One of the highest lined international roads in the world is known as the Karakoram Highway KKH. It is also known as the Eighth wonder of the world due high altitude and the complex circumstances in which it was built. Karakoram highway connects Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China across the mountain range of Karakoram throughout the Khunjerab Pass. (Karakoram Highway, 2016)
Karakoram Highway The World’s Most Highest Motorway
This road is a famous attraction spot of tourist as it connects China and Pakistan regions through a road. It is officially known as N-35 in Pakistan whereas in China it is known as China National Highway G314. Karakoram Highway also called as the friendship highway in China is also a part of Asian Highway.
The Karakoram Highway was started to build in 1959 and it was completed and opened for trade and use for public in 1979. It was made by the government of China and Pakistan. During the making of this highway almost two hundred Chinese and eight hundred Pakistani workers died due to falls and landslides. The route of Karakoram highway traces among one of the many paths of ancient Silk Road.
Frontier works organization (FWO) built the highway on the Pakistani side and employed the Pakistani army unit of engineers. The Pakistani army’s engineer in chief branch finished the project and documented the complete history of the highway in the book History of Karakoram.
This Highway runs about 1,300 km (810 miles) from Kashgar a city in China to Abbottabad Pakistan. Karakoram Highway meets the Grand Trunk road (GT) at Hassababdal Pakistan. The government of China and Pakistan are planning to connect the Karakoram Highway with the South Port of Gwadar in Baluchistan which will extend to Rawalpindi through the Chinese supported Gwadar Dalbandin.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor also known as CPEC is the group of projects that are currently under construction at the cost of $46 billion. It intends to expand and quickly upgrade the infrastructure of Pakistan and also improve and deepen the economic links between the two countries.
As a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor ranging $46 Billion the reconstruction and promotion activities on the Pakistani sight of Karakoram Highway are under progress. The Karakoram Highway covers a distance of eight hundred and eighty seven kilometers between border of China-Pakistan and Burhan, a town near Hassan Abdal.
The accessible M1 motorway will interconnect the Karakoram Highway at Shah Maqsood Interchange. As part of the existing M1 and M2 motorways access further to Lahore and Islamabad. The intersection of Burhan will be at the eastern and western alignment which will further lead to the Gawadar port. As a part of the infrastructure projects under the supervision of CPEC, a motorway of eleven hundred kilometers long will be constructed in between the two cities Karachi and Lahore. And the Karakoram Highway between the Chinese border and Rawalpindi will be totally refurbished and modernized.
Among the many construction projects of China worldwide even on a grand scale, the expansion of famous Karakoram Highway from Pakistan to China, part of trade routes through Silk Road is one of the Chinas huge construction projects. This project is a glimpse of Beijing’s future strategy. China is making big investments and giving bigheartedly in exchange for long term benefits.
China is spending large amount of money and human resource for the improvement of Pakistan’s Karakoram Highway which is the highest motorway in the world. For the sake of long term benefit gift to its neighbors by China is the perfect example of economic strategy for taking short term expenses adopted by China. (Kazim, 2012)
Although Pakistan is a very beautiful country with many adventurous destinations but Pakistan attracts few international tourists. Mostly only oversees Pakistani’s or people living in Pakistan visit these areas and that are not much in number. In the past few years Karakoram Highway has became an important tourism sight. It has attracted many adventurous tourists across Pakistan. In 2006 the Karakoram Highway was ranked as the third best tourist spot in Pakistan by the Guardian.
This road gives cyclists and mountaineers easy access to many high mountains, lakes and glaciers in the area. Karakoram Highway gives access to Skardu and Gilgit from Islamabad by road. Gilgit and Skardu are the two major hubs for hiking trips in the region of Pakistan administered Kashmir. Karakoram Highway is an important gateway to promoting tourism in Pakistan and this could also lead to make room for many job opportunities for the residents of those areas.
The administration of Gilgit Baltistan and the Xinjiang administration of Peoples Republic of China have signed the agreement for issuing border passes to the permanent residents. This agreement is signed for the ease of the occupants in that area. This pass is used for traveling only through Khunjerab Pass and it is valid for only one calendar year.
The construction or any repair work on the Karakoram Highway is done by the Army of Pakistan. Armed guards watch over some of the bridges along with the Karakoram Highway. The security is maintained on the bridge because of the scarcity of wood not because the bridge was strategically important. (Karakoram Highway In China)
China has immense knowledge of building and construction work. Pakistanis are astonished by the knowledge that they possess, and they are also learning from their building skills and practices. This corridor will be of great benefit for both the countries China and Pakistan. The road includes the deployments in wide range collaboration in the fields of energy, transportation and manufacturing.
Pakistan will be enjoying momentous improvement in the infrastructure and also the transport of manufacturing industries from China as well. The trade between Pakistan and China in 2014 was recorded as US $16.006 billion, whereas China enjoyed a large trade surplus of US $13.248 billion with shipments in Pakistan. (Pakistan-China Trade Corridor: Construction of Karakoram Highway)
With the reconstruction of Karakoram Highway Pakistan will become the foundation for trading opportunities for Central Asia and Middle East. Pakistan has benefitted a lot from the Karakorum Highway in terms of trade and tourism and still there is much more to come.