We urge the protestors to explain why our vehicles were targeted in arson attacks throughout the city on Thursday, demanded Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) chairman Irshad Bukhari.
“What did we do? We didn’t even bring our vehicles out on the streets.” he said. “The entire association believes that whatever the senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader Zulfiqar Mirza said against the Urdu-speaking community was wrong. Go out and take your anger out on Mirza or Shahi Syed if you want. But why target us?”
Urdu-speaking drivers have been targetted because of political tiffs, he said referring to an incident in Nazimabad, where 2-K route buses were burnt.
“The present government makes empty promises of compensation. In the last three years, over 500 transport vehicles have been burnt and 40 drivers killed in the city,” he said. “The chief minister has only given a compensation for one vehicle out of the 500 and only 10 drivers out of the 40.”
According to the chief fire officer Ehteshamuddin Siddiqui, over 28 vehicles were burnt down within 18 hours in the city on Thursday. “All of the 21 fire stations remained busy since Mirza’s statement was aired.
There were cases of arson and damaged vehicles throughout the city. There were instances where the fire brigade vehicles were fired upon, but luckily our men escaped unharmed.”
Siddiqui’s office claims that the fire brigades first became active in Korangi where two cars, including a Mazda truck were burnt.
The sequence of events continued as a private car was burnt in Saddar followed by a high-roof van and a Mazda truck in Karimabad. A Shehzore truck in Saddar was burnt and followed by two Mazda trucks in Korangi.
Another truck was burnt in Nazimabad near al Karam Square while a trailer container was burnt down in Site area. A Hilux pickup van in Landhi, one Abdullah coach in Korangi and three more Mazda trucks in Korangi were burnt.
Eight buses which followed the 2K route in Nazimabad’s Sakhi Hasan area were also burnt, along with a Suzuki van and two more trucks which were burnt in Korangi.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
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