By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Vehicles loaded with supplies arrived in Gilgit-Baltistan on Saturday after Karakoram Highway (KKH) reopened on April 15 after over two weeks.
Landslides triggered by heavy rain had blocked the highway at 200 places from G-B’s Gojal Valley to Besham, Shangla in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. This sparked a humanitarian crisis as the region was cut off from the rest of the country. The closure of roads led to an acute shortage of wheat, fuel and medicines that irked residents.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Akram Khan, a resident of Gilgit, said, “It is a relief to see vehicles carrying food items into the town [from KKH].”
Hundreds of vehicles that were stuck for over two weeks in Besham passed through Dasu and Kayal in Kohistan, where massive landslides swept away over 400 metres of the highway. The highway was opened for traffic by Frontier Works Organization and district administration of Kohistan.
G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman lauded the services of the workers.
“We appreciate the efforts made by the army and other organisations to clear the highway,” he said.
Diamer DC Usman Ahmed said, “Trucks and tankers containing 9,500 bags of wheat and 350,000 litres of fuel are on their way to Dasu from Besham. Their [next] destination is G-B.”
As the trucks started moving into G-B, the government issued instructions to food department officials to deliver the supplies in all valleys without further delay.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.