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Poonch District, Pakistan

Coordinates: 33°51′12″N 73°45′5″E / 33.85333°N 73.75139°E / 33.85333; 73.75139
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(Redirected from Poonch District (AJK))

Poonch District
ضلع پونچھ
District of Azad Kashmir administered by Pakistan[1]

top: Poonch Valley
Interactive map of Poonch district
A map showing Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir (shaded in sage green) in the disputed Kashmir region[1]
A map showing Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir (shaded in sage green) in the disputed Kashmir region[1]
Coordinates (Rawalakot): 33°51′12″N 73°45′5″E / 33.85333°N 73.75139°E / 33.85333; 73.75139
Administering CountryPakistan
TerritoryAzad Kashmir
DivisionPoonch Division
 • TypeDistrict Administration
 • Deputy CommissionerN/A
 • District Police OfficerN/A
 • District Health OfficerN/A
 • Total855 km2 (330 sq mi)
 • Total500,571
 • OfficialUrdu[3]
 • Spoken
Number of Tehsils4

Poonch District (Urdu: ضلع پونچھ ) is a district of Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir in the disputed Kashmir region.[1] It is one of the 10 districts of this Pakistan-administered territory. It is bounded on the north by Bagh District, on the north-east by Haveli District, on the south-east by the Poonch District of Indian-administered Kashmir, on the south by Azad Kashmir's Sudhanoti and Kotli districts, and on the west by Rawalpindi District of Pakistan's Punjab Province. The Poonch District is part of the greater Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. The district headquarters is the city of Rawalakot. It is the third most populous district of Azad Kashmir.[4][5]

The main language is Pahari ("Punchi"), native to an estimated 95% of the population, but there are also speakers of Gujari,[6] while Urdu has official status.

Map of Azad Kashmir with the Poonch District highlighted in red


17th Century to 1946[edit]

From the end of seventeenth century up to 1837 CE, Poonch was ruled by the Muslim rajas of Loran in Haveli Tehsil. It then fell into the hands of Raja Faiztalab of the Punjab government. Poonch was included in the transfer of the hilly country to Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in 1848. Before this transfer, Poonch was a jagir granted to Raja Dhian Singh. Maharaja Gulab Singh reinstated Poonch and adjoining areas to Dhian Singh's sons, Jawahar Singh and Moiti Singh. The raja of Poonch had to present to the Maharaja one horse with gold trappings. The raja of Poonch was not permitted to effect any administrative changes in the territory of Poonch without prior consultation with the Maharaja of Kashmir.

Separation of Poonch[edit]

Map of Azad Kashmir with the Poonch Division highlighted in red
(The Poonch Divion was created from the Azad Kashmiri-administered portion of the pre-1947 Poonch District.)

After independence in 1947, there was a rebellion in the western part of the Poonch District. The rebels led by Sardar Ibrahim Khan, sought support from the Dominion of Pakistan, which provided arms and then launched an invasion of its own, using Pashtun tribals. In response, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir joined India, and the conflict turned into an Indo-Pakistani war. When a ceasefire was effected, the Poonch District was divided into two separate districts. The former headquarters, the city of Poonch, came under Indian occupation, and a new headquarters in the western district was eventually established at Rawalakot.

1949 to Present[edit]

The Pakistan-administered portion of the Poonch district was reorganised as the Poonch Division. Of the four tehsils of the original Poonch District, viz., Bagh, Sudhnoti, Haveli, and Mendhar, the Poonch Division included the first two and a portion of the third. Those three tehsils were eventually made separate districts, and a new Poonch District was created in the center of the Poonch Division by incorporating portions of the Bagh and Sudhnoti tehsils.

Poonch district was the main area of violent anti government revolt (led by the Sudhan tribe) during the 1955 Poonch uprising, which lasted from early 1955 to late 1956.[7]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The district is administratively subdivided into four tehsils:[8]


According to the Pakistan District Education Ranking 2017, a report released by Alif Ailaan, the Poonch District is ranked at number 8 nationally, with an education score of 73.52. Over the past five years, the Poonch District has shown the most improvement in the establishment of middle schools. The learning score for the Poonch District is 84.15.[9] The school infrastructure score for the Poonch District is 14.88, ranking the district at number 151, which places it in the bottom five districts relating to infrastructure in Pakistan and its two dependent territories. Schools in the Poonch District also have severe problems with regard to electricity, drinking water, and boundary walls, as reflected in their scores of 2.67, 12.1, and 6.23, respectively.[9] The state of some school buildings also presents a major safety risk for students.


The Poonch-Rawalakot Bus, which crosses the LOC, has helped to re-establish ties across the border.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The application of the term "administered" to the various regions of Kashmir and a mention of the Kashmir dispute is supported by the tertiary sources (a) through (e), reflecting due weight in the coverage. Although "controlled" and "held" are also applied neutrally to the names of the disputants or to the regions administered by them, as evidenced in sources (h) through (i) below, "held" is also considered politicised usage, as is the term "occupied," (see (j) below).
    (a) Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 15 August 2019 (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.";
    (b) Pletcher, Kenneth, Aksai Chin, Plateau Region, Asia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 16 August 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "Aksai Chin, Chinese (Pinyin) Aksayqin, portion of the Kashmir region, at the northernmost extent of the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia. It constitutes nearly all the territory of the Chinese-administered sector of Kashmir that is claimed by India to be part of the Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir state.";
    (c) "Kashmir", Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006, p. 328, ISBN 978-0-7172-0139-6 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";
    (d) Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan (2003), Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: G to M, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1191–, ISBN 978-0-415-93922-5 Quote: "Jammu and Kashmir: Territory in northwestern India, subject to a dispute between India and Pakistan. It has borders with Pakistan and China."
    (e) Talbot, Ian (2016), A History of Modern South Asia: Politics, States, Diasporas, Yale University Press, pp. 28–29, ISBN 978-0-300-19694-8 Quote: "We move from a disputed international border to a dotted line on the map that represents a military border not recognized in international law. The line of control separates the Indian and Pakistani administered areas of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.";
    (f) Skutsch, Carl (2015) [2007], "China: Border War with India, 1962", in Ciment, James (ed.), Encyclopedia of Conflicts Since World War II (2nd ed.), London and New York: Routledge, p. 573, ISBN 978-0-7656-8005-1, The situation between the two nations was complicated by the 1957–1959 uprising by Tibetans against Chinese rule. Refugees poured across the Indian border, and the Indian public was outraged. Any compromise with China on the border issue became impossible. Similarly, China was offended that India had given political asylum to the Dalai Lama when he fled across the border in March 1959. In late 1959, there were shots fired between border patrols operating along both the ill-defined McMahon Line and in the Aksai Chin.
    (g) Clary, Christopher (2022), The Difficult Politics of Peace: Rivalry in Modern South Asia, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109, ISBN 9780197638408, Territorial Dispute: The situation along the Sino-Indian frontier continued to worsen. In late July (1959), an Indian reconnaissance patrol was blocked, "apprehended," and eventually expelled after three weeks in custody at the hands of a larger Chinese force near Khurnak Fort in Aksai Chin. ... Circumstances worsened further in October 1959, when a major class at Kongka Pass in eastern Ladakh led to nine dead and ten captured Indian border personnel, making it by far the most serious Sino-Indian class since India's independence.
    (h) Bose, Sumantra (2009), Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, Harvard University Press, pp. 294, 291, 293, ISBN 978-0-674-02855-5 Quote: "J&K: Jammu and Kashmir. The former princely state that is the subject of the Kashmir dispute. Besides IJK (Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir. The larger and more populous part of the former princely state. It has a population of slightly over 10 million, and comprises three regions: Kashmir Valley, Jammu, and Ladakh.) and AJK ('Azad" (Free) Jammu and Kashmir. The more populous part of Pakistani-controlled J&K, with a population of approximately 2.5 million.), it includes the sparsely populated "Northern Areas" of Gilgit and Baltistan, remote mountainous regions which are directly administered, unlike AJK, by the Pakistani central authorities, and some high-altitude uninhabitable tracts under Chinese control."
    (i) Fisher, Michael H. (2018), An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge University Press, p. 166, ISBN 978-1-107-11162-2 Quote: "Kashmir’s identity remains hotly disputed with a UN-supervised “Line of Control” still separating Pakistani-held Azad (“Free”) Kashmir from Indian-held Kashmir.";
    (j) Snedden, Christopher (2015), Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris, Oxford University Press, p. 10, ISBN 978-1-84904-621-3 Quote:"Some politicised terms also are used to describe parts of J&K. These terms include the words 'occupied' and 'held'."
  2. ^ "Statistical Year Book 2019" (PDF). Statistics Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  3. ^ Rahman, Tariq (1996). Language and politics in Pakistan. Oxford University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-19-577692-8.
  4. ^ "AJK at glance -2020" (PDF). Planning and Development Department of AJK.
  5. ^ "University of Poonch VC Prof. Dr. Zakaria directed to complete construction of campuses on war footing". Azadi Times. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  6. ^ Statistical Year Book 2020 (PDF). Muzaffarabad: AJ&K Bureau Of Statistics. p. 140. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  7. ^ Snedden, Christopher (2013). Kashmir: The Unwritten History. India: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-9350298978.
  8. ^ "Tehsils of Poonch District on AJK map". ajk.gov.pk. AJK Official Portal. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Pakistan District Education Rankings 2017" (PDF). elections.alifailaan.pk. Alif Ailaan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  10. ^ Mughal, Roshan (16 April 2011). "Intra-Kashmir bus service completes six years". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 21 November 2023.


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