Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Attabad – Out of sight, out of mind!

Shakeel Ahmed Shah

Shakeel Ahmed Shah

The second year passed by and the government is sturdily attempting to prove the idiom out of sight, out of mind to be authentic by relegating the issues of Attabad disaster rehabilitation action plan. After being hot news in print and electronic media, the attabad disaster is now shambled to a nightmare.

On the ill-fated fourth day of January 2010, a mega landslide disaster occurred at Attabad, deep in the Hunza Valley, 14 kilo-meters north of Aliabad. The disaster caused inhumation of 19 precious lives along with the destruction of wealthy agro land, properties

Shakeel Ahmed Shah

and killing a number of livestock adding to the hardships of unfortunate population of Attabad village.

This land slide blocked the entire Hunza River, causing a lake to form inundating 32 kilo-meters area of the region on the upstream from this hood place of Attabad. Consequently the rising of water level submerged around 242 houses, 135 shops, four hotels, two schools, four factories and several hundred acres of agricultural land along with an estimated length of 25 kilo-meter of KKH including some mega constructions in the shape of bridges. Besides all this, it displaced a round static number of 6,000 people from their homes in the upstream villages.

Now it is the second anniversary of that apocalyptic day. The population then effected has staged so many protests to acquaint the authorities about their demands but they have paid no heeds instead sometimes they have been barbarously treated for such steps. A well exposed example for this argument is the incident that occurred in Aliabad the district headquarters of Hunza-Nagar, where police opened fire on innocent protestors and took lives of two people in relation to one another as father and son.

The IDPs in collaboration with major public of Hunza valley demand for their rights. They urged for retaliation of their sovereign rights. The situation somehow requires adequate attention, since the blockage this part of Hunza region Gojal is totally cutoff by land routes and people to link them to the lower areas, in the present situation use boats in some part of their journey and long ways by foot walk in another part. This is another chaotic condition aggrandize in the hard livings in the high mountains, specifically in the winter season. Where the temperature drops to around twenty degrees below the static point

Being only gate way to the friendly country at boarder China, its relevancy respectively amplifies. The only trade route with China is Karakoram High way which is inundated up to 25 kilo-meters.  Businessmen from the local market and the national traders are tired of this hectic system of conveying trade products. This disaster has forced to double their investment, so in counter-wise the businessmen enhance the product rates to compensate their investment. Some of the businessmen have trended to visit china seldom. This is how the trade is suffering and the product availability in the market is causing at high rates day by day

Besides the effect caused to the materialistic properties, the disaster has directly affected the ethnic values of the region. This part of the region is the home for three rare ethnic groups; Wakhi, Burushaski and Domaki, the first two clans are comparably larges than later tribes. The entire population of Domaki speakers, a very tiny minority and historically marginalized community, was completely displaced from their village (Shishkat).

The focal question for which the IDPs have been sitting-in protests is their claim for the recompense and more over to rehabilitate the region. They stressed for the immediate evacuation of the lake, so that they could approach to the lands of their predecessors easily.

 One of the victims said “we love the land where we born and our hearts get touched when we see our born-place under water.” He added “the ignored attitude of the government and the brutal treatment is another hardship we are facing since last two years.”

A well designated social person added his comments claiming that “the evacuation of lake is the only possibility to give back the demands” more over he said “the infrastructure which is now under water, can be utilized with less loss if the standing water in the lake is evacuated.”

Most of the public on interview said “Many leaders and high officials have visited the IDPs and have learnt their ongoing issues but no action has been so far executed even at a lower scale. This attitude of the visitors forced the people to think the visits to be the formal one which the office holders mostly act to do to show on media that they are indeed busy in unraveling the public issues. In fact that is nothing other than a melodrama shown to the IDPs.”

Such an idea has emerged in the minds of IDPs that governing body is using a hard hand in this regard keeping its personal interests in the game with china and America. They alleged it to be a part of governing politician’s corruption. And simply away from all other problems, they are waiting for the solution of their proper rights.

The contributor works at a private organization in Islamabad. He can be reached at shakeelshah@hotmail.co.uk

1 thought on “Attabad – Out of sight, out of mind!

  1. Well narrated story of Atabad natural disaster by Shakeel. Indeed it’s sad to note that the work on spillway is very slow. The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan should take a serious notice and the work should be speeded up to drain the lake water, thus the sufferings of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) could be minimised. Uptil now, the authorities of Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) have totally failed to complete their task despite expiry of more than two years.

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