Trekkers hike down the Baltoro glacier in the Karakoram mountain range Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Entry of tourists to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has been banned by the local administration owing to clearance work on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and Babusar road of landslides.

The recent rains and landslides caused blockade on a number of points along the KKH and the tourists remained stuck on the road for hours.

According to a notification issued by the Diamer divisional commissioner Dildar Malik, the entry of tourists via Babusar and KKH had been banned for 48 hours for safety of their lives as landslides continued in Tatta Pani section of KKH after recent rains.

“To ensure the safety of these people, the government has decided to ban entry until the monsoon rains end,” the notification issued on Monday by Astore-Diamer Division Commissioner said, adding that officials at the Thor and Babusar checkposts have been instructed to not let anyone enter. Those found violating the orders will be punished, it further said.

Earlier, the Diamer Commissioner had imposed a ban on tourists’ entry to GB through Babusar road and KKH for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile, the GB government spokesman Imtiaz Ali Taj said arrival of tourists in the region through the highway had been banned due to restoration work in Tatta Pani area.

Landslides blocked the highway at various points in Tatta Pani in Diamer recently. It was opened for light traffic on Sunday, but it again got blocked on Monday.

According to the GB police, restoration work in Tatta Pani area was underway, and tourists were advised to schedule trips to the region after clearance of the artery.

A large number of people fled north to spend their summer vacations in the mountains. The monsoon rains have, however, made things difficult for both residents and tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Illegal construction blamed for urban flooding in Islamabad

Meanwhile, illegal constructions and high rise buildings constructed along the rivulets and drains choking their natural flow have been blamed for urban flooding and inundation of two sectors in Islamabad.

A woman and her child drowned, vehicles were washed away and loss worth millions of rupees was reported on July 28 when prolonged rain and floodwater caught residents of the Sectors E-11 and D-12 unawares.

Notices served to housing societies

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has issued show-cause notices to all the five housing societies operating in E-11 over violation of building by-laws.

The action was taken in the aftermath of urban flooding in the sector, which was caused by blockage of a natural stream by a housing society.

“The CDA administration has taken stern notice of illegal constructions and violation of building by-laws in Sector E-11 of the federal capital,” said a press release issued by the CDA.