Azad Kashmir

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Islamic Republic of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
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Flag of Azad Kashmir

Flag of Azad Kashmir
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Azad Kashmir in Pakistan

Azad Kashmir in Pakistan.
Capital Muzaffarabad
Status Autonomus Republic
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Kashmir_map.jpg
Azad Kashmir in Pakistan

Shown in green is the Kashmiri region under Pakistani control. The dark-brown region represents Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir while the Aksai Chin is under Chinese occupation

Azad Kashmir (formally the Islamic Republic of Azad Jammu and Kashmir) is part of what India calls Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the Pakistani-occupied part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, along with the Northern Areas. The name means "Free Kashmir" in Urdu. It covers an area of 13,300 km² (5134 miles²), with its capital at Muzaffarabad, and it has an estimated population of over three million people.

History

The region is extremely mountainous and includes a significant part of the Himalaya, but does not include Nanga Parbat, the world's seventh highest mountain, which falls within the "Northern Areas".

After the partition of India in 1947 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Pakistan obtained possession of parts of Kashmir. Pakistan divided the areas of Kashmir it occupied after 1947 into three parts:

  1. Azad Kashmir, 250 miles in length with width varying from 10 to 40 miles, 13,300 km² (5134 miles&sup2),
  2. Northern Areas, a much larger area, 72,496 km² (27,991 mi²), incorporated into Pakistan and administered as a de facto dependency, and
  3. A small part, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, of the Northern Areas that was ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963.

The Islamic Republic of Azad Kashmir is nominally autonomous, with its own elected President, Prime Minister, Legislature, High Court etc.

Demography

Although a proper census has not been taken in recent years, the best estimates conclude that the Azad Kashmir region has approximately 3.1 million inhabitants.

The population of Azad Kashmir comprises the Hindko, the Potwari (whose language includes the Mirpuri dialect) and the nomadic Gujjars, who largely inhabit the upper hills and slopes. Tribes or clans (biraderi) are important: groups in Azad Kashmir include the Sudhans, Rajputs, Mirpuri Jats, and Gujjars.

The Hindko and Potwari languages are both related to Punjabi, but have distinct separate features. Potwari is spoken in the United Kingdom by the Mirpuri community; Mirpuri is a local dialect of Potwari spoken in and around the Mirpur and Kotli districts. About 500,000 Mirpuris live in the United Kingdom today.

Azad Kashmir is predominantly Muslim, although over 100,000 Hindus and Sikhs lived there until 1947 but they were brutally murdered or pushed into Indian territory. No original occupants of Hindu or Sikh lineage remain today.

See Also


de:Asad Kaschmir

fr:Azad Kashmir lt:Laisvasis Kašmyras sv:Azad Kashmir

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