Mirpur Azad Kashmir

Rakhyaal Masjid, MirpurMirpur District is located at the extreme South of the State and is linked with Pakistan and the districts of Azad Kashmir through several routes. District Mirpur comprises partly plain and partly hilly areas. Its hot and dry climate and other geographical conditions closely resemble to those of Jhelum and Gujrat, the adjoining districts of Pakistan.

The people of this area are basically agriculturalist belonging to Jatt and Rajput castes, with strong cultural links to the Pothwar region of Pakistan. The Mirpur area was traditionally a recruiting ground for the British Indian army. The people of this region are considered to be part of the 'martial tribes' as designated by the British. Mirpuri soldiers show there bravery in both world wars.

People from this region of Jammu and Kashmir have historically looked abroad for employment. Many a ship employed Mirpuri boiler men in the age of steam. During the two world wars many Mirpuris enlisted in the merchant navy and armed services. During the last four decades a large number of people from this district have gone abroad, especially to United Kingdom for earning their livelihood. The Mangla Dam project in the early sixties resulted in the displacement of a large number of people ,who under a an agreement between the Pakistan government and the British government, were allowed to settle in the UK.

As such, they are today the major foreign exchange earning resource for Pakistan. Around 50,000 people were moved from this district in the mid-sixties to make way for the construction of Mangla Dam, but corrupt handling of funds meant long drawn out delays in completing the project. Most of these people settled in new Mirpur whilst some moved elsewhere in Pakistan or to the UK.

As it adjoins the industrial cities of Pakistan, the Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has successfully endeavored to develop it as an industrial place and promote private investment for establishing Textile, vegetable fat ('ghee'), garments, scooters, cosmetics and many other industries.

Islam Garh

Islam Garh(formerly Akhal Garh) is a post office town in Distric Mirpur. Many people from the Islam Garh area settled in the UK, enticed by Enoch Powell after WWII with his cry of "Come to England, we love you, come fill our empty factories" (the same hypocritical politician who later made the famous 'Chowk Shaidan, MirpurBlood in the streets' speech when unemployment was high in the 1970s). Although locals consider their literacy rate to be good, it's probably true to say that, as in most of the former Islamic lands, the people of rural areas of Pakistan have forgotten how greatly Islam encourages learning for all. What little education is available is mainly for boys.

1 km distant, A village Mohra Malkan(old name was Mohra Bedrahn) is consists of 50 Houses. All people are settled here are AWAN by caste (despite the Muslim label, the previous contributor felt the need to point out the (presumably high) caste status of this village: the caste idea still runs deep in the the attitudes of these peasants - one of the derogatory expressions to insult someone is to call him a 'Masalli', one of the lower castes; although in Islam, such attitudes are considered "Jahil" or "Ignorant").

Most of Population of this village are abroad in the UK. Literacy Rate of this people are 90%. Morah Malkan comes in Union Council Andrah Kalan. This village have produced 14 Teachers(Male) and 3 Teachers(Female) Only one Lecturer of Statistics as well. This Village has a Shootting Vally ball Club. This club has 14 members players. This village presents a beautiful view of Combine life of villages and cities. The morning view of this village from west side is so beautiful and atractive.

There is another village nearby called Chak Haryam. Our family migrated from it to Yorkshire in the UK in the late 60s. I grew up in Yorkshire but as a teen I had to revisit Chak Haryam in the early 80s. The attitudes of the people I saw there led me to always pronounce the name as Chak Harami. This village is great

Mangla is a small beautiful modern town. It is situated at a distance of 110 kilometers from Islamabad and is 15 kilometers short of Mirpur City. The construction of Mangla reservoir having perimeter of 100 kilometers and presence of Mangla and Ramkot Forts of Mughal period have turned this place into an attractive tourist spot. Mangla has special attraction for the tourists coming on short visits because of its proximity to Jhelum, Lahore and Rawalpindi / Islamabad.

Mirpur, the district headquarter is situated at an elevation of 459 meters A.S.L. It is linked with the main Peshawar- Karachi Grand Trunk Road at Dina, a small town about 15 kilometers short of Jhelum city.

The construction of Mangla Dam converted the old Mirpur town into a big artificial lake and effected a population of about 50,000. But it paved the way for existing new Mirpur town situated on the bank of Mangla Lake. The city is well planned and buildings are mostly of modern design. Mirpur has developed into an industrial city very rapidly. All the basic amenities of life are available in Mirpur. Colleges, hospitals, banks, shopping centers, hotels, telephone & telegraph units, Forest , PWD, Industries and Tourist rest houses exist in the city. Bus and wagon transport services are also available.

Ramkot Fort
Picturesquely located on the summit of a hill, Ramkot Fort is built over the site of an old Hindu Shiva temple. 3 sides of this hill top are surrounded by River Jhelum (ancient Vitasta). During excavations relics of the 5th - 9th century AD have been discovered near one of the temples. In the 16th - 17th century AD the Muslim rulers of Kashmir in safe guarding their boundaries built numerous forts. Ramkot, sitting atop at the confluance of the river Jhelum & Poonch is one of them. The Sikh Maharaja of Kashmir further fortified Ramkot.

Ramkot Fort is located on the opposite side of the Mirpur Town and one has to cross Mangla Lake on boat to reach there. A 10 minutes travel by road from Mirpur leads to Sukhian and nearby Army Water Sports Club from where boats are available for access to Ramkot Fort. It takes 45 minutes to reach there.

Ramkot Fort can also be visited from Mirpur via Dudyial-Baily Kathaar route (77 Km) but from Baily Kathaar onward there is no regular road so it is better to travel from Sukhian by boat.

Khari Sharif
Located 8Km from Mirpur is Khari Sharif. Known for housing the Shrine of the Sufi Saint known as Baba Pir-e-Shah Ghazi (Damrian Wali Sarkar). The place acts as a great seat of learning for students of Islam. Darvishs (disciples) of the Saint can be seen today wandering in AJK and Pakistan. Also at Khari Sharif is the Shrine of the late Mian Mohammed Baksh who wrote the famous tale Saif-ul-Muluk. This tells of a Prince who fell in love with a fairy called Badi Jamal who he saw in a dream. The story chronicals his travels in search of the fairy and the spiritual lessons he learns on the way.
Jatan has become the main commercial centre for all Khari Sharif and half of District Bhimber. It is Mirpur, Pakistanlocated at the borders of both Districts Mirpur and Bhimber. The area has a population of 150.000. 60% of the population lives below poverty line (earning less than a � a day.

KIRF a UK based charity,working in azad kashmir since 1992. In 2002 KIRF conducted a study of medical needs of this area and found that there were no medical facilities available. Mother and child mortality rate was very high (115 children and 85 mothers per 10,000). In March 2003 kirf started its most ambitous project of building a 100 bed generel hospital at Jatlan. First phase of the construction work has been completed and is open to the public.

Bhimber is a sub-division (Thesil) of the district, situated 50Km from Mirpur. The area is very rich in archaeological remains. Bhimber falls on the route that was followed by the Moghul rulers of India for their frequent visits to the Kashmir Valley.

Jandi Chontra
Jandi Chontra is a scenic spot located 17Km from Bhimber and 67Km from Mirpur. The area is known for its panaromic views. The Shrine of the Sufi Saint Baba Shadi Shaheed is also located here.

Baghsar is situated at 975m above sea-level in the Samahni valley. The Sar, local name for a lake, is nearly half kilometre long sheet of clear water that soothes the senses of the visitor. On top of a hill is the famous Moghul Fort over-looking the lake that adds grandeur to the area. This four storey massive structure of granite is a feat of Mughal engineering that has stood the ravages of time. It has also played important roles in history during the times of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Ranjit Singh and Gulab Singh. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Janghir, on his way back from the Kashmir Valley, fell ill and ultimately died in this fort.

Dadyal is a hilly tehsil of Mirpur district adjoining Rawalpindi. It has pleasant scenery and climate. The main town of Dadyal is modern and a shoppers paradise.



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