District Poonch or Punch is one of the remotest districts of Jammu and Kashmir. It is bounded by the Line of Control (boundary between Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir) on three sides (north, west and south). The 1947-48 war between India and Pakistan divided it into two parts. One went to Pakistan and the other became part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Poonch one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the three districts in Jammu and Kashmir currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Poonch District has 3 assembly constituencies: Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch Haveli. The present M.L.A of Poonch Haveli is Shah Mohammed Tantray of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party, Mohammed Akram of Indian National Congress is currently representing Surankote constituency and Mendhar is being represented by Javid Rana of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference. Poonch district comes in Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha Constituency
According to the 2011 census Poonch district, India has a population of 476,820, roughly equal to the nation of Suriname. This gives it a ranking of 548th in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 285 inhabitants per square kilometre (740/sq mi) .Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 27.97%. Poonch has a sex ratio of 890 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 68.69%. The district is 87% Muslim.
Resident ethnicities include Gujjars, Bakerwals, Paharis, Punjabis, Kashmiris and Rajputs. Gujjars mostly reside on the slopes of mountains. They have small pieces of land for cultivation, and cattle for supplementing their economy. Bakerwals are nomadic tribes. Gujjars and Bakerwals speak Gojri whereas rest of the population (excluding Kashmiris) speak Pahari/Poonchi. The mother tongue is a great cementing factor of the Pahari speaking people because they remain closely associated with each other despite differing faiths
With the recent developments between India and Pakistan, the divided people are again coming into contact with each other. The opening of the Poonch-Rawalakot bus is an important step in this direction.
Air There is a small airstrip located which is mainly used by Indian Army. Rail There is no railway connectivity to Poonch yet. Road Poonch district is connected to the summer capital jammuby an all weather road. It also has road connectivity with Srinagar through the pictureresque Mughal Road. A bus across the LOC, the Poonch-Rawalakot bus has helped to re-establish ties across the border.