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Hazar Gunji Issue: Dr. Malik Public Enemy Number One?

Quetta – The way Dr. Malik Baloch, Chief Minister of Balochistan, is treating the shifting of bus stands to Hazar Gunji have compelled people of Balochistan to ask whether Dr. Malik is public enemy number one?

For the last four days, transporters of Quetta are on strike in order to protest the decision of Balochistan government to forcefully shift all bus stands to Hazar Gunji, a suburb of Quetta situated 30 kilometers out of the city.

The strike has caused a great deal of misery and inconvenience to people of Quetta, especially those who are living in Sariab road area of Quetta which is the longest road of the city.

Murad Ahmad is a 40 year old small level government employee who lives in Kalat. He travels to Quetta once a week for different reasons. “Life would be very difficult for me, if public transport coming from Kalat drops me at Hazar Gunji rather than Musa colony on Sariab road,” Mr. Murad told Balochistan Point. He severely criticized the Balochistan government for its apathy to the suffering of a common man.

Transporters protest in Quetta

Sariab road blocked by transporters in Protest

Yesterday, a meeting was chaired by Dr. Malik Baloch; it was attended by representatives of the transporter unions. Dr. Malik abruptly rejected all the demands of the transporters and asked them to end the strike. Dr. Malik reiterated that all bus stands would be shifted to Hazar Gunji at all costs.

Transporter Unions leaded by Abdul Qadir Raisani rejected the decision of Chief Minister and vowed to continue their protests, which according to them is also for protection of rights of the passengers.

Mr. Raisani maintains that Hazar Gunji is situated very far from the Quetta city and passengers would have to pay additional fare to reach the center of city. He also claimed that Hazar Gunji lacks the basic infrastructure that is necessary for transporters to shift their buses.

Mr. Raisani and other leaders of transporter union have alleged that few ministers in the government have bought large chunks of land near Hazar Gunji and by shifting Bus stands there; they want to increase the value of those lands.

Two sources have confirmed these allegations of Transporters union while talking to The Balochistan Point on condition of anonymity.

Balochistan government rejects these allegations and claims that decision to shift bus stands to Hazar Gunji is in best interests of people of Quetta. However it failed to elaborate what they mean by best interests.

“I pay Rs. 300 fare to reach Quetta from Dhadar district normally, if Bus stands are shifted to Hazar Gunji then I would have to pay an additional Rs. 250 to reach Quetta city.” Karim Baksh, a passenger told The Balochistan Point. He questioned how is paying an additional Rs. 250 in my best interests?

Abdul Karim Nosherwani, member of provincial assembly and provincial general secretary of PML-Q also doesn’t agree with the stance of Government. “Shifting bus stands to Hazar Gunji is a great injustice with people of Balochistan,” said Mr. Nosherwani. “If this unjust decision is not withdrawn then I will challenge it in Balochistan High court,” affirmed Mr. Nosherwani.

PML-N Youth Wing has demanded from the Balochistan government to withdraw unfair decision to shift Bus stands to Hazar Gunji. Leader of PML-N Youth Wing Sajjad Raisani lamented the fact that government of Balochistan is unmoved about inconvenience caused to people due to strikes held to protest this flawed decision.

Moreover, others who have condemned the approach of Balochistan government include, Union of Traders and Shopkeepers, All Balochistan Traders Union and Aziz Ahmed Shahwani, Member of District Council Quetta.

“The way Dr. Malik Baloch is defending the decision to shift Bus stands to Hazar Gunji proves that He only cares about protecting his government,” said Mohammad Ali a bus driver. “We have the right to ask whether Dr. Malik is our chief Minster  orour enemy number one,” asked Mr. Ali.

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Published in The Balochistan Point on April 23, 2015

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