The ill-fated house that was hit by a landslide in Abbottabad on Tuesday. — Online
The ill-fated house that was hit by a landslide in Abbottabad on Tuesday. — Online

ABBOTTABAD/MANSEHRA: Five people, including three members of a family, were killed by landslides in Abbottabad and Upper Kohistan areas on Tuesday.

The residents said Kali Jan and her two sons, including Khawar, 17, and Mubashir, 14, buried alive under the rubble when an enormous boulder rolled down the Sarban hills to destroy their house in Mohallah Usmania of Abbottabad city in the early hours of the day.

They said the three were asleep at that time.

People stranded on KKH, other roads due to snowfall

The residents and police pulled out the bodies and shifted them to the deceased’s native village, Malsa, in Galiyat region for burial.

Also, Rafiuddin and friend Mohammad Naeem died after their motorcycle was hit by a landslide on the Karakoram Highway in Shitial area of Upper Kohistan district on Tuesday night.

Police official Mohammad Gul said one body had been pulled out, while the other was still buried under the rubble.

Meanwhile, the Galiyat Development Authority and Abbottabad police established tourist centres in Harno picnic spot and Bara Gali to update visitors with conditions of the roads leading to Nathiagali and other hilly areas in Galiyat region.

Such a centre was set up in Changla Gali, where head of the police post Arshad Ayub said the roads were slippery and therefore, the police were trying to stop tourists from using them.

He complained that visitors didn’t heed the advice and thus, ending up stuck in heavy snow.

Deputy commissioner of Abbottabad Amir Afaq, GDA director-general Raza Ali Habib and senior officials of the KP Highway Authority visited the Abbottabad- Murree Road and supervised the road clearance operation.

The local police along with PAF base, Kalabagh, and army officials supervised the operation meant to rescue tourists stuck in Thoweedabad area from Nathiagali to Murree.

Officials said two to three feet snow had fallen in Dong Gali, Ayubia, Changla Gali, Nathiagali, Bara Gali and Thandiani. Almost all major and link roads in Galiyat region were closed to traffic.

Also, a large number of passengers remained stranded in Kohistan for the second consecutive day on Tuesday due to the closure of the Karakoram Highway due to heavy snowfall and landslides.

“We have moved machinery to clear the KKH in both upper and lower Kohistan. Many sections of the highway have been reopened but it has yet to be completely cleared to traffic,” district police officer of Upper Kohistan Abdul Saboor Khan said.

The KKH was blocked in Guloz Banda, Matta, Koz Kamila and parts of Lower Kohistan on Sunday.

The passengers travelling between Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also remained stranded on both sides of the KKH in severe cold.

“We have been stuck here since last night as the road hasn’t been cleared,” said Mohammad Miskeen, who was on the way to Rawalpindi from GB.

He said hundreds of vehicles were bound for lower parts of the country via the KKH from GB.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019