KARACHI: Residents of Landhi No.4 set an oil tanker on fire in protest after the tanker hit a minor, 10-year old Wahaj son of Zubair, killing him on the spot, on Thursday night. The protesters also attacked the driver of the tanker. The driver was rescued by the police with difficulty and then shifted to a hospital for medical aid. Traffic on the road remained blocked during the protest.
The main road near Sharafi Goth has been in a dilapidated state for several years which results in traffic passing through Landhi No.4, claimed the protesters. According to them, road accidents occur every other day leaving people dead or injured.
A recurring problem
Last year, Yaseen, a young man who worked at the printing press of a local newspaper was killed when a speeding truck ran over him as he sat on the footpath in front of his house. The truck in question had then plummeted into an open nullah. The residents had protested at the time by placing Yaseen's body on the road. Heavy traffic had been restricted in the area after the incident. A police post was established with officials deployed to restrict heavy traffic from Landhi No1 to Landhi No4.
According to residents, heavy traffic did not enter the area initially after these developments, but then police officials began collecting bribes from tankers, trailers and trucks and permitted them to enter the area. Those protesting against Thursday night's incident shouted slogans against the police and administration and threw stones at cars passing by.
Police and Rangers reached the scene and told the protesters to disperse. The demonstrators resisted and 16 of them were arrested before the road was cleared for traffic.
Wahaj, a 10-year-old boy, resident of Street 1, Landh No4, was on a motorcycle with a relative when the oil tanker hit them on Thursday night. Wahaj died in the accident and his body was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The relative driving the motorcycle remained unscathed. The deceased was then handed over to the heirs and his funeral prayers were offered at a local mosque after Friday prayers. Wahaj was the eldest of three siblings. His father runs an aluminum doors and windows business. Residents of the area and relatives of the aggrieved family attended the funeral prayers after which the deceased minor was laid to rest in a local graveyard.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2019.