Azad Kashmir Day in Pakistan Date in the current year: October 24, 2024

Azad Kashmir Day in Pakistan Azad Kashmir Day in Pakistan is celebrated on October 24 every year. It is the foundation anniversary of Azad Jammi and Kashmir, a region administered by Pakistan as a nominally self-governing territory.

Azad Kashmir is the western portion of the Kashmir region situated in the north of the Indian subcontinent. Today, Kashmir is divided into three parts administered by India (the territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh), Pakistan (the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kahmir), and China (the territories of Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Tract).

Between 1846 and 1947, the region of Jammu and Kahmir was a princely state administered first by the British East India Company and then by the British Raj. At the conclusion of British rule, British India was divided into two newly independent countries: India and Pakistan. Princely states were given the choice which one of the counties to join.

Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, faced a difficult choice. He himself was a Hindu, but he didn’t want to join India because of personal disagreements with Jawaharlal Nehru and other Indian leaders. Besides, Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim majority state, so joining Pakistan seemed a logical choice.

However, Hari Singh was afraid that Jammu and Kashmir would lose its autonomy, so he chose the third option, which was to remain independent. However, Muslims from western provinces wanted to join Pakistan and rebelled against the Maharaja. They took control of the region and proclaimed a provisional government of Azam Jammu and Kashmir (literally translated as “Free Jammu and Kashmir”) on October 3, 1947.

This government quickly fizzled out, but on October 21, several thousand armed rebels overpowered the Maharaja’s forces and captured an even larger territory. On October 24, Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, known as the “Father of Azad Kashmir”, established the second provisional government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This date is now celebrated as the foundation anniversary of Azad Kashmir. The territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, split from Azad Kashmir on November 1, 1948.

When Azad Kashmir joined Pakistan, the Maharaja handed control over the remaining part of Kashmir to India in return for military aid. This resulted in the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan (and, to a lesser degree, China) that is still ongoing.

Although Azad Kashmir is administered by Pakistan, it is a nominally self-governing entity that has its own president, Council of Ministers, Legislative Assembly, Supreme Court, and High Court. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a link between the governments of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.

Azad Kashmir day is celebrated to highlight Pakistan’s right to the territory. In addition, Pakistan also celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day, also known as simply Kashmir Day, on February 5. It is a public holiday that was established in 1990 to express solidarity with the India-occupied (as the Pakistani government perceives it) part of Kashmir.

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