Gilgit-Skardu Road is One Of the dangerous mountain road located in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. The road is 167km long. The road starts off the Karakoram Highway. It goes along the River Indus. It’s an all-weather road. The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters unprotected by guardrails. The travel is around 8 hours. The roads can be blocked for weeks at a time depending on conditions. This road was constructed by Pakistan Army Engineers with association of Chinese Engineers in 1982. The road ends in Skardu, a town and capital of Skardu District, in Gilgit–Baltistan.
Since then the road has not been renovated and it is now in a poor condition, fatal accidents and landsliding are a routine phenomenon. A large number of vehicles, with passengers and goods, have fallen off the road, into the raging, the mighty, Indus River flowing along, in the deep Karakoram gorge. In the rainy season the road is often damaged due to land sliding from the mountains.
The Skardu Road is important for defense of the country, being a supply route for border regions, like Kargil, Siachan, Batalik and Courbat, to name a few. Pakistan Army’s soldiers man these border areas round the clock, throughout the year, protecting the motherland. The road is also important, because it the lifeline for the hundreds of thousands of people in the four districts of Baltistan. Gilgit-Baltistan due to its special political status does not completely falls under the national electoral process and the only elections in the region are held for its regional legislature.
The people of the region are facing hardship while travelling on this road, it is the only land connection to transport food and basic necessities. The only flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Islamabad to Skardu is also dependent on the weather conditions. A number of private airliners also announced starting flights between Skardu and Islamabad, but so far not much has materialized. Even if the airlines start their operations, not everyone would be able to afford the flights.
The concerns of the people about the construction of the road are getting greater day by day. Besides the opposition parties, the clerics in the region have also recently jumped on the bandwagon, threatening to launch protests against the government, for its alleged negligence towards construction of the road. Majority of the people in the region are of the opinion that the mega projects like Gilgit-Skardu Road needs a big amount of money which can only be possible to be financed by the federal government. Hoping that the project may be included in the 50 billion dollar CPEC initiative. But, so far, apart from rhetoric, nothing is certain, and the locals, as well as an increasingly larger number of tourists, have to hang by the tither, while traveling between Gilgit and Skardu.
Now The official Say’s The construction of 164 km Gilgit-Skardu road is in full swing and would be completed by July, 2020. The officials of National Highway Authority (NHA) briefed the the National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.