Last week concluded Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf’s recent visit to the newly promulgated Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly where he addressed the joint session of the Lower and Upper House, announcing a generous two billion aid for development projects.
Premier Ashraf then flew to Hunza to inaugurate the new 25-kilometre road linking Gojal Valley with the rest of the country. He also inaugurated the Khunjerab to Raikote portion of the Karakoram Highway, which was expanded and upgraded by China.
The lake formed by a massive landslide on January 4, 2010, killed 25 people, inundated several villages upstream the Hunza River and displaced thousands. The lake formed by the landslide continuously expanded till the end of 2010 when the authorities finally came up with ideas of blasting spillways to discharge the artificially formed lake.
Attabad Lake, now commonly known as Gojal Lake, is located nine miles upstream of Karimabad, the working capital of Hunza Valley and has now a total stretch of 23 kms in length. The lake also engulfed a major portion of the Karakorum Highway, swallowing almost 12kms of the stretch. This not only broke the road link of the northern part from the rest of the country but also severely affected the trade and transportation which plied on the legendary Silk Route.
Currently, the government has not come up with any foreseeable solution of the problem. Ferries transport goods and vehicles from one part of the damaged KKH to the other, charging a whooping 18,000 PKR for a car, for one way. This is not only expansive for the travelers and tourists but continues to be a constant hitch for the trade between Pakistan and China.
The premier also had an aerial tour of the 23-kilometre-long Attabad Lake. He investigated the security efforts beefed up for the protection of travelers and commuters on the KKH after last month’s incidents of sectarian violence in the region.