As their strike entered the sixth day on Friday, transporters demanded assurances of protection from the government to resume supply of goods to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
Apart from bloodshed and large-scale destruction of personal and public property, several trucks and oil tankers were looted and their drivers brutally beaten following the sectarian violence in G-B earlier this month.
In reaction, the Trucks and Oil Tankers Owners’ Association had called for a strike and suspended supply of goods to the region, demanding foolproof security on Karakoram Highway (KKH).
“The miscreants snatch not only the goods but our personal belongings as well. They don’t even spare the diesel and batteries of our vehicles,” said Haji Asfandyar, the president of the association.
Meanwhile, an endless queue of trucks and tankers can be seen at the KKH near Bisham. “There are hundreds of trucks and tankers standing in long queues, inconveniencing local people,” said Fawad Khan, a local resident.
While talking to The Express Tribune, a truck driver said the strike would continue until the government provided compensation for their losses and guaranteed a safe passage.
“We have nothing to do with sectarian violence. We work day and night only to transport goods to people but certain elements are bent upon creating conflict due to which we feel insecure,” said Mian Syed Hadi, a truck driver.
The transporters reiterated that they did not belong to any sectarian group and they were only serving people.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.
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