GILGIT: Federal Minister for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Arbab Alamgir said on Friday that the rehabilitation of Attabad Lake victims would be speeded up as the situation has normalised following the flood.
The federal minister said this to a Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) delegation, headed by acting governor of G-B Wazir Baig, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday, sources told The Express Tribune.
“The floods had diverted our attention, but now we will focus on the rehabilitation of Attabad Lake victims and the upgradation of the Karakoram Highway (KKH),” Arbab Alamgir was quoted as saying.
A massive landslide early this year blocked Hunza River, forming a lake that expanded beyond 23 kilometres as water accumulated in it over the months. Five villages upstream were submerged, leaving nearly 5,000 people homeless. More than 25,000 people in upper Hunza also got stranded as the road linking Gojal was washed away by the landslide.
Those rendered homeless have been living in camps since then, urging the government to expedite their rehabilitation process.
The federal minister termed Karakoram Highway as an enduring symbol of Pak-China friendship and said that upgradation of the highway would be carried out as early as possible.
He also said that the severed portion of Karakoram Highway at Attabad would be restored to link the land connection with Gojal and the rest of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2010.