Stranded tourists reach Gilgit after KKH reopens
GILGIT: Scores of travellers who were stranded in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) owing to the inclement weather finally reached Gilgit after the Karakoram Highway (KKH) reopened for traffic on Saturday.
Hundreds of passengers, including 145 foreigners, were stranded in at Chilas town for over 24 hours. The highway was blocked by landslides — triggered by rains — on Thursday at three places between Gilgit and Chilas.
One-thirty nine Thai nationals, as well as two Australian and Swiss nationals, respectively were also stranded. Similarly, a Malaysian and Singapore national were also boxed in due to the weather conditions.
To ensure tourists safety, a heavy contingent of police were on duty during their stay. “The tourists were escorted to Gilgit today as KKH reopened for traffic,” Muhammad Tariq, Chilas deputy commissioner said.
“The tourists were provided foolproof security during their stay and also for their departure to Gilgit,” Tariq added. On Friday, authorities gave out food and other supplies to the affectees after they ran out of rations.
“The landslides have played havoc with the highway,” said a passenger after reaching Gilgit. He lauded the efforts of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for clearing the KKH.
The highway connects G-B with the rest of Pakistan.“FWO authorities did well to open the highway in spite of the risk of more landslides,” he added.
The region received a fresh wave of snowfall and rains over the past two days which had a debilitating effect on travellers.
By Shabbir Mir for Express Tribune