Historically, Poonch was earlier called as Rustam Nagar after the Raja Rustam Khan. The history of Punch is as old as the era when Alexander the Great attacked on India around 326 B.C. Famous Chinese traveler, Huien Tsang travelled the area in 6th century AD and he state that this place as a part of Kashmir was also well-known as mini Kashmir. The region was ruled by Raja Nar in 850 AD. According to Rajtrangani, in 1020 A.D, this region was invaded by Mahmood Ghaznvi. Raja Trilochan Pal was the ruler in Punch that time. In 1596, Raja Siraj-Ud-Din Rathore wore the crown. It was also ruled over by Raja Shahbaz Khan Rathore, Raja Abdul Razak Rathore, Raja Rustam Rathore and Raja Bahadur Rathore up to 1798 AD. The area was the part of Khalsa Darbar from 1819 A.D-1850 AD. In 1850 A.D Dogra Raja named Moti Singh laid the foundation of Dogra Raj in the place of Poonch. Moti Singh who served as the Prime Minister to Sikh Emperor Ranjit Singh was gifted Poonch as a jagir by the Sikh Emperor. It was under the control of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from 1850 until 1940's. In 1947, the region was divided into two parts. One was remained to India and other was given to Pakistan.
Ayaz Ahmed Mughal is a social activist, writer, journalist and founder Chairman of Awake India. He belonged to the Right to Information Movement in Jammu & Kashmir. A number of articles on RTI and other socio-political issues have written by him. Dr. Javaid Rahi, from the district, is a researcher and prolific scholar. He has contributed in the field of Tribal and Nomadic Research and received the national fellowship by Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture in 2000. Besides it, he is also known for his contribution for the preservation and propagation of the Gujjar Culture.
Geographically, the district has a total 1,674 sq km. area and occupies the rank 13th in State and 528th in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 33077'N latitude, 74009'E longitude and 981 m altitude. In the year of 2019, there was a total 49.66% forest area of total geographical area. It is surrounded by Baramulla District on the North, Rajouri District on the South and Kulgam District, Shopian District on the East and Kashmir Region on the West. River Poonch passes through the district. The climate of the district remains pleasant almost throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 4 sub-districts namely Haveli, Maidan, Mahara, Surankot. Moreover, it has 3 towns and 170 villages. Urdu is its official language. The district came into existence in year 1976 with its administrative head quarters located at Poonch town which is situated at a distance of 171 kms from the state capital.
Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total 88,878 numbers of households with the population of 4,76,835 including 2,51,899 are males and 2,24,936 are females and is leading it to the rank 11th in the state and 548th in India. It has the population density of 258 (persons as per sq km.). The district has a sex ratio of 893 (females as per 1000 males) and child ratio of 893 (females as per 1000 males). According to 2011 census, the principal languages in the district are Hindi with 91.40% and Kashmiri with 5.40%. During the period 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 27.97% including 29.70% are males and 26.09% are females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Muslim with 90.45% of the total population. In the year 2017 the number of live births in the district was 2,858 including 1,518 were males and 1,340 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 599 including 344 were males and 255 were females.
Economically, agriculture is the main source of income for the people in the district. The district is included in the most backward region which is receiving the Backward Regions Grant Fund Program. The district has several small scale industries such as Soda water, Cotton textile, Woolen, silk & artificial Thread based clothes, Jute & jute based industry, Ready-made garments & embroidery, Wood/wooden based furniture, Paper & Paper products , Leather based industries, Rubber, Plastic & petro based industries, etc. Besides it, agro based and mineral based industries are also available here. In the year 2005-2006 Gross Domestic Product in the district was Rs. 88,802 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 65,878 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 1999-2000. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the year 2003-04 was Rs. 13,803 at Current Price and Rs. 8,223 at Constant Prices in the year 1993-1994.
According to 2011 census, the literacy rate in the district is 66.74% including 78.84% are males and 53.19% are females. The total number of literates is 2,61,724 including 1,63,333 are males 98,391 are females. Anglo Indian Schools, Catholic Schools, CBSE Schools, Girls Schools, Government Schools, Handicaped Schools, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Montessori Schools, Play Schools, Primary Schools, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and International Schools are available here. Nursing Colleges, Arts Colleges, Science Colleges, Commerce Colleges, Medical Colleges and Engineering Colleges are also available here.
Murtaza A. Khan is a politician and well-known lawyer. He is the Member of the Legislative Council in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. He became the member of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party in 1999 and member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council in 2007. He was the chairman of the Committee on Government Assurances and Committee on Privileges Departmental Committees.
The district has several famous historical tourist places to visit. These places are Noori Chhamb, Girgan Dhok and Lakes, Poonch Fort, Mandi, Loran, Nandishool, Surankote, Behramgala, Dehra-Gali, Budha Amarnath Mandi, Gurudwara Nangali Sahib, Ziarat Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib. Noori Chammb is named after the Mughal queen Noor Jahan. It is situated near Behram Galla and is famous for its beauty and water fall. Girgan Dhok and Lakes is a valley consisting of seven lakes namely Sukhsar, Neelsar, Bhagsar, Katorasar, Kaldachnisar and Nandansar etc. Poonch Fort was actually constructed by Raja Rustam Khan. The fort was converted into a secretariat of the kingdom during the time of Raja Baldev Singh. Nandishool is a beautiful water fall which originates from Pir Panchal. It falls on a glacier.