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    Salam Pakistan & Musharraf !


This article is meant to make the people realize and appreciate the role of Pervez Musharraf, the ex-army general and the president of Pakistan for his contribution in the development of the most neglected district of Chitral. There are mixed feelings of people about the presidency and multifaceted role of the former president Pervez Musharraf in the context of Pakistan. Some people blame him for putting Pakistan into jeopardy after 9/11 most horrific event. Some people praise him for his dictatorial role. Still many of Pakistanis accuse him of derailing Pakistan from the democratic regime and for his war against extremism. Despite all these, being a Chitrali and the direct beneficiary of the ex president I always salute his timely decision to bring Chitral into the limelight. His love for the Chitrali people is evident from the mega projects he started and completed during his nine years of governance.

It is an undeniable and unquestionable fact that after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the ex Prime Minster of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf happened to be the only hope for the people of this region. On October 12, 1999, after taking over the government he diverted his attention to Chitral and visited Chitral for more than five times and announced many developmental projects which are either completed or some are still in the process of completion.

The mega project of Lawari tunnel, the estimated cost of which is more than Rs.20 billion is now going to complete. This project was initially started by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and was shut down by the former dictator, General Zia without showing any reason thus depriving patriotic citizen from their basic right. After taking over the power Pervez Musharraf prepared feasibility report of this mega project and restarted work on Lawari tunnel and completed. One of the ex Prim minister of Pakistan and the protégé of General Zia even accused Pervez Musharraf of spending huge money on a single district, which in his own world is not considered as a part of the country. However it must be kept in mind that the Lawari tunnel was the matter of life and death for Chitralis and the ex president initiatives won the hearts of many people of Chitral.

This time every party wants to politicize the mega project but every individual know it better that the real credit goes to the man who is the real benefactor of us. We, all the Chitralis are hugely indebted of Mr.Musharraf for his love and affection for us. One can easily justify the fact that the representatives from Chitral who are in the power corridor used Musharraf Card very effectively during the last general election and won the seats in the National and Provincial assemblies.

Chitral is shortest gateway to central Asian countries. It has many cultural, religious and historical ties with this land. Besides benefiting in many other ways the Lawari tunnel would usher in a new era of progress in Chitral through connecting it with the Central Asian countries.

The Mastuj Gilgit road is another mega project, is another feather in the head of Pervez Musharraf. This road is going to be proofed as another gateway to China, who happened to be the friend of Pakistan in most critical moments in the history of our motherland. Mastuj Gilgit highway could also be used as another to access the down country sides instead of KKH.

Many other mini projects of school, colleges and water channels were started at the time when Musharraf was in power. He took great interest in Chitral and many times publicly declared Chitralis as the most peaceful and civilized nation on the face of planet.

Dear President!
The people of Chitral are heavily indebted to you. The whole Chitrali nation remembers you in their prayers. One event continuously recalls my memory when one day of the last year the first vehicle crossed the tunnel. Just after crossing from below the gigantic mountain, every one was paying Shukrana to Almighty Allah and there was a slogan of Pervez Musharraf Zinda Baad and Bhutto Zinda Baad, Long Live Bhutto and Musharraf. The slogan was echoing in the mountains of Lawari.

We must be thankful to all contributors. It is the time to thank all those who supported Lawari tunnel project in any way. I would like to take the good name of former MNA, Late Ataliq Jaffar Ali Shah, who for the first time proposed the Lawari tunnel project in the national assembly. Salute to his piercing vision which made this Herculean task possible. Chitrali nation will never forget the great visionary leader and the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto whose personal interest made this possible. The role of Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz- Huqooq-e-Chitral gave momentum to Lawari tunnel project and highlighted the issue in national and international media. Last but not the least, architect of the tunnel the Sambu company really deserve appreciation and admiration.

At the end I would salute all the people whose support made this difficult task possible. In the words of great Urdu Poet Hafiz Jalandhari,

Ye Ghazi Ye Tere Pur Israr Bandey
Jinhe Tu ne Bakhsha hay zauq-e-Khudai
Du neem un ki thokar se sehraa-u-darya
Simat kar Pahaar Un ki haibat se rai.


Zulfiqar Ali Shah,

Booni, Chitral.

01 July 2010


Comment -1

After reading the subject letter, I am greatly satisfied and agree with the writer. I think words used in the article are representing the voice of all Chitralis. We salute Musharaf for his love which he showed in the form of Lowari tunnel, Chitral-Gilgit road ,many mini projects and much more. Through Lowari tunnel, the rich culture of Chitral is now exposed to the whole world and Chitralis are now able to avail basic necessities of life that include health, educational, food items etc. Chitral is eagerly waiting for Musharraf- if not Musharraf then a leader like Musharraf.

Inam Ullah Khan Yaftali,
 AKU, Karachi.

01 July 2010.

Comment -2

In reference to letters sending salams to Pakistan and Musharaf, I have the following points to make:-

No doubt General Musharaf took much interest and made the Lawari tunnel dream become a reality and Chitralis will forever remember him for this big service. However we being Pakistanis first and Chitralis after, should see what services he rendered to Pakistan as a whole in his nine year tenure as an almost absolute authority. Here are some of them;


1. He trampled the constitution and assumed power with the help of guns thus prodding the 'might is right culture'.

2. At the time of his military takeover, he declared the then politics as sham and promised to rid the country of sham politicians, but soon he embraced those very sham politicians who declared to accept him in uniform  for a 100 years.

3. Despite being from a humble background and having had military training, he never tried to set an example of austerity. In fact when he visited Chitral a number of times to watch Shandur polo, his fleet of helicopters and advance corps of elite security forces would have put even phillipine's Marcos to shame.

4. His obsession with personal security was giddying. On his visits to Shandur as mentioned above, there would be virtual curfew clamped in Chitral town from three days preceding his visit, until it was over.. It was then that Chitralis saw for the first time gun mounted army vehicles in the streets of Chitral as if some army operation was on, where as it was merely General Musharraf going to Shandur to watch polo.

5. He, through his agencies, engineered the MMA, which after coming to power in nwfp, allowed extremism to quietly flourish in Swat and other areas, the result of which were seen in the form of ugly terrorism acts, after his exit.

6. He arranged to import a foreign based unworthy con man, in the person of Shoukat Aziz as his prime Minister, who played Russian roullete with the economy, and who hastily exited the country after 'doing his job'.

7. He played double game with both the Americans and the Islamists, with the sole view of perpetuating his stay in power; in the bargain he lost the trust of both.


I fully agree, salaam to Pakistan and salaam to Musharaf for the Lawari tunnel, but I request my fellow brothers and sisters not to ask him to come back. Pakistan has a population of 180 million and most of the people given a chance like Musharraf got, would not do worse if they could not do better. Let's not focus on personalities.. Time and again we have seen that it doesn't work like that,. Let's strive to change the system, believe me it can be done.


Afzal Ahmad,


03 July 10


Comment -3

This is with reference to the article ‘Salam Pakistan & Musharraf’. I am dumbstruck, to say the least, at the insistence of the ‘learned’ author to eulogize a dictator who masqueraded as an ‘enlightened’ moderate. I find it intellectually dishonest and logically absurd to evaluate the role of a despot, no matter how benevolent, through the prism of a certain development project in a certain area. That is crude reductionism, an exercise intelligentsia in Chitral, frequently and habitually, indulges in leading to a situation where any effort at a realistic assessment of issues of the area becomes a mere exercise in futility. I find such reductionism exclusionary in the sense that it invokes an understanding that the issues of Chitral are somehow different from those of the rest of the country.


 I find it preposterous that since an all-weather access route was the most important issue we faced in Chitral and since Pervez Musharraf, as the author believes, was the one who started work on a tunnel project through the Lowari Pass, he became a messiah for Chitralis. All his wrongdoings, his commando-style rhetoric and his short-sighted policies can be pushed under the carpet and he can be hailed as a redeemer of some sorts. History is witness to purple patches in the reign of the most despotic of dictators and Musharraf’s was no different, in his case not due to any of his own efforts. In fact he just happened to be in the centre of a geo-strategic matrix which has led to an enhanced importance of the Southern Asian region in global political equations.


 Musharraf happened to be at the helm of affairs when extra-regional forces decided to push forward with their plans for a geo-economic grid to link the strategic regions of Central, West and Southern Asia. In short, any analysis of the Lowari project, its origins and its impact must take into account, along with domestic and local variables, the revived and dynamic engagement of extra-regional forces in our region.

As for ‘Yeh Ghazi Yeh Tere Pur Israr bandey’, it was not Hafiz Jalandhari, as the author says, who uttered these immortal words. It was Dr. Allama Iqbal who wrote these and I am sure he did not have people like Musharaf in mind. He wrote these in the context of Muslim conquests in Europe, particularly Spain. Let alone Pakistan, the Muslim world at large has yet to produce anyone even comparable to the men of character Iqbal had in mind

Muntazir Ali,


03 July 2010.


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