|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Kotli is linked with Mirpur by two metalled roads, one via Rajdhani, (90 km) and the other via Charhoi. It is also directly linked with Rawalakot via Tarar Khel (82 km) and a double road which links Kotli with the rest of Pakistan via Sehnsa, another major town in Azad Kashmir. Kotli is roughly a three hours drive from Islamabad and Rawalpindi, at a distance of 117 km via Sehnsa.
Its older name was Kohtali, meaning- under mountain, afterward people changed its name to Kotli.
Kotli (कोटली), Bhimbar (भींबर), villages in Sialkot and Chandovdala (चन्दोवडाला) at Manjha in Punjab were founded by Jats of Kalirana clan. Jhanwar (झवर) village was founded by Malji Kalirana clan about 800 years back. They people had settled in Siswada near Delhi and Hisar. Kalu came to Marwar and founded villages Mungda (मूंगड़ा), Kheda (खेड़ा), Mogda (मोगड़ा) etc. From there they came to Jhanwar. 
As stated in History of the Punjab Hill States by J.Hutchinson and J.P. Vogel: "Kotli was founded about the fifteenth century by a branch of the royal family of Raja Mangar Pal . Kotli and Poonch remained independent until subdued by Ranjit Singh in 1815 and 1819 respectively."
The royal family of Hutchinson and Vogel are referring to is the family of Raja Mangar Pal. Before its name was Kohtali mean (under mountain) after that people changed its name to Kotli. Kotli is the largest district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in terms of population.
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947–48: In November 1947, the Indian Army reached Kotli and evacuated the garrisons of the town. The Pakistani Army along with the local population and aided by the tribesmen of the North West Frontier Province arrived and counter-attacked, forcing the Indian Army to abandon it. Kotli has been under Pakistani administration since.
The mass emigration that took over the country in the 1960s has now created a steady boom of summer holiday makers from Britain and beyond who seek to reconnect their European-born children to the old country. Kotli has international links throughout Western Europe and North America. Like many Azad Kashmiris (Poonch valley — a region found in the Jammu part of Jammu and Kashmir) living in the fringes of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur, emigration fever took hold of the surrounding country from the mid 1950s onwards.
Kotli has ties with many European cities such as Amsterdam, Hamburg and especially the larger industrial cities of northern and central England. Many Kotli city residents have ties to British nationals in the city of Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Luton, Bedford, Watford and Birmingham. Kotli is also known as the city of mosques due to the fact that there are more than three hundred mosques in Kotli.
Faizan Rehman is currently the territory executive for Kotli district.
Famous Pakistani Leading Brand Firdous cloth Mills open its Outlet in Kotli. Firdous is famous for its lawn.
- Jat Bandhu, 25 September 2007