[My Voice] Long-term economic revival of disaster hit Gojal valley

Gojal is the the largest Tehsil of Gilgit – Baltistan, located at a strategically important point; at the rendezvous of three global powers. This land of beauty and opportunity is now faced with a natural calamity as a result of the the landslide that hit Attabad on January 4, killing 19 native and blocked flow of the Khujrav (Hunza) River. It also resulted in disconnection of the Karakuram Highway, the economic lifeline of Gojal valley and the only land route between China and Pakistan. The lake formation that resulted because of the river blockage is causing houses, orchards, cultivable and non – cultivable land and thousands of trees to submerge. Over one hundred people have already been displaced by the lake while hundreds more could be victims of the green serpent – like lake that spans over 11 km of area.

The source of income for hundreds of people has closed down. Transporters, businessmen and ordinary people are afraid of the consequences of a prolonged blockade of the Karakuram Highway. The rise in price of basic need commodities (food and fuel) and the problem people are facing in dealing with health emergencies are causing frustration and panic in Gojal valley.  Similarly, unavailability of fertilizers is a very important problem that needs to be looked after.

The government shall shun rhetoric and start concrete action to release water from the lake. The government also needs to look beyond provision of relief to the displaced people only. The economic revival of Gojal valley will take more than a few rotten and rusty boats or a few sacks of flour and rice.

by Adil Khan


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  1. Pamir times are doing a grat job… Specially Nda not allows NGo’s To go there and to help land slide hit areas specially gojal. Gilgit Baltistan Representative should pressure on NDA. Like Air links, Road links to china and give them free passes to the people of gojal and Allow NGo’s to work ther. Even the condition of boatswhich are being using for transpotation are very poor.

  2. The process of recovery and log term sustainable development of a disaster hit area is a logical process which starts from Rescue, Relief, Early Recovery, long term recovery leading to sustainable development of the area. But we could not enter into first stage as boats are still not working and neither there are any concrete rescue operations undertaken.
    We must keep in mind that this is an outcome of the global warming and climate change and it should not be taken as the last and the only one as its evident that such catastrophes will be frequent and more in future. The indicators of global warming are more visible in geological changes in mountains, desertification and sear intrusion. But unfortunately in Pakistan which is dominated by a special elite class based in plains doesn’t care about the three critical areas.
    We can go with two option adaptation and adaption of climate change. Either we can change the outcomes of the phenomenon or adopt as it is. For the former we need a capacity and political will which we will never be able to acquire. Second option is to live with the reality means there will be lake and people will be living with it as has happened in Khalti and elsewhere. I doubt the water discharge solution removing gravel would work as the quantity of material at the base is huge and FWO has a limited capacity with traditional excavators and bulldozers. I think we should not be much optimistic about the discharge of water. Any thoughts?

  3. Dear Colleagues

    It is the time of to be positive and forward suggestions for better solutions of the problems. Blaming or blame game will not work here and again the benefit seekers will try to exaggerate the situation and gain the benefits.

    I do appreciate the peaceful protest to clear the actual situation to the ruling offices of the Country. It is very said to say, that the technical interpretations as shared on media didn’t reflect the zeal of the concern Departments nor technically that was correct, whom are involved in earth removing works.

    The way as about the type of soil and other related information shared on media were worthless and neither based on the aspects of Soil Engineering nor Civil Engineering.

    Some of the proposed suggestions as advised by the world level experts were based on the type of soil were very reasonable but not implemented one or the other reasons. This is very clear that, how the administration and political people of GB look on a very weak part while this clear shows the domination of some of the Departments in GB.

    The central Govt. with President and Prime Mister didn’t show any interest with the People of the area. If I am not wrong-the same attitudes were observed from the disasters related NGOs working in that area.

    What would be the solution now?

    1. The local institutions/organizations working there should increase the number of earth moving machinery & working hours.
    2. If possible-suggestion of the Prof. could be consider again.
    3. Safety measure with the PPS on those boats should be arranged.
    4. Arrangement/availability of food items would be make assure at main village/points for the people.
    5. Logistic arrangements should be arranged for the very flung areas, i.e. Shumshal and Chipursaan.
    6. Special arrangement for shifting of patients, students, aged people, women folk and kids should be placed on priority.
    7. Once again my requests to all the concerns are to see the options as suggested by the Prof. of JAPAN, endorsed by some technical personalities as well. According to the area and soil type the idea is feasible and workable.

    This is actual a challenge for both the selected members of Hunza-Gojal. How they cope all these situations would be a test of their leadership. My humble suggestions to them is they should think before speak and actions.

    Engineer- Baig Ali
    Islamabad, Pakistan

  4. We really appreciate Pamir time’s effort to highlight the disaster in Gojal Valley and the results of careless and incapable GBLA representative of Hunza.
    Pamir time is the only source for the whole world to see the situation going on in Gojal valley and the shameful attitude of Government towards the disaster hit 30000 people of Gojal valley

    Mr. Wazir Baig, Open your eyes and on Pamir Times watch the video of damaged and expired boats, which you have rented and paying huge amount from the development fund of Gilgit Baltistan.

    Mr. Wazir Baig…open your easy and wake up…and don’t criticize Pamir times…they are showing you your performance….these are real pictures of your performance…if you are not capable of handling the issues….don’t criticize the media…simply resign…morally you should resign from the GBLA …and let some one else to work who have capability.

  5. Dua for unification,
    It is testing time for many of us, individuals, organization, leaders, insiders, outsiders, youth…………..

    @ Mr. Baig Ali: Good suggestions came but implementers are not there. Authority lies with someone else who have no interest and belonging to the area. The geological aspects are ignored …. no practical plan has yet been shared either by Pak army or govt…….so why no criticism???? They deserve it…… it is our political right……………..

    Where is AKRSP, the development champion …..? it has become like government department….. no initiatives……. Where is ur Public Private Partnership slogan………… again not practical. You can mobilize international recourses. Why don’t you show concerns….. ???..come out of ur shells and self interest….

    Focus is there only with Camera to shot pictures and distributing packets…. For the last two months how many national and international contacts have you made?????

  6. its really a time of wakeup now all the NGO’s, civil society organizations, groups of people, party members, individuals and leaders: the time has now come to do practicall . the time is diminishing and vanishing everything with the rise of water day by day bringing more desparity and destruction leaving people distress and helpless on their own.

    All central Hunza population: what they re waiting for more, come out get out of your nests you are all willingless people its the time to protest bring the govt machinay into action a two or three days protest can bring a change.

    May God give all of us a sense of willingess to help others.

  7. I appreciate the the article by Adil Khan titled, “My Voice” in Pamirtimes. The readers as well as affectees are appreciative of any such story and initiative that reflect on the troubles of the natives with special reference to the existing disaster at Sarat Atta abad, that has blocked the upper valley or Tehsil Gojal.
    Dear friends! the canvas of the disaster is too large while we have eualvated and looked at it from a very narrow angle. Let us present the truths to the Pak-China in particular and rest of the world in general. The impact on Gojal might be both positive abd negative, because the people will find new ways of survival which they have learnt over centuries. Fortunately we have the most vast land through out Gilgit-Baltistan and we can rethink and be innovative by reviving all our agricultural potentials in this year and the years to come.
    BUT both the Chinese and Pakistani Governments will suffer the most because both nations do trade worth billions of $s through KKH. If the KKH is not opened ASAP, both nations will loose Billions in trade and revenue terms.

    Let us appeal to both nation’s Ministry of commerce and trade and the political heirarchy to take this issue on board and should not take this landslide a local event, but should assess its impact nationally and globally from tourism point of view as well.

  8. It is quite intresting to note that almost everybody is is suggesting that how to snatch our rights from the governiment being part of this country.Dears have you ever ponderd that how our fore fathers were living with dignty and pride at this place at the time of horrible poverty ,when nobody was there to help them out.You should infer that not only the govt is ignoring the land of peace, the pakistani media is equally responsible to disparage the the innocent people of Gojal by not projecting such an awful situation.Dears we have lost our pride,self esteem and confidence by relying on the forgein hands.I m repeatedly requesting that we should learn from past and present experinces that how this crisis can be converted into oportunties.Still we have enough cultivable lands,we have agriclutural specialists,we have machienaries to get maximum benifit from them by growing different types of cropses .The concept of local market can be launched with help of our economists in order to fulfill the basic need on reasonable rates.Although it seems ideal appraoch but the fact is that we all study for jobs and never ever thought about enterprneurship

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