Opening of Lowari top has not lessened the sufferings of the people of Chitral. Due to ongoing military operations in Swat and other adjacent areas of Malakand division, people of Chitral are unable to travel on Dir-Malakand Road. Due to frequent curfew vehicular traffic and trucks laden with essential commodities of life are not allowed to run on the Malakand Road. The closure of Malakand Road has added to the miseries and hardships of the people of Chitral. People still use Kunar-Afghanistan route to go down country and the prices of essential items of daily life have gone up. In the local market, one bag of cement is being sold at Rs 560 while price of the same bag is Rs 240 to 290 in down country. Same is the case with other items and shopkeepers are making huge profits. Work on Lowari tunnel has been discontinued due to security reasons, As PIA flights are frequently suspended due to inclement weather conditions, the passengers are stranded in Chitral and Peshawar. The government should take immediate steps on war footing to start C-130 and extra PIA flights for Chitral. -BASHIR HUSSAIN AZAD, Chitral, via e-mail, May 21.