The northern most regions of Pakistan from a crescent from the fringe of Pamirs in the East to the foot of the Hindukush Range in the West.
A panoramic view of the Lowari Valley, 10,000 feet high, the ven?? of the five-mile Lowari Tunnel which is being constructed to link Dir and Chitral which remains snowbound for eight months in a year.
Pakistan Army engineers stop a hill busy working, drilling to mount?? the Pakistan flag on a boulder.
Pakistan flag being installed by soldiers on the top of the blasting site
A general view of the Lowari tunnel site.
A view of the one of the minitunnels constructed for demonstrations.
Flags flying at the Tunnel site.
The Tunnel's south portal site. The model of the tunnel. Maps being shown by Col Beg.
Closeup of boreholes on the rock to be blasted.
Closeup of a soldier guarding the tunnel portal
Pakistan Provincial Coordination Minister Hafiz Pirzada arriving to inaugurate the Tunnel work.
Bring Safdar Butt, Director General of Lowari Top Organisation explaining the Project.
Minister Pirzada and others, going away from the blasting site
The Minister and others pressing the trigger of the remote control device.
The explosion. A cloud of dust.
Minister and others seeing the cloud of dusts after the blast.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The northern most regions of Pakistan from a crescent from the fringe of Pamirs in the East to the foot of the Hindukush Range in the West. There is one of the greatest concentration of mountain peaks and enclosed within the silent brooding landmasses are va??? eyes where dwell hardly peoples -- different in race and culture whose origins are lost in antiquity. Two such regions, the former states and now the districts of Pakistan are the Dir and Chitral which were once ruled by Muslim Nawabs. These areas were scenes of activities by Alexander the Great and the Indian British Empire. In Malkand the late Mr. Winston Churchill not only worked as a correspondent but as a soldier. One of the hills still shows in Malakand the famous Churchill Picket. This famed landmark was shown to Queen Elizabeth when she visited the areas in the sixties. She immediately telephoned Mr. Churchill and told him that she was visiting the Churchill picket in the Malakand Valley, the scene of many pitched battles between the tribesmen and the tribesmen.
Pakistan is now Making many roads and tunnels to open up this area to the world. The approach roads to this area is through an ancient "road" full of boulders, landslides and scene of ??? jeep accidents which crash down into the steep slope ??? submerge in the fast flowing river. The bonebreaking 200 mile journey on this road is almost a "journey into the past."
The Visnews representative went by road in a jeep and took three ???to reach because of the landslides and the heavy rains and floods ???sluch and mud on the British built road which is ???. ??? Pakistan's Minister for Provincial Coordination Mr. Abdul Hafeex Pirzada inaugurated the S.B.??? long, 25 feet high and 20 feet wide Lowari Tunnel which is being constructed at a high??? of 7,880 feet under the Lowari Pass at a cost of ???60 crores and other expenses involved in providing ventilation and so on.
The Tunnel will connect two historic states of Chitral and Dir, Which are situated almost on the borders where the "three Empires meet" -- as it was being described when the British were ruling India. Ci??? is adjacent to Afghanistan. China and Russia are immediate neighbours At Present the two areas are isolated for eight months by snow and the people have to pay very high prices for daily necessities because of transportation cost. The year-round all - weather road -- highway will bring progress and prosperity to this area by ensuring its integration with the rest of Pakistan.
The present route is over the 12000 feet Lowari Pass located on the Hindukush Range of mountains emanating from the great Pamir knot. the knot divides the two valleys of Chitral and remains snow-bound for many months isolating Chitral from the Rest of Pakistan.
The Construction work of the tunnel which will have four bends will proceed from both the northern and southern sides of the Lowari pass simultaneously. The work will provide work to some 2000 local labour. This is a labour-oriented Project and the work ill continue in three shifts throughout the year. The tunnel is expected to take three and a half (3-) years to complete.
The Pakistan Minister Pirzada pressed a button to fire the fire? the first blast to inaugurate the excavation of the five-mile tunnel that marked the beginning of the work over an altitude of 7,880 feet.
There are several 500-feet long miniature model tunnels built for experimental purposes.
Lowari Tunnel -- the???
The Minister speaking on the occasion said that the Lowari Tunnels Project would be of long term benefit to the local people as it would provide employment opportunities to the downtrodden. It would train a large number of local people in modern techniques of road-building and tunnel constructions. The Project after completion would enable the people of Chitral to have food and clothing and other necessities of life at reasonable rates as the cost of transportation would go down because of the tunnel facility. He pointed out that with the Completion of the karakoram Highway, the cost of transportation of commodities would be reduced to one-tenth of the previous cost.
Pirzada said that a number of projects including the construction of roads in Baluchistan had been executed. The construction of the Lowari tunnel was by far the most challenging project and that it would be a lasting tribute to the Pakistan Army Engineering Corps which is constructing the tunnel without any foreign help excepting the Austrian consultants.
The Lowari Tunnel Project involves the construction of an all-weather 145-mile long road between Chakdara and Chitral beside the two-lane tunnels. The road will be completed by the end of 1977 at a cost of Rs. 20 crore.
Mr Bhutto, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, visited Chitral on Nov 26, 1972 and ordered construction of the Lowari Tunnel to have an all-weather link with Chitral, an extreme area in the northern part of Pakistan.
The completion of the Project will have direct impact on the natural resources such as minerals, forests and agriculture of Dir ad Chitral.
The present road being rough and risky, the cost of moving one ton of goods is Rs 2,000. Due to lack of communication it is impossible to Loward Tunnel--four.
exploit the mineral wealth of Chitral. The Boward tunnel will have two vertical shafts 1,500 feet deep for ventilation. When completed the tunnel's capacity would be 150 heavy goods trucks per hour. The construction is being taken in stages. In the first stage it will be constructed to a capacity of 30 trucks per hour and will cost Rs 30 crore. The construction work will be carried on by the Army Corps of Engineers of Pakistan.
The tunnel construction will be in accordance with the new Austrian tunnelling method reducing cost. Foreign consultants will only do top supervision and advice. Recently the Austro-Mineral of Austria disclosed that there are large deposits of iron ore and other industrial minerals in Chitral. Geoconsult of Austria is advising the Lowari Tunnel Authority in the construction of the tunnel. Professor Robscowitch, the 85-year old father of the new Austrian tunnelling method, advised the Lowari tunnel specialists in the construction which provides support with rock bolts and reduces the cost by half as it involves only a amslla cement lining. Nespak the general consultants are giving advice to the local engineers. Originally the French firm of consultants Shinrapt & Billiard investigated the tunnel project. The present tunnel has four bends and it is not straight. The four bends are being made to obviate rock faults. The Geological Survey of Pakistan did deep drilling to 2000 feet during its three-year investigation. The alignment is being made by Laser Beam. Help is also received from Tarbels engineers and Tams, USA.
(he Lowari Pass is only seven miles from Afghanistan)