Transporters, drivers favour anti-Nato stand

Nato standPESHAWAR: As the suspension of supplies to Afghanistan-based Nato forces on Monday entered 10th day, transporters and drivers threw their weight behind the civilian and military leadership over the move triggered by the November 26 deadly bombing of Pakistani troops in Mohmand Agency.

President All Pakistan Goods Transport Owners Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Haji Ashraf Khalil told that transporters would continue to support the government and the army stand over the Nato bombing attack, which killed 24 security personnel.“We have moved all of our tankers and trailers to Mohammad Kot near Mianwali before parking them at different filling stations. However, there are no or few steps for their safety,” he said.Mr Khalil said trailer owners would claim at least Rs0.2 million each from contractors as compensation once the border was opened.

When asked about the US claim that it may go for routes other than Pakistan for supply goods to Nato forces in Afghanistan, Mr Khalil said being transporter, he knew that Torkham and Chaman were comparatively safe and easily accessible borders for goods transportation to Afghanistan and that amicable resolution of the bombing controversy was in the US` own interest.Meanwhile, president Khyber Trailers` Driver and Workers Union Jehanzeb Khan told Dawn that the decision to suspend Nato supplies had been taken in a grand meeting in Karachi that was aimed at expressing complete support to the Pakistan army against Nato attack.

“At least 200 Pakistani tankers and trailers are stranded in parts of Afghanistan, while some drivers are in the custody of Afghan police for no fault of theirs,” he said, adding that trailer drivers and workers were in distress over the situation.Mr Jehanzeb said drivers had run short of money and needed immediate assistance, adding that their life was in danger. He said the union would convene a meeting shortly for future line of action.When asked, another leader of Khyber Trailers` Driver and Workers Union Sikandar Khan said tanker/trailer owners suffered a daily loss of at least Rs5,000 each but were ready to face it for the sake of the country.

“Our drivers stand by the army against Nato aggression and suffer losses though their monthly salary ranges from Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 and they`ve no alternative source of livelihood. We`ll say goodbye to our jobs in protest against the US forces,” he said, adding that the union would stage demonstrations against the November 26 attack soon after Ashura.Mr Sikandar said in Karachi, hundreds of drivers and cleaners had returned keys of their vehicles to owners and contractors in protest against the Nato bombing. – Dawn