A vital link in Pakistan's immense project to join the Indus Valley with hitherto-inaccessible northern mountainous areas with an all-weather road was inaugurated on Thursday (14 November).
GV Bridge festooned with flags
GV PAN car arrives, General Khan gets out and greeted by army engineers
GV PAN Engineer corps assembled
MV Officers on dais
SV Statue of army engineer at work
GV Dignitaries, inlcuding Chuinese officers and ambassador seated
SV People sitting and watching on hilltop
MV Gen. Khan off dais and walks forward
GV PAN Chinese officials walk forward
GV PAN Bridge and river flowing under
GV PAN Khan leads officers up bridges steps
GV Buglers play on bridge
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Background: A vital link in Pakistan's immense project to join the Indus Valley with hitherto-inaccessible northern mountainous areas with an all-weather road was inaugurated on Thursday (14 November).
It was the 85-mile (137-km) Havelian-to-Thakot road link, built by army engineers, and officially opened by Army Chief of Staff General Tikka Khan.
The opening ceremony -- which was attended by the People's Republic of China's Ambassador and other Chinese officials -- was held at Shinkiari's Siran Bridge....103 miles (166 kms) north of the capital, Rawlpindi. The bridge took only four months to build.
The whole project will eventually provide a main highway to Pakistan's northern border with China. It is known as the Karakoram Highway, after the mountain range through which it passes.
Work on the project began in 1959, when a road capable of taking light vehicles was driven up to Chilas -- 150 miles (240 kms) from the Chinese border. Work stopped during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. In 1966 it was decided to improve the road to all-weather-highway status and to push it right to the border.
Conditions on the project have been severe, especially in the northern sector where the road must pass 33 mountains of over 24,000 feet (7,400 metres). But building the southern sector -- which includes the Havelian-to-Thakot section -- has also been an arduous task. It has claimed the lives of 200 army engineers and 150 civilians.