The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association gave the government an ultimatum of 72 hours to provide them with better security. APOTA office bearers complained in a press conference on Tuesday that oil tanker drivers were kidnapped from all over the country.
APOTA chairman Yousaf Shahwani alleged that they were forced to pay extortion to excise police officials on a regular basis. “We pay the government twice in taxes, but [it] treats us as if we are criminals. Thousands of drivers and other [transport] employees have to cope up with this form of social stigma.”
He added that oil tankers are often attacked and set on fire, while owners are left to pick up the tab. Shahwani said that heavy-duty vehicles would block the National Highway on Friday if the government did not address their grievance. “We will block roads in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in the next phase,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.