Chitralis' travel ordeal: Who to blame?

CHITRAL, March 6: It seems Chitralis are taken for granted everywhere and by every Tom, Dick and Harry. And equally to blame for this humiliating and discriminatory treatment are not only the leadership of Chitral but also the people themselves. If we are denied our basic rights and humiliated we never consider it a big issue and ignore it mostly saying we are ‘shareef’ Chitralis tunnelBut in a society where routine life goes on under the dictum of might is right can we survive without doffing this apologetic mentality of complacency? Take the example of Lowari tunnel. The government abandoned work on the almost completed project in 2008 and diverted its funds to somewhere else. Now when the elections are near, it just closed it under the pretext of starting the remaining work. Did it make sense to shut the tunnel when all other roads were closed in the winter? And then there is no work, what is this hypocracy? As a result, the residents of Chitral are facing humiliation in Peshawar and Rawalpindi/Islamabad due to lack transportation. Most of the people coming to Dir and changing vehicles towards Chitral are forced to pay double fare but the concerned authorities have shown sheer apathy towards this dilemma.  One of the passengers told that the transport mafia deliberately keep their vehicles off the road in Peshawar to create shortage and loot the poor Chitrali passengers. Some of the passengers even after getting tickets are denied seats at the time of departure, he added. In Islamabad’s Karachi company bus terminal, a group of Pathan transporters are treating the Chitralis like animals. One seat in the vehicle is allotted to more than three passengers at a time and the result: the passengers fight for the seat sometimes leading to bloody brawls. When a few days back one Chitrali passenger protested over the mismanagement and the trouble one of the Pathan transporters hit him in the eye and fled. The poor Chitrali is now running after the police and has lost his one eye. There is no sitting arrangement for the passengers, even women and children,  who are told to come at 8pm but forced to wait sometimes till midnight due to shortage of buses. The passengers then have to wait at Dir for the opening of the tunnel under the biting cold. A long queue of vehicles is seen near and even inside the tunnel. Sartaj Aziz of Charun, a student, while narrating his ordeal to said that “We stayed a whole night inside the first tunnel. A boy namely Abdur Rehman from Awi nearly died due to breathing problem as we were surrounded by dense smoke.” One of the passengers said they reached Chitral in about 20 hours. He also said the whole eight kilometers long tunnel was completed in just three years but the PPP government failed to give it a finishing touch in five years. The ordeal of the passengers does not end after reaching Chitral where they have to wander in the bazaar in search of hotels or just beds to pass the night.]]>

One Reply to “Chitralis' travel ordeal: Who to blame?”

  1. Good write up about the ordeal of Chitrali travelers. They themselves are to be blamed for electing incompetent people as their representatives. I hope they have learnt a lesson.

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