Monday July 15, 2024

Displaced families of Karakoram Highway hold protest

By Mobarik A Virk
February 17, 2017


A representative group of the people, whose lands, homes and orchards, were acquired by the government for the expansion of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Gojal area of Hunza district in the Gilgit-Baltistan, staged a protest outside the National Press Coub Thursday to press their demand for early payment of compensation against their properties.

As many as 1,500 families were affected when the government acquired their homes, orchards and agricultural lands for the expansion and widening of the KKH back in 2007.

The representatives of the protesters said that a few people with some influence and contacts in the right places have managed to receive the payment of compensation awarded to them but majority of the affected families are still waiting to receive the compensation against their properties.

“It is over 9 years now that we were rendered homeless as well as our sources of income taken away from us by the government for this project. We sacrificed our homes, precious orchards and agricultural land only because we believed that it was a project of national importance and the country and the nation will benefit from it. However, it turned out
that we received miseries and injustice in return to our sacrifices,” Daulat Karim, the general-secretary PPP-GB Hunza District, who was among the protesters said.

He said that the highest court of law of Gilgit-Baltistan has also given verdict in favour of the affected families last year but that order by the court is still not implemented. He said that the thousands of men, women and children have been suffering because of this complete or even partial displacement. “Besides, almost all of them have suffered financially, having lost their means of income and they have come under a heavy burden of loans that they have acquired in hope of re-paying on receipt of the promised compensation,” he said.

The protesters said that this project is part of the much trumpeted CPEC for which the people of GB have sacrificed their precious homes, lands and orchards. “But unfortunately we are not getting the promised compensation even after over 9 years have passed now and we are living a very difficult life,” they said.

They warned that if their demands for full payment of compensations were not met urgently they will broaden their protest all over the GB and will not allow any further development work on the CPEC route passing through Gilgit-Baltistan from Khunjrab top down to the boundary of GB.

“However, we hope that those sitting in the government, especially the ones engaged on the CPEC project would stir in wake of today’s protest and will take up the issue of payment of compensations to the affected families on urgent basis,” the participants of the rally said.