Gilgit - BaltistanPakistan

Attabad Hunza: A battleground for nature and men

People forced to live in huts, village declared risky to live, no rehabilitation plan yet!

by Shamsuddin Hunzai

Attaabad, a beautiful hamlet, is located at a distance of 760 Kilometers from the federal capital, and about thirty kilometers from Aliabad, the main town of Hunza valley. It is located at a distance of 55 kilometers from the Karakuram Highway, above Sarat village on a steep slope in Central Hunza.

Continuous land movement for the past four years has made houses pitched on mountain slopes of Attaabad risky for people of live in. The government had asked the people to vacate Attabad and they lived for months in Tents and huts in a nearby location.

The inhabitants of Attaabad village claim that the first cracks appeared in hte land when a high magnitude earth quack waves hit the village in 1994, causing a land mass to shift place, 1000 feet above the residential cluster.

The cracks began to widen when the upper land mass stated to move, causing land sliding and uneven leveling of land. As a result, the human settlement was badly affected as houses of about twenty six developed cracks and agricultural land property of sixty six families was destroyed. The families were forced to leave the hamlet. The situation became more serious when the earth quake on October 8, 2005 shook the entire region and intensified the movement of rocks, destroyed houses.

Reports like that of Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) have declare the area a potential threat, at the verge of complete destruction. These reports have recommended for public safety, animal and agricultural property.

Geologists say that Karakorum ranges of Himalaya passes through Hunza and Nagar valley in North-West-to-South-East direction. Rakaposhi (7788 meters), the world’s eleventh highest mountain is located in South of Attabad. The affected area is extremely cold during winter season.

When closely observed, the eastern part of the village is gradually moving, causing enlargement of cracks and a main reason for slope failure. Dozen of residential houses and cattle shelters have been destroyed due to recent slope failue. The bed rock is completely fractured and jointed through tectonic process in the area. Heavy pieces of rocks have started to slide down.

While, the hydrological factors have caused the movement and intensified slope failure as water during rain and snow melt enters the rocks. The movement in network of cracks in the area can be a future calamity and loss of any human life will be a great mistake on part of both conscious minds of the region and government simultaneously.

It is pertinent to mention that on advice of few narrow-sighted and politically immature elders, the population boycotted the election in a hope to get notice of the rest of masses of Hunza. Yet, the strategy seems irrational, as participation in democratic processes is the first step towards resolution. It is expected that the ruling party will do some thing irrespective of their attitude in terms of boycott only for the walfeware of humanity.

It is right time for the two representatives of Hunza, Wazir Baig, speaker of GBLA, and Mutabiat Shah, technocrat, to take serious notice of the plight of people of Attabad and work towards seeking permanent solutions for the human suffering in Attababad.

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  1. This is test case for new Government and Speaker Sahib. Let see how this so called democractic govenment compansate the victim of attabad…..

  2. Its a serious natural threat to the people of the village. The government needs to assess the magnitude of the potential disaster and come up with mitigation plans.


  3. Kiran and Darajat have brought to our notice the dangerous situation of Attabad village. Before any human tragedy,the govt.should declare the area as disasterous and avacuate it.
    Experienced and competent people like Darajat should be considered for the election of six members of the Council.

  4. This threat is not a newly occurred but is there since few years, our last political set up including the leader of the house (who unfortunately is also a son of the soil) completely ignored the most life threatening signals. I urge not only the district disaster management but the newly elected assembly members to please do your utmost to save the precious lives before it is too late.

  5. The govt shld take notice of such areas in Gilgit and Baltistan and compensate the these beautiful areas are totally ignored by the government and still trying to ignore.

  6. Gov is requested to consider importance of risk management and take quick measures to strengthen Risk management in GB esp. in places like Attabad in future to control and minimize such big disasters. We need to work on our risk management to save our people in future

    1. Why Shoud we Request the person who never do any thing for us wthr he is govt or any other person
      we the people of hunza have to takecare of them……..

  7. is there any material available, which could provide info on the forestation of the area. As this area was part of an ancient trade route some description of the area should be available. would appreciate if any one could provide details. thank you

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