Seven arrested over demolishing toll plaza at Pak-Afghan Highway

LANDIKOTAL: The administration of Khyber tribal district has arrested seven persons on charges of demolishing a toll plaza at the Pak-Afghan Highway.

The seven people have been arrested on clauses of law including impeding the government work, provoking the mob and damaging the government property. According to a statement issued by the district administration on Saturday, the National Highway Authority (NHA) established at toll plaza at the Pak-Afghan Highway under the orders of the Peshawar High Court (PHC). However, it said, the local tribesmen did not approve the toll plaza and initiated agitation.

The statement said talks were held with the local tribesmen on the issue for a week which proved fruitless and on March 23 (Saturday) an angry mob attacked the toll plaza and demolished it. The statement mentioned that the people of the area are of the view that they are exempted from all kinds of taxes for the next five years as part of the merger plan of erstwhile Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, it said the toll plaza was set up under the orders of the court.

The district administration said seven persons have been arrested who include Sadiq, Zahid, Imran, Nadeem, Swal Akbar, Hafizul Asad and Wazir Akbar.

The transporters kept the Pak-Afghan Highway blocked for one week in protest against establishment of the toll plaza due to which the Pak-Afghan trade came to a halt. Eventually after failure of talks, an angry mob attacked the toll plaza in Kata Kashta area and demolished it.

They said KP Governor Shah Farman had also assured the transporters that they will be exempted from toll tax and other taxes. They said the government instead of providing jobs to the tribal youth are teasing the employed youth by imposing taxes.

The toll plaza was established in Kata Kashta area on the highway three months ago. The NHA contractors are of the view that they received orders to collect toll tax from higher authorities. They said they have been directed to collect toll tax from heavy vehicles only and small vehicles are exempted from tax. They said the money collected from toll tax was spent on the maintenance of the road.

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