CHITRAL: The latest is that the Chakdara-Chitral highway project has been dumped and the funds diverted to a highway via Swat instead. A month ago Chitralis were incited with publication of a proposed map of a park called Handarab National Park where Shandur area, an integral part of Chitral has been shown a part of Gilgit-Baltistan. The step motherly treatment meted out to Chitralis is not new. Because of a passive and obedient nature, the people of Chitral have always had to eat the humble pie whenever the pie (resources of the country) were distributed. Living without an all weather road connection to the rest of the country could only be digested by Chitralis for so long.
In 1973 the then MNA from Chitral, Ataliq Jafar Ali Shah, revered as a selfless and honest leader of Chitralis and known for his obsession with a tunnel to connect Chitral to rest of Pakistan, moved and passed a unanimous resolution signed by all the party heads including Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Mufti Mahmood, Nawabzada Nasrullah, Mian Mumtaz Doltana, Khan Abdul Qayum Khan etc demanding the construction of the tunnel. The then PM ZA Bhutto obliged the resolution and decided to start the Lowari tunnel in 1974. However in the dying days of Bhutto’s government, on the advice of his finance secretary Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Bhutto lost interest in the tunnel and the the light at the begining of the tunnel started getting dark.. After Ziaul Haq’s millitary takeover, followed by Benazir govt, followed by Nawaz Sharif govt, then Benazir govt, then Nawaz Sharif govt, not a word was heard about the tunnel.
Then came Pervez Musharraf who having lots of funds at his command and wanting to be popular like Bhutto in Chitral, seriously restarted the tunnel and considerable work was done during his time. After Musharraf came PPP govt which stopped work on the tunnel and diverted all the funds to Multan . Nawaz Sharif in his last tenure paid some attention to the tunnel and made it usable, but the tunnel is still incomplete without an exhaust system and proper electrification.
Where else in Pakistan would a people tolerate such poor treatment to them. It is a fact that where enjoying the blessings of an independent Pakistan are concerned, Chitralis have been considered children of a lesser God, thanks to the spinelessness of our people and our leaders both. .. CN report, 23 July 2020