Sahiwal (Urdu: ساہیوال), formerly Montgomery, is a city located in the southeastern Punjab province of Pakistan on the Lower Bari Doab Canal and located some 180 kilometres from the city of Lahore. The archeological remains of Harappa, one of the ancient civilization on archeological evidence dated 3000 to 5000 B.C are located southwest of Sahiwal. The city was founded in 1865 and named for Sir Robert Montgomery, then lieutenant governor of the Punjab. It took its current name in 1966. The population is 207,388 (1998 Pakistan Census). It is approximately 500 ft. above sea level. It roughly forms a parallelogram lying generally NE-SW along the Ravi River. The dead River Khushak Bias separates it from the district of Pakpattan. On the eastern side, Okara District is situated. While on the district the boundaries of Khanewal and Vehari District and on the southern side is Pakpattan district. Sahiwal District is spread over an area of 3200 square kilometres and consists of 531 villages. The district comprises of two tehsils, Sahiwal and Chichawatni. Agriculture is important to the local economy, particularly the growing of cotton and grain. However, Sahiwal is famous for its cattle breeding, specially its water buffalo milk “Sahiwal” – and rightly so, the city takes it name from this proud possession which is very local to the area.
“Sahiwal” is the best dairy breed of zebu or humped cattle (Bos indicus), followed by the very similar Red Sindhi and Butana breeds in India and Pakistan. It is tick-resistant, heat-tolerant and noted for its high resistance to parasites, both internal and external. Cows average 2270 kg of milk during a lactation while suckling a calf and much higher milk yields have been recorded. Due to their heat tolerance and high milk production they have been exported to other Asian countries as well as Africa and the Caribbean. As oxen they are generally docile and lethargic, making them more useful for slow work. Their color can range from reddish brown through to the more predominant red, with varying amounts of white on the neck, and the underline. In males the color darkens towards the extremities, such as the head, legs and tails. The Sahiwal breed originated in the dry Punjab region which lies along the Indian-Pakistani border. They were once kept in large herds by professional herdsmen called “Janglies”.
The Sahiwal breed was taken to Australia via New Guinea in the early 1950s, where it was initially selected as a dual-purpose breed. It played a valuable role in the development of the two Australian tropical dairy breeds, the Australian Milking Zebu and the Australian Fresian Sahiwal. Sahiwals are now predominately used in Australia for beef production, as crossing high grade Sahiwal sires with Bos taurus animals produced a carcass of lean quality with desirable fat cover. Australians have so much affection for this special cow that in 2002 a cargo ship previously known as “Limousin Express” was renamed as the “Sahiwal Express”.
Beside cattle breeding, Sahiwal is also famous for its rich soil and agricultural produce of wheat. The cottage industry includes hand made rugs and carpets, which are class of their own.
This district has the distinct honour of being the birthplace of Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize winner, Dr Abdus Salam. Since he was brought up in Jhang, therefore it is erroneously assumed that he was also born there. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his achievements in the field of Theoretical Physics in 1979. He is buried at Rabwah city of Jhang district. One of the founding forefathers of modern Urdu, Majeed Amjad, was also born in Sahiwal and got his education from Govt. College Lahore. He was inspired by the greenery of Sahiwal and wrote about the trees. The family of famous Urdu/Punjabi poet, Munir Niazi (born in Khanpur Indian Punjab on April 9, 1927, migrated to Pakistan after the creation of Pakistan and settled in Sahiwal. Mushtaq Ahmed of Pakistani cricket also belongs to Sahiwal.