Transporters of Kohistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) continued their strike for the second day on Friday, suspending bus services on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) – the only land route in G-B between the Chinese border and the rest of the country.
Hundreds of passengers remain stranded in Rawalpindi, G-B and Kohistan as transporters from both sides have called a strike to press the government to end the convoy system. Following deadly attacks on buses wherein passengers were offloaded and shot dead in 2012, the administration of G-B and Kohistan decided to only allow the movement of buses in convoys and that too from morning till evening.
Kohistan Transport Union President Gul Khan said the police restrict movement during the night, forcing hundreds of elderly people, women and children to remain stranded for over 16 hours in desolate places, exposing them to various problems.
Ashraf Ali Hussaini, president of the Baltistan transport union, termed the situation a violation of human rights. He said only three policemen provide security to 70 buses and vans, which is a farce as they would be unable to protect passengers in any untoward situation. He said transporters are forced to brave a 16-hour journey for 36 hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2014.
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