PESHAWAR, Jan 21: Sitting in the newly-constructed waiting room at the Chitral side of the Lowari Tunnel I though how ungrateful we the people of Chitral are.
After entering the waiting room, I felt as if I was to board an international flight from one of the main airports of the country. There are separate sitting rooms for women and men which are heated with the abundant firewood collected from the Lowari mountain and clean and neat washrooms with hot water. Then the passengers have also been provided with neat praying area. There is also a canteen to take food and tea from. Everyone I spoke to in the waiting room was thankful to those who have provided the facilities and those who are managing it now. The passengers, including women and elderly people, were praying for the SRSP and the Chitral Scouts for the establishment of the facility.
It was also heartening to see a doctor from the tehsil headquarters hospital Drosh on duty there along with necessary medicines and an ambulance. The doctor remains on duty at the site from the opening of the tunnel to its closure to traffic.
I also thought of the days when people used to spend nights at makeshift hotels before crossing the 10500-foot-high Lowari Pass buried under hundreds of feet deep snow on foot. There were also incidents when people went missing into avalanches and their bodies were never found or in most of the cases eaten by wild animals and crows. Chitralis should also remember the days when they had to stay in the lice-ridden hotels of Arandu before traveling through the lawless and criminal-infested Kunar-Nawa pass route.
But as I was reflecting on these matters, I was told that political leaders from Chitral have been holing protest demonstrations in Islamabad against the government for not opening the under-construction tunnel on a daily basis.
These political leaders are not sincere with the people of Chitral. When work was stopped for over five years on the Lowari Tunnel, where these so-called leaders were sleeping? Why they never raise any voice against this issue in the summer season, and why only in winter they start to grumble?
One of the engineers working in the under-construction tunnel told ChitralToday that people of Chitral and their leaders did not understand the loss of resources and time which the closure of work caused. He said there are hugely heavy machine at work and it takes a whole day to get the machine start on the generator.—Rehmat Ali Jaffar Dost