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Seven arrested for damaging NHA toll plaza in Khyber

Updated March 25, 2019

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NHA staff collects toll tax from Afghan transit vehicles at Katta Khushtha, Khyber tribal district, where an NHA toll plaza was dismantled by transporters only a day before. — Dawn
NHA staff collects toll tax from Afghan transit vehicles at Katta Khushtha, Khyber tribal district, where an NHA toll plaza was dismantled by transporters only a day before. — Dawn

LANDI KOTAL: The administration of Khyber tribal district arresting at least seven tribesmen including a student after agitating transporters dismantled the toll plaza of National Highway Authority.

A statement issued from the office of Jamrud assistant commissioner on Sunday said that the action was taken when some agitating transporters and tribesmen tried to interfere in public affairs while instigating a mob that later brought down and torched the toll plaza at Katta Khushtha.

It said that local officials tried their best to persuade the protesters to end their protest and clear the road, which they had blocked, for supply of trade goods to Afghanistan as the collection of toll tax was restarted after an order was issued by Peshawar High Court.

“Despite our repeated efforts, the protesters dismantled the toll plaza and caused damage to the NHA property by unlawfully taking law into their hands,” said the statement.

It said that the administration arrested seven tribesmen including Sadiq, Zahid, Imran, Nadeem, Swal Akbar, Hafizul Asad and Wazir Akbar. The arrested tribesmen belonged to Landi Kotal and Jamrud. It said that more arrests were expected.

Meanwhile, the NHA staff continues collection of their toll tax at the same location only two hours after dismantling of its toll plaza.

A staffer at the toll plaza told this scribe that NHA had not yet lodged any complaint about the Saturday’s incident with the local administration. He said that Saturday was a public holiday and NHA officials were contemplating registering a complaint about the incident on Monday.

The NHA staffers were also seen pelting a loaded vehicle with stones when the driver sped away his vehicle to escape payment of toll tax at Katta Kushtha.

A lone armed khasadar was seen providing security to the NHA tax collection staff at a distance. Drivers in Landi Kotal told this scribe that NHA increased the tax from Rs250 per vehicle to Rs350 after the incident.

BOYCOTT: The protesting khasadars backed by tribal elders from Jamrud and Landi Kotal announced on Sunday to boycott the anti-polio vaccination and refused to provide security to the health teams, who would be conduction the vaccination campaign from March 25 (today).

In a meeting held at the protest camp established by khasadars at Bab-i-Khyber in Jamrud, the tribal elders and Khasadar officials said that a fine of Rs5 million would be imposed on those, who violated the decision.

The boycott was announced at a time when a new polio case surfaced in Bazaar-Zakhakhel area of Khyber tribal district three days ago.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2019