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November 26, 2013

KP Police stop PTI from disrupting Nato supplies

 
November 26, 2013

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police stopped activists of the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from blocking trucks carrying Nato supplies to and from Afghanistan on Monday.
The intervention was the latest chapter in a saga that began on Saturday, when protesters led by PTI Chief Imran Khan blocked the Ring Road to stop the transportation of Nato supplies.
On Sunday, members of the party stopped trucks and roughed up drivers ferrying Nato supplies at a toll booth on the outskirts of the city. Police were present at the scene on Sunday but did not stop the PTI workers, some of whom were carrying batons.
Police officer Behram Khan said on Monday that the police would permit peaceful protests on the roadside, but activists would not be allowed to stop trucks as they did before. The police also opened an investigation into the activists’ actions that could lead to legal charges, he said.
Provincial Police Chief Nasir Durrani ordered the police to prevent protesters from stopping trucks and open an investigation against those who were halting vehicles on Sunday, said a statement from the police.
The KP police also registered cases against 35 PTI activists for manhandling truck drivers. Some 100 PTI protesters checked shipment documents of trucks, heading to Afghanistan, at the Hayatabad toll booth and also manhandled some drivers.
The cases have been registered against the accused involved in thrashing drivers under Sections 141, 148, 149 and 341 PPC on orders of IG KPK at the Pishta Khara Police Station. Police parties started conducting raids to arrest the culprits.
After the police action, Pak-Afghan border at Torkham was reopened after three-day closure on Monday.Following the reopening of the border, all sorts of trade activities including the Nato supplies, transit trade and movements of the Pakistani and Afghan citizens resumed.
However, BBC reported that All Pakistan Goods Transport Welfare Association has stopped transportation of

all goods to Afghanistan till provision of security to drivers. In addition to Nato, supplies for UN bodies and Afghan Transit Trade items were transported from Karachi ports. Association Chairman Haji Dil Khan said terrorists and PTI activists do not know if a truck is carrying Nato supplies or commercial goods.
The Association’s Secretary General Hamyat Ali Shah said about 1500 trucks are trapped in Afghanistan and as many are laden with goods here. He said shipments are ensured but crew and vehicles are not.
Over the past six years, 288 trucks carrying Nato supplies were attacked killing 138 people and injuring 235 others, reported South Asia Terrorism Portal. – Agencies
Delawar Jan adds: The PTI workers were not deterred by the KP police. Police officials continued to act as spectators as PTI workers stopped every container-laden truck and checked shipment documents to identify Nato trucks.
The PTI claimed that its workers stopped ‘dozens of Nato trucks’ at Khairabad in Nowshera, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat and Peshawar. Trucks carrying supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan did not arrive in Peshawar on Monday when violence was also reported after participation of the JI.
The situation turned ugly when the JI and PTI workers tried to force a truck driver to open seal of the container so that they can see it was not carrying Nato supplies.
“This is a transit truck,” a police officer murmured, helplessly. “If these people return it, they (Afghans) will send back ours,” he worried. He just looked on helplessly and refused to talk about the order by inspector general of police to act against PTI workers if they forced vehicles to stop or checked documents.
The manhandling of the driver also caused division among the protesters as the PTI leaders were opposed to the use of force. After the truck was turned back, Younas Zaheer, a PTI office-bearer who is leading the protest, addressed the workers and asked them not to rough up the drivers. “Don’t break the seals,” another activist chipped in. However, Zaheer insisted that this particular truck was taking supplies for the Nato forces.
JI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Secretary General Shabbir Ahmad Khan threatened to stage ‘sit-ins’ at airports if air cargo for Nato forces in Afghanistan was started. Talking to media at the Motorway Interchange camp, he urged the people to support the protest citing ‘national honour’. He asked the provincial government to quash the FIR against the workers of PTI and its allied parties.
Activists of the PTI continued their protest on the Indus Highway against the Nato supplies in Kohat.The PTI activists, led by Deputy Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi, had gathered at the Zero Point at the Indus Highway in Kohat.

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