Highway robbery: From Besham to Gilgit, truckers protesting

Demand immediate action to stop holdups on Karakoram Highway.


Fazal Khaliq May 03, 2011

SHANGLA:


A wheel-jammed strike by drivers against robbers and dacoits on the Karakoram Highway entered its sixth day in Besham, District Shangla.


As a result of the protesters’ rallies and processions, the supply lines of food and other necessities were cut off from the northern areas.

Zohrab Khan, a truck driver, describing his plight, told The Express Tribune, “We have been emotionally tortured for so many years by being robbed on the way. Many of our drivers have been killed but no action has been taken by the authorities. This has given the criminals a free hand to loot us.”

Sher Bahadar, a driver who transports goods to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) said, “This time we will not remain silent until our issues are resolved. We don’t care if the loaded goods go to rot. The authorities have to step up, otherwise we won’t hesitate to go to extremes.”

Haji Asfandyar Khan, general secretary Truck Owners Association, threatened to continue the strike till the illegal check-points and weighing points were not closed by the authorities. “We want safety for our drivers, and until the looting is curbed, we will continue our strike.”

Member Provincial Assembly Mohammad Rashid Khan visited the transporters. He assured that theirproblems solved. He also asked the authorities of G-B to take action against the robbers.

Meanwhile, robberies have been on the rise. Two robbed transporters, Yousuf and Ashraf, told The Express Tribune that they were looted in front of the SSP Gilgit along with the drivers of six other vehicles.

On the one hand, the transporters association threatened to block the Karakoram Highway if their problems were not resolved immediately. The strike has caused severe scarcity of food and other life-saving goods in the northern areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2011.

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