Mirpur is one of the ten districts of Pakistani administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). It is situated at 459 meters above sea-level, located at the extreme south of Jammu and Kashmir. Most of its bushy landscapes, stretching from Bhimber to Dadyal, are barren – leaving only a small stretch of fertile land in the surrounding of Mangla water. The hydroelectric power from the dam makes this district somewhat unique among others.
The remains of the old city (old Mirpur) are underneath the waters of the Mangla Lake. During colder months the water level decreases such that you can see the tops of minarets from the first mosques, and also the remnants of a Sikh gurdwara. This is a glimpse of pre-independence times when there were many faiths co-existing in Kashmir as a whole. Mirpur was well planned and the buildings are mostly of modern design, in addition there is significant inward investment from expatriates now living in the United Kingdom. The city has a number of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other urban facilities.
The main language of the area is Pahari/Mirpuri/Pothwari. However, the Gojri dialect is also spoken by Gujars who migrated from the neighboring Rajouri district.
If literacy is to be defined as an ability to read and write in Urdu then it is quite high, especially among the young. Dropout rate among male students after matriculation level is high. One of the reasons could be due to the phenomenon of emigration through marrying their first cousins born in the UK.
Mirpur is one of the principal sources of migration from Pakistan to Europe, and especially to Britain, so much so that close to half a million migrants from this area now reside in the UK. According to the 1998 census, Mirpur had a population of approximately over 1 Lakh excluding expatriates. There is a large AJK Diaspora in Western Europe, North America and the Middle East. The majority of the expatriates reside in England, UK. It must be noted that the vast majority of the British-Pakistanis are of Azad Jammu and Kashmiri origin. Mirpur is known as ‘Little England’ as well as being a twin city with Bradford as a significant portion of the population is settled in England.
Mirpur has the biggest and busiest bus network in Azad Kashmir, running from early hours of the morning to late at night. Auto Rickshaws are very popular mode of transport for short routes within the city. The nearest commercial airport is Islamabad International Airport, which is approx 80 Miles (130 km) by road from Mirpur city.