A rough ride: Police checking along KKH a nightmare for passengers

People of G-B accuse K-P law enforcement officials of maltreatment

Shabbir Mir September 16, 2015

GILGIT: People travelling along Karakoram Highway (KKH) have flayed security personnel of maltreatment in areas falling under the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government’s control.

These accusations raise questions over the performance of the K-P police which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan claims is now the best force in the country.

KKH is the main highway connecting Gilgit-Baltistan with the rest of the country. At least 100 buses ply on the highway on a daily basis and the major chunk passes through Kohistan.

“Checking by officials on the highway is painful and irritating, but it is at its worst in Kohistan,” Tufail Khan, a passenger who frequently travels between G-B and Rawalpindi on transport buses, told The Express Tribune on Sunday. “The security staff is not adequately trained and don’t know how to behave with passengers, especially women and children.”

According to passengers, K-P police flagged down a bus at a check post near Diamer-Basha Dam. The bus was travelling from Skardu to Rawalpindi and its passengers included women and children.

“In the name of checking, some of the security men misbehaved with the women,” said another passenger. “It was insulting for the women and their relatives. They protested and submitted a complaint with the police station against the maltreatment.”

Security was augmented on KKH following organised attacks on passenger buses during 2011-12 which resulted in several fatalities of passengers mainly from G-B.

As part of the security plan, the K-P government introduced a convoy system. However, the dilapidated highway and the convoy system has increased the 15-hour journey from Gilgit to Rawalpindi to 23 hours.

The convoy system requires 50 to 100 vehicles to move in groups from G-B’s Diamer district till Bisham in Shangla with K-P law enforcement authorities escorting them.

The lone ranger of PTI in the G-B Legislative Assembly, Raja Jehanzeb, asked the K-P government to facilitate travellers passing through the 200-kilometre-long stretch of Karakoram Highway that runs through Kohistan.

“Kohistan region lacks facilities for passengers and unnecessary checking by police at various posts causes delays and makes the journey a miserable one,” Jehanzeb told journalists in Gilgit recently.

This was not the first time requests were made to ease the journey on the highway. In April, transporters in Gilgit and Kohistan protested against the convoy system, suspending public transport between G-B and the rest of the country for more than a week.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th,  2015.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ