Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Khunjerab Pass

The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The roadway across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved Mintaka Pass and Kilik Pass as the primary passage across the Karakorum Range.

On the Pakistani side, the pass is 125 km (78 mi) from Sust, 270 km (170 mi) from Gilgit and 870 km (540 mi) from Islamabad. There is a security outpost in Dih, and a customs and immigration post near Sust. On the Chinese side, the pass is 130 km (81 mi) from Tashkurgan, 420 km (260 mi) from Kashgar and some 1,890 km (1,170 mi) from Urumqi. The Chinese port of entry is located 1 km (0.62 mi) away from the mountain in Tashkurgan County.

The long, flat pass is often snow-covered during the winter season and is closed from November 30 to May 1. There is excellent grazing on the Chinese side of the pass, and domesticated yaks and dzu (a cross between yaks and cows) may be seen from the road. On the Pakistani side, the highway travels about 50 km (31 mi) across the extensive Khunjerab National Park before reaching the security outpost of Dih.

Since June 1, 2006, there has been a daily bus service across the boundary from Gilgit, to Kashghar, China[1]
Strategic Position

Khunjerab Pass is in a strategic position between the Pakistani autonomous region of Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly the known as the Northern Areas, and once part of Kashmir and the Xinjiang autonomous region of China.

In 2007, consultants [2] were engaged to investigate the construction of a railway through this pass to connect China with transport in Pakistani-administered northern areas of Kashmir. A feasibility study started in November 2009 for a line connecting Havelian 750km away in Pakistan and Kashgar 350km in China. [3]

Khunjerab Pass can be seen in episode 13/30 of the NHK television series The Silk Road. The series was first shown in Japan in the early 1980s.
See also


Khunjerab National Park

Karakoram Highway

Northern Areas

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