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Azad Jammu and Kashmir ( ur, , translit=āzād jammū̃ o kaśmīr, translit-std=IAST, ), abbreviated as AJK and colloquially referred to as simply Azad Kashmir, is a region administered by
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
as a nominally self-governing entitySee: * * * and constitutes the western portion of the larger
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...

Kashmir
region, which has been the
subject of a dispute
subject of a dispute
between
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and Pakistan since 1947.The application of the term "administered" to the various regions of
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...

Kashmir
and a mention of the Kashmir dispute is supported by the tertiary sources (a) and (b), reflecting due weight in the coverage:
(a) (subscription required) Quote: "Kashmir, region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent ... has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The northern and western portions are administered by Pakistan and comprise three areas: Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, and Baltistan, the last two being part of a territory called the Northern Areas. Administered by India are the southern and southeastern portions, which constitute the state of Jammu and Kashmir but are slated to be split into two union territories. China became active in the eastern area of Kashmir in the 1950s and has controlled the northeastern part of Ladakh (the easternmost portion of the region) since 1962.";
(b) C. E Bosworth, University of Manchester Quote: "KASHMIR, kash'mer, the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent, administered partlv by India, partly by Pakistan, and partly by China. The region has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan since they became independent in 1947";
The territory shares a border to the north with
Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (; , Balti language, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constitutes the no ...

Gilgit-Baltistan
, together with which it is referred to by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
and other international organizations as "
Pakistani-administered Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. T ...
". Azad Kashmir also shares borders with the Pakistani provinces of
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...

Punjab
and
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (; ps, خیبر پښتونخوا; ), often abbreviated as KP or KPK and formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province, is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. It is located in the Geo ...

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
to the south and west, respectively. On its eastern side, Azad Kashmir is separated from the Indian
union territory #REDIRECT Union territory #REDIRECT Union territory#REDIRECT Union territory A union territory ( hi, script=latn, kendraśāsit pradeś, , centrally administered province) is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administ ...
of
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
(part of
Indian-administered Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range ...
) by the Line of Control (LoC), which serves as the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' border between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. Geographically, the administrative territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (which excludes Gilgit-Baltistan) covers a total area of and has a total population of 4,045,366 as per the 2017 national census. The territory has a parliamentary form of government modelled after the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...

British
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
, with the city of
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
serving as its
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
. The President of AJK is the constitutional
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
, while the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, supported by a
Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. The term is usually equivalent to the word " cabinet" ( Council of State is a similar term that also may refer to a Cabinet. However, the terms ...

Council of Ministers
, is the chief executive. The unicameral
Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly The Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, also known as AJK Legislative Assembly, is a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parli ...
elects both the Prime Minister and President. The territory has its own
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
and a
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...
, while the
Government of Pakistan The Government of Pakistan ( ur, , translit=hakúmat-e pákistán) abbreviated as GoP, is a federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group ...
's Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a link between itself and Azad Jammu and Kashmir's government, although the autonomous territory is not represented in the
Parliament of Pakistan The Parliament of Pakistan ( ur, , literally "Pakistan advisory council" or "Pakistan consultative assembly") is the federal and supreme legislative body of Pakistan. It is a bicameralism, bicameral federation, federal legislature that consis ...
. Northern Azad Kashmir lies in a region that experiences strong vibrations of the earth as a result of the
Indian plate The Indian Plate or India Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the Equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana and began moving north. ...
under thrusting the
Eurasian plate The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is ...
. A major earthquake in 2005 killed at least 100,000 people and left another three million people displaced, causing widespread devastation to the region's infrastructure and economy. Since then, with help from the Government of Pakistan and
foreign aid In international relations, aid (also known as international aid, overseas aid, foreign aid, economic aid or foreign assistance) is – from the perspective of governments – a voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another. ...
, reconstruction of infrastructure is underway. Azad Kashmir's economy largely depends on agriculture, services, tourism, and remittances sent by members of the British Mirpuri community. Nearly 87% of Azad Kashmiri households own farm property, and the region has the highest rate of school enrolment in Pakistan and a literacy rate of approximately 72%.


Name

''Azad Kashmir'' (Free Kashmir) was the title of a pamphlet issued by the Muslim Conference party at its 13th general session held in 1945 at Poonch. It is believed to have been a response to the National Conference's ''Naya Kashmir'' (New Kashmir) programme. Sources state that it was no more than a compilation of various resolutions passed by the party. But its intent seems to have been to declare that the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir were committed to the
Muslim LeagueMuslim League may refer to: Political parties Subcontinent ; British India *All-India Muslim League, Mohammed Ali Jinah, led the demand for the partition of India resulting in the creation of Pakistan. **Punjab Muslim League, a branch of the organi ...
's struggle for a separate homeland (Pakistan), and that the Muslim Conference was their sole representative organisation. However, the following year, the party passed an "Azad Kashmir resolution" demanding the Maharaja to institute a Constituent Assembly elected on an extended franchise. According to scholar Chitralekha Zutshi, the organisation's declared goal was to achieve responsible government under the aegis of the Maharaja, without association with either India or Pakistan. The following year, the party workers assembled at the house of
Sardar Ibrahim Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (22 April 1915 – 31 July 2003) was the key instigator of the 1947 Poonch Rebellion In Spring 1947, an uprising against the Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir broke out in the Poonch jagir, an area ...
on 19 July 1947 reversed the decision, demanding that the Maharaja accede to Pakistan. Soon afterwards, Sardar Ibrahim escaped to Pakistan and led the Poonch rebellion from there with the assistance of Pakistan's prime minister
Liaquat Ali Khan Nawab#Nawabzada, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan (''Navābzādā Liāqat Alī Khān'' , ur, ; October 1895 – 16 October 1951), widely known as Quaid-e-Millat (Leader of the Nation) and ''Shaheed-e-Millat'' ( ur, links=no, Martyr of the Natio ...

Liaquat Ali Khan
and other officials. Liaquat Ali Khan appointed a committee headed by
Mian Iftikharuddin Mian Iftikharuddin ( ur, میاں افتخارددیں; 8 April 1907 – 6 June 1962) was a Pakistani politician, activist of the Indian National Congress and the first president of the Punjab Muslim League who later joined the All-India Muslim Le ...

Mian Iftikharuddin
to draft a "declaration of freedom". On 4 October an Azad Kashmir provisional government was declared in Lahore with Ghulam Nabi Gilkar as president under the assumed name "Mr. Anwar" and Sardar Ibrahim as the prime minister. Gilkar travelled to Srinagar and was arrested by Maharaja's government. Pakistani officials subsequently appointed Sardar Ibrahim as the president.


Geography

The northern part of Azad Jammu and Kashmir encompasses the lower area of the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ar ...

Himalayas
, including Jamgarh Peak (). However, Sarwali Peak(6326 m) in
Neelum Valley The Neelum District or Neelam District ( ur, ) is the northernmost of 10 districts located within the Pakistan, Pakistani-administered territory of Azad Kashmir. Taking up the larger part of the Neelam Valley, the district has a population of a ...

Neelum Valley
is the highest peak in the state. The region receives rainfall in both the winter and the summer.
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
and Pattan are among the wettest areas of Pakistan. Throughout most of the region, the average rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, with the highest average rainfall occurring near Muzaffarabad (around 1800 mm). During the summer season, monsoon floods of the rivers
Jhelum Jhelum ( ur, , ) is a city on the right bank of the Jhelum River , name_other = Hydaspes, Bidaspes, Vitastā, Bihat, Wihat, Bihatab, Biyatta, Jailam , image = Jhelum River-Pakistan.jpg , image_size = , im ...

Jhelum
and Leepa are common due to extreme rains and snow melting.


History

At the time of the
Partition of India The partition of India was the division of British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcon ...

Partition of India
in 1947, the British abandoned their
suzerainty Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized soci ...
over the
princely states A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state A vassal state is any state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State ...
, which were left with the options of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent.
Hari Singh Maharaja Sir Hari Singh (23 September 1895 – 26 April 1961) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), Jammu and Kashmir. Hari Singh was the son of Amar Singh and Bhotiali Chib. In 1923, foll ...

Hari Singh
, the
maharaja Mahārāja (; also spelled Maharajah, Maharaj) is a Sanskrit title for a "great ruler", "great Monarch, king" or "high king". A few ruled mighty states informally called empires, including ruler raja Sri Gupta, founder of the ancient Indian ...
of Jammu and Kashmir, wanted his state to remain independent. Muslims in Western Jammu province (current day Azad Kashmir) and the Frontier Districts Province (current day
Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (; , Balti language, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constitutes the no ...

Gilgit-Baltistan
) had wanted to join
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. In Spring 1947, an uprising against the Maharaja broke out in Poonch, an area bordering the
Rawalpindi division Rawalpindi Division is an administrative division of Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab Province, Pakistan. Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi city is the capital of the division. According to the 2017 Census of Pakistan, the total population of division was 10 million ...
of
West Punjab West Punjab ( pnb, ; ur, ) was a province of Pakistan from 1947 to 1955. The province covered an area of 205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi), including much of the current Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab province and the Islamabad Capital Territory, but ex ...
. Maharaja's administration is said to have started levying punitive taxes on the peasantry which provoked a local revolt and the administration resorted to brutal suppression. The area's population, swelled by recently demobilised soldiers following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, rebelled against the Maharaja's forces and gained control of almost the entire district. Following this victory, the pro-Pakistan chieftains of the western districts of
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...
, Poonch and Mirpur proclaimed a provisional Azad Jammu and Kashmir government in Rawalpindi on October 3, 1947. Ghulam Nabi Gilkar, under the assumed name "Mr. Anwar," issued a proclamation in the name of the provisional government in
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
. However, this government quickly fizzled out with the arrest of Anwar in Srinagar. On October 24, a second provisional government of Azad Kashmir was established at
Palandri Pallandri, also spelled Palandri ( ur, ), originally Pulandari, is a Tehsil A tehsil also known as tahsil, taluka, or taluk) is a local unit of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country su ...
under the leadership of
Sardar Ibrahim Khan Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (22 April 1915 – 31 July 2003) was the key instigator of the 1947 Poonch Rebellion In Spring 1947, an uprising against the Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir broke out in the Poonch jagir, an area ...
. On October 21, several thousand
Pashtun Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto language, Pashto/Persian language, Persian: ) refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that countr ...

Pashtun
tribesmen from
North-West Frontier Province , conventional_long_name = North-West Frontier Province , common_name = NWFP , nation = British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of Bri ...
poured into Jammu and Kashmir to liberate it from the Maharaja's rule. They were led by experienced military leaders and were equipped with modern arms. The Maharaja's crumbling forces were unable to withstand the onslaught. The raiders captured the towns of Muzaffarabad and
Baramulla Baramulla (), known as Varmul ( ) in Kashmiri language, Kashmiri, is a city and a municipality in the Baramulla district in the Indian States and territories of India, union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. ...

Baramulla
, the latter northwest of the state capital
Srinagar Srinagar (English: , ) is the largest city and the summer capital A summer capital is a city used as an administrative capital during extended periods of particularly hot ummerweather. The term is mostly of relevance in a historical context ...

Srinagar
. On October 24, the Maharaja requested military assistance from India, which responded that it was unable to help him unless he acceded to India. Accordingly, on October 26, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed an
Instrument of Accession The Instrument of Accession was a legal document first introduced by the Government of India Act 1935 The Government of India Act, 1935 was an Act of Parliament, Act adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It originally receive ...
, handing over control of defence, external affairs and communications to the Government of India in return for military aid. Indian troops were immediately airlifted into Srinagar. Pakistan intervened subsequently. Fighting ensued between the Indian and Pakistani armies, with the two areas of control more or less stabilised around what is now known as the "
Line of Control The Line of Control (LoC) is a military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which does not constitute a legally recogni ...
". India later approached the United Nations, asking it to resolve the dispute, and resolutions were passed in favour of the holding of a plebiscite with regard to Kashmir's future. However, no such plebiscite has ever been held on either side, since there was a precondition which required the withdrawal of the Pakistani Army along with the non-state elements and the subsequent partial withdrawal of the Indian Army. from the parts of Kashmir under their respective control – a withdrawal that never took place. In 1949, a formal cease-fire line separating the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir came into effect. Following the 1949 cease-fire agreement with India, the government of Pakistan divided the northern and western parts of Kashmir that it controlled at the time of cease-fire into the following two separately-controlled political entities: * Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) – the narrow, southern part, long, with a width varying from . *
Gilgit–Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English as , ...
formerly called the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) – the much larger political entity to the north of AJK with an area of . At one time under Pakistani control, Kashmir's Shaksgam tract, a small region along the northeastern border of Gilgit–Baltistan, was provisionally ceded by Pakistan to the People's Republic of China in 1963 and now forms part of China's
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
Uygur Autonomous Region. In 1972, the then current border between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Kashmir was designated as the "
Line of Control The Line of Control (LoC) is a military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which does not constitute a legally recogni ...
". This line has remained unchanged since the 1972
Simla Agreement The Simla Agreement, or Shimla Agreement, was signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972 in Shimla, the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It followed from the Bangladesh Liberation War, Bangladesh Liberation war in ...
, which bound the two countries "to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations". Some political experts claim that, in view of that pact, the only solution to the issue is mutual negotiation between the two countries without involving a third party such as the United Nations. The 1974 Interim Constitution Act was passed by the 48-member Azad Jammu and Kashmir unicameral assembly.


Government

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is nominally a self-governing state, but ever since the 1949 ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani forces, Pakistan has exercised control over the state without actually incorporating it into Pakistan. Azad Kashmir has its own elected
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
,
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
,
legislative assembly Legislative assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. ...
,
high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...

high court
(with Azam Khan as its present chief justice), and . Azad Kashmir's financial matters, i.e., budget and tax affairs, are dealt with by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council rather than by Pakistan's Central Board of Revenue. The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council is a supreme body consisting of 14 members, 8 from the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 6 from the government of Pakistan. Its chairman/chief executive is the prime minister of Pakistan. Other members of the council are the president and the prime minister of Azad Kashmir (or and individual nominated by her/him) and 6 members of the AJK Legislative Assembly. Azad Kashmir Day is celebrated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on October 24, which is the day that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government was created in 1947. Pakistan has celebrated on February 5 of each year since 1990 as a day of protest against
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
's ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' sovereignty over its State of
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
. That day is a national holiday in Pakistan. Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir observe the Kashmir Black Day on October 27 of each year since 1947 as a day of protest against military occupation in Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir. Brad Adams the Asia director at the U.S.-based
NGO A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first ...

NGO
Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an that is, generally, formed independent from . They are typically s, and many of them are active in or t ...
has said in 2006; "Although 'azad' means 'free,' the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but, the Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir government with tight controls on basic freedoms." Scholar
Christopher Snedden Christopher Snedden is an Australian Political science, political scientist, politico-strategic analyst, academic researcher and author. He is best-known for his research and publications on the long-running Kashmir conflict between India and Pakist ...
has observed that despite tight controls the people of Azad Kashmir have generally accepted whatever Pakistan has done to them, which in any case has varied little from how most Pakistanis have been treated (by Pakistan). According to
Christopher Snedden Christopher Snedden is an Australian Political science, political scientist, politico-strategic analyst, academic researcher and author. He is best-known for his research and publications on the long-running Kashmir conflict between India and Pakist ...
, one of the reasons for this was that the people of Azad Kashmir had always wanted to be a part of Pakistan. Consequently, having little to fear from a pro-Pakistan population devoid of options, Pakistan imposed its will through the Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and failed to empower the people of Azad Kashmir, allowing genuine self-government for only a short period in the 1970s. The Interim Constitution of the 1970s only allows the political parties that pay allegiance to Pakistan: "No person or political party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir shall be permitted... activities prejudicial or detrimental to the State's accession to Pakistan." The pro-independence
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is a political organization active in both the India, Indian-administered and Pakistan, Pakistani-administered territories of Kashmir. It was founded by Amanullah Khan (JKLF), Amanullah Khan, with Maqboo ...
has never been allowed to contest elections in Azad Kashmir. While the Interim Constitution does not give them a choice, the people of Azad Kashmir have not considered any option other than joining Pakistan. Except in the legal sense, Azad Kashmir has been fully integrated into Pakistan.


Development

According to the project report by the
Asian Development Bank The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center Ortigas Center is a central business district A central business district (CBD) is the commercial ...

Asian Development Bank
, the bank has set out development goals for Azad Kashmir in the areas of health, education, nutrition, and social development. The whole project is estimated to cost US$76 million.
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
, between 2006 and 2014, has also donated $38 million towards the AJK Health Infrastructure Programme.


Administrative divisions

The state is administratively divided into three
divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and multi ...
which, in turn, are divided into ten
districts A district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic ...
.


Climate

The southern parts of Azad Kashmir including Bhimber, Mirpur and Kotli districts has extremely hot weather in summers and moderate cold weather in winters. It receives rains mostly in
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology ...

monsoon
weather. In the central and northern parts of state weather remains moderate hot in summers and cold and chilly in winter. Snow fall also occurs there in December and January. This region receives rainfall in both winters and summers.
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
and Pattan are among the wettest areas of the state, but they don't receive snow. Throughout most of the region, the average rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, with the highest average rainfall occurring near Muzaffarabad (around 1800 mm). During summer, monsoon floods of the
Jhelum Jhelum ( ur, , ) is a city on the right bank of the Jhelum River , name_other = Hydaspes, Bidaspes, Vitastā, Bihat, Wihat, Bihatab, Biyatta, Jailam , image = Jhelum River-Pakistan.jpg , image_size = , im ...

Jhelum
and Leepa rivers are common, due to high rainfall and melting snow.


Demographics


Population

The population of Azad Kashmir, according to the preliminary results of the 2017 Census, is 4.45 million. The website of the AJK government reports the literacy rate to be 74%, with the enrolment rate in primary school being 98% and 90% for boys and girls respectively. The population of Azad Kashmir is almost entirely Muslim. The people of this region culturally differ from the
Kashmiris Kashmiris are a Dardic ethno-linguistic group and first-language speakers of the Kashmiri, living mostly, but not exclusively, in the Kashmir Valley #REDIRECT Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale of Kashmir'', is ...
living in the
Kashmir Valley #REDIRECT Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale of Kashmir'', is an intermontane valley in Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until t ...

Kashmir Valley
of
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
, and are closer to the culture of
Jammu Jammu is the winter capital Some countries have multiple capitals. In some cases, one city is the capital for some purposes, and one or more others are capital for other purposes, without any being considered an official capital in preferen ...
. Mirpur,
Kotli Kotli ( ur, ) is a city in Kotli District of Azad Kashmir Azad Jammu and Kashmir ( ur, , translit=āzād jammū̃ o kaśmīr, translit-std=IAST, ), abbreviated as AJK and colloquially referred to as simply Azad Kashmir, is a region adminis ...

Kotli
and
Bhimber Bhimber ( ur, ) is the capital of Bhimber District The Bhimber District (Urdu:ضلع بھمبر) is the southernmost district of the 10 districts of Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Is ...

Bhimber
are all old towns of the Jammu region.


Religion

Azad Jammu and Kashmir has an almost entirely Muslim population. According to a data maintained by Christian community organizations, there are around 4,500 Christian residents in the region. Bhimber is home to most of them, followed by Mirpur and Muzaffarabad. A few dozen families also live in Kotli, Poonch and Bagh. However, the Christian community has been struggling to get residential status and property rights in AJK. There is no official data on the total number of Bahais in AJK. Only six families are known to be living in Muzaffarabad while some of them live in rural areas. The followers of the Ahmadi faith is estimated to be somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 and most of them live in Kotli, Mirpur Bhimber and Muzaffarabad.


Ethnic groups

Most residents of the region are not ethnic Kashmiris. Rather, the majority in Azad Kashmir are Pahari people who are ethnically related to Punjabis. The main communities living in this region are: *
Gujjars Gurjar or Gujjar (also transliterated as ''Gujar, Gurjara and Gujjer'' ) is an ethnic agricultural and pastoral community of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Although traditionally they have been involved in agriculture, Gurjars are a large h ...
– They are an agricultural tribe and are estimated to be the largest community living in ten districts of Azad Kashmir. * Sudhans – (also known as Sadozai, Sardar) are second largest tribe mainly living the districts of Poonch, Sudhanoti, Bagh and
Kotli Kotli ( ur, ) is a city in Kotli District of Azad Kashmir Azad Jammu and Kashmir ( ur, , translit=āzād jammū̃ o kaśmīr, translit-std=IAST, ), abbreviated as AJK and colloquially referred to as simply Azad Kashmir, is a region adminis ...
in Azad Kashmir, allegedly originating from
Pashtun Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto language, Pashto/Persian language, Persian: ) refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that countr ...

Pashtun
areas. Together with the Rajputs, they are the source of most of Azad Kashmir's political leaders. *
Jats The Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) is an XML format used to Metadata, describe scientific literature published online. It is a technical standard developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and approved by the American N ...
– They are one of the larger community of AJK and primarily inhabit the Districts of Mirpur, Bhimber and Kotli. A large Mirpuris population lives in the UK and it is estimated that more people of Mirpuri origins are now residing in the UK than in Mirpur district. The district Mirpur retains strong ties with the UK. *
Rajput Rajput (from Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...

Rajput
s – They are spread across the territory, and they number little under half a million. Together with the Sundhans, they are the source of most of Azad Kashmir's political class. *
Mughals The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. ...
– Largely located in and
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
districts. *
Awans Awans is a Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe ...
– A clan with significant numbers found in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, living mainly in the Bagh, Poonch, Hattian Bala and
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...
. Besides Azad Kashmir they also reside in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in large numbers. * Dhund – They are a large clan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and mostly live in Bagh, Hattian Bala District, Hattian Bala and Muzaffarabad districts. Besides Azad Kashmir, they also inhabit, Abbottabad and upper Potohar Punjab in large numbers. *Kashmiris – Ethnic Kashmiri populations are found in Neelam Valley and Leepa Valley (see Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir). The culture of Azad Kashmir has many similarities to that of northern Punjabi (Pothohar Plateau, Potohar) culture in Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab province, while the Sudhans have oral tradition of Pashtuns. The Peshawari turban is worn by some Sudhans in the area. The traditional dress of the women is the shalwar kameez in Pahari style. The shalwar kameez is commonly worn by both men and women. Women use shawl to cover their head and upper body.


Languages

The official language of Azad Kashmir is Urdu,: On p. 29, the census report states that Urdu is the official language of the Government of Azad Kashmir, with Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, Punjabi, Kohistani, Pushto and Sheena 'frequently spoken in Azad Kashmir'. Yet, when surveyed about their 'Mother Tongue', Azad Kashmiris' choices were limited to selecting from Pakistan's major languages: Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Saraiki and 'Others'; not surprisingly, 2.18 million of Azad Kashmir's 2.97 million people chose 'Others'. while English is used in higher Domain of language use, domains. The majority of the population, however, are native speakers of other languages. The foremost among these is Pahari–Pothwari, with its various dialects. There are also sizeable communities speaking Gujari language, Gujari and Kashmiri language, Kashmiri, as well as pockets of speakers of Shina language, Shina, Pashto and Kundal Shahi language, Kundal Shahi. With the exception of Pashto and English, these languages belong to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language family. The dialects of the Pahari-Pothwari language complex cover most of the territory of Azad Kashmir. These are also spoken across the Line of Control in neighbouring areas of Indian Jammu and Kashmir, and are closely related both to Punjabi language, Punjabi to the south and Northern Hindko, Hinko to the northwest. The language variety in the southern districts of Azad Kashmir is known by a variety of names – including ''Mirpuri'', ''Pothwari'' and ''Pahari'' – and is closely related to the Pothwari proper spoken to the east in the Pothohar region of Punjab. The dialects of the central districts of Azad Kashmir are occasionally referred to in the literature as ''Chibhali'' or ''Punchi'', but the speakers themselves usually call them ''Pahari'', an ambiguous name that is also used for Pahari language (name), several unrelated languages of the Lower Himalayas. Going north, the speech forms gradually change into Hindko. Already in Muzaffarabad District the preferred local name for the language is ''Hindko'', although it is still apparently more closely related to the core dialects of Pahari. Further north in the Neelam Valley the dialect, locally also known as ''Parmi'', can more unambiguously be subsumed under Hindko. Another major language of Azad Kashmir is Gujari language, Gujari. It is spoken by several hundred thousand report two rough estimates for the total population of Gujari speakes in Azad Kashmir: 200,000 and 700,000, both from the 1980s. people among the traditionally nomadic Gujars, many of whom are nowadays settled. Not all ethnic Gujars speak Gujari, the proportion of those who have shifted to other languages is probably higher in southern Azad Kashmir. Gujari is most closely related to the Rajasthani languages (particularly Mewati language, Mewati), although it also shares features with Punjabi. It is dispersed over large areas in northern Pakistan and India. Within Pakistan, the Gujari dialects of Azad Kashmir are more similar, in terms of shared basic vocabulary and mutual intelligibility, to the Gujar varieties of the neighbouring Hazara region than to the dialects spoken further to the northwest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and north in Gilgit District, Gilgit. There are scattered communities of Kashmiri language, Kashmiri speakers, notably in the Neelam Valley, where they form the second-largest language group after speakers of Hindko. There have been calls for the teaching of Kashmiri (particularly in order to counter India's claim of promoting the culture of Kashmir), but the limited attempts at introducing the language at the secondary school level have not been successful, and it is Urdu, rather than Kashmiri, that Kashmiri Muslims have seen as their identity symbol. There is an ongoing process of gradual language shift, shift to larger local languages, but at least in the Neelam Valley there still exist communities for whom Kashmiri is the sole mother tongue. In the northernmost Neelum District#Languages, district of Neelam, there are pockets of other languages. Shina language, Shina, which like Kashmiri belongs to the Dardic languages, Dardic group, is present in two distinct varieties spoken altogether in three villages. The Iranian language Pashto, the major language of the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is spoken in two villages in Azad Kashmir, both situated on the Line of Control. The endangered Kundal Shahi language, Kundal Shahi is native to the eponymous village and it is the only language not found outside Azad Kashmir.


Economy

Historically the economy of Azad Kashmir has been agricultural which meant that land was the main source or mean of production. This means that all food for immediate and long term consumption was produced from land. The produce included various crops, fruits, vegetables, etc. Land was also the source of other livelihood necessities such as wood, fuel, grazing for animals which then turned into dairy products. Because of this land was also the main source of revenue for the governments whose primary purpose for centuries was to accumulate revenue. Agriculture is a major part of Azad Kashmir's economy. Low-lying areas that have high populations grow crops like barley, mangoes, millet, maize, corn (maize), and wheat, and also raise cattle. In the elevated areas that are less populated and more spread-out, forestry, corn, and livestock are the main sources of income. There are mineral and marble resources in Azad Kashmir close to Mirpur and
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
. There are also graphite deposits at Mohriwali. There are also reservoirs of low-grade coal, chalk, bauxite, and zircon. Local household industries produce carved wooden objects, textiles, and dhurrie carpets. There is also an arts and crafts industry that produces such cultural goods as namdas, shawls, pashmina, pherans, Papier-mâché, basketry copper, rugs, wood carving, silk and woolen clothing, patto, carpets, namda gubba, and silverware. Agricultural goods produced in the region include mushrooms, honey, walnuts, apples, cherries, medicinal herbs and plants, resin, deodar, kail, chir, fir, maple, and ash timber. The migration to UK was accelerated and by the completion of Mangla Dam in 1967 the process of 'chain migration' became in full flow. Today, remittances from British Mirpuri community make a critical role in AJK's economy. In the mid-1950s various economic and social development processes were launched in Azad Kashmir. In the 1960s, with the construction of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur District, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government began to receive royalties from the Pakistani government for the electricity that the dam provided to Pakistan. During the mid-2000s, a multibillion-dollar reconstruction began in the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. In addition to agriculture, textiles, and arts and crafts, remittances have played a major role in the economy of Azad Kashmir. One analyst estimated that the figure for Azad Kashmir was 25.1% in 2001. With regard to annual household income, people living in the higher areas are more dependent on remittances than are those living in the lower areas. In the latter part of 2006, billions of dollars for development were mooted by international aid agencies for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake-hit zones in Azad Kashmir, though much of that amount was subsequently lost in bureaucratic channels, leading to considerable delays in help getting to the most neediest. Hundreds of people continued to live in tents long after the earthquake. A land-use plan for the city of
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Tourist destinations in the area include the following: *
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
, the capital city of Azad Kashmir, is located on the banks of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. It is from Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Well-known tourist spots near Muzaffarabad are the Muzaffarabad Fort, Red Fort, Pirchinassi, Pir Chinassi, Patika, Subri Lake and Awan Patti. *The Neelam Valley is situated to the north and northeast of Muzaffarabad, The gateway to the valley. The main tourist attractions in the valley are Athmuqam, Kutton, Keran, Azad Kashmir, Keran, Changan, Azad Kashmir, Changan, Sharda, Azad Kashmir, Sharda, Kel, Kashmir, Kel, Arang Kel and Taobat. *Sudhanoti is one of the eight districts of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. Sudhanoti is located away from Islamabad, the Capital of Pakistan. It is connected with Rawalpindi and Islamabad through Azad Pattan road. *Rawalakot city is the headquarters of Poonch District and is located from Islamabad. Tourist attractions in Poonch District are Banjosa Lake, Devi Gali, Tatta Pani, and Toli Pir. * city, the headquarters of Bagh District, is from Islamabad and from Muzaffarabad. The principal tourist attractions in Bagh District are Bagh Fort, Dhirkot, Sudhan Gali, Ganga Lake (Pakistan), Ganga Lake, Ganga Choti, Kotla Waterfall, Bagh, Kotla Waterfall, Neela Butt, Danna, Bagh, Danna, Panjal Mastan National Park, and Las Danna. *The Leepa Valley is located southeast of Muzaffarabad. It is the most charming and scenic place for tourists in Azad Kashmir. *New Mirpur City is the headquarters of Mirpur District. The main tourist attractions near New Mirpur City are the Mangla Dam, Mangla Lake and Ramkot Fort.


Education

The literacy rate in Azad Kashmir was 62% in 2004, higher than in any other region of Pakistan. However, only 2.2% were graduates, compared to the average of 2.9% for Pakistan.


Universities

The following is a list of universities recognised by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC): * Granted university status.


Cadet College Pallandri

* Cadet College Palandri is situated about from Islamabad


Medical colleges

The following is a list of undergraduate medical institutions recognised by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) . *Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College in Mirpur *Azad Jammu Kashmir Medical College in Muzafarabad *Poonch Medical College in Rawalakot


Private medical colleges

*Mohi-ud-Din Islamic Medical College in Mirpur


Sports

Football, cricket and volleyball are very popular in Azad Kashmir. Many tournaments are also held throughout the year and in the holy month of Ramadan (calendar month), Ramazan, night-time flood-lit tournaments are also organised. Azad Kashmir has a T20 AJK Jaguars, cricket team in HAIER T20 Cup, Pakistan's T20 domestic tournament New Mirpur City has a cricket stadium (Quaid-e-Azam Stadium) which has been taken over by the Pakistan Cricket Board for renovation to bring it up to International standards. There is also a cricket stadium in
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad ( ur, ) is the capital and largest city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the 60th largest in Pakistan. The city is located in Muzaffarabad District, near the confluence of the Jhelum and Neelum rivers. The district is bounded ...

Muzaffarabad
with the capacity of 8,000 people. This stadium has hosted 8 matches of Inter-District Under 19 Tournament 2013. There are also registered football clubs: * Pilot Football Club * Youth Football Club * Kashmir National FC * Azad Super FC


Tourism


See also

* 1941 Census of Jammu and Kashmir * Kashmir conflict * Tourism in Azad Kashmir * List of cultural heritage sites in Azad Kashmir


Notes


References

; Sources * * * * * * * * * * ** * *


Further reading

* *


External links

*
Planning & Development Department AJ&K
AJ&K Planning and Development Department
AJ&K Tourism & Archaeology Department
Tourism in Azad Kashmir {{Authority control Azad Kashmir, Disputed territories in Asia Foreign relations of Pakistan States and territories established in 1947 Subdivisions of Pakistan Territorial disputes of India 2005 Kashmir earthquake Urdu-speaking countries and territories Kashmiri-speaking countries and territories