Plan shelved to extend KKH to Central Asia
22 March 2003
GILGIT: The federal government has reportedly shelved a proposed plan to extend Karakoram Highway (KKH) through Northern Areas owing to Indian government's desire to become a partner in the proposed transit route plan. Sources told Dawn that an agreement was signed in 1995 between Pakistan, China and Uzbekistan to establish a land route to connect the Central Asian States via Gilgit for promoting trade and tourism between the member states, which was to be implemented in 1999. The sources said that the Uzbekistan government, however, agreed to honour the road project on the condition that a similar road link from Uzbekistan to India should be provided through Pakistani territories. But, Pakistan was reluctant to include India in the trilateral plan due to which the parties could not develop a consensus to implement the project and eventually it was scrapped. The sources said that there was another plan to link the Northern Areas with Tajikistan via Ghizer district because the distance was only 35 km and it was more feasible than the previous plan for which the officials of the both the countries were considering various proposals. QUOTA The Punjab government has restored the Northern Areas students' quota in its two medical colleges in Lahore. An official of the NAs education department said that in 1998 the then Punjab chief minister had abolished the quota in King Edwards Medical College and Allama Iqbal Medical College which had been restored now. He added that the sitting Punjab chief minister had also directed the concerned authorities to reserve two seats for the student from Northern Areas in Shiekh Zayyed Medial College, Rahim Yar Khan. CAMPAIGN A delegation comprising elders from the Diamer has criticized the Chilas administration for launching, what they called 'unwarranted' campaign against the so-called encroachments in Chilas. The delegation, led by Chilas Municipal Committee chairman Asfandyar Khan, told journalists at a press conference that the administration had been violating the stay order granted by the Northern Areas' chief court regarding the land disputes settlements.