Burning cash: Insurance and not terrorism suspected in NATO oil tanker attack

Oil tanker union claims no Taliban exist in Sindh and Balochistan.

Sarfaraz Memon/noman Ahmed October 13, 2011

KARACHI: Oil tankers carrying supplies for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Afghanistan were attacked by a group of men on the Indus Highway in Shikarpur on Thursday but insurance and not terrorism may be the motivation.

The Sultankot police claim that around four to five men on two motorcycles shot at four Nato tankers in the morning near Abdal Wah. A few sources claim that when the tankers caught fire, the men shouted ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ and ‘Islam Zindabad’ and fled. They said that two of the tankers were completely ruined while the fire brigade had to be called in for the other two. They added that so far no one had been injured.

Some sources said that eight men dressed in plain shalwar kameezes with a cloth covering their faces arrived on three motorcycles and attacked the tankers. While talking about the presence of Taliban in the area, a source said that there was no such thing.

“These oil tankers and containers are fully insured and in case of an accident - the owner gets his money back,” he said.

“Most of these attacks are carried out by the owners in order to claim their insurance or by the drivers who sell the oil.” He added that Nato oil tankers and containers were frequently attacked.

Sultankot DSP Barkat Ali Domki told The Express Tribune that the fire was quite intense. While responding to a question about constant attacks on Nato containers, he said that there were no terrorists in the district. He concurred with the assessment that most tanker owner faked a terrorist-type attack on tankers to get their insurance money and buy another tanker. He added that no truck driver was even injured in these attacks because they were usually involved themselves.

The authorities were unable to register a case as it was not clear if the attack took place in the limits of the Humayoon or Sultankot police stations.

Everything burns?

“There is no Taliban in the areas where our containers are mostly attacked,” said the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association chairman Haji Akram Khan Durrani. “The Taliban have never had a network in Balochistan and Sindh. When they [Taliban] have to, they usually target the tankers in and around Peshawar or the Khyber Agency.”

The main Nato supply route from Karachi to Chaman used to run through the Kharan-Surab track but because of increased security threats and attacks by separatists in Balochistan, the vehicles now have to use the Indus Highway via Shikarpur and Jacobabad to get to Quetta. The attacks had gone down when the route was changed, but it seems that they’re back near the Sindh-Balochistan border.

Deaths and injuries

According to Durrani, at least 51 people were killed and 66 others were injured since the beginning of the year in Nato container-related attacks. This year, around 50 attacks were recorded in Balochistan, 22 in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, 12 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and four in Sindh.

Durrani added that the drivers were not insured. “The transporters have come  up with a desi system to insure their vehicles as Pakistani companies refuse to insure the drivers as they take the containers across the border,” he said. The truck or tanker owners pay Rs4,000 per trip to the company that gives them the business. So if the vehicle is destroyed the company has to give them an amount which is equal to the market value of the tanker or container.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2011.


MarkH | 11 years ago | Reply

Yeah, ok, so why not investigate the insurance fraud then? If they also can predict the terrorists that well that's more than enough information to take the upper hand and stop it.

It Is Economy Stupid | 11 years ago | Reply

Four drivers are out of work, four transporter decided to shut down their business as trucks were not insured due to unavailability of insurance for tankers. Four businessman in China decided not to ship their product to central Asia through the unique geopolitical location. Four tea stall and hotel lost business of these drivers. No wonder import to Afghanistan through Iran increased many fold. Soon people of Iran will be lot more prosperous and will send donation of few dollars to cover the circular deficit of Pakistan. What a country.

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