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PM opens the much-delayed Lowari Tunnel, announces setting up of women varsity in Chitral

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PM opens the much-delayed Lowari Tunnel, announces setting up of women varsity in Chitral

PM opens the much-delayed Lowari Tunnel, announces setting up of women varsity in Chitral
July 20
20:15 2017

News Desk

ISLAMABAD, July 20: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday inaugurated the much-delayed multi-billion-rupees Lowari Tunnel project.

The project was launched in 1974 during the reign of the first elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and 400 meters excavation of the tunnel was done.

The project was to be completed by 1980. However, after the military takeover in 1977 and political turmoil in the country, shortage of funds as well as bureaucratic snags and apathy of subsequent governments, the project was kept in cold storage for over 30 years escalating its cost and compounding the woes of the people of Chitral.

The work on the project was resumed in 2005 and by the end of 2008, an 8.6km tunnel was excavated.

Chitral remains cut off from rest of the country for six months due to heavy snowfall on the 10,230 feet (3,140m) Lowari Pass in the winters.

People of Chitral have to make a detour to Afghanistan to visit Peshawar. Several people die of avalanche, landslide, cold and accidents while traversing the Lowari pass.

Two tunnels of 8.5kms and 1.9km respectively have been constructed at a cost of Rs26 billion. While 40km long approach roads have also been built on both sides of the tunnel. Over 98 per cent of the work had been completed and the rest will be completed soon, NHA officials while giving a briefing to the PM on the project.

The tunnel is a life line for the over 600,000 population of Chitral. With the completion of the project, the travel time from Peshawar to Chitral will be reduced from 12 hours to six.

Addressing a public gathering after inaugurating the tunnel, PM Sharif said it was his government that was building the “real new Pakistan”.

After completing the Lowari Tunnel, his government will also build a women university in Chitral, he promised.

He said it was his desire to build a motorway type road up to Chitral and upgrade it to the level of Motorways of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Criticising his opponents, he said “those demanding his resignation needed a reality check as they had been rejected by the masses, not only in 2008, 2013 and would be rejected again in 2018.

“Stop this circus now, and do not test my patience. Do not test it, my brother,” he said in a strong message to his opponents.

“They are seeking accountability of a person who is building power plants, roads, infrastructure and changing the lives of the people,” he said.

“It is exploitation, not accountability. No one in Pakistan will accept it. I have always asked what corruption have I done? Have I got some commission by selling trees, Did I get kickbacks of billions in Lowari Tunnel, in new roads, or power projects?

He said anyone daring to disrespect me should first see his own deeds.

He said when his party came into power, the world was viewing the country as a failed state, the country was plunged into darkness, with depressing economic indicators, lawlessness and terrorism.

He recalled that the four-month long sit-in outside the parliament dug the grave of democracy, put a shroud on the constitution and law of the land, and tried in vain to derail the system.

He said a staged play was enacted but we refused to bow to such elements of disruption and chaos.

PM Sharif asked the National Highway Authority chairman to complete the project soon.

The prime minister also announced the provision of electricity and gas for upper Dir. Additional input from APP

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