At least 27 containers carrying Diesel and GPAT to Afghanistan caught fire when unidentified armed men fired rockets on them, near Sapna petrol pump at Sukkur-Shikarpur road late Thursday night. 10 suspects have been arrested by the police.
The 30 oil tankers, containing 40 to 60 thousand litres per tanker, reached Shikarpur on Thursday evening and halted at Hassan Baloch Sapna Hotel near Sapna Petrol Pump for the seal checking of the containers. The tankers were stationed near the petrol pump while the drivers had tea at a nearby hotel. In the mean time, some unidentified armed men in a double cabin pickup and a motorcar from Sukkur, fired rockets and shot at the containers with an automatic weapon. A container blew up with a huge explosion causing other containers to catch fire.
Eye witnesses said that flames were so high that they were visible from areas far away. The DPO Shikarpur Abdul Hameed Khoso, along with a heavy contingent of police, rushed to the scene as soon as possible but the attackers had escaped by then. Fire brigades from Shikarpur and other cities were called to control the fire, which raged on for almost 16 hours. However, no casualty was reported except minor burns to two or three drivers.
DIG Deen Muhammad Baloch and DPO Shikarpur Abdul Hameed Khoso were unavailable for comment but DCO Shikarpur Dr Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo said that “due to the untiring efforts taken by the firemen, three containers had been saved while 27 had burnt down completely.”
Some parts of the Sapna Petrol Pump, mosque and Hassan Baloch Sapna Hotel had been damaged along with two private trucks standing near the petrol pump.
Meanwhile in Quetta, a driver and a cleaner were killed aboard a Nato trailer when unidentified assailants opened fire on the trailer and set it ablaze in Khuzdar district on Friday. According to sources, the trailer carrying goods for Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan was heading towards Kandahar from Karachi when unknown assailants opened fire on it.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2010.