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Commuting between Chitral and down districts

Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig

I have just come back from a trip to Lahore and would like to share my travel experience with the travelling public i.e. all the public who travels to down and up country in winters with families, including very small babies.

The coasters, flying coaches and buses start from Chitral in the evening and do the same from Peshawar or Islamabad to Chitral. The journey at night is easier for the transport companies but it brings misery to the passengers namely it has few positive and much more negative aspects as well as challenges for passengers. Here I would like to discuss but in brief as what are those?

The travel at night is itself a risk but the transport companies consider that at night the road is comparatively free from heavy traffic of the daytime so they can drive easily and the passengers reach their destinations early, save time etc. The demerits of travelling at night are:

  1. Both at Peshawar and Islam Abad the passengers reach from Chitral, between 3 and 4‘o clock in a state of dozing females and kids after long journey, and at the Ada they miss their baggage or fail to identify their bags and baggage and carry another bag or piece of luggage and take taxis to hotels but at that time of the night the hotels are closed and they shiver in the cold in the streets going from one hotel to the next one, the third one, the 4th one and thus have to carry the kids and babies with them with the ladies. All this is a big headache as well as dangerous because of the presence of swindlers, thieves, pickpockets, criminals with easy targets like Chitralis. It is major risk in winters.
  2. The Same predicament happens at Chitral Ada where in the freezing cold the kids and females have to be marshaled along with many pieces of baggage and find no Hotel open. This brings a great misery for passengers from distant areas while the locals can take taxi or their own vehicle from their homes. Here the risk of being looted is not a matter of concern.
  3. The journey at night is not risk free. The passengers travel through a dangerous zone of Pathan belt where any gang could way lay them and resistance is dangerous for the lives of all the passengers. The road crimes cannot be set aside and the passengers are not 100% safe at night compared to day time journey.
  4. The Transport Companies do this business and for some of us it is a fishy activity. There could be some illegal motive behind this business. Their Service cannot be considered transparent in the eyes of public.
  5. The transport companies have got no insurance as registered entities to compensate for the lives of the passengers if an accident occurs. Never such a case has been compensated by the transporters. This has to be legalized and those who collect money without registration as transport companies should be brought under legal system as transport rules require.


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