The ring road in Peshawar, which is on the route of NATO supplies to Afghanistan, may be bumpy, but not as rough as the solutions Imran Khan has come up with to handle the challenges faced by the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where his Tehrik-e-Insaf is ruling.
Imran Khan’s obsession with drone strikes and his confrontational approach in politics is isolating the province which is already reeling with the terrorist attacks by militants.
In his speech to the protesters in Hayatabad, Imran Khan said his party would not allow NATO supplies to Afghanistan until the US government stops drone attacks in the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said permission for supplies and the continuation of drone strikes is tantamount to slavery of the US.
[quote]The provincial bureaucracy has no clue how to react[/quote]
The provincial bureaucracy has no clue how to react to the emerging situation after the party decided to blockade NATO supplies. “We have not received any notification from the Home Department to officially stop the supplies. In the absence of such directions, stopping the supplies is an unlawful and illegal act and the police should take action against those who take law in their hands,” said a senior provincial bureaucrat in Peshawar. “But what can the police do when the government itself is not clear what it wants?”
“In my entire career, I have not seen such chaos at the government level,” he added. “Where is the government when civilians manhandling and in some cases beating poor truck drivers? This is a complete violation of law. It is pitting government functionaries against civilians.”
Sher Khan Shinwari, a truck driver who has been moving NATO supplies for several years, is unhappy with the way him and his fellow truckers were treated by PTI activists.
“We voted for PTI to bring a change in the province and improve law and order but instead it is depriving us of our livelihood,” he said. “On one hand we are targeted by the Taliban, and on the other, we are faced with these unruly young supporters of PTI.”
Shah Alam, a 22-year-old former PTI supporter from the Hayatabad area of Peshawar, says Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders visited the protest sit-in only on the first day. Since then, they have been sending daily wagers to participate in the demonstration.
“Some participants did not even know why they were there,” he said of PTI workers. “They were mostly illiterate people fed on anti-Americanism.”
He said he had hoped the new government would set up colleges and universities and create employment opportunities for young people, but they were putting them in harm’s way. “My parents have stopped me from taking part in any political activity that is conducted by the PTI,” he said.
“We are aware that the protests have affected one of the primary commercial transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said in Washington. “We have voluntarily halted US shipments of retrograde cargo…from Torkham Gate through Karachi, to ensure the safety of the drivers contracted to move our equipment.”