Babusar Pass Temporarily Closed Due to Heavy Snowfall
In a recent update, officials have announced the temporary closure of the Babusar Pass due to heavy snowfall, occurring earlier than expected. Deputy Commissioner Diamer, Arif Ahmed, addressed the situation and provided insights into the closure's nature. He stated that while the Babusar Pass is currently closed, this closure may only be temporary, contingent upon improved weather conditions and the successful clearing of snow. Typically, this mountain pass remains off-limits for about eight months, from November to June.
The unexpected and intense snowfall has compelled local authorities to implement restrictions on this mountain route ahead of the usual schedule. During this closure, an alternate route is available for travelers – the Karakoram Highway. The reopening of the Babusar Pass hinges on the unpredictable weather conditions in the region. According to the Deputy Commissioner, "It depends on the weather. The pass is usually closed in November after heavy snowfall and when it is freezing."
The decision to close the Babusar Pass early has important implications for travelers. The journey from Diamer to Mansehra, which would typically take seven hours via the Babusar Pass, now extends to 14 hours using the Karakoram Highway as an alternative route.
One significant incident that underscores the challenges of this region's winter travel is the recent stranding of several tourists following heavy snowfall. Local authorities had to intervene, shifting these stranded tourists to Chilas City due to the extreme conditions. The freezing temperatures, often plummeting to -15 degrees Celsius, make it virtually impossible for police officials to perform their duties during the night.
Several factors contributed to the prolonged closure of the Babusar Pass. Security concerns are paramount, as the lack of law enforcement presence on these icy and treacherous roads poses a significant risk. In a tragic incident, a tourist from Punjab lost his life during a robbery attempt at Babusar top.
The details of the incident reveal that the robbers had strategically blocked the road with heavy stones to halt the vehicles. The quick thinking of the driver, who attempted to reverse the car upon spotting danger, could not prevent the unfortunate outcome. Mohammad Rashid, the victim, lost his life when the culprits fired upon the vehicle.
In conclusion, the temporary closure of the Babusar Pass due to heavy snowfall has disrupted travel plans in the region, affecting both local residents and tourists. While Deputy Commissioner Diamer has expressed hope for a potential reopening contingent on improved weather and snow clearance, the challenges of winter travel in this area remain evident. The availability of alternate routes such as the Karakoram Highway is crucial for travelers during this period. Additionally, the lack of security and the hazardous road conditions contribute to the extended closure, with tragic incidents like the robbery attempt as a stark reminder of the risks associated with traveling in such conditions.