By Saifuddin Saif
It was a moment of great joy and relief for the people of Chitral when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the opening of Lowari tunnel for traffic on July 21 this year.
It’s a dream come true and we all must be thankful to Almighty Allah for giving us an opportunity to witness this historic day. As we all are celebrating the opening of Lowari tunnel now, let us not forget those who have played their roles in making this dream a possible reality.
For many, it is only General Musharraf to whom the people of Chitral should be grateful, yet for others it is the current Prime Minister in whose tenure the project got completed. The tunnel is a blessing for all Chitralis. Let us not forget that the credit goes to many, not to a few Individuals, as we all have suffered alike by this killer mountain one way or the other in our lifetimes. Each member of our society has given sacrifices for this tunnel in their own ways.
Let us remind ourselves of the efforts made by our various leaders in different times. Let us not forget that it was Ataliq Jaffar Ali Shah, who first raised the issue in the west Pakistan Assembly and got a unanimous resolution passed in the house for the construction of the tunnel. It was Shaheed Z.A. Bhutto on whose direct orders work on the Lowari tunnel project was initiated. Those were the times when there weren’t any modern tools available still he stressed upon initiating the project. He had to face difficulties in justifying the construction of Lowari tunnel, because the cost-benefit analysis showed a huge gap. Still he said it had to be done. Let us not forget his love for the people of Chitral, vis-à-vis toad networks, hydel power station, abolishment of usher , oil and grain supply, seats allocation in universities for Chitrali students. These are a few to mention.
The efforts made by the public representatives starting from respected Qadir Nawaz Sahib of Drosh, ex-MNA Syed Ghafoor Shah, ex-MPA Haji Sahib of Shishikuh, former MNA Maulana Abdul Rahim, ex-MPA Maulana Ghulam Muhammad, former MBA Shahzada Muhiuddin, Zafar Ahmed MPA, Saeed Ahmed Khan MPA, and Senator Shahzada Burhanuddin. My beloved late uncle former MPA Zain-Ul-Abidin, whose records of continuous struggle for Lowari tunnel while in power and out of power are still available with us. He was the one in whose tenure the people of Chitral enjoyed a helicopter service from Drosh to Dir in order to avoid Lowari mountain.
Similarly, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali MNA, Msulana Abdul Rehman MPA, MPA upper Chitral during that time, Haji Ghulam Muhammad MPA and the lady MPA Mrs. Shazada Mansoor, they all should be remembered for their efforts. In the current tenure MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin whom I have personally seen making great efforts to speed up the work in progress at Lowari tunnel and our three current MPAs Mr Saleem Khan, Mr Sardar Hussain and Ms. Fouzia; they all have played their due role in making this happen; let us not forget their efforts and pay tribute to their able leadership and dedication to this only cause which did bind us together as one nation rising above ethno-religio-political affiliations.
Let us pay our tributes to the departed souls of the leaders who have left us. May God Almighty give them Ajr. The credit also goes to Engineer Samad Khan for his dedicated work; to our District Nazim and his team; the district Assembly, the Tehsil Councils, the union and village councils and their members alike for as they have all made efforts to achieve this common goal of construction and completion of Lowari tunnel. Tunnel. The highest tribute goes to the people of Chitral – male and female, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, young and old, students and teachers, farmers and labors, Professionals and villagers; they all have given sacrifices for this cause. Let us all be happy and embrace the fact that we all have contributed in the construction of this project. Let us pay our tribute to the media for keeping Lowari tunnel in their top priority and highlighting the shortcomings time and again.
These all are the unsung heroes of the project; let us be humble and embrace this new era with hope and positive energy. We can proudly tell our children that it was an honor to have lived in those times where we saw Lowari tunnel did actually open. Nothing can take it back from us, now we are part of a greater civilization.