Transporters in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have refused to reserve vehicles for people intending to participate in the long march, announced by Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Tahirul Qadri, to be held on January 14.
The move comes following the decision of authorities in Islamabad to confiscate a number of containers to barricade the rally’s route, increasing fears of transporters.
MQI activists in Peshawar contacted various transporters to hire their services for transporting participants to the federal capital. Many of them, however, turned down the offer owing to security concerns.
“A group of activists came to our bus stand yesterday to reserve 50 vehicles, including mini buses and pick-up vans for Sunday and Monday, but we declined the offer as they were not taking responsibility for the security of transporters,” said Urban Transport Union President Khan Zaman Afridi. He added they were even offered double the fare usually charged from Peshawar to Islamabad, but were told the activists would not be responsible for any damages to their vehicles or in case they are impounded by law enforcement agencies.
“The activists were offering Rs6,000 for one day. But they would not take responsibility in case of damages, and drivers and cleaners cannot afford to repair them or compensate the owners of these vehicles,” said Afridi.
Following a refusal from the transporters union, the activists approached drivers at the General Bus Stand, added Afridi. “We have informed the drivers not to accept any offers. If assurances of compensation are given by MQI leaders, then they may get some vehicles for the long march.”
Earlier it was reported that around 0.5 million people are expected to participate from various parts of K-P in the long march on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.