XXXI Corps

XXXI Corps, headquartered at Bhawalpur [also reported as headquartered at Pannu Aquil], consists of two holding Infantry Divisions. One of these divisions is apparenty 37 Infantry Division, while the other is either 33 or [less probably] 40 Infantry Division. Sources generally agree that the Corps is supported by two independent brigades, but there is considerable divergence as to the composition of these two brigades. Several sources suggest at least one Mechanised Infantry Heavy Anti Tank Brigade, as well as possibly one other Independent Brigade Group. At least one source claims an Independent Armored Brigade and an Artillery Brigade.

XXXI Corps was formed in 1986-87 from elements previously assigned to II Corps, which became a Reserve/Strike Corps, with the II Corps area of the front with India being transferred to the new XXXI Corps.

As of early 2001 it was reported that 37 Infantry Division had shifted from Bhawalpur to Sukkur. It had the responsibility for Sukkur-Rahim Yar Khan. This move threw open the area between Rahim Yar Khan and Fort Abbas, which would have to be covered by raising one more division. At that time, 33 Infantry Division was reported as likely to be moved from Bhawalpur, and could be employed for local offensive or provide depth to 37 Infantry division in the region of Sukkur-Rahim Yar Khan or along the Islamgarh-Kishengarh axis.

     City Latitude Longitude
XXXI Corps Bhawalpur [Pannu Aquil ?] ____'N ____'E
13th Ind Armored BDE U/I Location ____'N ____'E
101st Ind BDE Group U/I Location ____'N ____'E
33rd Infantry Division Bhawalpur(?) ____'N ____'E
37th Infantry Division Sukkur ____'N ____'E

Bahawalpur is a city of (1998 pop. 403,408) located in Bahawalpur District, Punjab Pakistan. Saraiki is the local language of the area. Urdu and English are also spoken by the people. Bahawalpur is located south of the Sutlej River and it lies in the Cholistan region. It is situated 90 km from Multan, 420 km from Lahore and about 700 km from the national capital Islamabad. It was the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur.

The city was founded in 1748 by Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi I, whose descendants ruled the area until it joined Pakistan in 1947. The Bahawalpur (princely state) was one of the largest states of British India, more than 450 kilometers long, and was ruled by Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V Bahadur, who decided to join Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947.

The Royal House of Bahawalpur is said to be of Arabic origin and claim descent from Abbas, progenitor of the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad and Cairo. Sultan Ahmad II, son of Shah Muzammil of Egypt left that country and arrived in Sind with a large following of Arabs ca. 1370. He married a daughter of Raja Rai Dhorang Sahta, receiving a third of the country as a dowry. Amir Fathu'llah Khan Abbasi, is the recognized ancestor of the dynasty. He conquered the Bhangar territory from Raja Dallu, of Alor and Bahmanabad, renaming it Qahir Bela. Amir Muhammad Chani Khan Abbasi entered the imperial service and gained appointment as a Panchhazari in 1583. At his death, the leadership of the tribe was contested between two branches of the family, the Daudputras and the Kalhoras. Amir Bahadur Khan Abbasi abandoned Tarai and settled near Bhakkar, founding the town of Shikarpur in 1690. Daud Khan, the first of his family to rule Bahawalpur, originated from Sind where he had opposed the Afghan Governor of that province and was forced to flee. The Nawab entered into Treaty relations with the HEIC, 22nd February 1833.

Saadat Khan was the younger son of Nawab Bahawal Khan, and according to the will of his father, he succeeded to the Chief ship of the State at the close of 1851, when his father died. Haji Khan, the eldest son of the deceased Nawab, who was supported by the Daud putras, having expelled the younger brother, ascended the masnad of Chiefship, and Saadat Khan was brought to Lahore, and placed under arrest in the fort. He died while in custody in the Samman Burj, in 1862, and was buried there.

Bahawulpur, or Bahawulpoor, or Bhawalpur, a feudatory state of N.W. India, was under the political jurisdiction of the lieutenant-governor of the Punjab. It occupied an area of 22,000 square miles. The capital, Bhawalpur, is on the Ghara, about 60 miles above its junction with the Chenab. Bahawulpur stretched for more than 300 M. along the left bank of the Sutlej, the Punjnud and the Indus . It was bounded on the N. and E. by Sind and the Punjab, and on the S. by the Rajputana desert . It was the principal Mahommedan state in the Punjab, ranking second only to Patiala . Bahawalpur is a remarkably level country, there being no considerable eminence within its limits, as the occasional sand-hills, seldom exceeding 5o or 6o ft. in height, cannot be considered exceptions. The cultivable part extended along the river line. In the sandy part of the desert beyond this strip of fertility both men and beasts, leaving the beaten path, sink as if in loosesnow . Here, too, the sand is raised into ever-changing hills by the force of the wind sweeping over it . In those parts of the desert which have a hard level soil of clay, a few stunted mimosas, acacias and other shrubs are produced, together with rue, various bitter and aromatic plants, and occasionally tufts of grass . Much of the soil of the desert appears to be alluvial; there are numerous traces of streams having formerly passed over it, and still, where irrigation was at all practicable, fertility in the clayey tract follows; but the rains are scanty.

The state acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan on 7th October 1947 and was merged into the province of West Pakistan on 14th October 1955.

Bahawalpur has only one railroad bridge, the Adamwahan (Empress) Bridge, over the Sutlej River, and also has rail links with Peshawar and Karachi making it an important rail centre. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural, which allows agricultural exports to many parts of the world. There is also a large market town for mangoes, dates, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton that bring in continuous demand all year round. In addition, it has soap making and cotton spinning factories, as well as enterprises producing silk and cotton textiles, carpets, and pottery. Bahwalpur has also sugar mill near a drive of 40 mins.

East of Bahawalpur is the Cholistan Desert which covers an area of about 15,000 square km and extends into the Thar Desert of India. The region was once watered by the Hakra River, known as the Saravati in vedic times. At one time there were 400 forts in the area and archaeological finds around the Darawar Fort, the only place with a perennial waterhole, indicate that it was contemporaneous with the Indus Valley Civilisation. The average annual rainfall is only 12 cm, and the little cultivation there is, is made possible by underground wells, drawn up by the camels. The water is stored in troughs, built by the tribes, between sandhills and din waterholes called tobas. The people are racially similar to those in Rajasthan - tall, with sharp features. They live in large, round, mud and grass huts, usually built on the top of sandhills. On the whole, they are pastoral and nomadic.

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