Transporters in the early hours of Thursday ended their hours-long protest sit-in on main Superhighway (now called M-9 Motorway) near Kathore over the killing of their three colleagues during a clash with toll tax collectors and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) guards a day earlier.
On Wednesday afternoon, three persons were shot dead and two others were injured during a protest by transporters on the Link Road near Superhighway when they clashed with FWO personnel who allegedly resorted to firing. The drivers were demonstrating against the FWO’s decision to implement a recent judgement of the Supreme Court with regard to the ‘axle load regime’ when the violence occurred.
The blockade was ended and traffic resumed on the busy highway after successful talks today between the protesters and a government team led by Sindh Minister for Labour and Human Resources Ghulam Murtaza Baloch and comprising MNA Agha Rafiullah, DIG East Amir Farooqi and others, according to officials.
DIG Farooqi told Dawn that “transport association members, the area's elected representatives and senior officers of FWO played a positive role in ending the road blockade.”
“Assurances were given by FWO that a thorough probe will be conducted into the whole incident and those responsible will be dealt as per law,” the senior officer added.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered as per a request of the affected drivers, the DIG said, vowing that the “investigation will be done on merit”.
“The FWO will bear the cost of medical treatment of those injured and will contribute towards the well being of the families of the deceased,” the police chief of Karachi's East Zone revealed.
Provincial minister Baloch told the media that the transporters had ended their protest after successful talks, and that an FIR would be registered against the personnel responsible for the killings and they would be brought to justice.
Baloch said that he had held talks with representatives of the transporters’ union under directions of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who had taken notice of the killings.
A Motorway police spokesperson said that traffic resumed on the Superhighway at around 2:30-3:00am on Thursday after the protest which lasted over seven hours ended.
According to Memon Goth police, the incident's FIR was registered on the complaint of a transporter, Bashir Ayub, against the toll tax collection staff and FWO guards under Sections 302 (murder), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
According to contents of the FIR obtained by Dawn, the complainant said that he had gone to Ranipur, Khairpur for some personal work where he received a phone call about the clash that occurred at Toll Plaza Link Road.
Ayub said that after receiving this information, he returned to the city and when he reached the Link Road, he saw that the transporters and truck drivers had blocked M-9 in protest.
The complainant claimed that the clash had occurred because the drivers had been subjected to "undesirable attitude" for the last one week and several vehicles were stopped during the last three to four days, according to the FIR.