‘Mafia’ driven out of old tunnel

1 July 2014

A group of organised criminals were finally ejected from a historic tunnel and a small bridge along the Muzaffarabad-Rawalpindi road in Pakistan on 30 June.

Ambore tunnel and the bridge before it, located almost 5km on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, were freed from land grabbers during an early morning action by three police platoons. The operation was led by assistant commissioner Asim Khalid Awan, deputy superintendent of Police Mohammad Naseer and two station house officers.

The land grabbers put up a strong resistance. However, the police uprooted their designs and demolished three shelters and a block factory, which had occupied the historic site, Awan told local press reporters.

The tunnel, built during the Dogra rule in Jammu and Kashmir that ended in 1947, was used by commuters of Muzaffarabad and Rawalpindi traveling through Kohala, until an alternate route was built by the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Highway Department about a decade ago to meet the needs of the growing traffic.

After the October 2005 earthquake, the mafia grabbed the abandoned tunnel and the bridge by setting up a block factory on it, marring an area of natural beauty.