Pak drivers no longer willing to risk lives transporting NATO goods to Afghanistan

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Karachi, Dec. 19 (ANI): Karachi drivers are increasingly growing reluctant to transport logistics to NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan fearing militant attacks.

Yousuf Shahwani, President of Oil Tankers Association, claimed that over the last two years at least 50 oil tanker drivers had died as a result of attacks by militants during transportation of goods to Afghanistan.

"Just tell me, what do we get when we sacrifice our lives? Things are pretty good for the contractors but not for us," he told The News. "Nothing is insured in our business. There is not even a single driver who is properly insured" Shahwani added.

For the last 20 days, transportation of NATO goods from Karachi has come to a halt due to the prevailing law and order condition. So far 250 containers had been set ablaze by militants after which transporters had become reluctant to take the supplies even to Peshawar leave aside Afghanistan.

As per the safety measures of NATO forces and the US military, only a select few contractors have been assigned the job of handling the NATO cargo. And these contractors generally claim 10 per cent commission for transporting logistics, the paper reported.

A majority of drivers confessed that they were braving militant danger only to earn a few extra bucks, which no driver can get otherwise in Pakistan. It takes eight days to transport goods from Karachi to Peshawar. A driver could earn Rs.15000 or more depending upon the distance he is willing to travel.

But there are some drivers who quit their job following a harrowing incident in Afghanistan. "I was at the Chaman border and I had parked my oil tanker while I stopped for a meal, someone pointed out a box that was attached to my tanker" the paper quoted a driver as saying.

"Suspecting it to be an explosive, I quickly drove away my tanker from the spot so that the dozens of other tankers parked in the vicinity could be saved in case of an explosion," he said.

"We are literally treated as dogs there and no one respects us. Every man drives his vehicle at top speed after entering Afghanistan so as to escape any possible attack", the driver added.

According to the paper's sources, the Pakistan government is planning to set up a goods terminal at Mianwali, which is believed to be a more secure place for NATO supplies than Peshawar. (ANI)

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