Heavy landslide blocks KKH in Kohistan

MANSEHRA: The Karakoram Highway was closed to traffic after a heavy landslide struck the road near Madraza area of Kohistan on Wednesday morning.“Once the boulders and rocks are removed it will be clear whether or not the highway is washed away by the river. It will take three to four days to reopen the road,” said Brigadier Shamsul Munir, in-charge of Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), here on Wednesday.After the landslide hit the KKH between Puttan and Dasso all sorts of traffic was suspended in Kohistan district.The road between Hazara and Gilgit-Baltistan was closed on Sunday at Kihal Khalij Banda and the Kohistan district administration had sought the support of FWO for its early opening.“A heavy landslide has struck the highway at Kihal Khalij Banda area in Kohistan and people now have to cross the area by foot in highly unfriendly weather conditions. We have demanded of the FWO to open the road as early as possible to end the hardships of people,” said Kohistan DCO Hamayun Khan while speaking to reporters the other day.He said that people who were travelling between Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa via Karakoram Highway cross over the blocked portion of over 100 meters by foot through the mountainous area.Brig. Munir said that the Wednesday’s landslide had affected over 200-metre portion of the road and the FWO and National Highway Authority would work jointly to reopen it.Sarfaraz Khan of Puttan said that owing to the KKH blockage at various places in Kohistan life had come to a standstill and people had been facing numerous problems. He said that after destruction of the road infrastructure in the last year’s floods the KKH was the only route open for transportation within and out of the district.Mr Khan said that the government should construct a dual carriageway at the places where landslides had been occurring frequently.Asad Shah, the manager of Northern Areas Transport Companies (Natco), said that owing to the blockade of the KKH at various places in Kohistan the transport’s services had been suspended for the last four days – Dawn