Pakistan to scan all NATO supply containers
07 July, 2012
KARACHI: All containers passing through Pakistan to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan are to be scanned to ensure they do not contain lethal supplies, customs officials said on Friday.
A number of trucks have already crossed into Afghanistan, but the vast majority are still at Karachi, where they have languished for the past seven months.
The two sides are still rebuilding trust and officials in Karachi, where thousands of trucks and containers languished during the blockade, said there would be thorough checks to ensure the convoys conformed to Pakistani parliamentary guidelines barring the transport of lethal supplies.
"We scanned the containers randomly in the past, but now every container will be duly scanned," Karachi customs spokesman Qamar Thalho said. "We can seize any item, anything that be, if it is not mentioned in the agreements between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and NATO."
An official speaking on condition of anonymity said the move was intended to stymie opposition parties and religious groups – who have criticised the resumption of supplies. "A strict scanning of the cargo is just one important measure not to give enough space to the opposition to exploit public sentiments," the official said.
All Pakistan Goods Carrier Association Vice President Rana Mohammad Aslam said Rs 560,000 compensation per vehicle would be paid to the truck owners by NATO subcontractors.
Railways won't transport NATO supplies: Bilour
Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said Pakistan Railways would not provide any transportation services to NATO as the organisaiton was not capable of meeting even the local transportation needs.
A press statement issued on Friday said, "We are already short of locomotives to meet the local freight requirements and cannot give transportation facility to NATO." He rejected a news item appearing in a section of the media regarding provision of three routes to transport NATO goods.
"We have no such information and the news published in a section of the press is baseless and has no reality," the minister added. He urged the media to avoid publishing any such news without confirmation and verification.
Commenting on the future strategy, he said his ministry would spend around Rs 22.8 billion during the fiscal year 2012-13 to execute 37 projects for rehabilitation of infrastructure and revival of services, to make the organisation a profit-earning entity.