Outrage Over Killing Of Protesting Transporters
Three people were allegedly shot dead by personnel of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) during a protest by transporters on the Link Road near Karachi Superhighway on Wednesday afternoon.
The deaths occurred after the transporters clashed with FWO personnel, who according to police and witnessed resorted to firing.
The transporters had parked their trucks on the Link Road near Karachi Superhighway, also known as the M9 Motorway. The transporters were protesting against FWO’s decision to implement a judgement of the Supreme Court regarding an ‘axle load regime’.
According to the judgement, heavy vehicles can not carry a load above the sanctioned weight in order to protect highways from damage and to prevent fatal accidents.
A news report in Dawn cited DIG East Amir Farooqi as saying that there was an issue of ‘axle load regime’, and that the FWO was trying to enforce the Supreme Court’s verdict.
Following the parking of heavy vehicles on the M9, personnel of the FWO arrived to manage the situation. The FWO personnel were pelted with stones, in response to which they started firing on the protesters to disperse them. Police stated that some protesters were shot and wounded.
The injured were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). Medical professionals at the JPMC declared three of them dead on arrival. The post-mortem examination revealed that the three received one bullet each.
Police arrived at the scene to prevent further deterioration of the situation. A Motoway police spokesperson said that the M-9 motorway had been blocked near Kathore, adding that the incident did not occur on the Motorway but protesters blocked the highway afterwards.
Police personnel have informed media that no arrest has been made so far and that authorities would follow a legal course to identify and arrest the suspects.
Outrage Over Incident
Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken notice of the incident and has requested Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to conduct an inquiry into the incident and bring those responsible to justice.
Spoke to @MuradAliShahPPP to inquire about violence at transporters’ protest in Karachi today. Have requested CM Sindh that an impartial inquiry take place & those responsible be brought to justice. https://t.co/IyY2DEosjv
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) October 16, 2019
Member of National Assembly from Waziristan, Mohsin Dawar, condemned the attack on transporters, saying that all three dead belonged to his constituency in North Waziristan.
Strongly condemn the brutal attack on members of transportation community at super highway Karachi, 3 dead( all belongs to my constituency North Waziristan) & more than 10 injured are reported so far, Sindh govt is requested to probe the matter and bring the culprits to the book.
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) October 16, 2019
The incident has received severe backlash on social media. A social activist took to Twitter to question the humanity of authorities who had not only shot people dead but had also started a ‘smear propaganda’ against those had been murdered.
He was a halal breadwinner, a social person, a taxpayer and believer of naya pakistan but he is tortured and shot dead while a smear propaganda is also started to hide the brutalities of authorities. Do they have any sense of humanity or not? 😓#PakForcesKilledPashtuns pic.twitter.com/SuRnw754vj
— AlamZaib Khan Mahsud (@AlamZaibPK) October 16, 2019
Furthermore, people have also highlighted the fact that the transporters were Pashtuns, and this incident was a reflection of the attitude the state had towards Pashtuns.
The brutal killings of 3 transporters of NWTD while injuring six more by Rangers in KCHI when they protested against the high handedness of FWO, has once again proved that govt & it's forces r in open enmity with peaceful pashtuns.I strongly condemn it & demand judicial enquiry
— Mir Kalam Wazir (@KalamWazir) October 16, 2019
Awami Workers Party member Ammar Rashid took to Twitter to criticise how ‘deep state bots’ had started a propaganda against the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement in response to demands by the aggrieved for justice.
On a day 3 working class Pashtun transporters were shot dead by FWO guards in Khi, deep state bots have started trending filthy propaganda about the PTM. All reasonable people should call this out for what it is – a cynical attempt to silence demands for justice for those killed. https://t.co/KwqWVpQudt
— Ammar Rashid (@AmmarRashidT) October 16, 2019
A Twitter user shared a video of a transporter who was present at the protest, saying that Pashtuns could not even protest against the wrong doings of the state.
The man in the video stated that around 3000 trucks had been stopped by authorities. He narrated that the transporters were sitting on the road in protest when they were fired upon.
— Ihtesham Afghan (@IhteshamAfghan) October 16, 2019
Another social media user opined while sharing a news report that the caption should have mentioned ‘Pashtun truck drivers’ instead of just ‘drivers’.
— Latif WaXirii (@latifwaxirii) October 16, 2019
People also highlighted the fact that Pashtuns seemed to have no constitutional guarantees and rights in Pakistan.
It seems that Pashtuns have no guarrantee of Constutional & Universal human rights in Pakistan. Today again, 4 Pashtun drivers were shot dead and 8 other wounded by Pakistani Forces in Karachi. This bloodbath took place in front of hundreds of people. #PakForcesKilledPashtuns
— meena gabeena Fan (@gabingula) October 16, 2019