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Karachi transport strike against oil prices


KARACHI: Life in the city is affected today as transporters are observing a strike in protest against an increase in the prices of petroleum products. The strike call was given last week by the Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI), representative body of the city’s transporters. To express their solidarity with the KTI on the issue, a number of other transport associations are also observing the strike. Operators of all passenger buses bound for interior Sindh and trucks and trailers bound for upcountry destinations are also protesting today. The Rickshaws, Taxis, Yellow-cab Welfare Association (RTYWA) and the Inter-Provincial Bus Association also pledged full participation. President KTI Irshad Hussain Bukhari thanked the Karachi Goods Transport and all other passenger- carrying transport associations for joining the strike, as “it sends a strong message to the government that we are irritated with its anti-transport policies.” He expressed his gratitude to President RTYWA Hafiz-ul-Haq Hasanzai for expressing solidarity with the KTI.After the fuel price hike on March 31, the KTI had called a meeting on April 3 in which it was decided that it would observe a strike on April 10. According to a statement issued by the KTI on Monday, neither the chief minister nor the provincial transport minister thought it necessary, despite the lapse of one week since the call for the strike, to hold a meeting with the transporters to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, according to a statement made by the transport secretary on Monday, the KTI president had been invited to a meeting over the issue. However, Bukhari excused himself from the meeting on the grounds that he (transport secretary) did not have the powers to withdraw the fuel price hike. The chief coordinator of the All Pakistan Supreme Council of Transport, Haji Muhammad Iqbal, also called on Bukhari and assured him that transport bound for interior Sindh would remain halted on account of the strike call. The office-bearers of goods transport associations from Multan, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar have also assured the KTI through telephonic conversations of their participation in the protest.