Enough is enough – such was the motivation behind a protest held by about 100 taxi drivers on Wednesday.
They gathered outside the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) office in Blue Area and protested against the three-day closure of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The Taxi Driver Welfare Association (TDWA) President Aftab Malik led the protest.
They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans such as “stop financial murder of taxi cab” and “[the] government should review its decision”. The cab drivers said that they cannot continue to operate under the prevailing situation, as the closure of CNG forces them to park their cabs at home for three days in a week.
Malik said all CNG stations in Islamabad are closed Thursday through Saturday since the past three months. He said more then 22,000 taxi drivers are being affected by this. “How is it possible for us to make ends meet if we run our cabs for only four days?”
He added, “We have been protesting for the past three months, but the government is not serious in reviewing its decision. If the government does not pay heed to us, we will a start countrywide protest.’’
TDWA General Secretary Hamid Shah said that the government, which claims to provide ‘roti, kapra and makan’ to the poor segment of the society, has failed to deliver.
After the hour-long commotion, the representatives of the association held a meeting with the OGRA chairperson. He assured them that two CNG stations will remain open throughout the week, after which the protesters dispersed peacefully.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.