Khunjrab Pass between Pakistan and China rose to prominence in the 60s when the work on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was initiated. The 1300 kilometres (800 miles) long KKH, or the N-5, originates from Hassan Abdal, a place some 45 kilometres from Islamabad on the Islamabad - Peshawar Highway, goes through Havelian, Abbotabad, Manshera, crosses the River Indus at Thakot, on to Gilgit, Chilas, Hunza and Sost before crossing the Khunjrab Pass at the height of some 4,800 metres (15,750ft) - the Zero Point between Pakistan and China - making it one of the highest road platforms in the world. At that time, many attributed this gigantic project as the eighth wonder of the world as it passed some of the most difficult and rugged mountains of the world.
Now another ambitious proposal, floated by the Peoples’ Republic of China, to connect the two countries with the rail link through Khunjrab Pass aims at laying the foundation of yet another wonder of the world. While making road through mountain passes wasn’t easy at all, the laying a railway track calls for extraordinary skills both in architectural and civil engineering domains.
China on its part has already completed the feasibility study of the rail link from Khunjrab Pass to Havelian, a small town near Islamabad, and the last railway link of Pakistan in the area. This would allow the link up of Pakistan Railways with the Trans-Asian Railway Network. The link would allow trade with the Central Asian Republics, Russia, and China and beyond. It may be added here that the famous Silk Route once passed through the same mountains, allowing trade convoys to reach the warm waters of the Arabian Sea and Indian Oceans from as far as Turkistan, Xinxiaag, Ughuristan. This also allowed a link to the famous Indian Valley civilization, which once thrived in areas now included in Pakistan.
We hope to see the project seeing light in days to come to link China and Pakistan, the two great friends, and many others in the region. This would boost trade, travel, tourism between the warm waters of Pakistan from across the snow covered white cloaked mountains of Karakoram and beyond.
Related Link: Karakoram Highway (Pakistanpaedia)