Several travellers stranded as sections of Karakoram Highway blocked in GB, KP amid rain-triggered floods

Published July 7, 2023
A tractor works to remove rubble at the Karakoram Highway at Uchar nullah on Friday. — National Highway Authority
A tractor works to remove rubble at the Karakoram Highway at Uchar nullah on Friday. — National Highway Authority
A picture of a traffic jam at the Karakoram Highway in Hunza on Friday. — Photo by Abid Sikandar
A picture of a traffic jam at the Karakoram Highway in Hunza on Friday. — Photo by Abid Sikandar

Several passengers were stranded on the Karakoram Highway on Friday as parts of the thoroughfare that connects Punjab to Gilgit-Baltistan before crossing into China remained blocked in GB and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid rain-triggered floods, officials and a traveller said.

Ghulam Abbas, the National Highway Authority’s deputy director for Shangla and Kohistan in KP, told Dawn.com that the Karakoram Highway was blocked at Jijal, Pattan, Uchar Nullah and other areas, adding that the Frontier Works Organisation was clearing the impediments.

Meanwhile, the bridge on Uchar Nallah, swept away by floods in August last year, has yet to be rebuilt.

Abbas said an under-construction bridge at the site was being opened for traffic from today as the makeshift route that was being used after the 2022 floods had been damaged.

A Dawn.com correspondent reporting from the area said several link roads in the region were also blocked due to floods while GB and Kohistan were cut off due to the blocking of the Karakoram Highway.

Asadullah Khan, chairman of Upper Kohistan’s Harban tehsil, said after heavy rainfall, streams in his areas had overflown, resulting in the suspension of road traffic, blocking of pedestrian paths and damage to water supply schemes.

“In the meantime, passengers travelling to Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad have been stranded at Karakoram Highway as it has been blocked at Uchar Nullah,” he added.

The highway was also blocked at Basari and Gadoon, the official said, work to clear the routes at these points was under way.

He further told Dawn.com that the road connecting the Karakoram Highway to the Harban valley, as well as water supply lines and pedestrian paths in the area, had been “completely washed away” due to which locals were facing difficulties.

Hafiz Waqar, assistant commissioner of Dasu in Upper Kohistan, said no loss of life or property had been reported yet from Harban tehsil amid the chaos following rain-triggered floods.

Separately, a stranded tourist Anayat Ali Shah told Dawn.com that the Karakoram Highway was also blocked at Goharabad, a village in GB’s Diamer district.

In recent days, at least 50 people have been killed by floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains that have lashed Pakistan since last month.

The Meteorological Department has predicted more heavy rainfall nationwide in the days ahead and warned of urban flooding.

1 dead, 1 injured in Shangla landslide

Meanwhile, another person lost his life in a landslide in Shangla today.

Shangla Deputy Commissioner Hassan Abid told Dawn.com that a man died and another was injured when a boulder hit a pickup van due to a landslide.

The incident occurred at Zero Point on the Bisham-Swat Road near the Ranyal area, he said, adding that the deceased and the injured were travelling from Bisham to Swat.

Today’s incident comes a day after eight children were buried alive in a landslide in the Kuz Kalay area of Shangla.

Opinion

Editorial

By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...
Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...