Pakistan Emergency Situational Analysis - District Sukkur, September 2014

Originally published


1. Background Information

1.1. Introduction

1.1.1. History

District Sukkur has been an important administrative unit that played an important role in the economy, trade and history of upper Sindh. Historically, Alexander invaded India in 326 BCE and the ruins of Greek invasion can still be seen in this district. The Arab invasion, led by Muhammad Bin Qasim, in 711 A.D, made Sindh part of the Umayyad Caliphate. Later on, this region was ruled by different dynasties, including the Soomras (1024-1351, the Arghuns (1520-1650), the Kalhoras (1657-1783) and the Talpurs (1783-1843). When Britain invaded the subcontinent, General Charles Napier, a commander in the British Army, defeated the Talpur dynasty and conquered Sindh in 18431.

There are different historical sources pertaining to the origin of name “Sukkur”. Some historians believe that Mohammad Bin Qasim, after passing through a thick forest, reached this hilly plain and uttered the word “Shukr” meaning thanks in Arabic, which was in time transformed into Sukkur. Some are of the view that the word has been taken from “Sukh”, meaning happiness. It is further argued that there was cultivation of sugarcane surrounding the place and it was therefore named “Shakker”, meaning sugar. Some are of the opinion that it is the degenerated form of Bakhar and B was changed into S. Another historian states that the old town of Sukkur was said to have been founded about 375 A.D by a Hindu Brahmin named Verbham (Birmanji) and was named after him. In 492 A.D, its name was changed to “Shukar” to perpetuate the memory of Birmanji’s death, which took place on a Friday, “Shukar” in Sanskrit. The name was gradually corrupted to Sukkur2 . Hence, there are many historical references about the name Sukkur and the authenticity of any of these is still unclear.

The Bristish contributed a lot towards the development of Sukkur. General Charles Napier was appointed as the first Governor General of Sindh. The province was divided into different administrative units and assigned to Zamindars (landlords) to collect taxes for the British government. The British government developed these areas as urban centers. Consequently,
People migrated from other districts and provinces as well and started to reside here. The British named these small developed areas as "Talukas". They built a network of roads, schools, dispensaries and many other civic amenities throughout the province. District Sukkur that was previously part of of Shikarpur district was constituted in 1901. Sukkur saw a significant socio-economic uplift after 1932, when the British government built Sukkur Barrage, on Indus River.

1.1.2. Geography

District Sukkur lies in 680 35” 30’ to 690 48” 0’ east longitudes and 270 04” 0’ to 280 02” 15’ north latitudes. This district is bounded by district Ghotki and India on the east, district Kashmore on the north, district Shikarpur on the north-west, and district Khairpur on the west and south. Indus River flows on the north-western side of this district. Sukkur is the narrowest part of the Indus River course.
The land cover structure of this district comprises of the irrigated croplands on the western and northern side and barren areas in the east. On the western and northern side of the district, due to Indus River, the plane lands are fertile and are ideal for cultivation. But on the eastern side, large tracks of barren lands are prevalent, particularly in the union councils of Tarai and Lal Juryo Khan Shambani. On the southern part of this district, both vegetation and barren lands can be seen.
The climate of this district is hot during summer while dry and cold in winter. During January, the temperature ranges from 7 °C to 22 °C. The summer temperature averages 35 °C though it often reaches up to 52°C. Generally, the summer season commences in March - April and ends before October. The average rainfall of the district is 88 mm, per annum (with monthly ranges ranges from 0.59 mm to 25.62 mm).