Kohistan shootings: Escorted by police, traffic resumes on Karakoram Highway

Published: March 4, 2012

Public and private bus services resume operations after four days of suspension. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

GILGIT: 

After four days of suspension, traffic on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) resumed on Saturday with a special police force escorting convoys through Kohistan, where 16 passengers, on their way from Rawalpindi to Gilgit, were killed last Tuesday.

Hundreds were stranded across the region due to suspension of traffic on the highway that connects Gilgit-Baltistan with the rest of Pakistan.

For the first three days after the attack, protestors in Kohistan had blocked the highway against the use of their territory for the heinous killings.

Following the attack, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had announced deploying a special highway police along the KKH, with half of the expenses to be borne by the federal government.

Bus services from Gilgit to Rawalpindi, and back, have been resumed, confirmed an official from the Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO), a government-sponsored travel company.

Similarly, bus services by private transport companies to and from Gilgit to other areas in the region, and beyond, have also resumed, he added.

Passengers arriving in Gilgit on Saturday said the special police force escorted the convoys on the KKH at night.

Business activity in Gilgit, however, remained lackluster with markets partially opened and sparse traffic on the roads.

The regional government also announced the opening of private and public offices and educational institutions from Monday.

Earlier, fearing violence in Gilgit in reaction to the killings in the Kohistan attack, the district administration had ordered offices and schools to remain closed till Sunday and advised residents to stay indoors.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2012.

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