=> PESHAWAR, Jan 28: Following the threats of suicide
PESHAWAR, Jan 28: Following the threats of suicide attacks by unidentified persons, apparently militants, about 75 per cent transporters in the provincial capital removed cassette players and television sets from their vehicles on Monday.
Some of the drivers had reportedly received threats from unidentified persons asking them to remove the music gadgets from their vehicles otherwise they would face suicide bombing.
The union of transporters distributed leaflets among the drivers on Monday morning wherein they were instructed to immediately remove the VCRs, tape records and TV sets from their vehicles failing which they themselves would be responsible for any untoward incident.
Sarhad Transport Owners Federation president Zahir Shah, when contacted, told Dawn that the VCRs, tap recorders and TV sets were removed from more than 75 per cent vehicles. The remaining 30 per cent vehicles, he said, were out of city and the gadgets from them would be removed on their return to Peshawar.
“We are law abiding and religious people and we had already asked the drivers to remove the gadgets from the vehicles,” he added. He said the federation had already displayed notices at the bus stands asking the drivers to remove such things from their vehicles in order to ensure maintenance of peace and protection to lives of the passengers.
Mr Shah said the transporters had installed these items of amusement on passengers’ demand, as they were compelling the drivers to play cassettes, especially during the long journey to various cities.
Another transporter pleading anonymity said that main sufferers of the militancy were the transporters. On one hand the police personnel are taking bribe from them and on the other they are targeted by the militants, he said.
He said that police were not patrolling the area regularly and those visiting the bus stands had their own vested interests, adding that police officials were bound to take serious notice of the threats and deploy regular police personnel on the premises.
An operator of the Madina Coach, Liaquat Khan, said some of the buses plying in the city had tape recorders which were removed soon after the decision taken by the transporters’ unions.
“We have not received any threat from the militants, but obeyed the decision of our leaders and removed the tap recorders from the buses,” said Zar Ali Khan of Makkah Coach.
Deputy Superintendent Police Mohammad Ejaz Khan, when approached, told Dawn that the police were already trying to enforce the rules, adding that the campaign against such things did not relate to the threats.
“I had convened a meeting of the transporters and strictly asked them to follow the rules, who promised to remove all the music related gadgets from the vehicles,” he said.