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Comprising on security? Transport convoys between G-B and Rawalpindi cut down to four vehicles

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KOHISTAN: After five days of protests, transporters of Kohistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) conditionally ended their strike on Tuesday after the local administration agreed to reduce the number of buses in bus convoys from more than three dozen to only four.

HunzaNews April 30th, 2014.

The convoy system was introduced as a security measure by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and G-B authorities following repeated attacks on buses in 2012 wherein selected passengers were made to disembark and shot dead.

The transport unions of Kohistan and G-B had launched a wheel-jam strike last Thursday, suspending traffic between Rawalpindi and G-B and blocking the Karakoram Highway (KKH). The strike of 27 transport companies had left hundreds of passengers stranded in G-B, Kohistan and Rawalpindi.

The transporters had entered into parleys with the local administration but failed to reach an agreement as both sides stuck to their guns.

However, on Tuesday, a jirga was held in Dassu that was attended by all stakeholders. After lengthy negotiations, Kohistan District Commissioner Syed Muhammad Shah told the jirga the perpetrators of the 2012 attacks were from Darail and Tangeer areas of G-B’s Diamer district yet the incident had brought a bad name to the peaceful people of Kohistan.

Shah said since the complete end of the convoy system was the prerogative of the K-P and G-B governments, the district administration has decided to reduce the size of convoy from around 40 buses to only four passenger vehicles.

DPO Akbar Ali told the jirga police officials would continue to provide complete security to passengers and reiterated that there was no threat to passengers from the people of Kohistan.

He said after entering Kohistan through the Chakai check post, police would help the four buses or vans move through the district. He also asked transporters to meet with the Hazara commissioner and G-B administration officials for ending the convoy system completely.

Members of the transporters union thanked the administration and jirga members but warned to suspend operations and block KKH again if the G-B and K-P governments force them to resume the convoy system.

On February 28, 2013, around 20 Shias were pulled out of buses and gunned down at Harban Nala, Kohistan while traveling on the KKH en route to Gilgit.

Express Tribune

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