- At the time of Independence in 1947, the economy of Azad Jammu & Kashmir was on subsistence level. It was early 70’s, when economic development of the area started. Despite financial constraints, efforts were made in developing infrastructure for the rapid development of the area. There are various types of small, medium & large scale Industrial units which have been established in AJ&K during last few decades and majority of these are still operational in spite of national & international economic crises.
- The Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is encouraging investment in following areas / sectors; i. Small & Cottage Industries. ii. Medium and large Industries iii. Mineral and Forest based Industries iv. Hydel Projects v. Tourism Potential and commercial viability of proposed industrial units depend on their location. Owing to close proximity to the market of Pakistan, districts Mirpur and Bhimber are most suitable locations for establishment of Medium and large scale industries. However, some opportunities for cottage / small & medium Industries are also available in Northern areas (Poonch & Muzaffarabad) of AJ&K in addition to investment in Mineral, Hydel, Tourism and Housing Sectors of AJ&K.
- To accelerate the pace of development through industrialization, the Department of Industries GoAJ&K has established six Industrial Estates in various districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir providing basic infrastructure like roads, water supply, sewerage system, telephone and electricity etc. whereas, new industrial estates at Dudyal District Mirpur including Special Economic Zones in Mirpur and Muzaffarabad are also in progress.
The State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Lies between longitude of 73° – 75° and latitude of 33° – 56° and comprises an area of 5134 square Miles (mi2) (13,297 square Kilometers). The area is divided into three Divisions and ten districts. Western side of the state boundary linked with the provinces of Punjab and KPK, while the boundary on south Estern side is flanked by Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The topography of the area is mainly hilly and mountainous with valleys and stretches of plains. The elevation from sea level ranges from 360 meters in the South to 6325 meters in the North. The snow line in winter is around 1200 meters above sea level while in summer, it rises to 3300 meters. The State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has an estimated population of 4.45 million with rural to urban population ratio 88:12. The population density is 300 persons per sq. km, and majority of the rural population depends on forestry, livestock and agriculture to earn its subsistence. Average per capita income has been estimated to range from 500 to 600 US$. About 84% households have very small land holding between one to two acres per family. Major crops are maize, wheat & rice, whereas minor crops include vegetables, grams, pulses (red lobia) and oil-seeds. Major fruits are apple, pears, apricot and walnuts. Agriculture and livestock income ranges between 30-40% of household earnings. The remaining share comes from other sources including employment and business etc. It is also worthwhile that Overseas Kashmiries are contributing almost 20% towards foreign remittances of Pakistan.