Hunza News

Open for traffic: Karakoram Highway cleared of boulders

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GILGIT,HunzaNews February 23rd,  2016.: Traffic between Gilgit-Baltistan and Rawalpindi resumed on Monday after boulders blocking the Karakoram Highway (KKH) were removed.

Part of a mountain fell on KKH in the Looter area of Kohistan district after heavy rains lashed the region on Saturday. The blockade left dozens of cars stranded on both sides of the highway which is the only route connecting Gilgit-Baltistan to the rest of the country.

“It was an extremely dangerous task to cross the blocked road on foot, but many people did to reach their destinations,” a resident of Gilgit, Azam Khan, told The Express Tribune.

Azam, who reached Gilgit from Rawalpindi on Monday, said stranded passengers spent their night in buses.

“Those accompanied by women and children remained inside buses till the road opened as there were no hotels around.”

Workers of the Frontier Works Organization worked hard to clear the boulders, risking their own lives.

Farooq Ahmed, a government official, who was stranded for more than 20 hours, lauded the effort of the FWO.

“These men really risk their lives only to fulfil their duties; we must acknowledge their role.” Ahmed added he saw long queues of buses, loaded trucks and cars on both sides of the highway.

The over 600-kilometere-long KKH is one of the highest paved international roads in the world and is known as its eighth wonder. It is also known as the Friendship Highway built by the governments of Pakistan and China.

Work on the road started in 1959 and it opened to the public in 1979. About 810 Pakistanis and 200 Chinese workers lost their lives mostly in landslides during the construction of the road.

Published in The Express Tribune

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