For Chitralis in Peshawar, a sombre Eid

PESHAWAR:  While people are packing up and leaving Peshawar to celebrate Eid in their respective hometowns, those wanting to head for Chitral are not so fortunate. With the Lowari Tunnel undergoing construction and the Lowari Top already capped with snow, the 370-kilometre journey to Chitral towards the north of the provincial capital has become increasing difficult and time-consuming, according to a few students and employees of private companies who were interviewed by The Express Tribune on Friday. They said it takes around nine hours to reach Chitral by road from Peshawar during the summers and the journey extends to over 13 hours during the winters. They added that since the Pakistan International Airline revised its tariffs, the cost of travelling to Chitral via air has become unaffordable for a majority of the people. Aizaz Ahmad, a Chiltral local who came to Peshawar to complete his masters in mathematics, said it usually takes him around 12 hours to reach Chitral from Peshawar during the winters. “After making the 12-hour trip, I stay in Chitral for the night and then leave the next morning for my village Barmis, which is a further 15-hour trip,” said Ahmed. “With this schedule I would barely have time to say home during my five Eid holidays,” he added. “But staying in Peshawar during Eid days is not easy either,” said Ahmed, “Since most of the restaurants and markets are closed, we have to stock up on dry foods to feed ourselves during the holidays,” he added. Ahmad said he will be celebrating Eid along with other students who could not head back home at a hostel in Khyber Super Market – the same market which witnessed a horrific blast in 2010 in which 70 people were killed and over a hundred injured. “Who doesn’t wish to be with his family on Eid,” said Ali Murad, an employee of a private company. “But given the dilapidated condition of the roads leading up to Chitral, celebrating Eid with my family remains merely a wish,” he added.]]>

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