Passengers forced to wait for over 10 hours at tunnel
This was the first Tuesday this season when the tunnel was opened after the complete closure of the tunnel due to snow. Till now the passengers took the risk of crossing the snow-bound Lowari pass.
On Tuesday morning, the passengers started reaching the the tunnel in the Chitral side early in the morning. However, they were told that the tunnel would be opened at 5pm. The passengers had no option but to wait sitting in the vehicles in the severe cold weather.
A family coming from the Yarkhun valley told ChitralToday that they had been told that the tunnel would open on Tuesday and without waiting to have lunch at Ziarat, the taxi driver reached the norther portal of the tunnel only to be stopped there. As passengers vehicles started piling up, they could not even move back to Ziarat to have meal. Women and children remained without food till the evening. Same was the situation with hundreds of other passengers, including children and elderly.
A student from the Laspur valley in Islamabad said his father had reached the tunnel at 9:30am and a few hours later he lost communication with him. He was very worried that his father was a cardiac patient and might have faced great hardship waiting for the opening of the tunnel under the open sky.
He said that the government should give priority to the passengers and stop work for two days a week to allow them safe travel. he said work can also be carried out after 5pm inside the tunnel to facilitate the passengers to cross the tunnel in the daytime. How the passengers can reach their destination after crossing the tunnel after about 7 or 8pm. He said that hundreds of people going towards Chitral were also stuck in the Dir side of the tunnel. They would be allowed to cross the passageway only after all the passengers from the Chitral side cross the passageway.