CHITRAL: The work on the Lowari Tunnel has stopped once again after the National Highway Authority failed to make necessary payments to the construction firm.

Sambu JV, the South Korean company responsible for its construction, halted the work on the tunnel after it did not receive the required funds.

People living in and around Chitral have threatened indefinite protests unless work on the tunnel was resumed immediately. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Minister for Population Welfare Saleem Khan has also asked the federal government to allocate funds for the construction of the Lowari tunnel so that it can be completed as soon as possible.
“A project started in 1974 has still not been completed. For us Pervez Musharraf was far better than any elected government because work was quickly carried out on the tunnel during his regime,” said Karim Jan, a social activist in the region.

The Lowari Pass is essentially the only way connecting Chitral Valley, ensuring its development and connecting the area directly with the Upper Dir and other parts of the country. The valley remains cut off for five months every year from the rest of the country because of heavy snowfall. The only other route connecting the valley to the outside world is a route to Peshawar via Afghanistan’s Kunar province and the Bajaur Agency. Travelling via this route is risky.