[News]Gojal should be declared ‘Calamity Hit Area’-Wazir Baig

By: Kalb-e-Ali

ISLAMABAD: The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are true Pakistanis and they are in favour of getting the status of a province of Pakistan, said the speaker of the area’s legislative assembly Wazir Baig here on Saturday.

Addressing the media in the National Press Club along with Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed, Mr Baig said the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan had rendered sacrifices for more than six decades for resolution of Kashmir issue despite the fact that the region had never been a part of the Jammu Kashmir state even during Dogra rule.

“The region was a remote part of the Dogra rule, not a unit of the Kashmir state,” he said, adding granting the status of a province to the region would not have any negative impact on the Kashmir cause.

He also stressed the need for speeding up efforts to clear the artificial lake formed by a landslide on Hunza river at Atabad.

He warned that the flow of water in the Hunza river would increase manifolds when glaciers start melting in the coming days.

“Up to 15 large and small bridges between Atabad and Gilgit town could face collapse in case of the dam burst,” he said, adding the artificially created lake was 300 feet deep and covered an area of around 15 kilometres.

He said a large area had already submerged and the land was still posing a threat to the local population.

He said a local volunteer student lost his life and an FWO official was injured in a landsliding two days back.

“I do not say that nothing has been done but what we want is that the efforts should be enhanced to clear the area before high flow starts,” Mr Baig said.

In case of a dam burst, the rolling impact of flash floods would be felt even in Kohistan. “We are forewarning that there is a serious threat to life and property down stream and speedy solution is needed.”

Mr Baig said the situation was serious upstream Hunza river and 25,000 residents of the valley were facing serious problems due to isolation as almost all the routes have been cut off.

“The locals are not getting essential supplies of daily-use items. Besides, they cannot get fertilizer and potato seeds which is the main cash crop of the area,” he said. If the situation remains the same for another two months and residents of upstream Attabad are cut-off from the rest of country, the whole area should be declared ‘calamity hit’. Source: DAWN

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