Dense Pakistan fog delays flights, leaves 1 000s stranded

2015-01-01 11:05

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Islamabad - Dense fog in Pakistan delayed flights and disrupted ground transportation, leaving thousands stranded at airports, railway stations and bus terminals on New Year's Eve, officials said on Thursday.

Dozens of flights were grounded in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar cities as clouds of fog reduced visibility to zero, the civil aviation authority said in a statement.

The bad weather also delayed trains all over Pakistan, forcing commuters to spend a chilly night at railways stations, Railways Minister Saad Rafiq said.

Authorities barred buses overnight from a major highway linking the capital Islamabad with eastern city of Lahore to avoid accidents, motorways police official Muhammad Zafran said.

Fog hits Pakistan every winter but the problem has been compounded this year by an unusually prolonged dry spell in December, the meteorological department's official Muhammad Hanif said.

Rapidly melting glaciers in Himalayas in the north of Pakistan and neighbouring India have contributed to the problem, Hanif said.

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