After Graduating from a prestige university of Pakistan, Just like every graduate, I decided to take a trip not of the world but of my beloved country Pakistan. I had already visited all places in the north but now i wasn’t be able to decide where should I go. I took all the money i collected and being to count them. Suddenly my eye eyes caught the sight of the famous khojak pass, imprinted on the back side of 5 rupee note. I was quite surprised that we use these currency notes on daily basis but never ever realize why these places are imprinted on them. So I decided to quest all the places that were printed on our currency notes. The Khojak pass came first so i made my mind and stepped to head to the long forgotten tunnel near Pak-Afghan border. This beautiful places is 113 km to the west of Quetta. From the starting i kept looking at the five rupee note, I dont know why but I was lost in some deep thoughts.
The tunnel faces a mesmerizing place called SHELA BAGH. During late 19th century, the British rule decided to lay railway tracks to Kandahar in order to send British troops to counter the russian forces. The Britishers had to bypass Khojak pass of toba kakar mountain. Thus, the 3.9km tunnel was constructed from 1888 to 1891 under the Khojak Pass, and the tunnel was named after it as Khojak Tunnel. The railway track leads from quetta to chaman and then they couldnt built it any further, crossing the Khojak tunnel.
‘Shela’ is a Pashto word which means a seasonal mountainous river, and ‘bagh’ of course means a garden. There are few legends famous about Shela Bagh, one is, the area was named after a dancer called Shela who would entertain the labourers that worked tirelessly building the Khojak tunnel. The second, darker legend is that the chief engineer of the project killed himself before his masterpiece.
The state bank of Pakistan due to its very importance imprinted it on the backside of 5 rupee note which started in 1976 and continued till 2005. The Khojak tunnel once played an intergral part in the power politics of the subcontinent.