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  January 15, 2017



Minor Boy dies as thousands stranded at both site of Lowari tunnel

By Zahirud Din

CHITRAL: A minor boy died early on Saturday while thousands of passengers spent the night in their vehicles at Lowari Pass area in sub-zero temperature while waiting for their turn to pass through the tunnel.

Officials confirmed the death of the two-year-old boy in a vehicle stranded due to closure of the under-construction tunnel.

An official at Asherat police post told this correspondent that the child was suffering from pneumonia and the local doctors had referred him for treatment in Peshawar. He said that the vehicle in which the family was carrying the child left Mirkhani checkpost at around 11:00pm on Friday and reached the Lowari tunnel in the morning. The distance between the two points is about 13 kilometers.

”The minor died at around 5:30am when the vehicle carrying him entered the tunnel,” said the official. He said that the matter was being investigated. The deceased child was identified as Rehanullah of Arsoon village.

The Lowari Top has been closed due to heavy snowfall while the under-construction tunnel has yet to be opened for routine traffic. The management has fixed specific days for movement of vehicles through the tunnel.

Like other passengers, Fazle Rabbi Jan, a resident of Kuju village, also spent the Friday night in a vehicle near the tunnel. “I waited for 38 hours in the freezing weather to pass through the tunnel,” he said.

He said that he heard screaming and yelling of women and children from the nearby vehicles seeking help as the cold waves of Lowari Pass hit them amid heavy snowfall. He said that the problem arose as a large number of vehicles gathered on either side of the tunnel due its closure for public transport for the past six days.

Another official said that a large number of vehicles on way to Peshawar arrived at Mirkhani and were stopped there to allow the traffic coming from Dir side to pass. He said that by Friday afternoon, the waiting passengers broke the barricade at Mirkhani and left for the tunnel. “It led to the traffic congestion,” he said.



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