PESHAWAR, April 6: The chief of Bara-based organisation Laskar-i-Islam, Mangal Bagh, has issued his own fare list to the local transporters on his letterhead which showed an increase of one rupee on stop-to-stop basis.
Drivers of the vehicles plying between Peshawar and Bara have displayed Mangal Bagh’s fare list and began to charge commuters according to it. Some drivers put it behind the curtains fearing action from the police in the settled areas.
Urban Transporters Union president Jehangir Afridi, when contacted, told Dawn that he had asked the transport operators to remove the fare list issued by Mangal Bagh, adding that most of them had removed and the remaining would do it soon.
He said it was the first reaction of the people against what he described delaying tactics of the officials of District Transport Authority to issue the revised fare list. The Provincial Transport Authority, he said, had already revised the fare while the fare for local transporters was yet to be revised. He asked the transporters to remove the illegal fare list otherwise he would not be responsible for the consequences.
The existing official fare in the public transport plying on the city roads, he said, was Rs5 per bus stop and the transporters wanted to raise it to Rs7.
District and Regional Transport Authority secretary Engineer Mohammad Sohail Khan, when contacted, told Dawn that a meeting of the concerned officials was planned within a couple of days but it was delayed for a week because of the transfer of Peshawar DCO.
After the new DCO assumed charge of his office the meeting for revision of the fare list would be convened, he added. He said nobody was interested to delay it.
Mr Sohail said that 50 paisa or hardly Rs1 would be increased in the revised fare list, saying that the transporters’ demand for a raise of Rs2 was unjust.
Before the Feb 18 general elections, Mangal Bagh had also imposed his own code of conduct in Bara and most of the candidates complied with it. Instead of allowing them to run their campaigns separately he had directed them to address a public meeting one by one. Besides the candidates, people of the area had also attended the meeting in a large number on the directives of Mangal Bagh.
The Lashkar-i-Islam chief is also accused of attacking Shaikhan, a village on the outskirts of Peshawar, on March 3. Residents of the village allege that he and his armed men had attacked the village to destroy a 4-century old shrine there.
They say that the armed comrades of Mangal Bagh had killed 12 persons, injured 15, burnt their houses and destroyed a 4-century old shrine, besides kidnapping 10 villagers. The villagers, belonging to Mohmand and Khalil tribes, are of the view that Mangal Bagh has established his own writ in Bara and now wants to extend his influence to the settled areas of the provincial metropolis.
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