Goods transporters of the city announced a countrywide strike from Tuesday unless their demands, including security and problems with the National Highways and Motorway Police are met.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, the transport service providers announced that they had formed a grand alliance under the banner of “United Goods Transporters Alliance” which sees 37 different unions of goods transporters unite to achieve common demands.
General Secretary of the newly structured alliance Muhammad Shoaib Khan said, “the alliance will continue till the accomplishment of our demands and goods supply and transportation to and from all the three seaports of the country and every manufacturing united will remain suspended,” till such a time.
Explaining the reasons behind their demands, Khan said that along with the day to day rise in kidnapping of trucks and drivers, the transporters now have to deal with a new problem. “Activists of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (SSPP) have been creating troubles for our drivers and trucks. They don’t let our trucks to travel on the roads in Sindh because according to them our trucks are always overloaded which damage the roads of Sindh.”
The General Secretary though lamented adding that the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) have been backing the SSPP who were allegedly extorting the truck drivers. “They (the SSPP) have set-up their camps along roadsides beyond Hyderabad and many a times they have opened fire at our drivers and our drivers have been injured in such attacks whenever the drivers have tried to flee.”
NHMP should check for overloading while in Karachi
Khan demanded that the NHMP should inspect transport vehicles for overloading before they leave Karachi. “it is not fair if they return our trucks from Sukkur or from somewhere in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or ask them to remove the extra load from the containers on road,” Khan told The Express Tribune.
He added that the NHMP should resolve the issue of overloading by setting a uniform load limit for both goods trucks and oil tankers.
In the demands put forward, truckers asked the government to provide them compensation money for those trucks and containers that were torched in riots in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Transporters claim as many as 966 cargo bearing vehiclesr were torched.
Transporters also appealed to the government to allow 24 hour transit for containers on Mai Kolachi Road. They urged the government to keep diesel prices stable for at least three months. They also demanded the government to stop the Sindh police from using tucks and containers to block roads as part of safety measures during Muharram and other sensitive days since much of the time these ‘obstacles’ become the target of public ire. Additionally, the truckers who end up losing their vehicles are never compensated for loss incurred in such a manner.
The United Goods Transporters Alliance Chairman Ghulam Yasin and Media Coordinator Fazal Manan Jadoon were also present at the occasion.