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In the nineteenth century, Arifwala was only a village named as Chak No. 61/EB. Later, it was called Arifwala because of a Sufi Saint, "Arif Baba", who stayed in the village. His Mazar can be seen in the graveyard near the Railway Station. In 1908, the Deputy Governor "Hurbert" founded new city of Arifwala. In 1987, Arifwala was raised to the status of sub-division and in 1995 it was attached to district Pakpattan.
Most of the population are farmers; about 75% of the population live in villages and only 25% live in the municipal urban area. But the trend is shifting with the increase of industrialization in the premises of Arifwala and people are moving to the urban area. Arifwala Tehsil covers an area of 295,146 acres (5 km2) with a population of about 720,000. The urban area covers 457 acres (1.82 km2) and the agriculture area covers 1274 acres (3.18 km²).
Agriculture is important to the local economy, particularly the growing of cotton, grain, potato, wheat, and rice exported all over Pakistan and around the world. The grain market of Arifwala is one of the biggest grain markets in Pakistan. But the advanced way of agriculture, which is called Tunnel Farming, is on peak. Now it is the big source of economy in this area. Farmers here grow different kinds of vegetables which are also exported all over Pakistan.
Industry of Arifwala city is primarily an Agro-based. The main industries include Beverage & Food processing units, Rice Mills, Cotton Ginning & Pressing, Flour Mills, Fertilizer companies, Vegetable Ghee & Cooking Oil, Poultry Feed, Seed Processing, and leather products.
The climate of Arifwala is extreme, reaching 50 °C in summer, and down to 0 °C in winter. The soil of the suburbs is very fertile.
Ahmad Health Complex is a Pakistan-based non-governmental, unbiased & not for profit organisation, registered under the social welfare act 1961, working since 1991, for the welfare of mankind, in order to fulfill the basic health needs of the area in a very civilized & organised manners for the people of Airfwala & nearby towns. The organisation is contributing towards the development of beloved land by means of providing basic health services & health related awareness. The organisation is facilitating the population of 100–150 km area & aims to flourish throughout the country. Quality control management ensures International Standards.
AHC running projects:
- Haemodialysis unit
- Old age Home
- Cardiology (Heart) ward
- Eye ward
- Facilitated Laboratory
- Ambulance Service
- Gynecology ward
- Facilitated Operation Theatre
Ahmad Health Complex is the only hospital in the Town which is facilitated enough to attend the patients of haemodialysis from the day first, seven haemodialysis units are working effectively and facilitating the population of Arifwala, Qaboola, Burawala, Bahawalnagar, Kameer market, and a number of villages for a decade.
Educational Institutions in Arifwala are doing satisfactory job although the no. of quality institutes aren't high in number. "Government Degree College for Boys Arifwala" "Usman Educational Complex Ahmad Yar Arifwala" and "Government Degree College for Women Arifwala" are the biggest institutes in Tehsil Arifwala.
Arifwala houses several public and private schools of quality, including these few:
- Bright Future Computer Academy Arifwala
- Allied School
- New Beaconhouse Public High School, Arifwala
- Govt High School, Arifwala
- Govt MC High School, Arifwala
- Misali Zikria High Secondary School, Arifwala
- Jinnah Educational Complex High Secondary School, Arifwala
Colleges & Universities
Arifwala houses few colleges. These include:
- Govt. Degree College for Boys Arifwala
- Govt. Degree College for Women Arifwala
- Virtual University Arifwala Campus
- Comsats University Arifwala Campus
- South Asian University Arifwala Campus
- National College Arifwala
- Superior Group of Colleges Arifwala
- Suffa Educational Complex Arifwala
- Punjab Group of Colleges Arifwala
- ROYAL Education & Law College Arifwala
- "Tehsils & Unions in the District of Pakpattan". Government of Pakistan. Retrieved 24 October 2012.