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Prince Charles travels to quake-hit PoK

Charles and wife Camilla will visit the town of Patika to inaugurate the bridge that was destroyed in the October 8, 2005 quake.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 12:21 IST

Britain's Prince Charles was to travel on Wednesday to a remote town in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, recovering from a massive earthquake last year, to open a road bridge and visit a girls school, an official said.

Charles and his wife Camilla, were scheduled to visit the town of Patika to inaugurate the bridge that was destroyed in the October 8, 2005, quake but has since been rebuilt with British financial assistance, the British High Commission said.

Charles and his wife will also inspect a girls school in the town, in rugged mountains about 30 kilometres north of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir.

The reconstructed bridge connects with Muzaffarabad with the remote Neelum Valley, near the Line of Control, a ceasefire line that splits Kashmir into areas controlled separately Pakistan and India.

The magnitude-7.6 quake flattened entire villages, killing more than 80,000 people in Kashmir and northwestern Pakistan.

More than three million people were left homeless by the quake and many survivors still live in temporary shelters and refugee camps.

Charles and his wife arrived in Pakistan on Sunday on a visit aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue and Britain-Pakistan cooperation.

On Tuesday, the couple's planned visit to the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar was canceled following a military raid a day earlier on a religious school in a neighboring tribal region that killed 80 people and sparked angry protests.

Instead and Charles and Camilla visited a women's university near the capital and ancient Buddhist and Sikh ruins at Taxila, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

First Published: Nov 01, 2006 12:21 IST