Multan (Punjabi: ਮਲਤਾਨ; Urdu: ملتان) is a capital city and district in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. It is located in the southern part of the province. Multan District has a population of over 3.8 million (according to 1998 census) and the city itself is the sixth largest within the boundaries of Pakistan. It is situated on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about 966 km from Karachi.
In 1817, Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent a body of troops to Multan under the command of Diwan Bhiwani Das to receive from Nawab Muzaffar Khan the tribute he owed to the Sikh Darbar. Bhiwani Das laid siege to the city, but failed to capture Multan. Maharaja Ranjit Singh planned a fresh expedition and sent a strong force under his son Kharak Singh's charge.
In 1818, Kharak Singh's armies lay around Multan without making much initial headway. Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent a large cannon named Zamzama along with Akali Phula Singh's Nihang regiment. The Zamzama was fired with effect and the gates of the city were blown in. Akali Phula Singh made a sudden rush and took the garrison by surprise. The Nawab stood in his way resolved to fight to death. Prince Kharak Singh left Jodh Singh Khalsa with 600 men to guard the fort of Multan.
The Sikhs thereafter ruled Punjab until 1849, losing it to the British in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. Multan had a significant Sikh population and influence until the Partition of India in 1947.
The majority of Multan's residents speak a language called Saraiki. Punjabi is the second most spoken language. The overwhelming majority of the people today are Muslim. Most of the residents speak Saraiki and Punjabi with a good portion of the people conversant in Urdu. English is understood by the educated.
As per the 1998 census of Pakistan, following are the demographics of the district:
Seraiki: 60.67% (39.29% in the city)
Punjabi: 21.64% (32.01% in the city)
Urdu: 15.86% (26.64% in the city)
- See Wikipedia article on Multan for more information