By Nazar Abbas

Dates are one of the fruits with the highest nutritive value. 

There are over 80 premium breeds of dates found in Rahim Yar Khan but many of these types are becoming endangered due to encroachments on the date farms. Jajja Abbasian, known as date oasis, is located in Khan Pur at a distance of 13 kilometers towards Zahir Pir in the last district of Punjab, Rahim Yar Khan.

The district is famous for premium quality dates and its oasis and has a historical background as well. According to historical documents,  Mohammad bin Qasim and his forces stayed here for a lie-down on their way to conquer Multan.

This garden shows a lack of care resulting in the growth of weeds and grass. 

The forces carried dates among other dry fruits in line with an Arabian tradition. After the dates were eaten, the stones got scattered naturally. There emerged an oasis of over 80 different types of dates at the place of the camp as the land turned out to be encouraging for date palms. But now many of them are getting extinguished because of encroachments and lack of attention.

This small town of Rahim Yar Khan was once home to hundreds of date palm farms or gardens spread over thousands of acres. But these gardens are being deforested due to wild increase in population and lack of interest on the part of the government and some of the rare and superior species of date trees are being listed as a part of history with every passing day.

Some types of dates bear tons of fruit but they are increasingly threatened because of encroachments on date farms.  

Ahmed Zubair, a local social worker spoke to Pak Voices,  “If the government takes over these date palm gardens into its own custody a lot of rare species of date trees could be saved.” He further highlighted, “The dates’ produce of Jajja Abbasian bears a unique taste which cannot be found anywhere else.”

Denda, Laalu, Saron, Malok, Nali, Masri, Sokarr, Rorra, Qalaa, Basra, Tapasha, Sohara, Nasili, Nasil, Palal, Chichrra, Phoonda, Bholrren, Warrvi, Chhotarri, Saawarr, Dangal, Krarr, Asmani, Kanal, Kal Katani, Dhuweli, Sandoori, Khasi, and smaar among the eminent types of dates.

The dates of Rahim Yar Khan are not only sold across Pakistan but are also exported to other countries.

Date farms are being encroached upon by the growing population, which has affected the production of tasty dates. 

On their way, bin Qasim’s forces left a unique footprint of date palm oasis. These gardens or their relics can still be located along the river belt from Sindh to Multan in Pakistan.

The writer works as a citizen journalist for Pak Voices from Rahim Yar Khan.

Translated by Tariq Mahmood.