Peafowl is symbol of pride and heritage in Tharparkar
|• Deputy Commissioner||Dr Shahzad Tahir Thaheem|
|• District Health Officer||Dr. Irshad Ahmed Memon|
|• Land||19,638 km2 (7,582 sq mi)|
|• Density||83.28/km2 (215.7/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5 (PST)|
Rank in Pakistan
| 0.227 very low|
109th (out of 114)
PS-54 Tharparkar-I - Abdul Razzaque
PS-55 Tharparkar-II - Muhammad Qasim Soomro
PS-56 Tharparkar-III - Faqir Sher Muhammad Bilalani
PS-57 Tharparkar-IV - Arbab Lutfullah
NA-221 Tharparkar-I - Pir Noor Muhammad Shah JeelaniNA-222 Tharparkar-II - Mahesh Kumar Malani
Tharparkar (Sindhi: ٿرپارڪر, Hindi: थरपारकर, Gujarati: થરપાકર, Urdu: تھرپارکر ) also known as Thar, is one of the twenty nine districts of Sindh province in Pakistan. It is the largest district of Sindh province by land area. It has largest number of Hindu population in Pakistan. It has the lowest Human Development Index of all the districts in Sindh. It is headquartered at Mithi. Thar has a fertile desert and the livelihood of Thari people depends on rainfall agriculture.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate and Biodiversity
- 4 Human Development
- 5 Livelihood
- 6 Industry and Infrastructure
- 7 Finance, Banking and Taxation
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Education
- 10 Culture and Tradition
- 11 Tourism
- 12 Administration
- 13 Disaster
- 14 Welfare
- 15 Famous in Tharparkar
- 16 Notable people
- 17 See also
- 18 References
The region was known as Thar and Parkar district earlier but later became one word Tharparkar. In the name Thar refers Thar Desert and Parkar literary means “to cross over”. Thar was fertile and during 2000-1500 BC it turned into a desert as per historical references. During that period a river used to flow in this region and it was the source of water for the Indus Valley Civilization. As per some historians it was the same Sarasvati River which is one of the main rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu Texts of RigVeda. The region of Thar has also been discussed in the Sanskrit epic of Ramayana where it is called Lavanasagara (which means salt ocean).
Sindh was ruled by various dynasties after the fall of the Indus Valley Civilization. These dynasties included the Soomras (a branch of Parmar Rajputs), the Summas (a Rajput tribe converted to Islam in 14th century), the Arghuns, the Kalhoras and the Talpurs. These rulers mainly focused on the central and western parts of Sindh while the areas along the eastern boundaries having Tharparkar were disregarded. During British invasion on the Indian subcontinent, Charles James Napier (the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army) defeated the Talpur dynasty and conquered Sindh in 1843 and this part was merged into Kutch Political Agency and Hyderabad Collectorate. The British government divided Sindh in provinces and assigned to Zamindars to collect taxes for the British government. The Zamindars were also known as "Wadera".
Sindh was later made part of Bombay Presidency. In 1858, the entire area became part of Hyderabad and further in 1860 this region was named as Eastern Sindh Frontier with the headquarters at Amarkot which was headed by Political Superintendent. Later, in 1882 it was renamed as District and its administrative head was Deputy Commissioner. In 1906, the headquarters of this district was shifted from Amarkot to Mirpurkhas.
On 31 October 1990 the district was split into two districts namely Thar and Mirpurkhas. On 17 April 1993, Umerkot was carved out of Thar and was given the status of a district. Now Tharparkar district comprises areas of Thar Desert.
Tharparkar district lies in 69° 3” 35’ to 71° 7” 47’ east longitudes and 24° 9’ 35” to 25° 43’ 6” north latitudes. On the East it adjoins with Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan in India. In the South it adjoins with Kutch district of Gujarat in India. Umerkot District lies on the north while district Badin and Mirpurkhas are in the west of Tharparkar.
Climate and Biodiversity
The district has a tropical desert climate. In the summers, it is extremely hot during the day, but nights are remarkably cooler. April, May and June are the hottest months and December, January and February are the coldest months. The mean maximum and minimum temperature during winter is 28 °C and 9 °C respectively. There are wide fluctuations in the amount of rainfall from year to year and the yearly average for some areas is as low as 100 mm. Most of the rain falls between July and September, during the south-west monsoon.
Since 1997 the highest rainfall recorded was in the year 2011 with 1306 mm. Tharparkar has been hit by drought since several decades and the provincial government has also declared Tharparkar as a drought-hit area. List of drought declared years include: 1968, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018.
A study confirms 89 plant species of 26 plant families in this region. Numerous species of herbs which can be found in rainy season while desert shrubs and drought resistant trees can be found throughout the year. Some common list of these plants include:
Trees (Local Names)
Shrubs (Local Names)
Herbs (Local Names)
Grass (Local Names)
Wealth of fauna is considered as a salient feature of this region. From folk music to designs and art work since ancient times have included fauna of Thar as integral part. Fauna of Thar is also part of art, culture, heritage and great histories. The list of fauna commonly includes:
Chinkara wildlife sanctuary
Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across area of 940 km2 in Tharparkar where hunting of wildlife including bird species and deer is strictly not allowed. The prohibition has also been imposed from up to Chelhar in the north, up to Bhorelo in the east, in the south from Bhorelo to Mithi and in the west from up to Wajatto.
Vulture and migratory birds sanctuary
Peafowl is considered as symbol of pride and is cultural heritage in Tharparkar since ancient times. However, there is no exclusive sanctuary for saving them although they are under severe threat in this region. The massive (officially reported) death figures of these peafowls ranges from 15 in two days to hundreds in a week or month. The locals frequently report the media and higher authorities about same but wildlife officials do not take measures to prevent such massive death of peafowls which has now become common in different villages across Tharparkar. A (Stop killing of Peacocks in Tharparkar) petition was also initiated at Change.org for illegal killing of peacocks and selling their feathers. Since the matter has been ignored several times by authorites so locals and villagers including school teachers have come ahead irrespective of their own poverty level to feed and conserve peafowl in Tharparkar. Apart from this, there has also been several reports of illegal business of snakes, scorpions thriving in Tharparkar.
The Human Development Index(HDI) of Tharparkar is 0.227. In Pakistan Human Development Index Report 2017, 114 district level HDIs were calculated for 2015 among which Tharparkar district ranks 109th with change in rank of -6 compared to 2013. This report specifies Tharparkar to be among bottom ten performing districts by HDI growth in decade (2005–15) with change in rank of -34.The report also says:
Tharparkar is the most deprived district in Sindh, and as the only district in the very low category, it lags far behind the other districts in the province.
Pakistan's Multidimensional Poverty Index report by UNDP says that 87% of population in Tharparkar live under poverty. Due to the lowest Human Development Index and Pakistan's highest infant mortality rate in Tharparkar, The Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to form a monitoring commission to regularly observe the steps taken by provincial government of Sindh.
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) inked a MoU with World Food Programme, to reduce food insecurity in Tharparkar. As per World Food Programme - May 2019 report, Pakistan was provided US$362,000 along with 4,727 mt of food assistance. In the report, the operational updates specifies that around 170 government staff members were engaged in Tharparkar and Killa Abdullah District for proper implementation.
A report on efforts by provincial government specifies 287,000 families were 12 times provided 50 kg of wheat free of cost. Apart from this 500 houses were provided to Thari people free of cost. Also, 750 small water plants at a cost of Rs. 7.5 billion were setup in the district. Thar Foundation, an organization of the Sindh Government and Engro at a cost of Rs. 2 billion constructed a hospital of 250 beds with first block of 82 beds functional since February 2019.
In spite of such big initiatives by provincial, federal and international authorities, the region is unable to come out of its miseries. As per Health Department infant mortality rate in Tharparkar is seen to be at alarming level with death of 1,500 children every year. As per reports published on children death figures in Tharparkar in October, 2019 the death toll was 84. As per same reports published in November the death figure which was 518 till July has reached upto 703 till October in the year 2019.
As specified by Saeed Ghani a Mobile App has been introduced for providing wheat (drought relief package) in Tharparkar and there is high standard of transparency in distribution of wheat in Tharparkar district. However, neither the name of Mobile App was officially published anywhere nor any district-wide campaign of using such app was made. The people to obtain token number against their NIC to redeem wheat either depended on XLS/ PDF files which were unofficially circulated to a very limited people as offline source or depended on a website (original dead link) as online source with no official disclosure or district-wide campaign.
As specified by Mahesh Kumar Malani (legislator) Rs. 15 billion is already spent for development projects in 9 years and further development schemes worth Rs. 18 billion is under way to improve living standard of the people of Tharparkar. As specified by Chief Minister of Sindh Rs. 70 billion has been spent on the development infrastructure, airport and other projects. BISP launched by government has made PKR 387 billion cash transfers since 2008. However, Pakistan Human Development Index Report says living standard index of Tharparkar has fallen by 50% in 2015 as compared to 2005.
Although, Tharparkar being officially declared drought-hit for at least 17 years till 2018 and already having major international NGOs (including USAID, DFID and several branches of United Nations) working or worked in Tharparkar, but no detailed report (with statistical data) exclusively on water resources (with map) along with measures to improve conditions was ever published for public or startups which has limited welfare initiatives only up to experts, well-settled organizations or government.
Health Facilities and Immunization
As per report published in 2014, there were total 140 health facilities in the district. These health facilities included 1 district headquarters hospital with a capacity of 50 beds and 3 tehsil headquarter hospitals with a capacity of 80 beds. When compared to World Health Organization standards, these health facilities were sufficient for only 54% population and bedding facility was sufficient for only 6% of the population. In Tharparkar, 85% (urban: 56% and rural: 87%) deliveries take place at home. Also, Tharparkar ranks as lowest district in Sindh with only 16% deliveries which are assisted with skilled birth attendants 
|Type||June 2012||March 2019|
|District headquarter hospital||1||1|
|Tehsil headquarter hospitals||3||1|
|Rural health centres||2||2|
|Basic Health units||31||36|
|Govt. Rural Dispensaries||101||38|
|Sub health centres||0||DU|
As specified in district report, with urban areas having 37% and rural having 25%, only about 25% pregnant women received tetanus toxoid injections. The percentage of children aged 12–23 months who received full immunization in urban areas was 32% (Male 16% : Female 48%) and in rural areas it was 20% (Male 26% : Female 14%) with overall 21% (Male 26%: Female 16%).
|As of 2015||Provincial Top HDI||Federally Top HDI||Lowest in Sindh||Lowest in Punjab||Lowest in Balochistan||Lowest in KPK|
|Rank change in 2 years
|Rank change in a decade
|Immunization rate (%)||80.2||89.5||38.1||90.7||85.2||21.9|
|Satisfaction with health facility (%)||82.5||85.8||57.0||65.2||83.3||56.9|
|Expected years of schooling (years)||11.8||12.2||6.4||7.1||5.9||5.5|
|Mean years of schooling (years)||7.7||7.5||2.3||2.0||2.5||1.3|
|Living Standard (%)||98.5||98.9||7.5||48.9||1.9||12.5|
|Population in multidimensional poverty (%)||Incidence - Headcount||4.5||4.3||87||64.4||77.2||95.8|
|Contribution of deprivation to overall poverty (%)||Education||57.5||65.6||38.8||44.3||38.4||41.9|
Tharparkar district is a pre-dominantly rural district with 96% of the population residing in rural areas. Primary source of livelihood for rural population of the district is agriculture and livestock while the urban population is also employed in economic activities related to agriculture.
Tharparkar with desert-type land has gloomy performance in agricultural sector still agriculture dominates in employing Thari people. Mostly agriculture is based on rainfall water however in some areas of Nagarparkar taluka are fed with tube well water. Out of total area i.e. 2,011,000 hectares, the area cultivated is 1,014,000 hectares. In a report by Bureau of Statistics Sindh data for sale of fertilizers is not available for Tharparkar, however for other districts same data is available.
Reports published on reliefweb say that 94% of household has livestock and 77.64% of the population is engaged in livestock management. The report also says that average of livestock per household is 8 animals. Livelihood and food base of people in Tharparkar mainly depends on livestock and partially on agriculture. The current livestock population in Tharparkar is estimated around 7.5 millions. In a report Tharparkar district is specified to be richest in sheep population possessing 40% of the province’s sheep population. More than 3 million kg of wool is annually produced as per a report published in 2007. Tharparkar is considered as most suitable for sheep and wool development in Sindh. A report specifying the farm characteristics of livestock farming households says 70.30% of farms use animals as source of power for plowing. Number per herd of donkey is the highest in Tharparkar compared with other two deserts( i.e. Cholistan and Thal) of Pakistan. A Daily Times report suggests areas such as Tharparkar for developing breeding and rearing zones for conserving Pakistan's donkey population. Since livestock is primary income source and contributes to the financial system of every household in Tharparkar, it is considered to be one of the biggest potential livestock market in Sindh.
|Sheep||Kooka, Magra, Sonadi, Kachhi, Marwari|
|Goat||Tharki, Kamori, Chappar|
Although, livelihood of Thari people majorly depends on livestock but for millions of these animals there are merely 12 vets across the district.
Handicrafts and Handlooms
Art and craft are part of Thari people's life since Indus Valley Civilization. Involving in works of ralli, pottery, puppets, carpets, traditional decorations, block prints, embroidered shoes, embroidery beading and mirror work on clothes and tapestries, etc. are most common among them. As per a report merely in Chhachro Taluka there are more than 6,000 handlooms for production of carpets, without any facility. Selling these hand made items help them to survive and give an opportunity especially the women to make money. Due to lack of processing units, technology, planning and market exposure to locals, the yield gets limited irrespective of its actual potential.
Industry and Infrastructure
Pakistan with 185,175 million tonnes of coal ranks 7th internationally with lignite(lowest rank coal) reserves. As per Power Policy 2002 companies generating power are completely exempted from the payment of income tax, including turnover rate tax, and withholding tax on imports for prospective sponsors of coal power generation projects. Merely, Tharparkar has 175,506 million tonnes of coal reserves making it around 95% of national coal reserves as discovered in 1992 by Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and United States Geological Survey (USGS). As specified by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a report, energy contents of these resources are more than the energy contents of Saudi Arabia and Iran's joint oil resources. As specified by report, Sindh Government had earlier signed MoUs for a 600 MW Thar coal power project by Shenhua Group of China and a 1200 MW project at Thar by some Australian firms. As per NATIONAL MINERAL POLICY 1995 minerals are a provincial subject under the Constitution of Pakistan. To facilitate large-scale investment in coal mining, Government of Pakistan constituted a federal level extraordinary(as specified at top-left of first page in scanned copy of document worth Rs. 8 for THE THAR COAL AND ENERGY BOARD ACT, 2011 created on July 7, 2011) entity named as Thar Coal & Energy Board (TCEB). As specified in this act, this board shall be a corporate body[Sec. 3(2)] with various functions including opening and operating bank accounts in local and foreign currencies[Sec. 5(n)], and to act as one-stop organization[Sec. 5(a)]. Also no court shall have jurisdiction to grant any jurisdiction injunction or make any order or entertain any proceedings[Sec. 12(1)]. Further, all sums due to the board from any person, body or organization shall be recoverable by Government[Sec. 11].
In March 2019, after a notification issued by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah new members were added to TCEB including MNA Shazia Mari ( from Sanghar District) as female MNA member of board. However, as per TCEB ACT, 2011 one female MNA should be from Thar(i.e. either from District of Tharparkar or Umerkot or Mirpurkhas)[Sec. 2(k) & Sec. 3(5)(v)]. Although, (MNA) Mahesh Malani and (Senator) Krishna Kohli belonged to and represented Thar but since they didn't fall under category of "female MNA from Thar" so no further objection was raised.
Through Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, now power is supplied to national grid from Thar. However, Tharparkar villages - 2,300 registered and almost 2,000 unregistered have no electricity. As per reports Tharparkar is deprived of electricity for even 22 hours resulting death of people and children in hospitals due to heat waves. In an announcement it was declared that Sindh government would pay bills and Thar will get free electricity as coal of Thar is being used but since this announcement was informal so it was void from legal claims. Also, irrespective of poverty level and tarrif rates people of Thar have surprised Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) board by paying power bills on time.
Various hazards including negative impacts on the environment and health, threat to only or primary livelihood sources (i.e. agriculture and livestock) are raised by several entities at different levels regarding this project. Also, specified by University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in a report, destruction of wildlife habitat can be among serious impacts on ecology of area. This project has led to displacement of communities in large-scale with intensive social and demographic changes. Thari people are trying to accept these challenges in a hope of Roshan Pakistan (Bright Pakistan) through a social media slogan #TharBadlegaPakistan which has been popular in recent time.
Pakistan's largest solar power station in Bahawalpur named as Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park has Photovoltaic Electricity Output (PVOUT) of 1596 kWh/kWp per year and Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) of 1925 kWh/m2 per year. In comparison to it, Tharparkar has Photovoltaic Electricity Output (PVOUT) of 1642 kWh/kWp per year and Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) of 2005 kWh/m2 per year. With such high solar potential, rather than having a solar power station Tharparkar has coal power station which is most harmful to health of children and prone to cancer and heart or lungs problem.
In January 2015, Asia's largest solar reverse osmosis plant was inaugurated in Mithi with capacity to filter two million gallons per day at the cost of US$2.98 million. Apart from this, other smaller plants with capacity of 10,000 gallons per day were set up at a cost of around US$24,900 each. This initiative of Sindh Government along with Pak Oasis was aimed to solve basic problems of drinking water for people of the district where lives of hundreds of children are lost by drinking untreated water. However, after such initiatives half of life of Thari people is spent fetching water as specified by Al Jazeera. Among several reports referring these Solar RO plants as a political adventure, a time came when all RO plants across Tharparkar were shut.
Although it is Asia's largest solar RO project but there has been no official gateway or portal by government where regular detailed information is available along with helpline numbers for reports, updates and queries.
In July 2018, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordered to look into and verify alleged illegal awarding of contract to Pak Oasis in violation of rules and regulations. As per details, Rs. 5 billion were paid to the company even before the completion of the project.
In October 2018, Chief Minister of Sindh directed the finance department to provide Rs 336.7 million towards making 110 Solar RO plants functional. In November 2018, Sindh Government decided to takeover all RO plants in Thar Coal Block-II.
Tharparkar district with area of 19,638 sq. kms has only 743 kms of quality roads which are considered inadequate as per district profile report by USAID and iMMAP. Major cities of the province are connected by a highway and talukas of the district are connected to district headquarters Mithi with metaled roads.
|Karachi (via Thatta / Badin)||300|
|Karachi (via Hyderabad / Mirpurkhas)||400|
|Karachi (via Mirpurkhas / Umerkot)||425|
At a cost of Rs. 972.07 million an international airport has been constructed in Islamkot by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan in about four years which was earlier aimed to be completed within two years. The airport is available for both civil and military air traffic. This Islamkot International Airport is spread over an area of 1,000 acres and has 3 km long runway. It is constructed at the request of the Sindh Coal Authority for the development of the Thar coalfields and nearby. Since the airport lies within 80 km (50 mi) of Pakistan's international border with India, a clearance for the construction of the airport was taken by Pakistan's Ministry of Defence on 25 September 2009. The airport was first inaugurated on 17 July 2017 by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The same airport was inaugurated again on 11 April 2018 by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with exclusive change in name of airport from Thar Airport to Mai Bakhtawar Airport. For the same, the insignia which was earlier installed on top of the building was modified. The airport has already been inaugurated twice however even after a year of second inauguration ceremony the official website of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority doesn't include this airport in map of Airport Locations in Pakistan. Also, there is no official IATA and ICAO code disclosure or published for this airport. In addition, there is neither any official website or gateway exclusively for this airport to know the travel routes and charges nor this airport is listed among destinations in official website of Pakistan's largest airline i.e. PIA.
Khokhrapar railway station also known as Zero Point railway station is located on border town of Khokhrapar of Dahli taluka. Before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Sind Mail was run between Hyderabad, Pakistan and Ahmedabad, India via Mirpur Khas, Khokhrapar, Munabao, Barmer, Luni, Jodhpur, Pali, Marwar and Palanpur. After the independence Khokhrapar was the last railway station in Pakistan on Hyderabad, Pakistan - Jodhpur, India railway line and used for customs and immigration.
The train service between Hyderabad, Pakistan and Jodhpur, India closed down after the 1965 war. The town, and the rest of the Nagarparkar salient were captured by India in the 1971 war, and returned to Pakistan in 1972.
After a 41-year suspension on 18, February 2006 Mirpur Khas - Munabao railway line reopened after the conversion of metre gauge railway track to broad gauge. Now Zero Point railway station (Khokhrapar railway station) is the last station in Pakistan on this railway line to customs and immigration.
Thar Express (international passenger train) connecting Karachi to Jodhpur is operated weekly by Pakistan Railways and Indian Railway. Since, this train makes a 32-hour journey for a distance not more than 700 km it is also termed as 'torture train' by frequent travellers
Among various formal requests made by Thari people for commencing broad gauge services for Tharis who migrate to other part while the region is drought affected, government has proposed to connect only Thar coalfield for the transportation of indigenous coal to lignite fired power plants.
In July 2008, Universal Service Fund Pakistan arranged an auction where Telenor Pakistan was declared as the lowest qualified bidder. Further, contract of Rs. 930,000,000, was signed with Telenor on 13 March 2009 to provide basic telephony and data services in Mirpurkhas Lot which included Tharparkar. Further, Parvez Iftikhar inaugurated the project sites.
In March 2017, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) along with Wateen Telecom introduced first free Wi-Fi villages in Tharparkar. Shamsuddin Shaikh (CEO SECMC) and Reham Khan inaugurated this facility in a ceremony which was held in Senhri Dars village of Islamkot. In the first phase, two villages, namely, Tharyo Halepoto and Senhri Dars of Islamkot were to be provided free Wi-fi with 3 Mbps speed. The second phase was specified to provide this free Wi-fi service at all schools in Thar Coal Block II. In further phases, entire Thar Coal Block II was planned to make free Wi-fi block. However, even after 2 years of inauguration of these free Wi-fi services, no annual or quarterly reports (including total number of schools or subscribers benefited) have been published either in official website of SECMC or Wateen. Also, there has been no report on how free Wi-Fi service was availed in Tharparkar where 87% population is under absolute poverty.
For testing internet service performance in Tharparkar, a 4 Mbps broadband plan (highest supported speed in the region excluding Thar Coal Block) connection provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) was selected and 793 speed tests were performed during 5 July 2018 to 11 June 2019 on Speedtest.net. As per speed test results, the maximum download limit was 2.62 Mbps and maximum upload limit was 1 Mbps. While both, lowest download limit and upload limit were 0.06 Mbps. Only 5% of total test results crossed or reached the 2 Mbps download speed limit.
Although Asia's largest Solar RO plant has been installed in Tharparkar but access to the drinking water is very poor. Merely 47% of the population has access to drinking water. As per Thardeep Rural Development Programme, 60% households wait more than hour for their turn to fetch drinking water on wells and 30% households spend Rs. 30 for 2 buckets of water. 85% of the households obtain water through Pakhaal (pair of rubber bags carried on a camel or donkey). 25% households fetch water through buckets carried by camel or donkeys which takes even 2 days in some areas. 75% household women travel 3 km on average spending 52% of their working hours rather than spending on some any economic activity.
Tharparkar with 44% is the district with the highest percentage of households without any toilet facility in Sindh.
|Flush||Non Flush||No Toilet|
Solid Waste Management
Precise data on solid waste management is unavailable but basic waste management is present in the urban parts of the district. However, the rural parts having 96% of Tharparkar population are neglected in this matter.
Although, electricity is supplied to entire Pakistan through Tharparkar but is the lowest ranking district within Sindh with only 39% households using electricity as main source of lightning.
|Electricity||Gas/Oil||Wood & Candle||Other|
There is no irrigation system since entire district is desert like. The district has 759,000 hectares of total cultivated area of which merely 1.6% is irrigated through canal (Ran Distributory of Naukot branch of Nara Canal) in Diplo Taluka. Monsoon rains play key role in the irrigation of lands and the desert gets sparse vegetation while heavy rainfall in monsoon. Overall irrigation structure is poor with no canals or rivers but Nagarparkar and Mithi have green fields since tube well irrigation is common in those parts.
In Tharparkar, 99% household use Wood/Sticks as main fuel for cooking.
The Gas (Theft and Recovery) Act 2016 was passed by MAJLIS-E-SHOORA (Parliament) is applicable across Pakistan. This Act is also adhered by Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) which is engaged in the business of transmission and distribution of natural gas in Sindh and Baluchistan. Irrespective of its core business in natural gas the company has always focused, worked and engaged for more than decades in welfare of Tharparkar in several areas including education and water supply. For the same efforts (in various other areas excluding core gas service) of execellence in Tharparkar, it has also received several awards including PMI-KPC Award and NFEH CSR Award. In a local report, details of several formal requests including screenshots of complain details submitted in Pakistan Citizen Portal specifies the actual cause of drought in the region is due to massive wood cutting for cooking fuel. This has hugely affected environment and turned the area into arid region. There is no official supply of gas in this region as per SSGC website but several shops are present in the district (especially urban parts) who sell gas cylinders (of SSGC) on call just like Mineral Water Bottle or Can whereby neither any bill is issued nor any customer id is alloted. The delivery man will come with gas cylinder (on bike) which may or may not have safety seal on it. Also no weighing machine or tool is brought by delivery man and the gas cylinder is accepted on good-faith or mutual understanding. In most cases the nosel of cylinder has fault which Thari people manage by doing Jugaad to avoid blasts or accidents at home. Although, there has been several instances where locals hear series of blasts around their houses where these shops are located. When people rush to roof or house terrace they literally see blasting and bouncing gas cylinders in the air and destroying nearby properties. Since there is no other option for locals so media across nation do not report these matter towards public welfare. However, now locals do not allow such shops to operate near their houses but allow them operating in some open area away from residencial area.
Finance, Banking and Taxation
Sindh generates 60% (merely official claim) of national revenue. While Karachi is considered as financial capital of Pakistan, Tharparkar is considered to be game changer for economy of Sindh as well as Pakistan after becoming energy capital of Pakistan. Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) shining during June 2015 became the fourth most lucrative stock market globally and by July 2015 total market capitalization reached Rs. 7.33 trillion (about US$72 billion). After 7 months on January 11, 2016 Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) came into existence by merging Karachi Stock Exchange, Lahore Stock Exchange and Islamabad Stock Exchange. By the end of same year in December 2016 Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) sold 40% of stake to Chinese consortium. The value of the transaction was Rs. 8.96 billion ($85 million) at Rs. 28 per share.
During Pakistan Renewable Energy Summit 2019 in September, the President of Pakistan emphasized for fully utilizing the coal reserves discovered in Tharparkar. Towards this direction Sindh government asked Australia to further invest in Thar coal along with investment of over $2 billion by China’s state-owned firm Shanghai Electric Power Company Limited (SEC). As of November 2019, Pakistan and China have agreed to expand CPEC scope to copper, gold, oil, gas and housing sectors. Also, while same month like Tharparkar a coal-fired power plant was also inaugurated in Gwadar, Baluchistan. Further projects similar to Tharparkar like International Airport etc. in Gwadar under CPEC were visited by Chinese delegations for examining the pace of work. Exclusively during same time a donation ceremony was held in Gwadar whereby 4,000 solar energy facilities and 700 school uniform were donated by China along with unveiling ceremony of Gwadar Port Authority Commercial Complex.
During education emergency situation prevailing in Sindh, a London based reference book took an initiative to provide globally recognized title as reward to a Sindhi boy for his memory. Further, Asian Development Bank approved $75 million loan for Sindh education project. Towards, this approval of loan the citizens have shown a great concern over misuse due to lacking accountability. Since this concern could not be expressed directly to such high authority and due to lack of (web-based or mobile app) platform that allow locals (of region receiving funds) to directly connect with these financial institutions (with least navigation steps) to at least monitor via reports (with maximum possible details) submitted by their regional government (who may or may not create or publish such reports/platforms) to these financial institutions, so either they expressed their concern in comments of such media reports or in some of most uncivilized platforms which has brought governments across the world in trouble. Moreover, after appointment of new pro-chancellor of all public universities in the province by Sindh government, the concerns have been intensified. Thari people were already aware about the fact that these international financial institutions along with lack of such platforms are also lacking in co-ordination with United Nations so they (while donating or approving loans) neither promote nor introduce OpenEMIS solutions developed by UNESCO to monitor educational indicators in real-time. For the same on 19 January 2018, Thari people directly sent an email to an authority (who also responded back to the email with appreciation within next day) from Ministry of Planning Development & Reform to introduce this solution in their district (i.e. Tharparkar) and further across nation since they were financially and legally (having permission to manage such data) not capable to implement it but the approach failed due to lacking follow-ups and implementations.
Similarly, World Bank President along with other delegations attended meeting exclusively at CM House and approved $1.93 billion for various projects including strengthening of rural economy like Tharparkar. Since, this occurred just after Sindh CM was summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in graft probe, has raised concerns among people. Just within few days of such approval by World Bank there were reports published like: Pakistan resolves dispute with Turkey which was about penalty imposed by International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Pakistan settles Soviet-era trade dispute with Russia, Government gives bail and permission to fly abroad for some politicians who were under custody of NAB or in jail. In addition to it more such instances are being proposed by government, have led to make people feel that the financial aid is being misused or utilized for debt repayments for further unlocking more debts rather than spending on development as emphasized by IMF.
Since IMF has asked Pakistan to spend more on development further along with World Bank and Asian Development Bank have provided funds for strengthening rural regions so the government has proposed massive industrial development and invited business community to set up industrial units exclusively in rural areas since these regions are biggest victims of education emergency situation prevailing in the province and illiteracy among these regions will assure loyal labour force for business community who set up industries in such areas. Rather than promoting entrepreneurship by creating speedy and effective platforms to identify talent and provide resources directly or through channels for breaking chains of bonded labours which massively prevails in rural Sindh, the government believes in maintaining such slavery and has openly expressed that it believes in industrial development.
The central bank of Pakistan is State Bank of Pakistan. In 1977-78 steps for Islamization of banking and financial system were initiated in Pakistan. Pakistan was among the three countries in the world to implement interest free banking at national level. From 1 April 1985 finances to all entities including individuals began to be made in one of the specified interest-free modes. Further from 1 July 1985 all commercial banking in Pakistani Rupees was made interest-free. Since then no bank across Pakistan was allowed to accept any interest-bearing deposits and all existing deposits in a bank were treated to be on the basis of profit and loss sharing. The current account deposits were accepted without interest or share in profit or loss but foreign currency deposits in Pakistan and on-lending of foreign loans continued as before.
In general only Sunday is considered as holiday for banks but in Tharparkar banks keep holidays on both Saturday and Sunday. Due to loss most of banks are unable to sustain in other parts of Tharparkar so majority of banks are only available in the district headquarter Mithi. Since there is huge risk of life to carry cash and travel to banks in other areas for deposits, people hardly prefer banking services. When traders or businessmen take risk to carry cash and travel to bank they are mostly unable to communicate their home during journey due to network issues leading to atmosphere of worries and chaos in entire family until the person returns home after day long journey. Also the traders or businessmen keep multiple sim cards since no single cellular network is functional throughout region. After reaching bank the cashier like many other authorities will be seen with mouth filled by some gutka or pan masala or supari and further misbehave. Since majority of region is rural the currency denomination is smaller which leads to more number of notes but the banker expects least notes to the extent of rejection or misbehaviour. The local traders or business groups are unable to grow since the link between market within Tharparkar and outside is mostly offline or based on cash transactions. For every individual deal or transaction the trader or businessman needs to go through several lengthy and life risking processes which has limited the scope of business to only a small town. The traders and businessmen are even not safe in their own premises. Similarly banks are not safe even in major cities or even the capital of country.
Most of the banks do not offer web-based net banking and the bank website is only given account view rights. The mobile apps maybe available but due to high frequency of mobile theft people do not prefer it. While paying utility bills (like fixed line phone bill) through mobile app the balance is deducted but the payment gets reflected 1–2 days later. Transfers from one bank account to other bank account is only available through mobile app or ATM subject to various charges. Such transfer cannot be done through any bank in person since the transaction process gets hang for more than a week or gets rejected after waiting for long time. Even transaction within same bank but different branch is a lengthy process whereby the cheque keeps on moving between home and deposited branch via courier and the charges for same are to be paid by the client. For any online shopping the customer needs to contact bank to activate session which can remain active for maximum 15 days. The One-Time-Password (OTP) system is only used for mobile app login. These online transactions are again subject to various charges or taxes. Providing payment integration APIs or systems for online business are limited to very few banks among which some keep a very high cost while other might have transaction amount limitations. Due to various such unfavorable standards several international payment gateways do not take interest to enter in Pakistani economy.
Tharparkar has largest or highest demand of goods, commodities and items like kumkuma, papad, khichiya, diya-baati, murti, agarbatti, etc. on daily basis. As per Constitution of Pakistan only supreme authorities can deal in or approve how land can be used, what industry is to be setup in any region and what cultural values are to be allowed in any region and majority of population in Tharparkar are unfit for being such supreme authorities as per same constitution. Since locals of Tharparkar can't setup their own industries so they either sacrifice these demands or avail through imports (in case available after heavy duties) irrespective of their poverty levels. Due to several such limitations over seven decades CEOs from industrial or banking sector do not rise from such unprivileged communities and shall continue in future because people have now accepted to live in a life of poverty as their ultimate fate since several American, European, Asian countries along with several institutions like Asian Development Bank, World Bank and United Nations have endorsed, promoted and sponsored such culture since beginning.
All personal and corporate incomes are taxed by the federal government except income from agriculture which is taxed by provincial governments. In Sindh, Board of Revenue (BOR) collects all tax revenue of the Government of Sindh. As per Sindh Agricultural Income Tax Act of 2000, no land tax is levied in the Thar Desert and the Kohistan areas. An amendment bill was passed by the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on 30 April 2018 and further formal notification was issued on 22 May 2018 for the same. The Sindh cabinet during same time also decided to amend the Sindh Arms Act, allowing people to keep more than four (as many weapons as desired) weapons. Further asset statements provided by legislators and senators for the year 2018 revealed alarming figures of arms and deadly-military weapons in their personal arsenals. Apart from this, Home secretary was summoned in sale of weapons on fake arms licenses case by an anti-terrorism court. In second week of November several reports described Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is to be restructured and Prime Minister has proposed for replacement of FBR.
The Thari while tracing and analyzing economy of Tharparkar found the roots of issues were not limited to Sindh or Pakistan but it was extending globally. For the same, a solution was thought and informed to several authorities across Pakistan and also several authorities throughout 7 continents beginning from June 2016.
This solution was about breaking down microeconomics into small pieces and identifying each piece as entity. Just like human body is made of cells, microeconomics was considered to be made up of entities. These entities can be physical or virtual or both. Each entity has different types, parameters/properties and hierarchy. Beginning with smallest administrative division, further moving to higher level and moving upwards up to the highest level (i.e. world), the entities needs to be identified and enlisted in a final merged list of entities which are in a hierarchy. This would create a global standard for understanding microeconomics up to deepest root level in most precise way and further giving ability to precisely compare any two smallest entities across world using their common parameters (**if logically comparable). The list of entities syncs globally whenever updates are available and data associated to each entity gets updated in real-time at regional level as and when any economic activity is performed or any parameter/property get some changes.
Economy Inclusive Data
In the solution, this part define the scope of ownership of entities at different levels of economy (i.e. from local or regional level up to global level). This part also define rules, standards, rates, taxes etc. for data storage and exchange at different levels. This would empower governments globally to control their respective region's entities and also regulate economic interaction(activities) of smallest individual entity with other entity across world in realtime. Apart from this, the government also gets the ease and flexibility to set their own rates or taxes not just for data storage/exchange of smallest individual entity/entity type but rates or taxes can be set even for data storage/exchange of individual parameters/properties of entity/entity type or entities/entity types.
Information Waste Management
This part of solution is about identifying new entities and parameters/properties from information giants and information waste in economy. This part also involves identifying information mafia or information mafia agents breeding in (especially unexplored and unorganized) economy to destabilize entire economy using fake information or information floods. Further neutralize these threats using Economy Inclusive Data approaches to organize and regulate data or information used by such threats.
Since 2016 several formal letters were sent in this regards to various authorities across Pakistan including President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Governor and Chief Minister of all provinces of Pakistan, DCO Tharparkar, UNDP Pakistan, Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, Chairman or President of several political parties across Pakistan. There was merely one response received from Aiwan-e-Sadr after all such efforts which was never implemented or considered further by any authority across Pakistan. After new federal government was formed the matter was again raised in Pakistan Citizen's Portal on 22 April 2019 however the case was closed on 24 May 2019. During June 2019 the world unanimously realized that global economy is victim of major tax evasion and the matter was scheduled to be discussed in G20 Summit 2019. Again, with another case id the matter was raised in Pakistan Citizen's Portal on 12 June 2019 and it was informed to federal government that there was an opportunity to help out global community with an effective solution but the matter was again closed on 24 September 2019. Similarly, attempts were also made to reach out several government departments across world through letters, emails and online forms at government portals but were ignored. Several emails were also sent to various authorities from several international financial institutions including World Bank on 31 January 2017 but all were ignored. While trying to communicate with intergovernmental organizations like USAID and DFID the emails were replied but their formal process for availing support was only possible by well settled organizations or experienced team. Since there is no Ease of Availing Support Index for these international or intergovernmental organizations they keep formal procedure which is not easy for all or most.
According to a 2014 official report, Tharparkar district has 121 male per 100 females which is considered as way ahead from the national level of 106 per 100 females. The report also says the factors likely to be instrumental for such difference are a very high maternal mortality rate, poor health care and non-availability of basic health facilities. As per same 2014 report, 50% population is said to be below 15 years of age and 3.73% population is 65 years or above. The dependent population in the district is 54.02% while the working population is 45.98% making the dependency ratio 117.5%.
+DU = Data Unavailable
At the time of the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Hindus were 80% while the Muslims were 20% of the population.Thousands of Hindus (particularly the upper castes and their retainers) migrated from Pakistani Thar to the Indian section of the Thar. 3,500 Muslim families also shifted from the Indian section of the Thar to Pakistani Thar. The Muslim families were given 12 acres of land each (a total of 42,000 acres).
According to the 1998 census, Muslims constituted 59% of the population and the Hindus 41% of the district's population. Tharparkar has the largest Hindu population in Pakistan in terms of absolute numbers. In the district headquater Mithi more than 80% population is Hindu while in Islamkot more than 90% population is Hindu.
19 years after the 1998 census, a new census was conducted in 2017.However,the religious census data is not published,even after 2.5 years.
Due to lack of verified figures of census several bills including bills seeking an increase in minorities seats in the lower house are on halt. Further some authorities with formal endorsements by some Hindu Thekedars who generally own a land with house in Tharparkar for night stay during Hindu festivals propaganda in Tharparkar and enroll their children in educational institutes or stay with family outside Tharparkar have proposed installation of security cameras at minorities worship places across Pakistan with huge budgets since they believe schools lacking in basic facilities (as in Tharparkar) are least important and schools with computer labs won't uplift nation but cameras in Temples will lead the nation to great prosperity.
Minorities are rarely involved in business of printing on tiles, glass, ceramics, textiles, cards, etc. Further if minorities provide custom designs or symbols of their religious gods, the designs are rejected by businesses involved in such custom printing. This leads to either depend on expensive imported goods if available in market or avail such materials by tourists in relation travelling to Pakistan. This has greatly affected poor people belonging to minority community of Tharparkar who have one of biggest demand and market in this area but can't afford such mediums or sources.
Lohana, Mukhi, Rajput(Thakur), Suthar, Soni, Meghwar, Maharaj, Maheshwari, Goswami, Rabari, Bheel, Kolhi, Lohar, Kumbhar, Arbab, Khaskheli, Bajeer 
- Shri Ramapir Mandir
- Churrio Jabal Durga Temple at Nangarparkar-The historic Durga Mata Temple on the Churrio Jabal is visited annually by 200,000 pilgrims annually on Shivratri.
- Guri Mandir at Guri
- Krishna Mandar Kantio Tharparkar
- Nagarparkar temples
- Verijhap Dham (Sadah Shiv Dham) at Diplo
- Sant Nenuram Ashram at Islamkot
As per UNICEF report, Sindh has increased education sector expenditures by 90% from PKR 14.26 billion in 2011 to PKR 148 billion in 2015-16 however Tharparkar has very poor education status as specified in district profile report. Overall literacy rate (10 years and above) is 46% (male: 65% and female: 25%). Urban literacy rate is 69% (male: 81% and female: 54%) while rural literacy rate is 45% (male: 64% and female: 23%). Adult literacy rate (15 years and above) is 37%. Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) for primary level is 84% (male: 96% and female: 71%). For urban it is 105% (male: 118% and female: 92%) while rural has 84% (Male: 95%, Female: 70%). Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at the primary level is 52% (male: 57% and female: 47%). For urban it is 77% (male: 78% and female: 76%) while rural has 52% (male: 56% and female: 46%).
Total enrollment of students in the government schools is 221,203 (male: 125,189 and female: 96,014). Total teachers are 5,469 (male: 4,813 and female: 656). Total schools are 4,152 (boy's: 620, female: 629 and mixed gender 2,903) with average enrollment of 53 students and teaching staff of around 1 for every school. Student-teacher ratio is 40 (Primary: 41, Middle: 42, Secondary: 30, Higher Secondary: 46).
Tharparkar has total 4,010 schools which is the highest number of schools compared to all districts of Sindh as per School Education Statistics 2015-2016 published by Bureau of Statistics Sindh. These schools have 3,392 blackboards, 9,801 student chairs, 25,263 desk, 4,140 Teacher table, 7,997 Teacher chair, 2,237 fans, 2,566 Almirah and 291 Computers.
|Electricity||Washroom||Drinking Water||Boundary Wall||Laboratory||Library||Play Ground||School Management Committee|
Total primary level schools are 3,873 with total enrollments as 190,370 (male: 105,494 and female: 84,876). Total number of teachers are 4,625 (male: 4,057 and female: 568). Hence, on an average making enrollment of 49 students with teaching staff of 1 for every primary school. But student-class ratio is 42 and on average every school has 1 class room.
Total middle schools are 234 with total enrollments as 15,052 (male: 8,587 and female: 6,465). Total number of teachers are 362 (male: 344 and female: 18). Hence, on an average making enrollment of 64 students with teaching staff of 2 for every middle school. But student-class ratio is 31 and on average every school has 2 class rooms.
Total secondary schools are 40 with total enrollments as 12,130 (male: 7,833 and female: 4,297). Total number of teachers are 403 (male: 333 and female: 70). Hence, on an average making enrollment of 303 students with teaching staff of 10 for every secondary school. But student-class ratio is 42 and on average every school has 7 class rooms.
Total higher secondary schools are 5 with total enrollments as 3,651 (male: 3,275 and female: 376). Total number of teachers are 79 (male: 79 and female: 0). Hence, on an average making enrollment of 730 students with teaching staff of 16 for every higher secondary school. But student-class ratio is 42 and on average every school has 17 class rooms.
Till date no university with permanent campus is functional in Tharparkar.
There was a massive social media movement with #TharNeedsUniversity which became top trending topic during April 2019. It was demanding higher education for the deprived and largest region of Sindh.
In a wake for this social media movement on 19 June 2019, Murtaza Wahab in a tweet(social media post) shared a partial picture of a paper which specified(approval of) a new sub-campus to be established in Islamkot. However, no url or page (to refer entire agreement and other details) was shared anywhere at any official government portal or in NED university website's news archive. As per details specified in various news reports NED University of Engineering and Technology had announced establishing a new sub-campus at Islamkot with name as "Thar Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology". A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also inked between NED, SECMC and The Citizen Foundation (TCF) to commence classes at Thar Institute of Engineering, Sciences and Technology (TIEST) from same year(i.e. on 1 October 2019) for undergraduate programme i.e. BS (Computer Sciences). For the same, it was specified TIEST will initially be established at the TCF-Engro Campus Islamkot until permanent campus is constructed. The agreement was signed by Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi (CEO of SECMC), Syed Ghazanfar Hussain (Registrar of NED University) and Syed Asaad Ayub Ahmad (President and CEO of TCF).
As per reports and tweet(social media post) campus was to be setup at Islamkot but further reports came specifying Chief Minister of Sindh approved establishment of engineering institute over an area of 317 acres at Mithi for Rs. 1.5 billion as an initial cost and further more funds would be provided as required. Also, it was specified temporarily classes would begin in the building of Benazir Cultural Complex, Mithi with immediate release of Rs. 120 million for same. Again, neither any official government website published entire details about this project for public reference nor NED University published any of such details in the official website. Apart from this, the list of affiliated colleges of NED University also doesn't include or specify any campus from Tharparkar.
After several reports specifying situation of education emergency in Sindh, on 24 October Sindh's ruling party president inaugurated a temporary NED University campus in Mithi which was earlier proposed to begin classes by 1 October. The classes are specified to be conducted temporarily with only 1 course in Benazir Cultural Complex, Mithi until the actual campus in Islamkot is ready to begin. For the same no specific time frame has yet been specified or disclosed.
Culture and Tradition
Tharparkar is considered the most peaceful place in the entire country and known for its centuries old interfaith harmony. The culture of Tharparkar is considered as perfect example of pluralism and the tolerant Sufi culture of Sindh. Hindus fast and arrange Iftar dinners for the Muslim friends in the fasting month of Ramadan and in turn, although there is no prohibition by law but no cow is slaughtered in Tharparkar by Muslims towards respect for religious feelings of Hindus. Similarly, during the Navratri, the Muslims avoid non-vegetarian food and their Hindu friends in turn, during the period of Muharram, avoid any kind of celebration. Apart from this, lowest crime rates irrespective of poverty and unemployment level makes this region distinct in entire country.
Various festivals in Thar include:
Teejdi(known among Sindhis) also known as Teej or Kajari Teej is celebrated in Thar on Tritiya-Krishna Paksha of Bhadrapada. During this festival the women observe fast and also pray to the moon when it rises. While prayers to moon 5 leaves of Ak(2 below Pāda, 2 in īrmá and 1 on Śiraḥ ) are kept and Argh is offered. After the prayers, fast is broken by consuming some Argh and Sattu on another leaf of Ak. The fast is observed by married women for health of their husband while unmarried women pray for marital bliss.
Thadri festival is celebrated by Sindhis, one tithi before Krishna Janmasthmi during which cold (i.e. cooked a day ahead) and pro biotic foods like yogurt and pickle are consumed. Thadri reflectes a tribute to Sheetla Mata.
Cheti Chand is celebrated by Sindhi Hindus.It is the festival which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year for the Sindhi Hindus. It is celebrated on first day of the Sindhi month Chet (Chaitra).
Naurata is celebrated twice in a year by Sindhi Hindus in the honor of goddess Durga. The duration of this festival is nine nights (and ten days) which is marked by fasting and abstinence. The devotees with partial fast observe strict vegetarian diet during this holy festival. On Ashtami after the havan ritual or on Navami, devotees offer meal and kheer to nine young girls (considering them as nau mata avatars) following with gift of red chunri. During all nine nights the garba (dance around lighted lamps or an image of the Goddess, Durga) is performed. Ramlila is also performed with Ravana Dahan on Dussehra (tenth day).
Diyari (ڏياري , डियारी) is one of prominent Hindu festival celebrated eighteen days after the Dussehra festival. The five-day festival of lights begins with Dhanteras as the first day when females do Gau Puja which includes Sing Abhishek (ritual of applying kumkuma on sing) during which they feed laddu to Gau Mata. The next day is celebrated as Roop Choudas which involves female tradition of Shringar including application of kajal in the eyes. The third day is celebrated with Lakshmi Pujan. On the day of Lakshmi Pujan during the first Choghadiya of Amrut or Shubh or Labh, the ritual of Muhurt Chittan or Lakshmi Chittan (drawing directly on wall or on a paper hanging on wall of Puja Kaksh, a pointed bell-shaped door frame and Shri within it using twig of Neem or Ashoka and red colour prepared by mixture of kumkuma, raw milk and Ganga jal). During the same Choghadiya or in next Choghadiya of same types the puja is performed. Celebrants clean, renovate, and decorate homes and workplaces, purchase new clothing, home refurbishments, gifts, gold, jewellery. During this festival the temples, houses and shops are brightly illuminated with diyas. The youngers take blessings from elders in family, share gifts and sweets and light fireworks.
The duration of this festival is considered very auspicious and believed to give success in work beginning in this time. During this shubh muhurt many political events are exclusively organised in Tharparkar or across Pakistan. In 2015, during this festival in an political event organised in Tharparkar, a politician even being non-Hindu gave significance to this festival and explained the character of Ravana referring illustration from real life in present. In 2019, during this prominent Hindu festival several political parties across Pakistan have scheduled a nationwide anti-government march.
Major tourist destinations in Tharparkar district include:
Nagarparkar Jain Temples
Main article: Nagarparkar Jain Temples
These approximately 14 Jain temples along with Bhodesar Mosque are scattered throughout Nagarparkar taluka are inscribed on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage as the Nagarparkar Cultural Landscape. Buildings of these temples date from the 12th to the 15th centuries.
Parbrahma Dham / Verijhap Dham
Parbrahma Dham ( پاربرهم ڌام , पारब्रह्म धाम) also known as Verijhap Dham(ويڊيجپ ڌام , वेडीजप धाम) or Chhari Saheb Dham (ڇڙي صاحب ڌام , छड़ी साहेब धाम) at Diplo taluka is an ancient Shiva Temple considered as Jyotirlinga where thousands of yatris arrive for "Divya Jyot Darshan" (Divine Light View) from a Jar. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947 the migrated Hindus worship Chhari Saheb at Sadashiv Chhari Mandir, Kubernagar in Ahmedabad. However many devotees across the world arrive in Diplo during the annual "Parbrahma Jo Melo" or "Parbrahma Mela" held in Jeth(3rd Sindhi month).
Gadi Bhit is the highest elevation point of Mithi which is built on a sand hill giving panoramic view of entire town.
Churrio Jabal (چوڙيو جبل , चूडियों जबल) is a historic Durga Mata Temple on the Churrio hill which is visited annually by 200,000 pilgrims from Nepal, India and other countries annually on Shivratri. Hindus bring cremated ashes of their departed beloveds to immerse in the holy water. The valuable and multi-coloured hill supporting the temple is mined for its rare and expensive granite, which is posing a serious threat to the hill and this ancient Hindu temple.
Marvi Jo Khooh (Marvi's Well)
Sant Nenuram Ashram / Puranbharti Ashram
Sant Nenuram Ashram (سنت نيڻورام آشرم , संत नेनुराम आश्रम) also known as Puranbharti Ashram (پرڻڀارتي آشرم , पुरणभारती आश्रम) or Aakharo (آکاڊون , आखाडों) was established by Nihalchand Pabani(Neem Revolutionist) in Islamkot (also known as Neem Town or Sant Nenuram Nagri). The Ashram each day twice throughout year serves Bhandhara which is available for everyone. Daily large number of people from different caste, creed, race or religion avail this meal. Apart from this daily huge number of birds (especially Crows, Raven and Peacock) are fed Nukti-Bhujia in Ashram by devotees visiting the Ashram. An annual 3-day festival of Sant (Sant Jo Melo) is celebrated by thousands of devotees including both Hindus and Muslims. The annual festival is celebrated in Ashwina month of Hindu Calender beginning from Tritiya-Krishna Paksha(Andhari Teej) to Panchami-Krishna Paksha(Andhari Pacham).
Karoonjhar Mountains are located near Nagarparkar on the northern edge of the Rann of Kutch with approximately 19 km length and height of 305 m. It attracts more tourist and explorers after rains when beauty of nature is spread all over the region.
In general, Tharparkar district has 7 Talukas, 64 Union Councils (UCs), 172 Dehs and 2,365 villages. However, Tharparkar map in Figure 1 is based on map published by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics which differs from Tharparkar map used by National Disaster Management Authority as seen in a Tharparkar drought report. Similarly, as per Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Tharparkar has 7 Talukas/Tehsils but 4 Talukas/Tehsils as per Pakistan Citizen Portal (citizens grievance redressal system ranked 2nd in World Government Summit) as seen in a screenshot. Also as per Health facilities in Tharparkar report March 2019 by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs there are 4 Talukas/Tehsils in Tharparkar. Apart from this, the website of Pakistan State Oil, a Pakistani state-owned multinational petroleum corporation in a list of outlets for SSGC bill acceptance, enlists Tharparkar in two different ways i.e. as a city and also as district.
- Malanhore Veena
- Mithrio Bhatti
- Tar Ahmed
- Mithrio Charan
- Pirane Jo Par
- Jesse Jo Par
- Khario Ghulam Shah
- Sonal Beh
Drought, malnutrition, death of children, suicide, locust attack are very common in Tharparkar. Among these drought has been officially declared for at least 17 times till 2018.
At least (beginning from the month of May) for 6 months there has been reports of massive destruction due to locust attack. A report on same has also been published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
During such critical disaster time the homepage and contact us pages of official government (Sindh Agriculture Department) website shows error message of "Service not available". Apart from this, Ismail Rahoo (Provincial Minister of Sindh for Agriculture) has asked the people to eat these insects as a solution. Knowing the fact this region of Tharparkar is predominantly vegetarian, several media houses towards appreciation of such suggestion by agricultural minister are massively publishing tips and recipes exclusively referring about Tharparkar. However, none of media house across the nation has an detailed or exclusive report on massive destruction faced by people of Tharparkar due to this disaster which has been threat to their only source of livelihood. While the official government website is not functional and media house across the nation are preferring to share locust recipes (preferred by Chinese working in CPEC projects) rather than providing contact details of government authorities to be contacted during such disaster, Thari people are forced to engage their entire family including children (skipping schools) to drive out locust from farm fields throughout day and entire night (irrespective of danger from deadly snake bites in dark).
Meanwhile, rather than giving priority to relief measures or declaring emergency in such disaster the ruling party of the province has exclusively selected Tharparkar for carrying political campaign scheduled on 23 October. Just after such reports of anti-government campaign, the Prime Minister of Pakistan announced to launch Ehsaas Langar Scheme (free meal kitchens) in Tharparkar. It has also been specified that PM Imran Khan will personally inaugurate it in Tharparkar. Among these political adventures of provincial and federal government, people of Tharparkar are asking for anti-locust spray to safeguard their farms and efforts on it but they are being provided langar or khairaat (free food).
Chief Minister of Sindh confidently assured locust attack was not severe in the region. However, just before the event of anti-government Azadi March rally in Tharparkar on 23 October, locusts encroached the venue of public meeting.
Global warming effects are severely affecting this region. In an recent incident, over 30 people along with hundreds of animals have died just within 24 hours. Huge financial loss has occurred due to such lightning incident. The Deputy Commissioner has declared emergency and hospitals are on high alert in the district.
While the mainstream media is broadcasting live throughout day about anti-national and anti-government rally and avoiding coverage for century's deadliest disaster which has also killed officials from military and rangers along with locals in Tharparkar. MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh expressing sorrow over the incident and irresponsible behaviour of media said due to such ignorance by media, Sindh government neither initiated any helpline numbers for emergency contacts nor started any relief activities despite of a large number of casualties in this deadliest disaster of history. Governor Imran Ismail called Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to look into matter with high priority and assured to provide every possible assistance through federal government. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has assured to follow-up and update matter in co-ordination with local and provincial leadership of his party.
Sindh CM's Thar Damage Assessment Committee visited lightening affected areas of Tharparkar on 16 November 2019 and have assured to compensate every family of victims. While the Tharis expressed the concern that many poor don't have National Identity Card would be unable to avail claim towards which Mahesh Kumar Malani has assured he shall personally look after the matter and Malani House in Thar is always open for helping people of Thar. Senator Krishna Kumari after several days of incident on her Sunday weekend trip visited Thar to express grief. While several government authorities across Pakistan including Punjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar have expressed concern over century's deadliest disaster incident caused due to global warming in Thar, but even after several days no official statement has been made by Chinese officials or CPEC authorities over death of locals and Pakistani officers from military and rangers.
Several climate change activists have expressed this as biggest failure of United Nations and especially United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty which is lacking enforcement mechanisms. Such treaties and agreements are merely waste of money which is looted from global citizens. These are unable to help people who are endangered by climate change even after having live examples which are well documented with statistical data against them.
Even after 72 years more than 95% population in Thar are living in houses that lack entitlement of the property because no city survey is carried. There are several national and international organizations working in Thar including several bodies of United Nations. The most recent or last district survey was carried with help of USAID in 2014 but that report also did not mention this fact. The Census was conducted in 2017 but base of count of people and their houses in Thar is not clear. If criminals illegally acquire land or house by force or political power the locals can't claim it back since they have legally no proof to show that it belongs to them. This is also creating a hassle in property transactions besides impeding development planning. The matter is hanging in Sindh High Court since ages but nobody has time to resolve this issue which is prevailing since inception of Pakistan. In addition to it, a document worth Rs. 8 has TCEB ACT, 2011 which says no court shall have jurisdiction to grant any jurisdiction injunction or make any order or entertain any proceedings[Sec. 12(1)] and also several other strategic clause. So ultimately, petitioners can't expect anything from courts across Pakistan to look into this devasting factor of climate change which has destroyed Pakistani soil and killed Pakistanis including the military and rangers who forget their family and personal life to sagegaurd their nation.
Suicides have turned to be very common in the region of Thar. At least 59 people including 38 women and two children have killed themselves during the current year. In the year 2018 about 198 suicides were reported. The reasons cited are increasing poverty, and population displacements caused by coal mining projects.
In Pakistan, Tharparkar desert has largest number of NGOs compared to other two deserts i.e. Cholistan and Thal. In year 2019, government cancelled registration of 4,693 NGOs across Sindh (including 59 in Tharparkar) for violating the rules prescribed by the government.
|NGO working for Tharparkar||Baanhn Beli (website)|
|Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations|
|Health and Nutrition Development Society (website)|
|United Nations World Food Programme|
|Sami Foundation (website)|
|Sindh Agricultural and Forestry Workers Coordinating Organization (website)|
|International Organization for Migration|
|Sukaar Foundation (website)|
|United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees|
|The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)|
|Lead Against Marginality & Poverty (website)|
|United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)|
|Association For Water Applied Education & Renewable Energy (website)|
|Participatory Village Development Programme (website)|
|United Nation World Health Organization|
|National Commission for Human Development|
|Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund|
|Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (website)|
|Thardeep Rural Development Programme (website)|
|Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Children (SPARC)|
Famous in Tharparkar
In Tharparkar district, the peafowls hold great significance and are considered a part of identity, pride and heritage. They are found very commonly across this region. In early mornings they are seen roaming from one house roof to other and locals often offer them grains for feeding. During rainy days such frequency is higher. Peafowls also have great history in Thar. The peafowl of Thar once caught attention of Alexander the Great while he was passing through Sindh. Further, he sent this gift of nature to his mother. Since ancient times, peafowl has remained most integral part of designs and are seen in pottery, rallis and other handlooms and art works in Thar. Many artists, poets and singers from the land of Thar have emphasised peafowl in their work. A very famous Sindhi folk song "Mor Tho Tilley Rana" is one of such example. Peafowl is part of cultural heritage in Tharparkar.
Tharparkar cattle originating in Tharparkar district is a dual purpose breed known for both its milking and draught potential. It is also known as White or Gray Sindhi, Cutchi and Thari. As specified in several reports or articles:
"The Tharparkar came into prominence during the first World War when some animals were taken to supply milk for the Near East army camps. Here their capacity for production under rigorous feeding and unfavorable environmental conditions at once became apparent. Since then many breeding herds have been assembled in India and Pakistan. When left on arid pasture the milk production is approximately 1135 kg per lactation, while those animals maintained in the villages average 1980 kg."
Ralli are beautiful traditional quilts made by women in the Indus Region of the Indian subcontinent. The word Ralli is derived from the local word "ralanna" which means to mix or connect. Ralli are tradition since 4th millennium BC. On trade records from the early 1500s Ralli is listed as an export item to Europe. The tradition of Ralli has passed from mother to daughter for thousands of years. Irrespective of caste, religion, occupation and tribe thousands of women make Ralli. These women belong to under privileged and poor segment who consider it as their source of income. Women spent more than 170 hours for each of this art. Like a textile currency having a value, Ralli was used for exchange of valuable things in ancient Indus Valley Civilization. For Thari rural women, Ralli is vital source of entrepreneurship and skill development. In Tharparkar, Ralli with Peacock designs are very popular.
Kekra Truck (crab truck) is very common for the local transportation in Tharparkar. This truck is very suitable for sandy routes so it is also called 'Camel of Thar'. The truck is decorated with various designs and flowers. Since powerful Bedford engines of World War II are used in Kekras, the popularity of this truck is on the peak. Before the roads were constructed in Tharparkar, people along with their livestock and household items used to transport via Kekra. Now, with rise in road connectivity these trucks mostly transport the goods or general items. Modifications to the chassis are done to enhance the loading capacity. A typical Kekra truck is said to have capacity of 12,000 kg. Kekra trucks with traditional Thari decorations has become the tradition of transportation in Tharparkar district.
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In the 1965 war, Pakistan captured a large area of the Indian part of the Thar desert, and in 1971 India captured a large part of the Thar desert in Pakistan. Many UCs in Pakistani Thar were Hindu majority areas, and Pakistani Thar as a whole was dominated by the Hindu upper caste who controlled most of the productive land and livestock. They also dominated the politics of Thar and strictly enforced caste divisions, making upward social and economic mobility almost impossible for the Hindu lower castes. Their control over the caste system also ensured the maintenance of agriculture-related infrastructure through baigar (forced labour) and the protection of forests and pasture lands. Following the 1965 and 1971 wars, the Hindu upper castes and their retainers fled to India. As a result, the feudal institutions that managed agricultural production and the maintenance of infrastructure collapsed. This has had severe repercussions on the natural environment of Thar. In addition, the lower castes were freed from serfdom and to some extent from discrimination. Many of their members, as a result, have acquired education and are important professionals and NGO leaders. Apart from the migration of Hindus to India, 3,500 Muslim families moved from Indian Thar to Pakistani Thar. They were given 12 acres of land per family (a total of 42,000 acres), thus introducing another factor in the social and political structure of Thar and creating a new interest group.
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It was not 1947 but the Indo-Pak war of 1971 which proved to be the game changer on this part of the border, since it was then that Hindus from Sindh, worried about persecution in Pakistan, fled to India. The cross-border train service had already been stopped following the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, and resumed only in 2006. Hindu Singh Sodha, a 15-year-old at that time he fled Pakistan in 1971, has set up the Seemant Lok Sangathan, which has been fighting for citizenship rights for all Hindu refugees from Sindh. During the war, Muslims from this region also fled to Pakistan.
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Another woman, Amnat, a resident of Umerkot had a similar story to tell. She was married at the age of 17 and her husband took her to Pakistan. She is presently 60 years old. Her husband passed away 23 years ago. “My father Abdul Karim had also migrated from Rajasthan, India to Umerkot”. One of reasons is that his daughter lives in Sindh. Her father narrated to her that at the time of Pak-India wars, Muslims in the border’s districts were robbed, killed and harassed by the Indian army, hence he preferred to migrate to a Muslim country like Pakistan to avoid confrontation. She recalled that in the 1965 War between Pakistan and India; Kaprao, Konro, Boath, Vauri, Gahrr jo Tarr, Dedohar, Mate ka Talha, Bijhrar, and a number of other border villages were evacuated. Four persons were killed in the village of Kaprao by the Indian Army based on the allegations that they had been helping the Pakistan Army.
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