Our Correspondent Hattian Bala
Three people including an Army soldier have reportedly drowned in Chikkar Zalzal Lake situated in Hatyan Bala, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) due to the absence of a protection wall on Sunday. Of those killed, two belonged to Chikkar Narrgoli and one was the resident of the Komi Kot area of AJK.
However, one of the persons, Farhan, managed to save his life by swimming out of the lake. Rescuers succeeded in fishing out the body of the resident of the Komi Kot area.
Soon after learning about the incident, the locals rushed to the lake screaming and crying due to grief and shock.
Assistant Commissioner Chikkar Syed Shaukat Hussain Gilani, tehsildar Chikkar, personnel of area’s police station and Rescue 1122 and DSP Hatyan Bala reached the site of the incident where they supervised the rescue operation.
However, due to the absence of oxygen masks and other equipment, the Rescue 1122 personnel faced difficulties in locating the dead bodies.
Later, the divers of the Water Rescue Team of SDMA, AJK and the personnel of Rescue 1122 jointly carried out the search operation, and managed to fish out the bodies of all three people who had drowned.
One of the dead was identified as Umar Bashir, resident of Chikkar Narrgoli, and belonging to Pakistan Army’s Regiment-II, Azad Kashmir. He had married only three days ago.
It is worth reminding here that this was not the first incident of its kind in the area as previously too several people have drowned in Chikkar Zalzal Lake.
Talking to the media, the locals said they had been bringing to the notice of successive governments the absence of a protection wall around the lake for the last 15 years, but not a single government bothered to build it.
They further said that they left their homes for earning their livelihood early in the morning and some tourists, who were not familiar with their area, went to the lake in their absence and fell prey to accidents.
They said now their patience was running thin, and threatened that if protective arrangements were not made around the Chikkar Zalzal Lake, they would be left with no other option but to block the road leading to Bagh city.