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Azad Kashmir (Pakistan)

Last modified: 2010-04-16 by ian macdonald
Keywords: azad kashmir | kashmir | pakistan | crescent | star | balawaristan | goat | maple leaf | swastika |
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[Azad Kashmir] by Arfad Hashmi, 23 May 2005

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Symbolism of the Flag

Symbolically the flag represents many aspects of Azad Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Three Fourths green background representing the seventy five percent Muslim population of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • One Fourth Orange (Gold) color represents the twenty five percent minorities of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Green stripes represent the Valley of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The White stripes represent the snow-covered mountains of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Crescent is the usual semblance of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

From the Azad Kashmir government web page.
Located by Paraskevas Renesis, 7 June 2004

Flag use today

In Pakistani Kashmir ("Azad Kashmir") I believe the Pakistani flag is used most frequently.
Ed Haynes

Smith calls the Azad Kashmir flag above Azad Jammu and Kashmir and gives it as a province of Pakistan, with proportions of 23:31. I don't know that any other flag in Smith's books is unofficial and therefore I presume that both these flags have some official status.
Željko Heimer, 24 September 1996

In a shop, I noticed a painter working on an oil portrait of a general with two flags in the background. One was that of Azad Kashmir as shown here, except in the same dark green as the national flag and with the orange canton taking up only about half the fly. The other was green with a gold device on the center--a gold circle divided horizontally, the upper half subdivided vertically. In the upper left field was a star and crescent, upper right what look like five palm fronds issuing from a stalk, and lower half five stylized mountains emerging from three wavy horizontal stripes. All the above in gold/yellow, with the shahada inscribed in the same color in an arc above the emblem. I asked the artist and he said the gentleman in the painting was a former (now deceased) president of Azad Kashmir and showed me the photograph and the two flags he had been given as models to work from. The flags were car flags, both about 25 x 35 cm. I would guess, based on its similarity to the stripeless Pakistani president's flag, that the green one with the gold emblem is the flag of the Azad Kashmir president. I've since learned that the palm frond device is generally used as the emblem of Azad Kashmir - surrounded by a crescent it forms the central element in the regimental badge of the Pakistan Army's Azad Kashmir Regiment.
Joe McMillan, 12 January 2003

In the March-April 2002 issue of Flag Bulletin Whitney Smith said the Azad Kashmir flag has silver stripes, while crescent and star are white. FOTW shows the stripes, as well as the crescent and star, as white. Am I correct in interpreting your observation as confirming the stripes are white?
Ned Smith, 12 January 2003

I later saw another Azad Kashmir flag in a souvenir shop. Both the flags I saw had crescent, star, and stripes all the same color, a white satiny material. However, I'd note that the canton was gold, not orange.

In a conversation I had with a Pakistani political scientist today, he explained that Pakistan considers Azad Kashmir to be the legitimate government of independent Kashmir, with its foreign and defense relations handled by Pakistan under a 1949 treaty. Azad Kashmir therefore has its own president and prime minister rather than a governor and chief ministers like the provinces of Pakistan proper. This is relevant to the statement on our page that the Pakistan flag rather than that of Azad Kashmir flies in Azad Kashmir. If true (other than at defense establishments), that would belie the Pakistani assertion that Azad Kashmir is not part of Pakistan. I therefore question the accuracy of the statement on our page, unless someone has further evidence. I did not go to Azad Kashmir, so can't prove or disprove it for certain.
Joe McMillan, 14 January 2003

The official flag of the Government of the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir was adopted on 24th September 1975. The flag was adopted by the passing of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir State Flag Ordinance, 1975 by the then president, Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan.

[Azad Kashmir] by Jorge Candeias, 29 June 2005

The Publico newspaper of 8.Apr.2005 had an article about a "Peace Caravan" that travelled by bus between the city of Muzaffarabad, in the Pakistani Azad Kashmir, and Srinagar, in Indian Kashmir. This article was illustrated by a photo, shot at the border, on the Pakistani side, in the Kaman bridge. Two flags are very clearly visible: the flag of Pakistan and the flag of Azad Kashmir.

The Azad Kashmir flag is plainly visible in the photo. A measurement of the pixels that came out of the scan gave the following results:
    Height of the canton: 125.9 pixels
    Height of the stripped part of the flag: 210.2 pixels
    Length of the flag: 481.7 pixels

These measurements round up to a 2:3 flag with the canton occupying the top 3/8ths and the stripes occupying the lower 5/8ths. This is different from every single  Azad Kashmir GIF I have seen so far on FOTW, but, apparently (given the place where the flag is being flown), it's how it should be.

Also, the flag has a total of 9 stripes, 4 of which are white, which means that the bottom stripe is green and so is the stripe immediately below the canton. That is, the hoist side, in an image with 216 pixels of height, goes:
    81 pixels - orange
    15 pixels - green
    15 pixels - white
    15 pixels - green
    15 pixels - white
    15 pixels - green
    15 pixels - white
    15 pixels - green
    15 pixels - white
    15 pixels - green

The canton seems to occupy horizontally half the flag, and the crescent, although it's mostly hidden, seemed to me more consistent with an inclined crescent than with a vertical one. Colours are, naturally, speculative, but I used those that I felt were more likely given the shades of the Kashmiri flag and the Pakistani one in the photo.
Jorge Candeias, 29 June 2005

Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir

[Azad Kashmir prime minister] by Arfad Hashmi, 23 May 2005

Flag of the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir - this is shown in silver thread, whereas the President of the state has an identical banner, but of gold thread. This flag carries the state/province emblems. Here the obvious crescent and star, mountains, and the maple leaf, which is reflective of the abundance of this tree within the state.
Arfad Hashmi, 23 May 2005


[Balawaristan] image by Jaume Ollé, 14 January 2003

Azad Kashmir has special status in Pakistan, but Pakistan annexed Balawaristan (Gilgit, Baltistan, Dardistan). Balawaristan was administered from Kashmir, but they are a lot of native states that were not part of Kashmir and never joined Pakistan freely.
Jaume Ollé, 14 January 2003

[Balawaristan] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 March 2009

James B. Minahan presents the Balawari "national" flag in his book "Encyclopedia of Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World - volume I" and describes it as:
"The Balawari national flag, the flag of the national movement, is a green field with a centered yellow swastika, the 'yung drung', the ancient Bon symbol of prosperity."

Being relatively well informed about the area and its symbols (I did serve for a while, in early 2000s, as a spokesman on behalf of the Balawaristan National Front for California and Western U.S.) I'm not aware of this flag, neither are my contacts in Balawaristan. But, taking under consideration the existence of multiple nationalists groups, both pro- and anti-Pakistan, there, I wouldn't exclude the possibility of that flag being legitimate. Maybe Minahan knows better? The flag seems to be related somehow to the one of the Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement, which gives it even more credence and authenticity. Anyway, here it is, for the record, if not for anything else.

Presently, thanks to Wikipedia, there is more general information on Balawaristan available than ever before:
Wikipedia shows the image of the flag of BNF slightly different from the one here (by Jaume Ollé) at
Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 March 2009

Balawaristan National Students Organization

[Balawaristan National Students Organization] image by Chrystian Kretowicz and Eugene Ipavec, 17 February 2010

"Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO) is the leading and most active student movement of Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan Chitral Kohistan Ladakh). It was formed on June 26,1996 in Karachi under the supervision of Chairman BNF, Abdul Hameed Khan. DJ Mathal, Yasir Balawaristani, Wazir Shafi,Mehboob Ali, Nasir Numberdar, Muraad Jaan and Engineer Sher Jang were its pioneer members. It was established with the purpose that students must develop unity in their ranks and continue their struggle and highlight the issues of the region. From its beginning to till date, BNSO has played a vital role in uniting youths of Gilgit Baltistan, eradicating sectarianism, promoting awareness about history, culture, language, geography and deprivation of the people of Balawaristan."

The flag is pictured, together with the flag of Balawaristan, at:

Chrystian Kretowicz, 26 January 2010