Reopening of Shah Salim Pass urged

Abandoned and forgotten: Shah Salim market. Abandoned and forgotten: Shah Salim market.[/caption] Member of district council from the area Mohammad Hussain said it was an all-weather trade route and had brought prosperity to the local people by generating more than 10,000 employment opportunities and thus, alleviating poverty to a great extent in the region. He said the route was used for trade in early 1990s after the pullout of Russian troops from Afghanistan as the jeepable track was extended to Durrah Pass, which was 14,000 feet above sea level, and the commodities of daily use were transported to Badakhshan province through it. He said like Torkham border, Shah Salim area became a commercial hub as a market was established there to deal with the items of daily use which the people of Badakhshan purchased. The councillor said the area also served as a trade centre of gemstones and hand-woven woolen carpets and rugs of Badakhshan and many items of dried fruits including almond and pistachio of superb quality, while the volume of annual trade there crossed the billion rupees figure. He said Chitral had mutton galore due to the trade route, which made the meat available to local people at a very low rate. Hussain said Badakhshan province supported a high density of goats and sheep population, which the people sold to purchase items of daily use, while livestock keeping was still their major source of sustenance. Gul Rahman, driver of a taxi jeep, said the days when the route was opened for trade were the golden days for transporters as they earned a lot by transporting luggage from Chitral city to the border and Ishkashum at exorbitant fare. He recalled that the journey was very tough in the dirt and rock-strewn tracks but the high rates of fares lured them to travel to the border of Badakhshan, while on their return, their vehicles were loaded with gem stones, carpets and dried fruits. The driver said the route remained the largest source of revenue collection for the district council in the form of octroi tax on the items brought here from Badakhshan, which included gem stones, dried fruits, livestock and carpets. Mohammad Hussain, the district councilor, said valley of Gobor and its adjacent villages were backward and the residents mired in abject poverty as no substantial farming is possible due to climatic conditions and their condition can be changed for better if the route is reopened and revitalised. “I will take up the issue vociferously on the floor of the district council in its very first session for getting the route reopened for trade, which is in fact the route of prosperity for my constituency in particular and the district in general,” he said. The councillor said the market near Durah Pass used to teem with both Chitrali and Badakhshi people but it had had reduced to a ruin over a decade. “It is my resolve to get the route reopened for the restoration of economic activities in the district,” he said.–Dawn]]>

2 Replies to “Reopening of Shah Salim Pass urged”

  1. What a funny .By connecting Garamchashma with the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan via Dorah Pass will be a dream cherished for a long time by the people of Garamchashma.Cross border trade and communication will improve economic conditions and as well cultural relationship between the people of two countries,as majority of people of Chitral trace their roots in Afghanistan and CARs.Cross border smuggling is a big problem even in USA and Canada and other countries in the world.Now the question is whether for the sake of stopping international relationship has been derailed?In such a situation Garamchashma will become both a economic and cultural hub.Although it is a gigantic task but I salute the good aspirations of the newly elected UC Nazim Lotkoh.Keep it up.May Allah Help you.

  2. Opening of Shah Salim pass will only boost the opium business in Chitral. Another disadvantage is that smuggling will increase. So my advise to the newly elected member district council Chitral is that he must concentrate on the development of the area especially the reconstruction of those houses which were wiped out in the floods. I would like to request the interior minister and the intelligence agencies to keep a vigil on these kind of people who are pressing for opening of Shah Salim pass as their intentions seem somewhat controversial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *