Facing the grim prospect of attacks while on duty, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Oil Tankers Association has asked the government to provide them with full security to forestall casualties or allow them to create own security force for drivers.
The association’s representatives met on Wednesday with top government officials at Bala Hisar Fort to finalise future security strategies for all tankers involved with Nato supplies and to inform them of the volatile security situation.
“We told the government to provide them with full security from Attock to Torkham border as they are being openly targeted. If the government cannot do it then our association will recruit its own people for security,” KP Nato Oil Tankers Association President Malik Rafiullah Marwat told The Express Tribune.
Marwat added that there was no place where drivers could safely park their tankers. He says the government told the tankers association to start work on parking areas and promised to help them.
“We have even agreed that police has to give us security in settled areas and the association will pay the expenses of police forces for providing us with security,” the president said. “We need drivers, not tankers. All vehicles are insured and their costs are recovered by the owners if they come under attack, but a life cannot be returned. If tomorrow there is no driver, then who will supply oil and other products to the foreign forces,” the association president continued.
Marwat said there were around 400 kanal lands in Aman Ghar, district Nowshera, where they wanted to create a parking area for the tankers, but the district government would have to give the land to them on lease until the government has reached an agreement with the US on supplies.
In July, the K-P government finalised an arrangement under which 50 NATO oil tankers per day are to be allowed to enter K-P at Khairabad from 5am to 8am.
It was also agreed that ten police vehicles would escort the NATO convoy, for which K-P has asked the federal government to sanction Rs0.1million for daily fuel charges and Rs50,000 for Frontier Corps and Khasadars.
The home and tribal affairs department has also demanded that the federal government provide explosives detectives, explosives scanners and sniffer dogs to check vehicles for improvised explosive devices before they are able to enter the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.