PESHAWAR, April 24: The supply of goods to Nato forces in Afghanistan will resume on Monday after remaining suspended for three days owing to the rally and sit-in organised by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf in the provincial capital against US drone attacks in tribal areas.
The president of All Sarhad Goods Transport Federation, Ashraf Khan, told Dawn that about 6,000 vehicles had been stopped owing to sit-in but they would start transporting goods from Monday's morning.
“We would resume work from tomorrow,” he said. He added that the sit-in had caused huge financial losses to the government. He said that government had already cut Nato supplies as now only 100 trucks were allowed to take goods to troops in Afghanistan every day via Peshawar and Khyber Agency.
The route, he said, was also used by other large containers supplying rice, pulses and other commodities to Afghan markets. Only 200 trucks of cements were transported to Afghanistan per day, he said.
On the other hand participants of the sit-in claimed that it was first show of its kind that stopped Nato supplies at least for three days.
“It shows that we can do it for longer period,” said a participant Farman Ali, a student of Swari College in Buner. To participate in the rally, he embarked a bus to lend his support to Imran Khan. Like him, hundreds from Islamabad, parts of Punjab and other areas passed sleepless night on the road to convey their anger to the government on an issue, which they said, was related primarily to sovereignty of the country.
“We shouldn't indulge in number game. Simple is that we have stopped Nato supplies for three days, which means we can do it,” Javed Umar from Rawalpindi said.
Many said they were jubilant over the success of the rally and sit-in.
However, the venue of the rally irked residents of Hayatabad as Bagh-i-Naran Chowk hosted the excited and emotional PTI workers. Some of the activists even tailored clothes from PTI flags.
Caps of Insaf Students Federation were a common sight. The sit-in didn't draw as many people as expected but it was an organised effort and also caused political problems to local leaders, who were supposed to do the job before someone else.
Of late, the US drone strikes had increased to a level that even National Assembly had adopted a resolution against those attacks but staging a protest to block supplies to Afghanistan was something new.
Friday's night was fun-filled. Young PTI workers danced at a show, organised by the party's culture wing to energise the youths after the day-long fatigue and sweating.
Lawmaker from the violence-wracked Bajaur Agency Akhunzada Mohammad Chitan, who spoke in afternoon, set aside the impression that drone attacks were becoming popular in the tribal areas.
He demanded that drone attacks should be halted immediately. The PTI set an example to hold an agitation against drone strikes, he added.
Many others also delivered speeches. Some leaders stayed away from the show despite announcing support to it.
Crooner Musharraf Bangash sang endlessly throughout the night. His song ' Qurban qurban me sar ao mall shah warna waziristan da pakhtano watan de ' (I'll sacrifice my life for the motherland, Waziristan is the land of Pakhtun) aroused people, especially the tribal youths, who danced to the rhythm for hours.
His other numbers sung and written after 2001 that showcase life before and after war in tribal areas sent warmth all around and at times it seemed an exclusive music show because the participants were responsive.
Even the speakers of other languages enjoyed Bangash's songs and the background music.
The sit-in was also different on another count. The participants were educated jean-wearing modern boys as well as simple-looking semi-literate villagers. Women portion also had people from different strata of the society.