ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (APP): A delegation of Lawari Tunnel Project led by Charles Kim called on Minister for Interior A. Rehman Malik here on Tuesday and discussed matters pertaining to further improve foolproof security arrangements at the cite of project.During the meeting held in a very conducive atmosphere, both the sides also discussed matters of mutual interest.The Minister informed the delegation that the government will leave no stone unturned to further improve law and order situation and enhance security arrangements.
In this regard, all the resources would be utilized by the government, he added.He assured the delegation that all possible steps would be taken to ensure security of the Lawari tunnel project.The delegation thanked the Minister for taking personal interest about the security of the project and taking effective measure for resolution of their problems.They assured the Minister that they intend to bring further investment in Pakistan in future. APP
Picturesque Chitral town sits up in Pakistan’s northwest district, walled in by the Hindu Kush range.
During winters, the only way in is by air (weather permitting) as the two passes, the 3118-meter Lowarifrom Dir and the 3810-meter Shandurfrom the upper Gilgit Valley are closed to road traffic. The Fokker Friendships drone for 50 minutes and burst through clouds on decent to reveal on mountains covered with whitecaps and red tin roof houses.
This is Chitral. On the small airfield, the cold wind thrust you to shiver. The remoteness of the district has left it undeveloped in spite of grand natural beauty, hospitable people and ancient history. The town is a base camp for tourists, adventurers and researchers from across the world. And, people seem to be living there in peace.
Chitral, located at 1500 metersfrom sea level is a beautiful and historic town. It has lively bazaar — a miniature Peshawar full of Mediterranean looking faces under Chitrali caps and foreigners.Geoffrey Moorhousein his book “To the Frontier”describes the seen in Chitral town:
men squatted in the shade of a tree beside a food stall or middle aged man seen stroking a dog.
It is no truer. Now the modest bazaar is lined up with well-stocked provision shops, eating joints and souvenir shops selling many things from Chitrali caps toLajvard(Armenian stone) and Zammurd(Emerald) that find their way in the town, for the tourists mostly. However, American sleeping bags and rucksack, Bulgarian ankle boots and Korean Jackets that used to be on sale in bazaar during Soviet occupation in Afghanistan are no more sold there. Mehtars’ forton the banks of the Kunar Riveris a principal building that reminds of the bygone era. Go to visit the palace and the sleeping guard will ask for a permit from district management.
The Mehtars’ palace-fortress, site of the 1895siege, is still occupied by royal offspring so you can not go in without special arrangement. The entrance of the south end is to the residential quarters. The one facing Shahi Bazaarused to be for the royal guards. The most interesting side faces the river and is best viewed from the far end of bazaar or form across the river. The river passing through the town is called Chitral (or Kunar) River, and upstream is known as Mastuj River. Another ornate building up the road toward the police station was the royal courthouse. The spacious Shahi Mosquenext door was built by Mehtar Shuja ul Mulk. New minarets and domes have been added during recent renovation, keeping the edifice in its original shape.
At the south end of town is one of Pakistan’s best polo ground, where practice matches are held every few days from mid March to early November and full-blown matches on weekends. The town has weeklong tournament in September to October. With roaring crowds and drum and horn bands that play the signature tune of each player who scores a goal. Polo is still played in many up valley towns too, though it’s a dying sport because horses are costly to own and no longer needed for transport. One of the biggest social events for Chitralis is days of super polo and merrymaking at Shandur Pass, which is held every few years since 1936.
The Chitral valley has a long history. It was subdued by Alexanderfrom Macedonian, Chinese army and Timur in the past and was under king namedShah Rais(descendent of Balti rulers) in sixteenth century. Son of Sangin Ali– advisor of Shah Rais and forefather of Adamzada clan — threw out the king and took over the power.Kators (branch of Adamzada clan) ruled Chitral till 1960.
In 1856, the British who were apprehensive about Russians in Central Asia had sent an expedition to poke around Chitral and win some friends. In return for a subsidy, Aman ul Mulk — the first Kator ruler called Mehtar to attract outside attention who had taken over in 1857 — became a British friend. After capturing Kuhswaqt (another branch of Adamzada tribe) land in the 1880, his domain stretched from upper Gilgit into Afghanistan.
Aman ul Mulkdied of a heart attack in 1892, one of the few Mehtars to die a natural death, since the usual way to decide succession for royal princes was to murder their father and one another until only one was left. This time 16 sons were caught unprepared. Result: bloody power tussle.
Aman’s second son Afzal ul Mulkseized the family fort and began eliminating his brothers. Nizam ul Mulkfled to Gilgit. Then Umra Khan, the ruler of Dir, invaded from the south. Aman’s long exiled brother Sher Afzal(the only one he had failed to eliminate) appeared from Afghanistan with a small army killed his nephew Afzal ul Mulk and pronounced himself Mehtar. Finally, prodded by the British, Nizam returned. Sher Afzal ran away and everybody recognized Nizam as Mehtar.
Two years later Nizam was overthrown by his half brother Amir ul Mulk. Umra Khan also edged up the valley, taking Drosh. In a show of force, the Gilgit Political Agent Major George Scott Robertson (writer of The Kafirs of the Hindukush) arrived at Chitral Town with 400 soldiers and moved into the fort — the ancestral home. At this time, Sher Afzal appeared again, this time joined by people of Chitral. Badly beaten in an initial skirmish, the British found themselves besieged in the fort. Four hundred people with food and ammunition nearly gone were finally bailed out after 46 days by reinforcement from Gilgit who had hauled cannons over the Shandur pass in shoulder high snow. A bigger force fought its way over the Lowari Pass but arrived too late to help. Umra Khan fled to Afghanistan, Sher Afzal was captured, Amir arrested and his 14 years old brother Shuja ul Mulk was commissioned as Mehtar. In the aftermath, this episode somehow got recast as a heroic British campaign and Robertson was even knighted. A classic example of history chronicled from authors’ point of view.
The British realigned Chitral from a western arm of Gilgit to a more secure northern extension of the NWFP. During the third Afghan War in 1919, Afghan forces invade southern Chitral at Arandu – famous crossing point during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Shuja ruled contentedly until 1936, his son Nasir ul Mulkuntil1943and Nasir’s brotherMuzaffar ul Mulk(who took Chitral into Pakistan at Partition) until 1948. Saif(son of Muzzafar) was killed in1954in a plane crash and his four year old son Saif ul Mulk Nasirbecame Mehtar, the last one, with uncle as regent. Chitral became an administrative distract in 1969.
Chitral is still not accessible in winters when Lowaricloses and PIA Foker cannot cross over the mountains. The word is out that government is working on Lowari Tunnel Project (see photo below) and one day the district may join the mainland and not only serve as gateway to Kalash Valley but the area will open to development.
Times of Chitral Monitoring – (Online): The construction of Lowari tunnel with total cost of Rs. 10 billion has been halted temporary in the wake of security situation and security forces operation in Swat. Round about 700 employees were working in Lowari tunnel out of which foreigners have been shifted to Islamabad. The first feasibility of the tunnel was carried out in 1955 while work on the project was started in 1975 by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO).
لواری ٹنل منصوبہ، جس پر 10 بلین کی لاگت آٓٓٓئی ہے
Work on the project was restarted in 1995 but it could not be continued. Former President Gen. (Retd) Pervez Musharraf realized the strategic importance of the tunnel and ordered its construction in 2002. The Lowari Tunnel is currently being constructed beneath Lowari Pass by a Korean company. The total length of the tunnel would be 8.8 kilometers while it would be 7.15 meters high and 7.55 meters wide.
Lowari Top is closed by snow from late November to late May every year. During this time, jeeps cannot cross so men must travel by foot. This is dangerous, as there are high mountains on each side of Lowari Top, and a deadly avalanche can come at any moment without warning. Every winter few persons are killed by avalanches while crossing Lowari Top. Their bodies are buried under the snow and it is only when the summer comes and the snow melts that their bodies are found and their fate is learned.
The Lowari Top is one of the four major mountain passes to enter Chitral. The others are the Dorah Pass from Badakshan in Afghanistan, Shandur Top from Gilgit, and Broghol from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. Online
Shops gutted in fire in Danin owners losses millions
دنین میں واقع دکانوں میں آگ لگ گئی، مالکان کو لاکھوں کا نقصان
Chitral (TTC News Sources): Shops in Danin Chitral caught fire on Wednesday night. Six shops completely burned. Shopkeepers suffered of million rupees loss. On information the District Nazim Sartaj Ahmed Khan along with Chitral Scout / Police and fire brigade personnel reached the spot, and immediately started work to control the fire. After a long time struggle fire was controlled, and some other shops and a petrol pump near the fire spot were saved. However six shops were gutted badly and shopkeeper loosed million of rupees. Affectees demanded immediate compensation form the government. Meanwhile the District Nazim also appealed to the govt to compensate the affected.
CHITRAL, 19th January 2009: The residents of Mastuj tehsil (Booni) took out a grand rally for the celebration of Lowari Tunnel. Thousands of people took part despite snowfall and severe cold here on Monday. The rally was Led by district nazim Maghfirat Shah, district naib-nazim Sultan Shah, tehsil nazim Mastuj Shahzada Sikander ul Mulk, tehsil nazim Chitral Sartaj Ahmed Khan, union nazim Amiruallah and the representatives of civil society organizations, the rally passed through different roads of Booni town and converted into a public meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, the district nazim said that due to its proximity, Chitral is the gateway of Central Asia and with the completion of Lowari tunnel project, the dream is also coming nearer. He expressed his hope that President Asif Zardari will announce the project of Chitral-Tajikistan road during his proposed visit to Chitral during the forthcoming summer which he has promised. He said that venues of progress and prosperity will now open for Chitral and it will remain backward no more with the completion of the Lowari tunnel project for which the residents of Chitral yearned for the last 61 years of the establishment of Pakistan.
On this occasion, a resolution was passed in which it was demanded of the government to take solid measures to connect Chitral with the Central Asian republics. It was also demanded of the government to allow the passengers of Chitral to use the tunnel daily for two hours to rid the stranded passengers in Chitral and Peshawar. Those who addressed on the occasion included Chitral DCO Motasim Billah Shah, Shahzada Sikandar Ul Mulk, Sartaj Ahmed Khan, Sultan Shah, Amirullah, Zaffarullah, Syed Sardar Hussain, Shamsur Rehman, , Fazlur Rahman, Kashafat Younis. They said that the residents of Chitral have got real freedom with the completion of the Lowari tunnel after which Chitral has been connected with the rest of the country. They said that the residents of Chitral must prepare themselves for the post-Lowari tunnel scenario Chitral which will bring with itself competition in every field of life