Feb 20, 2009

Nato supply facilities in Punjab shutdown

LAHORE: Two Nato supply facilities in Attock and Mianwali in Punjab have been closed down. Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Thursday conceded in the Punjab Assembly, the presence of what he said was a privately owned resting area in Attock for trucks carrying supplies to Afghanistan saying orders had been issued to immediately close it down. The minister said he had initially denied the presence of any depot because the officials concerned had categorically said that neither the federal government had issued any such direction nor was it under consideration of the provincial government to shift any such facility to Punjab.
He conceded the presence of a resting place of over 12 acres of private land which had been rented out to a logistic company privately.
The minister said as the resting place had been created without a government permission, the district administration had been asked to immediately close the place and submit a report afterwards.
An MPA from Attock reported the presence of heavily armed militants and residents of troubled FATA and Swat in the district, urging the government to control their movement to avoid terrorism in Punjab.
Also on Thursday, district police closed down a Nato supply transport verification centre at Abbakhel, some 15km from here, on Mianwali-Rawalpindi Road.
Reports suggest that due to unrest in Dara Adam Khel area the Nato supply route was switched over from Indus highway to Muzaffargarh-Mianwali road for its onward destination of Peshawar.
Talking to Dawn, Mianwali police chief Akbar Nasir Khan disclosed that police had directed the Nato transporters not to stop in the district and continue their journey. 'This is the policy of the Punjab government, that we have to minimize the risks of attacks, as these unguarded stopovers can be a big target for terrorists.'

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