Mirpur, Azad Kashmir

Mirpur (Potwari: مِرپُر, romanized: mirpur; Urdu: مِيرپُور, romanizedmīrpūr), officially known as New Mirpur City (Urdu: شہر نیا مِیرپُر, romanizedshèhar nayā mīrpur), is the capital of Mirpur district located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is the 2nd largest city of Azad Kashmir and 74th largest city in Pakistan.

New Mirpur City
Aerial view of Kasur
Clockwise from the top:
Mirpur City, Ramkot Fort, Panoramic view of the city, Tomb of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh,
Little England
Mirpur is located in Azad Kashmir
Coordinates: 33°9′N 73°44′E / 33.150°N 73.733°E / 33.150; 73.733Coordinates: 33°9′N 73°44′E / 33.150°N 73.733°E / 33.150; 73.733
TerritoryAzad Kashmir
DivisionMirpur Division
458 m (1,503 ft)
 • City124,352
 • Rank74th, Pakistan
 • OfficialUrdu[2][3][note 1]
 • Spoken
Time zoneUTC+5 (PKT)
Calling code05827
Number of towns2
Number of Union councils21

A significant portion of the population from the district, the Mirpuri diaspora, migrated to the United Kingdom in the mid-to-late 1950s and in the early 1960s, mostly to West Yorkshire, East and West Midlands, Birmingham, Luton, Peterborough, Derby and East London. Mirpur is thus sometimes known as "Little England".[4] Many British products are found, and many shops in the city accept the pound sterling.[5]

The city itself has gone through a process of modernization, but most of the surrounding area relies on agriculture.


The city of Mirpur itself was founded in around 1640 AD or 1050AH by the Ghakhar chief Miran Shah Ghazi. The Imperial Gazetteer of India Provincial Series Kashmir and Jammu (1909) reports that "it is said to have been founded by Miran Shah Ghazi and Sultan Fateh Khan". An alternate view is that the city was founded by Mira Shah Gazi and Gosain Bodhpuri, both regarded as saints. The word 'Mir' was taken from the name of the former and 'Pur’ from the latter.[6]

The area that is now Mirpur has been historically associated with Pothohar, though the modern demarcation of Potohar devised by the British excludes Mirpur, by using the Jhelum river as its eastern boundary. By the end of the 18th century, Gakhar power in Pothohar had declined. Mirpur had become part of Chibb, which ruled the state of Khari Khariyali with its capital at Mangla Fort. With the rise of the Sikh power in the Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh established his supremacy and set his eyes on the Chibh states of Bhimber and Khari Khariyali. In 1810, a force was sent against Raja Sultan Khan of Bhimber and was met with fierce resistance. However, in 1812 another Sikh army under prince Kharak Singh defeated Sultan Khan, and the Bhimber state was annexed as Jagir of Kharak Singh. Around the same time, Ranjit Singh acquired Gujrat and invaded Khari Khariyali, then ruled by Raja Umar Khan. Raja Umar Khan made peace with Ranjit Singh; but before a settlement could be made, he died, and the state and Mirpur became part of Ranjit Singh's territories.[7]

In 1808, Ranjit Singh annexed Jammu state, which was already a tributary since 1780, and in 1820 awarded Jammu to his commander Gulab Singh, who hailed from Jammu and had been under the service of Ranjit Singh for the past eight years. Between 1831 and 1839 Ranjit Singh bestowed on Gulab Singh the royalty of the salt mines in northern Punjab, and the northern Punjab towns including Bhera, Jhelum, Rohtas and Gujrat. Gulab Singh kept on expanding his kingdom, and in 1840 Baltistan was made subject to Jammu while Gilgit fell to a Sikh force from Kashmir in 1842. The state of Kashmir was annexed by Ranjit Singh in 1819. However, the rebellion in Hazara in the beginning of 1846 compelled the country to be transferred to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu as well.[7]

Ranjit Singh had given Poonch, Mirpur and Bhimber as a Jagir to Gulab Singh's younger brother Dhian Singh. However, in 1843 Dhian Singh died and Gulab Singh considered these areas now part of his territory. Though he wasn't able to establish full control due to resistances.[8] As an aftermath of the First Anglo-Sikh War and the Treaty of Lahore, The Treaty of Amritsar was signed between the British East India company and Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu on March 16, 1846. The British Government sold Kashmir to the Raja of Jammu for 75 lakhs Nanak Shahi Rupees. This treaty transferred him all the hill states between Ravi and Indus. The transfer included Kashmir, Hazara and the southern hill states (including former Khari Khariyali Thus sealing the fate of Mirpur with the new state of Jammu and Kashmir.[7]

Early MirpurEdit

Since Mirpur lies in between where the Jhelum River meets the heavily forested foothills of the Pir Panjal mountains and above the plains of the largely treeless Punjab, it was an ideal spot for the construction of the boats used to carry goods from the Himalayas down the five rivers of the Punjab to the Indus River and onto the seaports in the Indus delta. Traders have been operating from there across the Indian Ocean for over three thousand years. Most of the crew on the boats trading up and down the Punjab and Indus River system were drawn from Mirpur, as training as a boat-builder was a necessary prerequisite for becoming a boatman.[9]

British DominionEdit

During the modern period of the Dogra principality, a British dominion, the thriving river trade diminished due to the construction of railway lines from Bombay and Karachi into the interior of the Punjab.[citation needed] Moving goods by modern rail lines was both cheaper and quicker, and hundreds of Mirpuri boatmen found themselves out of a job.

Independence and WarEdit

The city was part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir led by Maharaja Hari Singh, which chose to remain independent after the Partition of India. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 Mirpur was captured by the tribal forces on 25 November 1947 and became part of Azad Kashmir. It was the central location of the Mirpur Massacre in November 1947.


Mirpur City lies at 459 metres or 1,506 feet above sea level and is linked with the main Peshawar-Lahore Grand Trunk Road at Dina Tehsil. It is the headquarters of Mirpur District, which has two subdivisions: Mirpur and Dadyal. Mirpur is now one of the largest city of Azad Kashmir.[10] The building of the new city in late 1960s paved the way for New Mirpur, situated on the bank of Mangla Lake. The project of four-star hotel PC has been completed. The government is planning to make the second rotating hotel of Pakistan in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir.

In fact, the remains of the old city (Old Mirpur) are under the waters of the Mangla Lake, bit during the colder months of March and April, the water level recedes to such an extent that one can travel on motorcycle on the old Mirpur, road which still exists. The holy shrines of Syed Abdul Karim and Meeran Shah Ghazi then become visible and so do the remnants of a Sikh gurdwara as well as a Hindu Mandir, possibly dedicated to the "Mangla Mata" (Mangla mother goddess). The remains of old houses, water wells and graveyards reappear as well.

People from surrounding areas visit old Mirpur to pay homage to their ancient land on which they lived and pray on the graveyards of their loved ones. Urs Mubarak of Meeran Shah and Syed Abdul Kareem are also arranged in Old Mirpur.

The remains of Old Mirpur depict a silhouette of pre-Independence city, when many faiths coexisted. However, after division of the State of Jammu Kashmir, the non-Muslim community (Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs) fled to Jammu.

New Mirpur was well planned, and modern buildings and ample roads serve each part of city. The affluence from emigration mainly to the UK is reflected by the structure and grandiose of the residential houses. There are telltale signs of inward investment by the expatriate community living in the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and the Middle East. There are a number of good hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other urban facilities.


Mirpur has a humid subtropical climate.[11] The average annual temperature is 25.1 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1,380 millimetres or 54.3 inches. Since it is in the extreme south of Jammu and Kashmir, the city has a climate that is extremely hot during summer, making it very similar to the Pakistani areas of Jehlum and Gujar Khan. Mirpur is the breadbasket of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and has a climate similar to that of the neighbouring Potohar in Punjab.

Climate data for Mirpur, Azad Kashmir
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.1
Average low °C (°F) 4.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 78
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5 7 8 7 8 9 17 17 9 4 2 3 96
Average relative humidity (%) 66 64 57 45 35 43 71 78 70 57 58 62 59
Source 1: [12]
Source 2: [13]


The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has successfully developed Mirpur industrially and promoted private investment in a diverse economy: foam, polypropylene, synthetic yarn, motorbikes and scooter, textile, vegetable oil (ghee), wood and sawmills, soap, cosmetics, marble, ready-made garments, matches and rosin, turpentine. The economy of Mirpur generated economy of Azad Kashmir. However, much of the infrastructure still needs improvement so that high-quality products can be obtained.

As part of the relief/compensation package in the wake of Mangla Dam, a new city is being developed along the southeastern outskirts of Mirpur, with the main city of Mirpur being doubled. Much construction is occurring around the whole district by Pakistani and Chinese contractors, raising the dam. Four towns in the district have been planned near the new city to resettle the population affected by the project.


English is common in educational institutes.[citation needed] Previously, the University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir was the only institution for higher studies but there have been significant changes in the educational infrastructure. The Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST), the Akson College of Health Science and the Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College have been formed.

The AJK Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Mirpur is responsible for the studies at lower levels. In addition to the state-run schools and colleges, Mirpur has a well-developed private sector providing the education to all sections of the society:

Other notable colleges and schools include:


Electronic and print media are rapidly increasing in number. There are many daily newspaper published in Mirpur among which daily hayat news is the most prominent group .


Football, cricket and volleyball are popular in Mirpur. Mirpur has a cricket stadium, Quaid-e-Azam Stadium.

There are registered sports clubs:A-5 Cricket Club, Al-Siraj Cricket Club,Challengers Cricket Club, Eagle star Cricket club South Asia Cricket Club, Pilot Football Club, Youth Football Club and Kashmir National FC.

The district football team of Mirpur take part in the All Azad Jammu and Kashmir football championships.


CNG auto rickshaws are very popular mode of transport for short routes within the city. The city's transport system links it to a number of destinations in Azad Kashmir notably Bhimber, Jatlan, Chakswari, Dadyal, Kotli and Khoi Ratta and to major cities in Pakistan as well as including services to Gujrat, Jhelum, Kharian, Gujranwala, Lahore and Rawalpindi. There is no railway station in Mirpur. The closest station is in Dina. The promise of a rail extension to Mirpur has not been fulfilled.[14][self-published source?]

Islamabad Airport which services the Mirpur region is 130 km away. Sialkot International Airport is 110 kilometres away

An international airport has been planned. The location of the airport has not been determined, but possible locations near Mirpur are Mangla, Jatlan and Bhalwhara.[citation needed] In August 2013, the National Assembly and the prime minister approved the airport. It was determined that the airport would be constructed in two years after funding.[15]


According to the 2017 census, Mirpur had a population of 124,352.[16] Mirpur's original population comprises different tribes similar to that of Punjab. However, since 1947, Pahari people emigrated from the neighbouring Rajouri and Poonch districts of the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir. The bulk of the Mirpuri diaspora resides in England.[17]

Hindu and Sikh communitiesEdit

Before the Kashmir War in 1947, the Mirpur District had about 75,000 Hindu and Sikhs, amounting to 20 percent of the population.[18] A great majority of them lived in the principal towns of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber. Refugees from Jhelum in Western Punjab had taken refuge in Mirpur town, causing the non-Muslim population to increase to 25,000. On 25 November 1947, during the 1947 Jammu massacres tribesmen and Pakistani military members attacked and seized the city. Of the minority population, only about 2,500 Hindus or Sikhs escaped to the Jammu and Kashmir along with the State Forces. The remainder were marched to Alibeg, where a gurdwara was converted into a prison camp, but the raiders killed 10,000 of the captives along the way and abducted 5,000 women. Only about 5,000 made it to Alibeg, but they continued to be killed at a gradual pace by the captors. In March 1948, the ICRC rescued 1,600 of the survivors from Alibeg, who were resettled to Jammu and other areas of India.[19][20][21][22][23][self-published source?]


Saif Ul Malook FestivalEdit

The Saif Ul Malook Festival takes place annually in April, usually in the city centre. It is an event celebrating the anniversary of Baba Pir-e-Shah Ghazi Qalandar (Damrian Wali Sarkar), who was the spiritual guide/teacher of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, the Sufi saint and Potwari poet famous for his poem Saif ul Malook.

Rathoa MelaEdit

The Rathoa Mela takes place annually in summer in Rathoa Muhammad Ali Town near the Mangla dam front. It is an event celebrating culture value peace and tolerance.[citation needed]

Pahari MushahiraEdit

Pahari Mushahira is a literary event in which poets from all over Azad Kashmir present their poems to the general public. It is celebrated regularly in Mirpur, as part of the campaign of Alami Pahari Adabi Sangat for the preservation and rehabilitation of the Pahari language and the culture of Jammu and Kashmir.


In recent times, the city has seen many new developments. Some of the schemes approved and under construction are[citation needed] the New Bong Escape Hydropower Project, Pakistan's first private Hydel power and the raising of the Mangla Dam.


There are the following places of interest:

Notable peopleEdit

Friendship citiesEdit

Mirpur has friendly relations with:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Snedden (2013, p. 176): 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'.


  1. ^ "Azad Jammu and Kashmir: Districts, Cities & Towns - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information". Archived from the original on 2020-06-29. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  2. ^ "Kashmir".
  3. ^ Rahman 1996, p. 226.
  4. ^ Maqbool, Aleem (March 5, 2012). "How city of Mirpur became 'Little England'". BBC News. The city of Mirpur, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, is known as "Little England" due to its large British Pakistani community.
  5. ^ "Inside Pakistan's 'Little Britain' as overseas nationals get vote". BBC News. 4 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Azad Kashmir – Kashmiri Development Foundation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  7. ^ a b c History of Panjab Hill States, Hutchison, Vogel 1933
  8. ^ Lone, Fauzia. "Dr". BBC News اردو. BBC. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  9. ^ Ballard, Roger (2003), "The South Asian presence in Britain and its transnational connections" (PDF), Culture and economy in the Indian diaspora, pp. 197–222
  10. ^ Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Web.archive.org (2009-10-27). Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
  11. ^ Peel, M.C.; Finlayson, B.L.; McMahon, T.A. (2007-10-11). "Updated Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification" (PDF). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 11: 1633–1644. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007. S2CID 9654551.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  12. ^ "Mirpur climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Mirpur weather averages - Climate-Data.org". en.climate-data.org.
  13. ^ "Climate chart of Chiniot". My Weather. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  14. ^ Choudhry, Dr Shabir (2017-01-18). Kashmir Dispute, Pakistan and the Un Resolutions. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781524667818.[self-published source]
  15. ^ "AJK: International Airport to be constructed in Mirpur, says Majeed". GlobalPost. 2013-04-09. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-13.
  16. ^ "Statistical Year Book 2019" (PDF). Statistics Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  17. ^ Moss, Paul (30 November 2006). "The limits to integration". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  18. ^ Snedden, Unwritten History 2013, p. 28.
  19. ^ Snedden, Unwritten History 2013, p. 56.
  20. ^ Puri, Across the Line of Control 2013, p. 30.
  21. ^ Hassan, Khalid (16 March 2007). "Mirpur 1947 – the untold story". Khalid Hasan Online. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2015-08-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. ^ Gupta, Prakriiti (8 May 2010). "Horrific Tales: Over 3,00,000 Hindus, Sikhs from PoK still fighting for their acceptance". Uday India. Archived from the original on September 8, 2011. Retrieved 2015-08-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  23. ^ Bhagotra, Raj Kumar (2013), "Escape from death seven times", in Bal K. Gupta (ed.), Forgotten Atrocities: Memoirs of a Survivor of the 1947 Partition of India, Lulu.com, pp. 123–125, ISBN 978-1-257-91419-7[self-published source]
  24. ^ "Pak Backer In UK Parliament Allegedly Had Sex With Women Who Sought Help". NDTV.com.
  25. ^ Partner Cities – Birmingham City Council Archived 2010-09-18 at the Wayback Machine. Birmingham.gov.uk (2009-08-13). Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
  26. ^ Life in the Community. Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  27. ^ [1] Waltham Forest - Town Twinning.


External linksEdit