BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Hurt by the inhumane treatment, a group of truck owners and drivers on Sunday spoke about how Skardu police humiliates them on perilous Gilgit – Skardu road to extort money.
“The men in police uniform in the check posts aren’t police, they are robbers,” Zafar Khan, secretary general transport union told reporters in an emotional tone at Press Club Gilgit.
Khan was accompanied by over two dozen drivers and transport owners, who all appeared deeply upset over what they called humiliation police has been meting out to them on the way from Gilgit to Skardu.
Gilgit –Skardu road is in shambles and accidents are frequent on the highway that hardly accommodates two cars at a time. The Gilgit – Baltistan government plans to widen the road but when the work will start is any body’s guess.
The drivers said the road was highly perilous for trucks on at least on four points but ‘we make the delivery risking our lives.’ “What we get in return is humiliation from the police.”
Kamal Uddin, a president of the union, said the Alam Bridge has the capacity of bearing 24 tons of load but frontier works organization [FWO] men and police stationed there don’t allow a truck of that weigh unless taking a bribe of Rs 3000 to 5000 from each truck. He said the rest of the 10 police check post upto Skardu aren’t different either, extorting money as much as they can.
“But if the drivers resist, they are made to wait there for hours and days till they surrender.”
The drivers accused a woman traffic police in Skardu, Sayeda Batool, of abusing the drivers. “We can’t tell you what language she uses for the drivers. My ethics and religion don’t allow us to do so in public.”
The transporters warned they would go on strike for an indefinite period from next Sunday if their demands aren’t met.