BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Passengers on Wednesday heaved a sigh of relief as buses travelling between Gilgit-Baltistan [G-B] and Rawalpindi weren’t stopped for convoys in Kohistan.
The convoy system on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was lifted on Tuesday. It existed since 2012, and 50 to 100 vehicles were required to move in groups from G-B’s Diamer district till Besham, Shangla in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The convoy was escorted by K-P’s law-enforcement agencies.
“It’s a like day of deliverance for us,” Khan, a resident of Gilgit said after reaching Gilgit told Outpost.
“We didn’t have to wait for hours on the way to be part of convoys as we did in the past,” said Khan, referring to previous experience. “Its so refreshing, thanks to G-B and KP governments.”
The decision to end the painful system was taken at a two-day apex committee meeting of G-B and K-P officials in Peshawar. Chief ministers of both the regions and K-P Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan were among those present. K-P Corps Commander Hidayatur Rahman and other senior officials were also in attendance.
Farman Ali, trader, said he was travelling first time in a happy mood on the 600 km long highway which connects G-B with Rawalpindi via Kohistan. “The news that convoy system has been scrapped was perhaps the biggest goodness of the decade,” Ali told Outpost
Dilbar Khan, manager in a bus company, said the buses reached timely first time in four years. “We welcome it and hope this long last,” Khan said, adding the drivers also were happy over the new decision.
He said more police patrolling force was there in Kohistan area leading to G-B.
The convoy system was replaced with a new force providing security to passengers on the KKH. The first check post of Karakoram Patrolling Force (KPF) in this connection was inaugurated at Datta, Mansehra along KKH.
At least 200 personnel have been hired initially in the KPF and would be increased with time and as per the force’s requirements.