NATO or not, dharna hurts local trade - Pakistan Today

NATO or not, dharna hurts local trade

The two-day dharna (sit-in) of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at MA Jinnah Bridge on Saturday and Sunday, organised to choke off NATO supplies to Afghanistan from Karachi so that the US is pressured into stopping drone attacks in the tribal areas, did not really achieve its aim, but only inflicted losses on the local industries, claim authorities at ports. “The sit-in only dented our own economy and had no affect on the NATO supplies,” said an official at one of the three container terminals of the city – Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) and Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT).
The official, requesting anonymity, told Pakistan Today the sit-in halted the transportation of hundreds of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at the container terminals. “No pick up or delivery was made on Saturday, which is usually a busy day,” the official said.  “However, the NATO cargo would reach its destination soon,” he added. Sources privy to the issue told Pakistan Today that cargo handling at the ports was completely suspended due to absence of transportation.
They said that around 1,600 TEUs were stuck at the KICT while the in-outs at PICT were not more than 40 containers. “On Saturday, only 35 exports containers and six imports containers were handled at the PICT where the routine in-outs stand at over 700 TEUs,” they added. However, a PTI leader claimed that they successfully chocked off NATO supplies. “We completely blocked NATO supplies, both oil and general cargo,” party leader Ashraf Qureshi told Pakistan Today at the scene.
The PTI leader claimed that his party had already stopped oil supplies to the NATO forces from Shirin Jinnah Colony two days before the sit-in  Justifying the selection of MA Jinnah Bridge as most relevant point for the sit-in, Qureshi insisted that the bridge was a transit route for around 90 percent of daily NATO supplies. “We are now in a better position to influence the Americans’ stance over the drone attacks,” the PTI leader said.
When the authorities at the three ports were asked about the actual quantity of oil and general cargo supplies transported through their respective ports to the NATO troops fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, it turned out that they wanted to conceal this information. “Not a single container carrying NATO cargo comes through my port,” claimed an official at the PICT. The official claimed that most of the containers from the US and Europe going to Afghanistan arrive at the QICT and KICT.
An official at KICT contradicted the PICT official’s statement without elaborating further on the matter. The sources, however, said that the actual number of the Afghanistan-bound containerised cargo was nominal. “Out of the total 2.4 million TEUs, less than 0.1 million head for the NATO forces in Afghanistan every year,” they said.



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