Lowari Tunnel: Pervez Musharraf’s timeless gift to the people of Chitral
There were times when the people of Chitral were literally detached from normal life of human beings and were left to suffer the winter vows all on their own. They trekked the snowy Lowari Mountain pass to get to their native villages while life went on
as daily routine for the rest of the Pakistanis.
Lowari Tunnel, a program envisioned in 1956 by the Government of Pakistan, finally saw the light of the day when the former president of Pakistan General (rtd) Pervez Musharraf took personal interest in the completion of the project. The 8.75 km long tunnel
having an internal diameter of 7.1m was completed in January 2009 using the state-of-the-art technology. The total cost of the project was estimated to be $133-million.
The advantages of the tunnel and the change it has brought in the lives of the winter-stiffened Chitralis can be sought by one of the commentators who lauded Musharraf’s work in his own unique way.
Dr. Khalil, a born Chitrali who now resides in Hamilton, Canada says,
“I don’t know Musharaf is good or bad leader, but I remember for sure the time just few years back when, Chitrlies used to get stuck in Peshawar for weeks waiting for Fokker flight. I can remember when we used to fight with each other and with PIA staff
every day in and out. I can remember Chitralies selling their waistcoats and Phakools in Peshawar to buy bus tickets to come and return from PIA office. Everyone can remember the days when Masajid where there was a Chitrali imam in Peshawar used to be packed
of Chitralies, coming just to spent night there. Imam e Masajid used to open the back door of masjid for Chitrlies after Isha prayer, and asking them to quit masjid before Fajr Azan. Arbab was known to each and every Chitrali. I can remember the days when
we used to protest every day in Peshawar and have been beaten up by Peshawar police on reads time and again. How can one forget the time when we used to drag our mothers sisters over snow while passing Lowari. How can I forget the bedbugs of hotels in Dir,
how can one forget travel through Kunar and overnight stays in place like Chaqansarai with our sick mothers and sisters. None can forget when we were looted every day in the hands of 10-12 years old tribal kids on Kurar road., How can we forget our helplessness
in PIA booking clerk’s desks in Chitral. No one can forget the bodies of our brothers still buried under tons of snow in lawari. Is that easy to forget the days when Gunshalies used to carry us on their backs through lawari ?. I can also remember the dead
bodies of Chitralies decomposing on beds waiting for flight in Peshawar , and finally buried in Wazir Bagh. I don’t care what Musharaf did with anyone else, but if I as Chitrali neglected his services for Chitral, I will never be forgiven in any court in this
world and in the court of life hereafter. Yes, if Musharaf was not allowed to fight election I will defiantly look for new faces in Pakistani politics.”
Former president has now announced that he will be contesting for the National Assembly seat from Chitral following his strong support from the people of the region. He said he was grateful to Shahzada Muhiuddin and his son Shahzada Pervez for inviting him
to do so and that he has accepted the invitation. He was talking about his ambitious plan at APML meeting at Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi and also announced his return at the end of the current month of January.