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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pakistan: Relief Trucks Looted

MUZAFFARGARH: Hundreds of people looted relief goods from trucks meant for the flood-affected areas near Baseera town on the Muzaffargarh-Dera Ghazi Khan road on Friday.

The looting of trucks and relief convoys has become an order of the day here. On Thursday, three trucks were looted and on Friday two trucks of PPP’s women wing were attacked by a mob in Shahjamal.

The road around Baseera remains submerged and drivers are forced to slow down. There are groups of looters who have made the road a no-go area for social workers.

This correspondent saw a gang which intercepted the slow moving trucks and deflated their tyres after holding the drivers hostage.

Later, hundreds of people who were hiding at places along the road came out and started looting relief goods which included flour, ghee, pulses, powdered milk and sugar.

The trucks sent by philanthropists of Khanewal were going to Karam Dad Qureshi and Ghazi Ghat where thousands of people are marooned.

Driver Shabbir Sultan told this correspondent that he and the owner of the truck had collected money from people in Khanewal to help flood-affected people. With eyes filled with tears and face full of bruises, he said that each truck carried goods of about half a million rupees. He said about a dozen people had held him and other truck drivers hostage while hundreds of passers by just looked on.

Shabbir said the looters beat him up and snatched his mobile phone and money. “I will never come here again,” he said, adding that he would ask other donors “not to come here because these people don’t deserve any help”. He said the mob had also damaged their trucks.

This correspondent spoke to a few people who were carrying the looted goods. “These things are for us and there is nothing wrong in what we have done,” said a boy. Another man in his 30s said they had the right to get relief and there was nothing wrong in what they had done.

Two trucks carrying relief goods donated by PPP leader Bagum Belum Husnain were attacked by desperate flood victims in Shahjamal. The PPP leader had brought four trucks and two of them were looted. The goods on the two reaming trucks were distributed among flood-affected people in a camp at the Sanat Zaar Industrial Home in Muzaffargrh.

EDO Revenue Muzaffar Khan who is in charge of relief camps set up by the district government said he received a number of complaints everyday and he contacted DPO to deploy police along the road to ensure safe passage of relief goods.

The SHO of the Karam Dad Qureshi police station said he knew about the looting of trucks near Baseera. “Such incidents happened everyday and I am helpless to combat it because flood victims are in thousands while a few dozen relief trucks are not enough to meet their needs.”

From here.

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