English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Protesters block Karakoram Highway in PoGB against negligence of administration

Representative Image

Protestors from the Nasirabad Hunza area in Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB) blocked the Karakoram Highway on Tuesday, raising their concerns over the infrastructural underdevelopment in the PoGB area, a report by the Pamir Times, a local news outlet from PoGB stated.

This protest was registered after a major bridge called the Khanabad Bridge collapsed about 10 days ago.

According to the Pamir Times report the PoGB faces various challenges related to its infrastructure, which significantly impact the lives of its residents.

Quoting the records described by the protestors a mini truck had fallen in the Hunza River after a wooden suspension bridge collapsed in Khanabad village. Following the incident, the search operation was initiated. however, the administration has not indicated the recovery of the bodies of those who have allegedly lost their lives in the bridge collapse incident.

This incident has sent shockwaves through the community, prompting worries regarding the safety of similar structures in the area because of the administration’s negligence. The same report also stated that two victims of the bridge collapse belonged to the Diamer and Nasirabad.

A local leader and social activist Baba Jan during the protest had mentioned that “the road collapse had occurred because the contracts of such works are generally given on quid pro quo basis. The bridge was already in bad condition and 13 people have lost their lives on the same bridge. Additionally, those who fell from the bridge should be given compensation of PKR 50 lakh, and the tender date for the construction of this road has been repeatedly postponed by the administration, likely for commission purposes. We demand immediate action to expedite the tender process and commence the construction of a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) bridge without delay.”

“First of all, we don’t have such infrastructure, and then they don’t make these wooden bridges to last long. They don’t use good quality material. Resulting in such horrible incidents. Hence we demand reconstruction of this bridge and ensure compensation for the victims of this bridge collapse,” he added.

The tragedy was not unforeseen, just a week prior, a concerned resident had captured footage of the deteriorating bridge, sounding the alarm about its precarious condition. Despite the stark warning conveyed in the video, no action was taken to rectify the impending danger, leaving the community vulnerable to disaster, the Pamir Times report from PoGB claimed.

Now caught in the crossfire of protests and demands, several travellers find themselves stranded on the unforgiving roads. Among them was Muniruddin, whose journey from Gilgit to Hunza had been abruptly halted by the unexpected blockade.

“I was coming from Gilgit, but people have blocked the road. We need to urgently reach Hunza but we are stranded here. So, we urge the administration to negotiate with the protesters and address their issues. People are facing lot of difficulties. It is too hot and this area lacks hotel facilities. People are facing a lot of difficulties, so, the people who face issues should be addressed immediately”.

Notably, the government in PoJK has been repeatedly criticized for its negligence in maintaining essential infrastructure and ensuring the safety of the community.