Mirpur, Azad Kashmir Region, Pakistan

History | Early Mirpur | British Dominion | Independence and War | Geography | Economy : Industry | Education | Sport | Transport | Demographics | Hindu and Sikh communities | Genealogy | Landmarks

🇵🇰 🇧🇩 Mirpur, officially known as New Mirpur City 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.

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". Many British products are found, and many shops in the city accept the pound sterling.

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

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History The city of Mirpur itself was founded in around 1640 AD or 1050AH by the local Ghakhar chief Miran Shah Ghazi during Mughal rule. 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.

The area that is now Mirpur has been historically associated with Pothohar region of Northern Punjab, though the modern demarcation of Pothohar 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.

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.

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. 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 the former Khari Khariyali, thus sealing the fate of Mirpur with the new state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Early Mirpur 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.

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British Dominion 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.

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Independence and War 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.

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Geography Mirpur lies at the foothills of the Himalayas mountain range of an altitude of 648 metres or 2,126 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 Dudial. Mirpur is now one of the largest city of Azad Kashmir. The building of the new city in late 1960s paved the way for New Mirpur, situated on the bank of Mangla Lake.

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Economy: Industry 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 south-eastern 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.

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Education English is common in educational institutes. 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: • The City School • Mohi ud Din Islamic Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences • Mohi-ud-Din Islamic Medical College • Punjab College, Mirpur • Roots Millennium Schools • Beaconhouse School System.

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

There are registered sports clubs: Al-Fatah Cricket Club is one of the top clubs in the city which is among the top 10 Clubs of Pakistan. Other clubs include Eagle star Cricket Club, South Asia Cricket Club. Notable cricketers include Zaman Khan who plays for Lahore Qalandars in Pakistan Super League, Hassan Raza who has represented Pakistan in U-19 world Cup. He is currently representing Northerns in Quaid Azam Trophy and Shadab Khan who is also playing for Northerns in Quiad Azam Trophy.

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.

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Transport 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.[self-published source?]

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

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Demographics According to the 2017 census, Mirpur had a population of 124,352. Mirpur's original population comprises different tribes similar to that of Punjab. However, since 1947, residents from the neighbouring Rajouri and Poonch districts of the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir have largely settled in the Mirpur city and the surrounding areas. The bulk of the Mirpuri diaspora resides in England.

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Hindu and Sikh communities Before the Kashmir War in 1947, the Mirpur District had about 75,000 Hindu and Sikhs, who made the majority population of Mirpur city and amounted upto 20 percent of the population of the district. A great majority of them lived in the principal towns of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber. Many Hindu and Sikh refugees from the Potohar region of Northern Punjab had taken refuge in Mirpur town, causing the non-Muslim population to increase by 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 20,000 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.[self-published source?]

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Genealogy Alongside other group administrators, Awais Hussain manages the Mirpur Y-DNA and Genealogy project on Family Tree DNA with the aim to research and study the genealogy of people in Mirpur and its villages, using oral history, family history of clans and tribes, as well as genetic evidence to research the origins and lineages of castes, subcastes and clans within the region.

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Landmarks There are the following places of interest: • Khari Sharif Darbar • Mangla Dam • Mangla Fort • Ramkot Fort.

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Image: Photo by Muhammad Jawaid Shamshad on Unsplash

Mirpur has a population of over 124,352 people. Mirpur also forms the centre of the wider Mirpur District which has a population of over 456,200 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Mirpur see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Mirpur has links with:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Birmingham, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Bradford, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 London, England
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Mirpur is: -106.267,-33.15

Locations Near: Mirpur 73.7333,33.15

🇵🇰 Sarai Alamgir 73.75,32.9 d: 27.8  

🇵🇰 Jhelum 73.597,32.86 d: 34.7  

🇵🇰 Kharian 73.85,32.8 d: 40.4  

🇵🇰 Gujar Khan 73.305,33.259 d: 41.6  

🇵🇰 Lalamusa 73.95,32.7 d: 54  

🇵🇰 Mandi Bahauddin 73.467,32.567 d: 69.5  

🇵🇰 Gujrat 74.067,32.567 d: 71.9  

🇮🇳 Poonch 74.093,33.77 d: 76.6  

🇵🇰 Rawalpindi 73.067,33.6 d: 79.6  

🇵🇰 Wazirabad 74.1,32.433 d: 86.8  

Antipodal to: Mirpur -106.267,-33.15

🇨🇱 Coronel -73.217,-37.017 d: 16992.5  

🇨🇱 Talcahuano -73.117,-36.717 d: 16982.4  

🇨🇱 San Pedro de la Paz -73.1,-36.833 d: 16981.5  

🇨🇱 Concepción -73.05,-36.817 d: 16976.9  

🇨🇱 Chiguayante -73.017,-36.917 d: 16974.4  

🇨🇱 Valdivia -73.233,-39.8 d: 16988.9  

🇨🇱 Osorno -73.133,-40.567 d: 16973.9  

🇨🇱 Cauquenes -72.35,-35.967 d: 16909  

🇨🇱 Temuco -72.667,-38.733 d: 16945.2  

🇨🇱 Chillán -72.117,-36.6 d: 16892.7  

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