Shaped like a thin crescent, Azad Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory between Pakistan and India.
Last Updated: 27 Jan. 2014
Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) is a region located in the northeast of Pakistan. It is not a province, but a semi-independent territory of Pakistan due to its disputed status between Pakistan and India. Soon after the formation of India and Pakistan in 1947, the countries went to war with each other over Kashmir. In 1948, a ceasefire was established, with Pakistan retaining 35% of the Kashmir territory (including Gilgit-Baltistan) and India controlling the rest.
AJK is shaped like a thin crescent and occupies an area of 13,297 square km. Gilgit-Baltistan shares its northern border while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa borders it to the west. To the south and southwest lies Punjab. On the east, AJK shares a 700 km long border, also known as the Line of Control, with Indian administered Kashmir. In 1998 AJK had a population of 2.973 million and it is estimated that population has reached 4.2 million as of 2014.
A number of languages are spoken in Azad Kashmir. Since this area of Kashmir is ethnically and linguistically related to Punjab, Pahari, similar to Potohari spoken in northern Punjab, is the most common language spoken. Other languages include Hindko, Gujari, Pashto, and Urdu. Kashmiri is spoken here mostly by migrants from Indian Administered Kashmir but is not a dominant language.
AJK has its own elected Legislative Assembly, which selects a Prime Minster to oversee the affairs of AJK. The Supreme Court and all lower courts also function independently. However, a special committee comprising of the Prime Minister of Pakistan as its chairman, manages certain affairs of AJK such as defense, security, and foreign affairs.
Azad Kashmir has 3 divisions as follows:
Muzaffarabad Division has 3 districts: Muzaffarabad, Hattian, and Neelum
Mirpur Division has 3 districts: Mirpur, Kotli, and Bhimber
Poonch Division has 4 districts: Bagh, Haveli, Poonch, and Sudhnuti
The administrative capital is Muzaffarabad, which is located at the junction of Neelum River and Jhelum River. Other cities include Mirpur and Rawalakot.