PESHAWAR, April 23: The transportation of goods to Nato forces in Afghanistan came to a standstill here on Saturday as truckers also joined the sit-in protest, organised by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) at Bagh-i-Naran in Hayatabad against the US-led drone attacks on Pakistani territories.
It was observed that oil tankers and trailers loaded with different items had been parked at different terminals and truck stands on Ring Road and G.T. Road under tight police security.
A police official said that they had also asked the transporters to suspend the service for two days as they might face problems due to the PTI sit-in.
He said that owing to the presence of Nato oil tankers on Ring Road the PTI-led procession had been allowed to reach the venue via Khyber Road where contingents of police had been deployed.
District Coordination Officer, Peshawar, Siraj Ahmad said that the transport service would be restored today (Sunday) evening with the end of the protest. “We have taken appropriate measures for the security of participants of the public meeting and sit-in,” he said.
The provincial government, he said, had allowed the PTI to hold its scheduled protest programme and that was why the administration also diverted traffic to avoid congestion on the main arteries.
When contacted, Sarhad Goods Transport Owners Federation's senior vice president Ashraf Khan Khalil said that all the members of his organisation had parked their tankers and trailers and would fully participate in the sit-in against drone strikes on Pakistani civilian population.
“We are Pakistanis and have the same feelings like others against the killing of innocent people in drone attacks.
We are ready to even support a strike longer than two days,” he said and added that the entry of Nato forces in Afghanistan had added to the miseries of Pakistanis.
He praised the PTI chairman, Imran Khan, for taking a firm stand on the issue and asked the government to stop the Nato supplies as it had endangered lives of people, including the transporters.
“Besides, hundreds of drivers and cleaners have so far lost lives on way from Karachi to Afghanistan due to attacks,” he said and added that police had also added to their problems by forcing them to pay bribe while crossing the border.
It was observed that residents of various localities had thronged to the G.T. Road and waited in long lines to welcome the vehicular procession of Imran Khan. They also showered rose petals on the procession and shouted slogans in favour of his mission.
Both sides of the roads were decorated with Imran's portraits and his party flags. The cavalcade also led to disruption of routine traffic on the busiest thoroughfare, mainly from Gulbahar to Hayatabad.
The policemen were seen regulating traffic on the major intersections and all the link roads had been closed to avoid traffic congestion in the city.
In some areas traffic mismanagement was witnessed, as police had focused attention on the G.T. Road to facilitate the procession.