Passengers fed up with discriminatory treatment at Lowari tunnel

CHITRAL: People travelling on Chitral-Peshawar route have complained that security forces deployed at the Lowari tunnel are creating unnecessary hurdles for them and stopping them for hours at the passageway every day.
They called upon the chief justice of Peshawar High Court to take notice and rid them of the inconvenience and humiliation.
Pubic complaints have increased in the recent past that the security officials adopted double standard in allowing vehicles through the tunnel.
They stop public transport and private vehicles carrying passengers, including women, children and elderly persons, coming from Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Islamabad at the southern portal of the tunnel for hours but allow other vehicles having links in the police or the security departments into the passageway.
The passengers reaching at the tunnel from different parts of the country are forced to stay at hotels in Upper Dir.
It is important to note that the people of Chitral have been facing this discriminatory treatment for years but the elected representatives never highlighted the issue at any forum or took it up with the author.ties concerned because they perhaps never faced such a humiliation and inconvenience.
When passengers reached the tunnel after traveling for hours from Rawalpindi and Peshawar, they are stopped at the southern side of the tunnel and told that travel through the tunnel is not allowed at night.
The passengers are then forced either to stay at the nearby poorly-maintained hotels or stay put inside the vehicles for three to four or even more hours.
But ironically this rule is never applied on those who have any acquaintances with the personnel on duty or their seniors. Even vehicles carrying chicken and other items are not stopped and are signaled to proceed to the tunnel in front of hundreds of passengers making long queues under the open sky.
This correspondent was travelling in a passenger coaster from Peshawar to Chitral and when the vehicles reached  near Al-Jazeera Hotel at Dir it was stopped by the police.
As the passengers were waiting inside the vehicles, three other passenger coaches and one Datsun carrying live chicken also arrived at the spot and continued their travel towards Chitral without being stopped.
When a police official on duty at the spot was asked about the discriminatory treatment, he took out a paper on registration numbers of some vehicles were noted down and said that the assistant commissioner has ordered the police not to stop these vehicles.
The passengers regretted that there was no public representative to rid the people of Chitral of the discriminatory treatment being meted out to them by the Dir administration and police.
The passengers are of the view hat after the inauguration of the tunnel by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in July 2017, there was no justification for keeping it closed, especially in the winter season when the Lowari top road was closed due to snow.
They said if there was any work going on, how private vehicles including those carrying chickens etc. pass through it and who had issued them special permission. They said the police and other security officials were humiliating the passengers day in and day out in the name of security and construction work inside the tunnel.
They called upon the chief justice of Peshawar High Court to take suo motu notice of the trouble the people of Chitral have been facing at the Lowari tunnel and order the authorities concerned to open the tunnel for the public. –Muhkam Uddin Ayuni


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