The founder of the state of Bahawalpur was Nawab Bahawal Khan Abbasi I. The Abbasi family ruled over the State for more than 200 years (1748 to 1954). During the rule of the last Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V, Bahawalpur State was merged with Pakistan in 1954. Bahawalpur was formerly the capital of the state and now is the District and Divisional Headquarters of Bahawalpur Division. It is an important marketing centre for the surrounding areas and is located on the crossroads between Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi. Saraiki is the local language of the area. Urdu, Punjabi and English are also spoken and understood by most of the people.