PESHAWAR, July 6: Authorities in Peshawar on Friday finalised a set of security measures to provide protection to Nato supply vehicles and ward off any sabotage threat.
A senior security official said that there would be complete ban on parking of vehicles – supplying goods for Nato forces in Afghanistan – in the limits of provincial capital, while these vehicles would be allowed to enter Peshawar district early in the day and leave for Afghanistan before sunset.
Peshawar SSP (operations) Tahir Ayub told Dawn that the security plan was finalised in a meeting to avoid any untoward incident after the government’s decision to reopen supply routes. He said that the main supply route of Ring Road would be fully secured by police in their respective jurisdictions.
“We have to follow directives of the interior ministry to facilitate the Nato goods supply, but the drivers will have to reach their respective stops in daytime. In past, problems were created due to presence of Nato terminals on Ring Road, but now there will be no parking facility there for them,” he said.
The SSP made it clear that additional force would not be deployed for the purpose, while patrolling of concerned police would be ensured to take timely action in case of any eventuality or threat to the vehicles.
About the limit of vehicles, he said, it was up to the customs department if it could arrange clearance of containers.
However, the police had put no condition in this regard. “We have not yet finalised all the matters, particularly concerning manpower and expenditure required for the security task, but such issues would be settled in due course of time,” he added.
Mr Ayub said that police and political administration of Khyber Agency were in constant contact to ensure smooth and safe transportation of Nato goods.
When contacted, Capital City Police Officer Imtiaz Altaf told Dawn that police had no special helicopters to ensure security to Nato supplies.
However, he said that smooth flow of Nato supply would be ensured like in the past. Answering a question, Mr Altaf said that he could not disclose specifics of the security plan discussed at the meeting.
On the other hand, tanker owners in Karachi and other parts of the country were worried that their vehicles could be attacked by militants and highwaymen owing to poor security arrangements along the roads, particularly in area between Attock and Torkham border.
All Pakistan Tankers Owners Association on Friday demanded proper security for convoys of tankers up to Torkham border, saying routine supply for Nato forces in Afghanistan would be started from July 9.
Talking to Dawn, the association’s provincial president Nasir Ali Khan said that between 8,000 and 10,000 containers would be involved in Nato supplies, which needed foolproof security, mainly from Attock to Torkham.
“In past most of oil tankers were blown up in Nowshera and Peshawar districts because police had not provided appropriate security. The situation now is more risky for transporters because of fresh incidents of terrorism,” he said.
Mr Khan said that in a meeting on Thursday they discussed protection of containers with political administration of Khyber Agency.
He said that they would also hold a meeting with Governor Masood Kausar on Monday to demand security for Nato supply tankers.
He said that as per arrangements containers would have to reach Takht Baig area of Khyber Agency till 2pm, to be allowed to cross the border to Afghanistan. He said that in past the deadline for reaching that point was midday, which had now been extended. He claimed that unlike past when only 50 tankers used to cross the border daily, there would be no such limit and vehicles could move freely towards Afghanistan.
The association leader said that as part of security plan all tankers would have to stay at night in safe areas of Punjab and enter Khyber Pakhtunkhwa early in the morning so as to cross the border in daytime.