Pakistan: Coal supply at risk as security concerns looms over transporters

Business Friday 09/June/2023 08:40 AM
Pakistan: Coal supply at risk as security concerns looms over transporters

Quetta: The Pakistan Coal Suppliers Association and Good Transport Association have announced that they would cease the supply of coal across the country from Balochistan if adequate protection was not provided to them, Dawn reported.

President of Balochistan Goods Transport Association Noor Ahmed Kakar, and the General Secretary of Coal Suppliers Association Muhammad Din Sanzarkhail, while speaking at a joint press conference, stated that unidentified armed men punctured the tyres of 42 trucks transporting coal from Harnai and Duki coal fields to Punjab and other areas in the country, the report further added. Dawn is a Pakistani English-language newspaper.

At gunpoint, the armed men stopped all 42 trucks in the Charat area on Harnai Road and started shooting. They damaged the trucks and also punctured their tires.

Moreover, the transporters also lamented the fact that they have to pay PKR 230 per tonne to the Frontier Corps to provide protection for the trucks transporting coal to other cities.

They said, "The firing incidents took place on June 1 on Harnai road, not far from a security checkpoint," adding that the government had neglected to provide security for the trucks and coal suppliers.

They also said that shooting events and even explosions had started to happen often in the Harnai and Duki regions.

They would stop coal supply beginning from June 13 if the elements involved in the firing were not held and if appropriate permanent security arrangements were not enforced in the area, Dawn reported.

Notably, coal miners in Balochistan are suffering from the dangers of insurgency, terrorism, sectarianism, dangerous working environment, along with decades of state-sponsored negligence, discrimination, violence and brutality.

Despite being a mineral-rich province of Pakistan, Balochistan is ignored by the government and the coal miners suffered the most. Miners witnessed workplace accidents while working in the high-risk zone and seeking attention, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) reported.

The coal miners are subjected to the double-edged sword of cruelty and hazardous working condition causing severe fatalities.

According to IFFRAS citing sources, a large number of armed men entered the Mach coal field area and kidnapped six people working at different coal mines. The miners, working at mine no. 172. The coal miners belong to Swat's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

This is not the first incident. Earlier, on June 13, four coal miners were abducted at gunpoint from the Habibullah Coal Company including two engineers, in Hanna Urak, Quetta.

The sources also said that the kidnappers shifted the employees to an undisclosed location. Militants in the past targeted security forces and abducted coal miners.