Oil tankers association flays PTI for calling countrywide ‘shutdown’

80,000 vehicles unable to move along necessary routes


Baseer Qalandar December 07, 2014

PESHAWAR: The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association (Apotoa) has condemned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan’s decision to hold a countrywide shutter-down strike on December 18.

According to its central spokesperson Israr Ahmad Shinwari, Imran should put the sit-ins in Islamabad to rest because the protests have shackled businesses throughout the country. He pressed the federal government to develop a strategy to ensure the PTI chairperson is unable to carry out its strike.

Speaking to The Express Tribune on Sunday, Shinwari warned the government, “If it fails to deal with the protests, Apotoa officials would be forced to take to the streets.”

He said, “The current political scenario has made it very difficult for us to transport goods.” Shinwari added 80,000 vehicles – including 40,000 containers – have been unable to move due to the sit-ins in Islamabad. “We elected the parliament to solve our problems,” he said. “I don’t think protests can provide solutions. They will only further derail the economy.”

According to the Apotoa spokesperson, Imran’s decision will produce more turmoil and instability.

“The only other time our business activities were hindered to this extent was when Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Benazir Bhutto was assassinated,” Shinwari said. “We have yet to receive compensation for the losses we incurred and cannot risk another blow to our business.”

Ease of travel

Shinwari lauded the federal government’s willingness to build a motorway from Peshawar to Afghanistan.

According to the Apotoa spokesperson, the Pakistan-Afghanistan highway is in a dilapidated condition – particularly near Jamrud and Landikotal. “The political administration of Khyber Agency is collecting taxes from transporters every now and then,” he said. “But little has been done to improve the condition of the road.”

He urged the government to repair the highway to ensure economic prosperity in the country and establish stronger ties with Afghanistan.

Haji Haseenullah, a spokesperson for Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), told The Express Tribune construction work on Pak-Afghan Highway in Jamrud would be completed by December 31.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.

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