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Hundreds stranded on KKH after rain, flooding

ISLAMABAD: Several passengers travelling to Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad were stranded at the Karakoram Highway (KKH) on Friday.

Ghulam Abbas, the National Highway Authority’s deputy director for Shangla and Kohistan in KP, said the Karakoram Highway was blocked at Jijal, Pattan, Uchar Nullah and other areas, adding 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.

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 said 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 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.  

Travellers had also been stranded a week ago after the KKH and connected roads in parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were cut off after a spell of heavy rainfall.

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