Which city is older, Multan or Pakpattan?
Multan has been recognized as a major urban and trade center since antiquity. You can fathom its age by the fact that Alexander The Great considered Multan to be important and pivotal enough to have his legion take it by storm. Historians as per current research and texts believe the ancient city to be at least 5000 Years old if not older.
However it is important to note that whenever excavations have been conducted for the purpose of archaeological study or for renovation of the old city walls, researchers stumble across ruins of structures that are constructively older. A greater level of deep archaeological projects has to be conducted in order to ascertain the true age or extent of this ancient city. Another point to note here is that Multan has been known more or less as Multan or Malithan or similar names throughout its history thus giving weight to the supposition that the city was never abandoned, sacked and burned to the ground but rather has successfully continued to exist to this day which in my opinion is no mean feat considering the massive damage sustained by its walls and surrounding structures during the Anglo Sikh wars of the mid 19th century. Mulraj ruled Multan during those times and his Sikh Garrison accidentally blew up the magazine thus leveling most of the wall and the city. Another aspect that Multan has reflected throughout the ages is its significance as a center of trade and commerce.
Even when seen from the perspective of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) Multan is a natural node city and connects Baluchistan and Sindh to the greater Subcontinent, a function it has been consistently performing since the days of old. Multan also has great religious significance as it houses various sufi shrines.
Pakpattan is indeed thought to be older than Multan however it wasnt known to the world as Pakpattan throughout its history nor has it been considered to be of cultural, military and commercial significance. Pakpattan has more or less been overshadowed by its neighbor Lahore which has always been and still is an important urban and trade center. However post partition its military significance due to its close proximity to the Indian border has more or less heightened its geographical significance. Pakpattan also has great religious significance due the number of Holy shrines located there.