Ancient city of Bhanbhore: A South Asia gateway for Arab conquerors 

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This image shows the southern gate of Bhanbhore Fort which was used by Muhammad bin Qasim to enter the citadel in 711 CE. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)
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This image shows the southern gate of Bhanbhore Fort which was used by Muhammad bin Qasim to enter the citadel in 711 CE. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)
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A model of the trebuchet used by Muhammad Bin Qasim’s army while attacking the fort in the ancient Bhanbhore port city. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)
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A model of the fort displayed in Bhanbhore museum shows the gate from which Muhammad bin Qasim entered into the citadel in 711 CE. The model also depicts a boat carrying soldiers and a catapult that was used to attack the fort. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)
Updated 03 October 2019

Ancient city of Bhanbhore: A South Asia gateway for Arab conquerors 

  • The town was immortalized by an Umayyad general whose invasion of the settlement changed the course of history
  • Archaeologists say there are strong imprints of Arab Muslims in the area

BHANBORE, Sindh: Bhanbhore, an ancient city located about 65 kilometers east of Karachi, is said to have witnessed several political upheavals since its emergence in the first century BCE. Yet, the place was immortalized by an Arab general who changed the course of history by invading this town.
Long before the mighty Indus river meandered away from the settlement, forcing the residents of Bhanbhore to abandon their dwellings, Muhammad bin Qasim, an Umayyad warrior, defeated Sindh’s Brahmin ruler, Raja Dahar, in 711 CE and conquered large swathes of land. Today, Pakistan’s second busiest harbor, Port Qasim, is named after the Arab general.




This image shows the industrial unit where clothes were dyed. “This existence of industrial area, which still needs to be fully excavated, proves that Bhanbhore was an important industrial city in south Asia,” Saleem Palejo, a caretaker of the ancient fort, told Arab News on Sept 25, 2019. (AN Photo by SA Babar)

“The south gate of Bhanbhore Fort from which Muhammad bin Qasim entered the citadel was later called the ‘gateway of Islam’ in South Asia,” Qazi Asif, a researcher, told Arab News.
The first excavation survey of Bhanbhore was carried out by Sindh’s Department of Archaeology and Museums in 1965. More recently, the government launched another round of exploration in 2012 in collaboration with Italian and French missions in Pakistan.
The report detailing the latest findings is yet to be made public. However, a description of the site at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s website says: “The site has a sequence from the first century BC to the thirteenth century AD. Whilst its earlier phases are waterlogged, the site’s surface remains to represent the best-preserved early Islamic urban form in South Asia and the region’s best-preserved medieval port.”




Original brick tiles used in Bhanbhore’s Jamia Masjid. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)

There was no trace of a mehrab – a semicircular niche in a mosque wall indicating the direction of Kabah – but an inscription on a structure, dating to 727 CE, claims that it is the best-preserved example of an early mosque in the region, others having been rebuilt.
“The presence of the industrial sector and the port’s wealth of imported ceramic and metal goods, in combination with its strategic siting at the mouth of the Indus, reinforces the pivotal role of Bhanbhore linking the international Indian Ocean traders with the resources of the interior,” it adds.
Although a French archaeologist, Monique Kervran, says her findings of Bhanbhore confirm that Debal – ruled by Raja Dahar – and Bhanbhore are names of the same place, Dr. Asma Ibrahim, a Pakistani archaeologist, says her research unearthed an underwater city nearby that was most likely Debal.




An old well in Bhanbhore Fort. Photograph taken on Sept 25, 2019 (AN Photo by SA Babar)

“The excavation work is still to be carried at the [underwater] city some 12 kilometers from Bhanbhore in the sea where a panel of Kufic inscription – along with one big and one small mosque – has been found,” she told Arab News.
The outline of the underwater city, she added, could be observed between 6 am and 8 pm on the 20th and 21st of a lunar month.
Ibrahim, whose research is yet to be published, informed that the excavated material of glass from Bhanbhore confirmed that it was imported from the Middle Eastern since there was no kiln in this region in olden days.
“It was one of the major industrial and trade centers of the world,” she said, adding: “While the archaeological sites in Bhanbhore await more excavation, there are strong imprints of Arab Muslims.”


Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

Updated 09 December 2019

Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

  • Patrolling operations on respective sides are conducted by respective forces, military spokesman says
  • Last month, army chief visited Tehran for security talks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesperson on Monday rejected media reports suggesting that Pakistani and Iranian security forces conducted joint border patrolling.
“News published by Dawn today ('Pak-Iran Forces jointly conduct border patrolling') is factually incorrect,” Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said in a tweet.
He added that “there is no joint patrolling anywhere on Pakistani borders” as “patrolling operations if required are always on respective sides by respective forces through coordination.”

The English-language daily reported earlier on the day that Pakistan and Iran had conducted another joint patrol on the border near Taftan town in Chagai district, Balochistan.
Soon after Ghafoor's comment, Dawn's editor Zaffar Abbas clarified that “the confusion was caused by the official news agency APP, as the picture caption said ‘joint patrolling.’ Radio Pak also tweeted the same. But we will be carrying out correction in light of your statement.”

Border security has long been a major cause of distrust in Pakistan-Iran relations. 
In April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that the two countries would form a joint quick-reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, following a deadly attack on Pakistani security personnel on the coastal highway in southwestern Balochistan, where 14 soldiers lost their lives.
On Nov. 18, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Tehran for security talks with Iran's political leadership and military leadership.
In May this year, Pakistan began the fencing of certain areas along the 950-kilometer border it shares with Iran.