorts of festivities. Selections from his work are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh sacred scripture. He was commonly known as "Baba Farid".
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Chamber of commerce & industry
ehari Chamber of commerce & industry (VCCI) was established on 26 April 2013.The Founder president of VCCI was Hafiz Mahmood Ahmad Shad.
The climate of the district is hot and dry in summer and cold in winter. The maximum and minimum temperature ranges between 45 °C and 28 °C in summer. During winter, the temperature fluctuates between 21 °C and 5 °C.